Awards for 23 Sqn


A total of 16 Awards are listed.
Kirti Chakra : 1 | Vir Chakra : 4 | Vayu Sena Medal : 8 | Vishist Seva Medal : 1 | Mention in Despatches : 2 |
Kirti Chakra
Flt Lt Raj Kumar Mehta 4102 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date 09 Nov 60 Announced 26 Jan 62
Details :

On 9th November 1960, Flt. Lt. R.K. Mehta was detailed to fly a Gnat aircraft. While coming in to land at Palam airfield his engine flamed out due to a bird entering the intake. Though the engine had flamed out at a low height, Flt. Lt. Mehta did not abandon the aircraft but proceeded to attempt a landing fully aware of the risk to his life. He was not, however, able to make a safe landing and died instantaneously as a result of belated ejection.

Flt. Lt. Mehta was an experienced pilot and he was fully familiar with the Gnat aircraft. He faced the emergency with a remarkable degree of calmness and courage and did not even spare his life in his attempt to save his valuable aircraft. This selfless act of Flt. Lt. Mehta, his devotion to duty and personal courage were in the highest traditions of the Air Force.

Reference: Notification No. 10-Pres/62 dated 26th January, 1962 published in Part I, Section I of the Gazette of India dated 26th January, 1962.  

Vir Chakra
Sqn Ldr Trevor Joseph Keelor 4818 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date 03 Sep 65 Announced 05 Sep 65
Details :

At about 0700 hours on the 3rd September, 1965, on receipt of a report that a formation of Pakistani fighters was circling over our army position in the Chhamb sector of Jammu & Kashmir, a formation of Gnat aircraft was ordered to intercept the intruders.

Approaching the area, Squadron Leader Trevor Keelor, who was a section leader in the Gnat formation, sighted enemy F-86 Sabre jets and engaged them in air battle. When the combat was in progress, F-104 Star fighters of the Pakistani Air Force also joined in. Unmindful of the numerical superiority of the enemy, Squadron Leader Keelor chased a Sabre Jet and pressed home his attack until the enemy aircraft caught fire and disintegrated in the air. This was the first victory of our Air Force in the air battles against the Pakistani Air Force.

In this operation, Squadron Leader Trevor Keelor displayed courage and leadership of a high order in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India , 1st January 1966 - No.130 - Pres/65 dated 5th September 1965 

Vir Chakra
Flt Lt Virendra Singh Pathania 5198 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date 04 Sep 65 Announced 06 Sep 65
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Virender Singh Pathania was one of the Gnat pilots who were sent to Pathankot to establish our air superiority in that region during the recent operations against Pakistan. He flew repeated missions seeking out Pakistani aircraft and engaging them. On the 4th September, 1965, during one such mission he came up against a formation of enemy Sabre Jets and immediately engaged them in battle. With great confidence and courage, he out-maneuvered the enemy all the time, got behind one of the enemy Sabres and shot it down.

In this encounter, Flight Lieutenant Virender Singh Pathania displayed cool courage and firm determination in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India , 1st January 1966 - No.130 - Pres/65 dated 5th September 1965 

Vir Chakra
Sqn Ldr Amar Jit Singh Sandhu 4705 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date 17 Sep 65 Announced 22 Sep 65
Details :

Squadron Leader Amarjit Singh Sandhu was the Flight Commander of an Operational Squadron, which was assigned the task of establishing our air superiority over the Pathankot region during the recent operations against Pakistan. He flew repeated missions in the Chhamb sector and over the Pasrur and Lahore areas, all the time seeking out enemy aircraft and engaging them. On the 18th September 1965, in a thrilling encounter against enemy aircraft, he was able to outmanoeuvre the enemy with admirable skill, courage and judgment and shot down a Sabre jet.

The courage and devotion to duty displayed by Squadron Leader Amarjit Singh Sandhu were in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India , 1st January 1966 - No.133 - Pres/65 dated 22nd September 1965 

Vir Chakra
Sqn Ldr Johney William Greene 4093 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date 03 Sep 65 Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

In the initial stages of the operations against Pakistan in the Chhamb Sector, a detachment of Gnat was sent to give cover to our ground attack aircraft and establish our superiority. Squadron Leader Johnny William Greene led missions repeatedly into this sector where the enemy was using missile equipped F-86 Sabre and F-104 Star fighters. He worked out tactics to combat them and, by his personal example and determination, infused confidence in the members of his formation.

On 3rd and 4th September 1965, the formations led by him were in the first air combats with the enemy air force. Unmindful of the enemy’s numerical superiority and radar advantage, he controlled and maneuvered his formations with such skill that they succeeded in shooting down two enemy aircraft - the first in these operations. Subsequently, he led a number of formations giving air cover to Mystere and Canberra aircraft in attacks on ground targets. The success of these attacks was largely due to his bravery and leadership.

Reference: Gazette of India , 12th February 1966 - No.15 - Pres/66 dated 1st January 1966 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Bhopendra Singh 3025 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 65
Details : Wg Cdr Bhopindra Singh, an experienced test pilot, is now in command of a Jet Fighter Squadron. He was entrusted with the complicated and exacting task of high altitude trials on the Gnat airraft. The task was hazardous in the absence of suitable data on which the bhaviour of the aircraft could be pre-assessed at high altitudes. Despite this handicap, Wg Cdr Singh, wih courage and professional skill, carried out the trials from one of the highest airfields located in treacherous mountainous terrain. The data collected as a result of the trials will have far reaching effect on the concept and future conduct of Fighter operations in the western sector. The operation of a Jet fighter from an airfield at a high altitude in Ladakh is a land mark in the history of the Indian Air Force. Wg Cdr Bhupinder Singh displayed courage and a high degree of prefessional skill in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force
Reference: Gazette of India 13th March 1965 - No.20 - Pres/65 dated 1st January 1965. 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Amarjit Singh Sandhu 4705 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date 10 Mar 64 Announced 01 Jan 65
Details : On 10th March 1964, Flt Lt Sandhu, while in formation of Gnat aircraft, experienced a flame out of engine followed by a total electrical failure rendering the tail plane inoperative. He was faced with the choice of either abandoning the aircraft and ejecting himself, or carrying out a 'deadstick' forced landing. Inspite of the failure of vital services, he chose the latter in order to save a valuable aircraft from destruction. This was the first time that a 'dead-stick' landing was carried out in a Gnat aircraft. Flt Lt Sandhu also made it possible for the technical staff to ascertain the defect leading to the flame-out of the engine which, if undetected might have caused serious accidents in the future.Flt Lt Amarjit Singh Sandhu displayed courage, high professional skill, and devotion to duty whicha re in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force
Reference: Gazette of India 13th March 1965 - No.20 - Pres/65 dated 1st January 1965. 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Trevor Joseph Keelor 4818 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date 05 Feb 64 Announced 01 Jan 65
Details : On the 5th February 1964, Flt Lt Keelor was detailed to ferry a Gnat from Poona to Palam in a formation of five aircraft. The last part of the flight had to be undertaken at a height of 41,000 feet. While descending to land at Palam, he discovered , at a height of 15,000 feet that there was no response from the engine to the throttle movements. After informing the leader, Flt Lt Kellor immediately broke off the formation and attempted a landing at Palam, knowing fully well that previous attempts to force land a Gnat had resulted in fatal or serious injury to the pilot. With great presence of mind and careful handling, he accomplished the forced landing successfully without any damage to the aircraft. Flt Lt Trevor Kellor displayed courage, presence of mind and a high standard of professional skill in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force
Reference: Gazette of India 13th March 1965 - No.20 - Pres/65 dated 1st January 1965. 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr Amerjit Singh Gill 6147 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

Flying Officer Amarjit Singh Gill was one of a small number of pilots who were sent into Chhamb sector to provide air cover to our troops and establish air superiority. Unmindful of personal safety, he flew repeated missions in the area and engaged the enemy on a number of occasions. On 3rd September, 1965, he was engaged by Pakistani Sabres and a F-104, which fired air-to-air missiles.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th February 1966 - No.14-Pres/66 dated 1st January 1966 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Tushar Sen 6006 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 68
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Tushar Sen has been serving with an interceptor Squadron. He is one of the most experienced pilots on this type of aircraft and has flown 600 sorties. On many occasions, he had to cope with serious emergencies but each time he brought the aircraft down safely. Once, when all wheels of his aircraft did not come down, and when any normal pilot would have been justified in abandoning the aircraft in such a situation, he, with courage and determination, brought the aircraft back safely on two wheels. On another occasion, when his longitudinal control failed at a low height, he successfully landed the aircraft. He flew a number of sorties in 1965 operations to provide air defence.

Throughout, Flight Lieutenant Tushar Sen displayed professional, skill courage and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 8th June 1968 - No.35 - Pres/68 dated 26th January 1968 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Satwant Singh 5010 F(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

Squadron Leader Satwant Singh has been a Senior Flight Commander of a Fighter Squadron for nearly five years. During the entire period, he devoted himself selflessly and trained the pilots to ensure the operational readiness of the Squadron. During the operations against Pakistan in December, 1971, he led twenty Combat Air Patrol, sweep and escort missions setting an example to his pilots who put in their best efforts for the defence of the airfield.

Throughout, Squadron Leader Satwant Singh displayed professional skill, leadership and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 7th October 1972 - No.108 - Pres/72 dated 23rd September 1972 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Anil Yeshwant Tipnis 5859 F(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 80
Details :

Wing Commander Anil Tipnis took over the command of an Air Force Squadron in July, 1977, when it was decided to phase out the Gnat and re­equip the Squadron with MiG-BIS aircraft. He was also required to move his Squadron to its new location. At the new location, while sorting out the numerous administrative problems relating to re-settlement he, simultaneously, undertook the task of equipping his unit with new aircraft. He formulated every detail concerning the collection of aircraft and the ground and test equipment, and organised his Squadron into an efficient unit for training of aircrew and technicians. It was due to his dedication and inspiring leadership that his fledgling Squadron accomplished the significant achievement of accident-free flying in the first year of its re-equipment and turned out five pilots fully operational and seven other pilots operational by day. Within a short period of nine months of its change over to MiG BIS aircraft, it was required to take part in the Western Air Command Armament Meet 'Arjuna 78'. Despite the limited experience of its personnel on the new aircraft, the Squadron displayed commendable performance at the Armament meet. The planning, organisational and man­management capabilities of Wing Commander Tipnis have been above average. The commendable contribution of his professional competence is that he has maintained an accident free record right from the beginning. His unit has also achieved 100 % serviceability twice during this year.

Wing Commander Anil Tipnis has thus displayed high professional skill and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th June 1981 - No.34-Pres/81 dated 26th January 1981 

Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjeev Sahay 6139 F(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 82
Details :

Wing Commander Sanjiv Sahay was commissioned on the 31st May, 1961. Since then he has been in various fighter Squadrons. On assuming command of a supersonic squadron in July 1979, Wing Commander Sanjiv Sahay took stock of his resources and with single mindedness, meticulous planning and optimum utilization of each resource, he was able to complete 200 hours of inspection on almost all his new aircraft which had fallen due for inspection at the same period. Due to this faultless planning, the serviceability has gradually picked up and for the last year it was at an all time high figure of 70.13% average. His unit has also achieved 100% serviceability five times during this period. During this period, the Squadron achieved a flying output of 2943 hours. This entire flying has been achieved without a single accident and the Squadron has maintained accident­free record for the last three years. The Squadron won the Arjuna 1979 trophy for being the best fighter Squadron in the Western Air Command in interSquadron Gunnery Meet and was adjudged the fighter Squadron for 1979 of WAC. In 1980, this Squadron also had an accident-free year and won two trophies the first for being the best Fighter Squadron in WAC and another for being best in Maintenance.

On 9th February, 1981, Wing Commander Sanjiv Sahay was leading a medium level strike mission in front guns for ex­Arjuna. After pulling out of the dive, after a front gun attack on SK Range he heard a thud on his aircraft. He experienced a high frequency vibrations setting in and he decided to turn to base giving a call that he suspected a hit by bullet ricochet. He climbed up and decided to carry out an immediate landing by doing a descending circuit. He lowered his undercarriage in line with the landing dumb­bell. He commenced his turn on to finals and throttled back to 85% RPM at 1.3 Km with the intention of lowering full flaps after having turned and aligned with the runway. As soon as he throttled back, he heard a cracking sound from the rear. At this stage, his engine flamed out. At the time of flame out, the height was 1.3 Km. He immediately put the relight switch "ON" observing his height, distance out and speed that the relight would at least take 15 to 20 seconds, he decided to eject. The aircraft was pointing towards the domestic area of HALWARA airfield. He turned right, pulled the aircraft up gently and when the aircraft was facing the green fields, he ejected. Wing Commander Sahay avoided a catastrophe by turning away from populated area. By this courageous act, in such a critical stage, Wing Commander Sahay has set a brilliant example of this presence of mind, bravery and professional acumen.

Wing Commander Sahay has thus displayed high professional competence, leadership, courage and exceptional devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd January 1983 - No.1-Pres/83 dated 26th January 1982 

Vishist Seva Medal
WO Indu Bhushan Mishra 682195 ORUnit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date 26 Jan 08 Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

682195 Warrant Officer Indu Bhushan Mishra Elect/Fit has been on the posted strength of front line Sqn since 09 Jul 05 and is presently working as i/c Electrical Section as well as the i/c Flight line in DSS.

He is a dedicated, highly skilled and a very pro-active professional with excellent supervisory capabilities. He leads from the front, is highly motivational to others and is ever ready to take the first step in any Sqn activity. An example of his ingenuity and never say die attitude is his indigenous fabrication of the Russian UPP for BISON aircraft for the first time in the IAF. As the Sqn was an unplanned squadron for induction of BISON aircraft, this tester was not available in IAF because of which it was not initially allotted to this unit. This tester was critically required by the unit as it is regularly used for checking the parameters of electrical systems, like phase voltages and frequency during ground runs. WO IB Mishra kept service above self, took initiative and worked beyond the normal call of duty to get the tester fabricated through local resources. The cost of the original tester is reportedly Rs. 6 lakhs. However, WO IB Mishra while working with limited resources, managed to produce the same tester in Rs. 1550 only, thus saving precious service money.

Additionally, he has been instrumental in modifying the Aircraft starting trolley for checks on KOPYO radar system of BISON aircraft and also in fabricating bomb simulator plugs for simulation of bombs in air. He has displayed a high sense of responsibility in ensuring a safe and efficient working environment as WO i/c Flt Line in DSS and also while assisting in rectifying complicated aircraft snags. He is always very cheerful and thus ensures a very amiable and positive atmosphere among the technicians.

For his distinguished service of high order, hard work, dedication, self motivation, innovativeness and positive attitude, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vishisht Seva Medal' to Warrant Officer Indu Bhushan Mishra.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2008 Number: 

Mention in Despatches
Flt Lt Mohan Murdeshwar 5178 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 66
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India , 5th November 1966 - No.77 - Pres/66 dated 27th October 1966 

Mention in Despatches
Flt Lt Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy 6338 GD(P)Unit : No.23 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 66
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India , 5th November 1966 - No.77 - Pres/66 dated 27th October 1966 

The Awards Database presented here was made possible by the kind generosity of Air Marshal Bharat Kumar, author of Courage & Devotion to Duty : A Chronicle of IAF's Honours and Awards (1932-2008). Air Marshal Bharat Kumar had very graciously given permission to reproduce the citations from the book on this website.
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