Awards for 8 Sqn


A total of 16 Awards are listed.
Vir Chakra : 8 | Vayu Sena Medal : 4 | Mention in Despatches : 4 |
Vir Chakra
Sqn Ldr Kenneth Merals David 1863 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 18 Sep 48 Announced 26 Jan 50
Details :

Squadron Leader Kenneth Merals David (1836) GD(P) flew well over 100 hours in the Jammu and Kashmir Operations and throughout displayed supreme courage by attacking enemy targets with utter disregard for his personal safety. He carried out may attacks over Kishenganga Bridge which was heavily guarded by the enemy. By his good flying and precision bombing he damaged the bridge more than once, thus temporarily paralyzing the enemy supply lines.He led his Squadron at every possible opportunity and set a good example to the Pilots of his Squadron.

For the valuable services rendered by him during the Jammu and Kashmir Operations, he was awarded the Vir Chakra.

Reference: Gazette of India , Extraordinary, No. 2-Pres., dated 26th January, 1950 

Vir Chakra
Flt Lt Michael Patrick Owen Blake 2630 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 50
Details :

Flight Lieutenant (Now Wing Commander) Michael Patrick Owen Blake (2630) set a high standard of flying in Jammu and Kashmir Operations as a Flight Commander. Being the first to volunteer for operations in Kashmir, he led the first attack in SKARDU area, flying over difficult and dangerous country.

The officer rendered valuable service in the defence of Poonch. He during critical days in Poonch, gave support to our besieged garrison there and was often responsible for neutralizing enemy strongholds in that vicinity. In almost all of these attacks, he achieved results by pressing home the attacks on the enemy at great personal risks. By his fine example he inspired confidence in other pilots of the Squadron.

For his outstanding leadership as a Flight Commander in Jammu and Kashmir Operations, he has been awarded the Vir Chakra.

Reference: Gazette of India , Extraordinary, No. 2-Pres., dated 26th January, 1950 

Vir Chakra
Flt Lt Aloysius William Barrette 3172 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 20 Sep 48 Announced 26 Jan 50
Details :

The late Flight Lieutenant ALOYSIUS WILLIAM BARRETTE (3172) flew 80 Operational hours with in a short period of two months during the JAMMU and KASHMIR Operations. Tlthough he was hurt on several occasions he carred on cheerfully and showed exceptional courage and high sense of duty. Whilst attacking enemy positions near Poonch, he was injured but immediately after recovery he resumed operational flying.

Again over the MENDAR Valley, he was hit in th face by a shrapnel from the enemy Anti-Aircraft Fire while going into attack. Although he was bleeding profusely, he pressed home the attack with determination and destroyed the enemy post. His love for Operational flying was a source of inspiration ot the other pilots of his Squadron.

For the distinguished service rendered by him during the JAMMU and KASHMIR Operations, he has been awarded the Vir Chakra.

Reference: Gazette of India , Extraordinary, No. 2-Pres., dated 26th January, 1950 

Vir Chakra
Fg Offr Gerald Bertram Cabral 3308 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 19 Jan 49 Announced 20 Nov 50
Details :

During his operational tour, this officer was shot down twice. On the first occasion, he successfully forced landed in Pooch.

He came back to the Squadron and carried on undaunted. He was again shot down over Tithwal and by his cool courage and resource walked out of “NO MAN’S LAND” after being heavily shelled. He continued to carry out his normal flying duties, undeterred by previous mishaps, thereby setting an outstanding example in high morale to the rest of the unit.

This officer has shown commendable devotion to duty. This determination and courage in carrying on with operational flying after being shot down twice and walking back to our lines on one of these occasions under enemy shell fire set a fine example to all others to follow.

Reference: Gazette of India , 20th November 1950 - No.13 - Pres dated 15th November 1950 

Vir Chakra
Sqn Ldr Madhukar Shantaram Jatar 4793 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 07 Sep 65 Announced 10 Sep 65
Details :

During the recent operations against Pakistan, Squadron Leader Madhukar Shantaram Jatar was the Flight Commander in an operational Squadron which carried out 14 operational sorties. On the 7th September 1965, he led a formation of eight Mysteres on a ground strike mission on Bhagranwala airfield. The raid had to be carried out at a low altitude when visibility was poor. Squadron Leader Jatar inspired is men with courage and tenacity of purpose and the attack on the airfield was pressed home resolutely. As a result one enemy Sabre Jet was destroyed and another damaged. After carrying out the mission successfully, Squadron Leader Jatar brought his formation of eight aircraft safely back to the base.

In this operation, Squadron Leader Madhukar Shantaram Jatar displayed leadership, devotion to duty and professional skill of a high order in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India , 1st January 1966 - No.131 - Pres/65 dated 10th September 1965 

Vir Chakra
Sqn Ldr Pramod Chandra Chopra 5194 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 11 Sep 65 Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

During the recent operations against Pakistan, Flight Lieutenant Pramod Chandra Chopra carried out 14 operational missions and displayed commendable enthusiasm in hunting for the enemy in the sky.

On 11th September, 1965, Flight Lieutenant Chopra flew as No. 3 in a four aircraft formation of Mystere on a ground attack strike mission. The formation encountered heavy and concentrated enemy ground fire. Defying the barrage of antiaircraft fire, Flight Lieutenant Pramod Chandra Chopra pressed home his attack and destroyed two enemy tanks in addition to several gun emplacements and vehicles.

His courage and determination, which inspired other pilots, were in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

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

Vir Chakra
Flt Lt Vinod Patney 6125 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 13 Sep 65 Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan, Flight Lieutenant Vinod Patney was serving in an Operational Squadron in a forward area. He flew 16 operational sorties within the short period.

On 13th September, 1965, he took part in a ground attack mission in the Kasur-Khem Karan Sector and flew as No. 3 in a four aircraft formation. During the attack, the formation met with heavy and determined ground fire from the enemy guns. One of our aircraft was shot down. Undeterred and undaunted by this, Flight Lieutenant Patney pressed home five effective attacks on different enemy targets and destroying 3 Patton tanks. The courage and initiative displayed by Flight Lieutenant Vinod Patney were in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

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

Vir Chakra
Flt Lt Vinod Kumar Bhatia 6497 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 08 Sep 65 Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan, Flight Lieutenant Vinod Kumar Bhatia was serving in an Operational Squadron in the Lahore Sector. He flew 18 operational sorties in that Sector. On 8th September, 1965, Flight Lieutenant Bhatia flew as No. 2 in a formation of four Mystere aircraft on a ground attack strike mission. In the face of very heavy and concentrated enemy fire, Flight Lieutenant Bhatia, totally unmindful of the danger, to which he was exposed, pressed home repeated attacks on the enemy tanks and gun positions and destroyed two tanks.

The courage and determination displayed by Flight Lieutenant Vinod Kumar Bhatia were in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Madhukar Shantaram Jatar 4793 F(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 75
Details :

Wing Commander Madhukar Shantaram Jatar was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in November, 1954. He has been commanding a front line strike Squadron since March, 1972. His devotion to work has led to successful accomplishment of all tasks assigned to him well in time under difficult and trying conditions. A flier of exceptional merit, Wing Commander Jatar stands out as an officer worthy of emulation, who brought to bear his experience in all his work which has led to high operational efficiency of the squadron.

Throughout, Wing Commander Madhukar Shantaram Jatar displayed courage, professional skill and exceptional devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 21st February 1975 - No.16 - Pres/75 dated 26th January 1975 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Vasudevan Vatsalan Nair 7693 F(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Wing Commander Vasudevan Vatsalan Nair is the Commanding Officer of a frontline Fighter Squadron.

Wing Commander Nair has always displayed leadership of high order, organizational ability, ingenuity, dedication and devotion to duty. Under his able leadership and guidance the Squadron won many laurels bringing repute to the Wing and to the Command. Under his command, the Squadron maintained a safe environment, carried out 5481 hours of accident-free flying notwithstanding severe and unpredictable weather conditions and extended working hours. In the very first year of his command, the Squadron was rated the Best Categorised Squadron (Supersonics) and won the IAF Instrument Rating Trophy. With his guidance in 1983-84, the Squadron won the prestigious and coveted IAF Flight Safety Trophy for being the Best Supersonic Squadron of the Year. These commendable achievements are attributable to ingenuity, hard work, dedication and exemplary leadership of Wg Cdr Nair.

The success of the ceremony of Colour Presentation to the Squadron on 05 Mar 84 was the result of Wg Cdr Nair's administrative excellence, his meticulous planning, hard work and personal involvement coupled with organizational ability under trying circumstances.

A fighter pilot to the core, Wg Cdr Nair has to his credit 2670 hours of supersonic jet flying.

For his outstanding leadership, unflagging zeal, absolute devotion to duty, unflinching loyalty and professionalism, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Vasudevan Vatsalan Nair.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 6th April 1985 - No.29-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Chandan Sharda 21026 F(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Squadron Leader Chandan Sharda (21026) Flying (Pilot) was authorised to fly an air test sortie on 04 Aug 98 on fighter aircraft. During the descent from 11 Km at 6.5 Km he experienced a loud bang and ducked down instinctively. Soon he realised that the right side upper bubble of the canopy had shattered and he had been hit by a chunk on Perspex on his head. He quickly throttled back to idling rpm and descended to 2 Km with airbrakes out, simultaneously dropping speed to 400 Km/h IAS. During the descent he realised that his visor had broken free, there was blood on his shoulder and blood splattered on the rear view mirror which had also been shattered. He had suffered deep cuts on his cheek and forehead and the bleeding was obscuring his vision. Due to the high noise level in the cockpit, R/T was ineffective, necessitating a U/S R/T recovery. To obviate further injury from loose corners of the shattered canopy he attempted to jettison it, which failed to lift free from the railing. During the base leg turn the canopy finally lifted free and a safe landing was made.

Squadron Leader C Sharda has displayed a high degree of courage and acted gallantly with a composed frame of mind even in an injured state, thereby saving a valuable aircraft.

For devotion to duty in recovering the aircraft in a difficult situation, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Chandan Sharda.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Joseph Suares 21209 F(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 30 Nov 04 Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Joseph Suares (21209) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a premier fighter Squadron since 21 May 2001 and Is presently the Flight Commander. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has 1950 hours of total service flying.On 30 Nov 2004, while operating Air to Ground firing from Tezpur, Wg Cdr Suares was airborne for a range dual check sortie over Dulang Mukh range, with a trainee pilot. While leaving range, the aircraft experienced a sudden total electrical failure. Total electrical failure leads to immediate failure of all communications equipment, vital aircraft instrument as well as navigation equipment. The control system in pitch channel also becomes ineffective making manoeuvering of aircraft difficult. Wing Commander Joseph Suares promptly and correctly assessed the gravity of the situation and decided to recover the aircraft at Jorhat, the closest diversion. Enroute to Jorhat he correctly assessed the weather to be marginal and decided to recover at Tezpur. The multiple . unserviceabilities coupled with tho inclement weather made the task much more difficult for the pilot to land the Mig-21 aircraft. For lowering of undercarriage, Wg Cdr Suares had to gesticulate and shout to the trainee to lower the nose wheel on emergency since it can only be done from front cockpit. He lowered the main wheels himself using the emergency system. He then executed a safe flapless approach and landing. Even without , the tail chute and the anti skid system he safely stopped the aircraft without blocking the runway. Executing recovery of aircraft under these circumstances was a daunting task requiring extreme courage and determination. Any error could prove fatal. The pilot though had the option to eject under such marginal conditions, decided to save the aircraft against heavy odds.Wg Cdr Suares remained calm, composed and was situationally alive to the events while handling an adverse and completely unfamiliar situation. His professional acumen, maturity, and situational awareness in handling an unprecedented and unfamiliar situation made the crucial difference between a safe recovery and an accident.For displaying exceptional courage In handling of a critical emergency, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Joseph Suares.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Mention in Despatches
Flt Lt Kanwar Singh 2781 GD(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date Announced 13 Jan 51
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India , 17th February 1951 - No.2 - Pres dated 13th February 1951 

Mention in Despatches
Cpl L B Wagh 12175 ORUnit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date Announced 13 Jan 51
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India , 17th February 1951 - No.2 - Pres dated 13th February 1951 

Mention in Despatches
LAC Mal Singh 18275 ORUnit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date Announced 13 Jan 51
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India , 17th February 1951 - No.2 - Pres dated 13th February 1951 

Mention in Despatches
Cpl N C Mundu 14652 ORUnit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date Announced 13 Jan 51
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India , 17th February 1951 - No.2 - Pres dated 13th February 1951 

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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