Awards for the year 2005


A total of 96 Awards are listed.
Pages 1 2
Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Sunil Kumar Malik 9002 F(P)Unit : Air HQ  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : VCAS
Reference:  

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Satish Kumar Jain 9716 F(P)Unit : SWAC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : AOC-in-C SWAC
Reference:  

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Subhash Bhojwani 9734 F(P)Unit : TC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : AOC-in-C TC
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Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Ajit Bhavnani 10440 F(P)Unit : SFC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : AOC-in-C SFC
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Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Harendrajit Singh Garkal 11780 ADMUnit : EAC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : SOA
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Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Parimal Kumar Sarkar 26480 MEDUnit : Air HQ  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : DG AFMS (Air)
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Kirti Chakra
Wg Cdr Sudhir Kumar Sharma 17717 F(P)Unit : 111 HU  Award Date 11 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Wing Commander Sudhir Kumar Sharma, Flying (Pilot) is commanding a Helicopter Unit since 05 August 2002.

On 11 May 2004, Wing Commander Sharma was directed to urgently evacuate three members of a mountaineering expedition to Mt Kamet, who were critically injured due to inclement weather. These casualties were at an altitude of 23,260 ft, which is beyond the ceiling of 23,000 ft of Chetak helicopter. Due to their serious injuries, it was impossible to bring them down. Wing Commander Sharma flew in his Cheetah helicopter to the site and on locating the survivors realized that the only option was to land on an unprepared small tabletop sloping area located on an exposed snow covered ledge. Such landing demanded extraordinary courage and exceptional flying skills. Even a slight mishandling of helicopter controls could lead to a catastrophic accident endangering the life of the pilot.

No one in the world had ever attempted landing a helicopter at such a high altitude let alone evacuate casualties from an unprepared, snow bound and sloping piece of ground. Despite the deterring and trying conditions, deteriorating weather, severe turbulence, gusty jet stream exceeding 120 kmph and low margin of power available, Wing Commander Sharma, displaying resolute determination, utmost courage and an utter disregard for his personal safety, landed at the site not once but three times to evacuate the causalities. His courageous act under these near impossible conditions was instrumental in saving the lives of three mountaineers from certain death. The rescue from an altitude of 23,260 feet is the highest ever landing and casualty evacuation by any helicopter and in the process set a world record which has been recognized by Limca Book of World records.

Wing Commander Sudhir Kumar Sharma displayed conspicuous bravery in face of impossible odds, exceptional courage and rescued the mountaineers.

Reference: Notification No. 125 -Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1 Section 1 Gazette of India dated 15th August, 2005.  

Kirti Chakra
Wg Cdr Balakrishana Pillai Sreebhavan Krishna Kumar 17870 F(P)Unit : 122 HF  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

Wing Commander Balakrishna Pillai Sreebhavan Krishan Kumar is posted as the Commanding Officer of a Mi-8 Flight at Air Force Station, Car Nicobar since 08 November 2004. On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station Car Nicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake, which was followed by a Tsunami. Wing Commander Krishna Kumar’s house was one of the first to be engulfed and destroyed by the tidal waves. After having faced a near death situation and surviving the same, Wing Commander Krishna Kumar lost no time in getting airborne, to take stock of the situation and to carry out search and rescue operations.

On getting airborne, Wing Commander Krishna Kumar saw the havoc being wrecked by 30 feet high tidal waves and realized that time was at premium. He immediately commenced rescuing families and personnel stranded on balconies, rooftops and high ground before the tsunamis could demolish or engulf the structures. Rescue operations by winching up and evacuation by landing was getting dangerous by the minutes and as the water was consuming everything in sight. In spite of his own traumatic escape from near death situation, Wing Commander Krishna Kumar kept the composure and displayed extreme courage and professionalism by continuing to manouevre the helicopter under marginal safety conditions, thereby saving approximately 400 lives. In subsequent days, despite losing all his belongings in the Tsunami, Wing Commander Krishna flew numerous sorties to provide relief and succour to thousands affected not only in Car Nicobar but also in the rest of the Nicobar group of islands.

Wing Commander Balakrishna Pillai Sreebhavan Krishan Kumar displayed extraordinary courage, conspicuous gallantry and compassion to fellow beings in the face of heavy odds in a natural disaster.

Reference: Notification No. 34-Pres/2005 dated 26th January, 2005 published in Part 1 Section 1 Gazette of India dated 9th April, 2005.  

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Pramod Kumar Mehra 11581 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Arvind Jeet Singh Walia 12155 ADMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Jai Krishan Gupta 12308 MEDUnit : AFCME  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Gurdip Singh Kochar 13149 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Raghbir Singh Sandhu 13174 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Sushil Kumar Jha 12490 LGSUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Yash Kumar 12872 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Bidanda Chengapa Nanjappa 13246 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Kamal Singh 13302 AELUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Anjan Kumar Gogoi 13382 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Kuzhikombil Joseph Mathews 13393 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt Balakrishnan Suresh 16206 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :
Citation Not Available
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Shaurya Chakra
Gp Capt Vivek Vikash Bandopadhayay 15863 F(P)Unit : 37 Wing  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station Carnicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake measuring 9.1 on the Richter scale, lasting for ten to fifteen minutes, followed by Tsunami waves. As the disaster struck, Group Captain Bandopadhay, unmindful of his personal safety, rushed to all accessible areas of Air Force Station exhorting and guiding people to move to safer areas. While moving around the Station , he met the CO of Helicopter unit and requested him to immediately launch a helicopter sortie. This led to prompt rescue operation and ultimately saved hundreds of lives. In the process, he also entered a submerged area to rescue a stranded child. Even as huge Tsunami waves were approaching the area, he took several women and children in his vehicle and dropped them to a safer place. In process, he was hit by the wave and washed away. He somehow managed to hold on to a tree for a couple of hours to save his life. As water receded, he continued his mission of search and rescue and providing succor to devastated people.

Throughout he displayed exemplary courage and fortitude.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Pulluvallyil Raman Sudhakar Panickar 23634 EDNUnit : 37 Wing  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station was devastated by a severe earthquake which was followed by Tsunamis. Squadron Leader Panickar could not escape the fury and was washed away by the tidal waves. He held on for his life on a tree trunk, which was adrift for nearly an hour before reaching the safety of firm ground.

Immediately after surviving the onslaught of Tsunami waves, he organized rescue teams and started the arduous task of looking for survivors and recovering and identifying the bodies of the deceased. He personally went to several submerged areas to look for survivors. Looking for survivors in an area strewn with debris, unstable buildings, reptiles and a coastline redefined by the tsunami was a task, which required any individual to draw immensely from this internal resource of courage. Squadron Leader Sudhakar was among the very few who dared to undertake this task with total disregard for his personal safety. He subsequently organized the panic stricken surviving personnel, families and civilians into manageable groups so that a “headcount” could be carried out and medical aid/food could be distributed to those who needed it urgently. For the next few days, Squadron Leader Sudhakar took on the extremely difficult task of identification, documentation and cremation of the bodies. Handling bodies in advanced stages of decomposition is a task, which does not draw many volunteers. Squadron Leader Sudhakar was able to motivate a team of officers and airmen to assist him in this unpleasant task.

Squadron Leader Pulluvallyil Raman Sudhakar Panickar displayed exemplary courage and gallantry beyond call of duty in the face of severe adversity.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Tammeneni Srinivasulu 24567 ADMUnit : 37 Wing  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station Carnicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake which was followed by Tsunamis. On noticing the increasing waves, Squadron Leader Tammeneni Srinivasulu, immediately started warning others and advised them to move towards the runway, as it was comparatively higher. During this process of helping others, he himself went into chest deep turbulent waters, thereby risking his own life.

After extricating himself, he started moving towards the runway when he heard some cries for help. He personally went to several submerged areas to look for survivors to help them. Looking for survivors in an area strewn with debris, unstable buildings and coastline redefined by tsunami was a task, which required any individual to draw immensely from his internal resource of courage. He re-entered the waters and rescued some of the survivors, mostly ladies and children, who were hanging on trees and moved them to the safety of high ground. After ensuring safety of the people he had rescued, he began to look for others who might still be alive. In the process, he sustained several injuries including a deep cut on his foot. Undeterred by the injuries and the turbulent waters, Squadron Leader Srinivasulu continued his search and was able to recover three bodies on the first day, before they could be washed back to the sea.

Squadron Leader Tammeneni Srinivasulu displayed exemplary moral and physical courage in the service of mankind with total disregard to his personal safety in the face of sever adversity.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Arisetty Vijay Kumar 25858 F(P)Unit : 122 HF  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station Car Nicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake followed by Tsunamis. In a short span of time, the dangerous wave engulfed the area. Flight Lieutenant Arisetty Vijay Kumar realizing the danger of the devastating waves risked his life for saving the personnel. He rushed to stranded personnel and led them to the runway, which was the highest point on the airfield, knowing that any delay could have endangered his own life. His courageous and brave actions helped to save the life of many personnel. After the devastating Tsunami the entire Air Force Station was in a great trauma due to massive loss of lives and property. Buildings had collapsed and trees uprooted. Immediately after that Flight Lieutenant Vijay Kumar started up a helicopter expeditiously for rescue mission. Flying as Co-Pilot to the Commanding Officer, under difficult flying conditions and limited safety margins, he displayed courage of a very high order and continued with rescue, despite risk to his own life. He flew for three hours continuously. Undeterred by fatigue and the danger of flying in extreme adverse conditions, Flight Lieutenant Vijay Kumar undertook the rescue tasks despite all odds and difficulties. Though the safety margins for flying were dangerously low, he dared to fly and winched up stranded personnel from rooftops, balconies and radar ramp where the area was extremely restricted. His actions in the face of natural calamity were a morale booster to others who emulated him in further rescuing the personnel.

Flight Lieutenant Arisetty Vijay Kumar displayed raw courage, gallantry and selfless devotion to the fellow beings, in the face of heavy odds in a natural disaster.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Sushil Vijay Sansare 23770 F(P)Unit : 41 Sqn  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004 at 0630 hours, Carnicobar was hit by severe Earthquake followed by Tsunami. During and after the Tsunami onslaught, Squadron Leader Sushil Vijay Sansare was involved in saving lives and organizing safe conduct of rescue and relief operations. After being hit by the first wave, he courageously waded through the chest deep water to help the stranded families in the buildings. Upon being hit by the second wave, he barely managed to evade the neck deep water and save his life by running towards tarmac. He instructed the crew to position the aircraft on the runway. He then went towards the submerged end of the runway entering into neck deep reptile infested water and helped 15 stranded families mostly ladies and children to the safety of high ground. He recovered two personnel almost dead and brought them towards ambulance, however inspite of his best efforts, they could not be revived. With the help of Sqn ground crew, the body of IOC manager was brought back from the rubble.

He organized the ATC personnel to recover all the communication equipment and fuel tankers immediately to the tarmac to refuel the helicopters towards uninterrupted rescue operations and for airlifting the stranded people. His relentless efforts toward search and rescue and total involvement in casualty evacuation/relief operations resulted in saving many lives. It aptly exhibited sense of 'Service Before Self'.

Squadron Leader Sushil Vijay Sansare, thus, showed exceptional courage and gallantry beyond call of duty, in saving lives in the face of natural disaster.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Yudh Seva Medal
Gp Capt Kulwant Singh Gill 15220 F(P)Unit : MONUC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Kulwant Singh Gill VM (15220) Flying (Hot) has been the Contingent Commander of the Indian Aviation Contingent (IAC), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 14 Aug 2003. Gp Capt Gill has displayed professionalism of a very high order as Commander of the largest IAF contingent ever sent on a UN Peace Keeping Operation under hostile and operational conditions. The officer's judgement of situations in an alien and hostile environment enabled him to develop a concept of operations that has earned accolades from all echelons of the UN. Under his leadership, in the last ten months, the Contingent has flown over 2000 his, which has been a key factor in the expansion of the UNs ambit from a few urban centres to a continuous swath of approximately 1000 kin along the eastern DRC. He was instrumental in the recovery Of a crash?landed M?25 that was resting precariously on a down slope. The officer camped on site and personally led recovery of the helicopter in spite of the volatile security ~on. After safe recovery of the aircraft he flew it back to base without any outside support. While continuing to accomplish the UN task with flair, the Indian Contingent has also earned a lot of goodwill from the local Congolese population. He has organised numerous medical and food camps for benefit of the local populace. The "Run for Peace", organised by the Contingent saw participation of thousands of Congolese and was widely appreciated. The high degree of discipline and professionalism displayed by the Contingent has also come in for praise from all quarters. The Force Commander of the UN Mission in Congo has gone on record stating that IAC was a model worth emulating and urged Commanders of all participating countries to visit it. The officer has thus continually portrayed a befitting image of the Nation and the Service at an international forum. For his exemplary display of professionalism and dedication to duty under operational conditions, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Yudh Seva Medal' to Group Captain Kulwant Singh Gill VM.
Reference: Air Force Day 2005 Investiture Booklet 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Sunil Kumar 17713 F(P)Unit : MONUC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sunil Kumar (17713) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of IAF Squadron 2003, part of the Indian Air Force Contingent in Congo since 01 Aug 2003. A firm believer in leading by example, he has always been at the forefront, be it in Goma or in Bunia. It was Wg Cdr Sunil Kumar, whose first shots from Mi?25 in the Congo firmly established the hold of MONUC in Congo. The much abused town of Bunia was in danger of falling into chaos in the early days of MONUC. Hundreds of militia were moving towards the town. A few well placed shots by Wg Cdr Sunil Kumar demonstrated the strength of MONUC's will, and the entire province returned to peace. He has participated in several challenging missions, wherein he had to open fire on hostile militia. Time and again, without concern for his personal safety, he has engaged or deterred the militia. In the process, he has also managed to save valuable UN lives as well as property. As a Commanding Officer he has also been an inspiration of the highest order to both his aircrew as well as the rank and file of the Mi?25 Sqn. The recent restoration of peace in Ituri region is attributed by MONUC to relentless combat operations of Mi?25 detachment at Bunia under the guidance of Wg Cdr S Kumar. It is a testimony to his leadership and managerial skills that in spite of operating from two different locations, 400 km apart, the Squadron has performed exceedingly well and is always held in high esteem by the MONUC. Such may not have been the case without the hard work, dedication and omnipresence of Wg Cdr S Kumar. For his motivating, efficient and result oriented leadership, which has helped to establish the Mi?25 Sqn as the most potent combat force of MONUC, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Wing Commander Sunil Kumar.
Reference: Air Force Day 2005 Investiture Booklet 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Bibhuti Kumar 18495 AEMUnit : MONUC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Bibhuti Kumar (18495) Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) has been on the posted strength of Indian Aviation Contingent (IAC), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 12 Jul 2003. During the pre induction phase in India, Sqn Ldr Bibhuti Kumar was entrusted with the role of maintenance and material manager. This involved meticulous planning, forecasting and networking for collection of Helicopters, Signal, Armament and other equipment. He was also faced with the challenging task like persuading agencies, finding the source of equipment, its serviceability and safe transit to its final destination in Congo. With his sustained hard work, detailed planning and networking, all these tasks were completed successfully. His motivational approach and team spirit ensured the erection of Helicopters in eight days and setting up of maintenance facilities like Daily Servicing State (DSS), Central Repair and Servicing Section (CR & SS), Avionics Lab, Signal section in twenty days in the alien land and in hostile conditions to set the pace for safe operation. The ingenuity with which the meagre resources were optimally utilised and deployed was complemented by all. On 08 Dec 2003 one Helicopter crashed at Fataki, a rebel infested area. This aircraft after crash was resting on a slope in a hilly area that was inundated with thick foliage. All the five main rotor blades, TRA and wing of helicopter were damaged. Sqn Ldr Bibhuti Kumar, along with a team of technicians, worked in that inhospitable terrain and trying circumstances to enable its safe recovery. After six days of hard work, the Helicopter was successfully recovered. This unimaginable feat won laurels from UN and others. To meet the maintenance challenges in this environment, Sqn Ldr Bibhuti Kumar also developed an excellent maintenance culture to get the best from the available resources. With his excellent resource management skill, he was able to achieve 85% serviceability of helicopter, average monthly flying of 250 hrs with 100 technicians. For his professionalism and exceptional dedication to duty in active field and operational conditions, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Squadron Leader Bibhuti Kumar.
Reference: Air Force Day 2005 Investiture Booklet 

Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanathan 21252 F(P)Unit : 153 HU  Award Date 01 Jul 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Wg Cdr Ajit Ramanathan SM was commissioned on 15 Jun 91 and was on the posted strength of 153 Helicopter Unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Instrument rating Instructor and Examiner and has over 5200 hours of flying to his credit. He is alumni of the prestigious National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.

On the afternoon of 01 Jul 04, then Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanathan was on a check sortie involving helipad ops in the 'Romeo' sector in J&K. While returning from the mission, he received a radio transmission from an Army aviation helicopter, requesting for a casualty evacuation of the Commanding Officer of 16 Maratha Li who was seriously wounded in an encounter with ANEs from Sekhlu helipad. Even though the attempt made by the Cheetah helicopter had been unsuccessful due to inclement weather, Sqn Ldr Ajit was not deterred. He immediately took stock of the situation and in spite of limited fuel and deteriorating weather conditions, turned back towards Sekhlu. Although he could not penetrate the weather the first time, rather than abandon the mission, he landed at Rajouri, ready to make another attempt as soon as possible. At the first window of opportunity, he took off for Sekhlu. The presence of extremely inclement weather and failing light conditions in the tricky hilly terrain of Romeo sector made the task extremely demanding. With his determination and high degree of skill, he was able to safely land the helicopter at Sekhlu.

The casualty arrived at the helipad after sunset. The weather report of the area was showing a deteriorating trend, with destination Udhampur reporting a weather warning for rain and thundershowers. While most factors were against, he was not dissuaded from his resolve to go ahead with the evacuation. He finally took off with the casualty on board 25 minutes after sunset. He now flew through the same restrictive conditions further worsened by the darkness. The hill shadows and presence of rain and clouds severely constrained the visibility, making flying extremely difficult. The presence of thunderstorm and rain made spotting and landing at Udhampur airfield, an extremely demanding task which was achieved safely with utmost professionalism.

The officer's act of selfless courage of flying his helicopter through difficult terrain and in deteriorating weather and poor light conditions, not only saved the life of a Commanding Officer, but also helped in boosting the morale of the ground forces. For having displayed flying skill, airmanship of exceptional order, courage and valour then, Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanthan was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry) on 26 Jan 2005.

Note: Officer evacuated: Col AS Chahal, SM , then CO, 16 Maratha Light Infantry

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Shashi Kant Mishra 19570 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 15 Dec 03 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Shashi Kant Mishra (19570) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter unit since 27 April 2003 as Flight Commander.

The unit took part in 'Op Fort William' in Bhutan, during December 2003. On 15 Dec 2003, Sqn Ldr Mishra was tasked to evacuate critically injured Royal Bhutanese Army jawans in the operation against terrorists.

Sqn Ldr Mishra, gauging correctly the urgency and gravity of the situation, acted in a swift and professional manner. He planned and executed the casualty evacuation himself within fifteen minutes of the receipt of the message. Unmindful of the risk involved, he undertook the sortie in hostile terrain and under small arms fire of the militia. His prompt and timely action not only saved the lives of seven critically injured soldiers from Nanglam helipad in Bhutan but also boosted the morale of the soldiers of a friendly country. The professionalism and courage displayed by Sqn Ldr Mishra has enhanced the image of the Indian Air Force.

For displaying courage in hostile conditions, the Hon`ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Shashi Kant Mishra.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Avaneesh Kumar Upadhaya 19893 F(P)Unit : 132 FAC Flt  Award Date 02 Apr 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Avaneesh Kumar Upadhyay (19893) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of 132 FAC Flt AF since 29 April 2003 as Flight Commander. On 02 Apr 04 Squadron Leader Upadhyay was nominated as the Task Force Commander for search and rescue (SAR) of two Jaguar aircrafts of the Indian Air Force. These fighter aircrafts had been reported missing while carrying valley flying in Sonamarg Sector near Srinagar.

Squadron Leader Upadhyay displayed exceptional skill, courage and leadership in ensuring the successful conduct of the missions. He led his team from the front and carried out the first landing at the crash site unmindful of the hazardous weather, inhospitable terrain, intense cold at the dizzying heights of more than thirteen thousand feet on an unprepared snow covered and undulating hill slope.

He carried out 18 gruelling missions in the face of inclement weather. It was due to his exemplary courage, skill and expertise in managing his men and machines that he was able to locate and land at the crash site, induct the ground rescue parties and evacuate the evidence and mortal remains of the Jaguar pilots. Under his guidance the team carried out total 36 missions, flying for a total of 21.45 hrs ensuring successful completion of the rescue mission against the adverse conditions of weather and hazardous terrain.

For this act of exceptional courage and exemplary leadership in the face of adverse and inhospitable environment, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu. Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Avaneesh Kumar Upadhyay.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Manu Chaudhry 19896 F(P)Unit : MONUC  Award Date 29 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Manu Chaudhary (19896) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of Indian Air Force Squadron 2004, part of IAF Contingent in Congo since 13 Jul 2003. During this period he has been performing the duties of the Squadron Flight Commander.

A Qualified Flying Instructor with over 4500 hours of flying experience, the officer has consistently displayed a penchant for leading from the front. Since the squadron's induction to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), he has flown over 290 hours and has time and again exhibited willingness for undertaking difficult tasks, when called upon to do so. In the initial phase of the Contingent's induction, he personally reconnoitred the area, selecting helipads for future operations. Most of these helipads were in areas never hitherto visited by UN forces and were controlled by various rebel groups, some inimical to the UN. He also actively participated in Operation Dhanush in May-June 04.

On 29 May 04, following the unrest in the town of Bukavu, Kelehe, a small hamlet on the road from Goma to Bukam was the scene of an ambush laid out by militia in which they killed one UN military observer while another, a lady officer was reported missing. Sqn Ldr Chaudhary was tasked to insert troops to search for the missing military observer. While the Mi-25s fired some rockets to sanitise the area, the Mi-17, captained by Sqn Ldr Chaudhary landed the search party comprising 36 troops, in two shuttles. With little regard to personal safety, the officer landed at the site, which the rebels, armed with rocket propelled grenades and other heavy calibre weapons, could have targeted from a vantage point close by. Had it not been for the search party being inserted in time, the marooned officer would not have been rescued. The missing lady officer was subsequently rescued, albeit badly injured and in a state of shock. In the glorious traditions of the Indian Air Force, the officer planned the mission meticulously and carried it out with the elan and professionalism. that epitomizes the officer's approach to his duty.

For consistently exhibiting courage in hostile environment, the Hon'bie President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Manu Chaudhary.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal 20459 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date 29 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal (20459) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Aircraft System and Training Establishment (ASTE) since 29 June 1998 as Test Pilot & Chief of Trial Team SARAS.

In Jan 02, ASTE was formally tasked to undertake flight testing of the Saras Light Transport Aircraft (LTA~ pro~ being indigenously designed and developed by National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL). Sqn Ldr Venugopal, then a test flying instructor at AFTPS was specifically chosen to head the Saras test team on account of his flight test experience a project pilot for evaluating Executive Jets for the Air Force. This was an extremely challenging task as the Saras had a unique rear mounted pusher prop configuration and was the first indigenous LTA programme. With his maturity and personal involvement he was instrumental in finalisation of all the necessary documentation and coï·“ordination with Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) as the team leader. He was directly responsible for finalisation of cockpit man machine interface and safety audit of the aircraft and its systems. He was also instrumental in planning, review, approval and execution of the entire test programme. He oversaw the continuity training and preparation of the other crew members of the team for the demanding task of undertaking the first flight and further evaluation of Saras ac. His dedication and hard work were commended and lauded by all the senior functionaries of NAL and MCA.

On 29 May 04, the first Saras Prototype took off on its first flight. First flight of a prototype aircraft is always a high risk proposition. The lack of an engineering test simulator, made the execution of first flight even more challenging. Soon after take off, the crew experienced Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) and angle of attack indication failure, thereby losing vital flight information. Coupled to this, the aircraft experienced mild vibrations due to opening of the refuelling panel in flight. As the Captain of aircraft Sqn Ldr Venugopal maintained his cool and rose to the challenge of having to deal with a serious emergency on a prototype aircraft on its first flight. He exhibited exceptional professionalism and courage in handling the emergency and recovering the aircraft safely.

For displaying professionalism and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Randhir Singh 22345 F(P)Unit : 132 FAC Flt  Award Date 02 Apr 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Randhir Singh (22345) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a frontline helicopter unit since 24 December 2001.

Between 02 Apr 04 to 05 Apr 04 Squadron Leader Randhir Singh was entrusted with the task of Search and Rescue (SAR) of two missing IAF Jaguar Fighter aircrafts in Sonamarg sector of J & K. In the shortest time, he reached the expected location and commenced his SAR operations. Gauging the hazardous weather at the location in his Cheetah SAR helicopter vis-a-vis the gravity of the mission, he discounted the risks involved. Even in the inclement weather, intense cold and dizzying heights, he undertook twenty-six missions involving more than eighteen hours of flying. It was only due to his expertise, unflinching courage and determination that he succeeded in locating the crash site and carrying out landings at an un-prepared snow-covered and undulating hill slope at more than thirteen thousand feet Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL).

Utterly unmindful of his personal safety and persisting on with his courageous efforts he kept the success of the mission paramount, while retrieving the mortal remains of the pilots along with other circumstantial evidence, from an extremely hazardous crash site.

For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Randhir Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sridhara Panicker Radha Krishnan Nair 16040 F(P)Unit : 44 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Sridhara Panicker Radhakrishnan Nair (16040) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 1980. He is commanding the only strategic airlift squadron of the IAF since Mar 03. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor. His past appointments include Flight Commander of one of a premier transport squadron and Chief Operations Officer of an active base. He has over 6700 hours of accident free flying. As FIt Cdr, he has been in the forefront of path breaking landing trials to high altitude forward area airfields in Ladakh sector by night. This new found capability to mobilise men and material to mifitady sensitive and inhospitable terrain by night has added to the combat potential of our forces. During Ex-Safed Sagar, his meticulous planning and personal flying effort found him worthy of being 'Mentioned in Despatches'. He was instrumental in the Squadron being adjudged the 'Best Transport Combat Squadron' for two years in succession. On taking over command, he was given the onerous task of relocating the squadron. Due to his farsightedness, methodical approach and immaculate planning, the move was completed ahead of schedule, whilst continuing to remain operational and undertaking all commitments during the entire move. Despite manpower constraints, he maintained a sharp focus on training and steadily built up the training team. He converted 37 aircrew on type and also achieved high operational status in a relatively short period. As team leader and captain of the first aircraft which took part in Ex Cope Thunder in USA in the year 2003, he displayed sterling qualities of leadership and thorough professionalism which brought accolades to the IAF. It was his brainchild to pioneer a flight to the North Pole, set an endurance record by IL-76 aircraft and circumnavigate the globe. These three records and the exceptional performance during the exercise have found a place in the glorious history of the IAF. Also, the transpolar capability he established, has added a new dimension to the strategic reach of the IAF. On his return from Alaska, he once again spurred his team to achieve exceptional standards and win the 'best Transport Combat Squadron' trophy of the IAF. For his exceptional devotion to duty and leadership, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Sridhara Panicker Radhakrishnan Nair.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Shouvik Roy 16088 F(P)Unit : 78 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Shouvik Roy (16088) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 1980. He is Commanding Officer of the first Flight Refueller Aircraft (FRA) squadron of the IAF since 16 Dec 02. A Qualified Flying Instructor with more than 7000 hours of flying experience in multifarious roles, he has held several important appointments that include Instructor at Flying Instructors School, Chief Flying Instructor at Basic Flying Training School arid Commanding Officer of South Western Air Command Communication Flight. As the first Commanding Officer of the squadron with newly acquired force multiplier aircraft, he had a series of arduous and challenging tasks ahead of him. Leading from the front and working tirelessly for long hours much beyond the call of duty, Gp Capt Roy ensured that the squadron was fully operational with its role in the shortest possible time. This involved extensive coï·“ordination with various Fighter Squadrons, Stations, Command HQ and Air HQ to be followed by sorties of long duration with a variety of fighter aircraft. With his inï·“depth knowledge and sound professionalism he formalised various operating procedures, which are being regularly practiced to exploit the immense potential of the FRA. While expanding the scope of FRA utilisation, he has effectively dovetailed the training of newly inducted aircrew. His relentless efforts have added the midï·“air refuelling capability, which the IAF was proud to showcase during the Air Force Day and also on the Republic Day. His professional competence, administrative acumen and leadership qualities make him a role model for everyone to emulate. For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Shouvik Roy.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sunil Jayant Nanodkar 16555 F(P)Unit : AHQ  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Sunil Jayant Nanodkar (16555) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the fighter stream of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with 3800 hours of flying. He is also a graduate from the Defence Services Staff College. He has successfully commanded a Jaguar Squadron. Presently, he is Director of Operations (Offensive) at Air HQ since Jul 2003ï·“ On being appointed as the Director of Operations (Tactical) in Jul 2003, apart from monitoring the training and operational status of all the offensive aircraft fleets of the Indian Air Force, he was assigned the task of leading the team of air warriors to participate in a multinational exercise in Alaska, United States of America. This involved activities from initial planning of operations, maintenance, logistics and administrative requirements for a first ever fighter deployment outside India. The exercise entailed deploying six Jaguar aircraft, two IL-78 Flight Refuellers and two IL-76 heavy lift transport support aircraft across four continents, at a distance of 20000 kilometers from the homeland. He took on the challenge and meticulously planned the training of participating forces and their deployment to and from Alaska. Coordinating activities of transport, flight refueller and fighter aircraft away from homeland was a complex task and could only be achieved due to his foresight analytical approach and thorough planning. Having successfully and safely executed this exercise, a template has been put in place for the Indian Air Force to follow in any such future endeavour. This has also resulted in projection of cutting edge operational capability before the developed Air Forces. While undertaking this additional responsibility, he continued to closely monitor the upgrade programmes of two major fighter fleets along with their induction in the operational units. For his professionalism and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Sunil Jayant Nanodkar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Hemant Narayan Bhagwat 16423 ADMUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Hemant Narayan Bhagwat (16423) Administration/Para Jump Instructor is on the posted strength of Paratroopers Training School, Air Force since 23 Aug 1999 and has been performing the duties of Chief Instructor (Cl). Wg Cdr Bhagwat has been an impetus and a driving force for all the paratroopers of PTS. In Jul 2002, Paratroopers Training School was given a challenging task ta evaluate efficacy of live para jumps from a height of 300 feet, using the GQ-8 low level parachute. Hitherto, no Indian had jumped from a height below 500 feet because, should the main parachute malfunction, para descent from 500 feet does not give the jumper any time to deploy his reserve chute. Accepting this demanding and high-risk challenge as Chief Instructor of the school, Wg Cdr Bhagwat worked out a systematic trial method and supervised its successful execution. Keeping in with the highest traditions of the IAF, and unmindful of his personal safety, on 29 Jul 2002, Wg Cdr Bhagwat became theï·“firstï·“ ever Indian parachutist to jump from a height of 300 feet.. He successfully demonstrated to other trial team members, the efficacy of the parachute descent from this ultra low level. Wg Cdr Bhagwat exhibits exemplary courage and undertakes the specialized job with a high degree of dedication. His efforts enabled the PTS to achieve a new landmark of 38,897 jumps during the year 2003-04, adequately adhering to the safety parameters. Besides being a Para Jumping Instructor par excellence with over 2000 parachute descents to his credit, including in excess of 1400 free fall jumps, as Chief Instructor of Paratroopers Training School, Wg Cdr Bhagwat has contributed significantly to enhance the quality of para training being imparted by the school. For displaying exceptional professional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Hemant Narayan Bhagwat.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Nayani Harish 17135 F(P)Unit : 3 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Nayani Harish (17135) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the flying branch of the LAF on 28 May 1983. He is commanding Officer of a frontline fighter squadron since 05 Dec 2002. Wg Cdr Harish took over command of the Squadron at a critical juncture when the squadron was in the process of inducting the Bison aircraft. At that time, the fleet was beset by teething problems and frequent snags with an overall serviceability in the region of 30%. Utilizing his experience as a Test Pilot and technical knowledge of the aircraft and its systems, he responded to the clarion call and dealt with the problem at hand with professionalism. With commendable foresight and clarity of thought he adopted a proï·“active approach and kept higher formations informed of the problem and suggested viable solutions. As a result of his untiring efforts, the serviceability state of the squadron improved drastically and presently stands at an average of 70%. The induction of the Bison aircraft ushered in advanced systems and weapons into the service. With sustained involvement and determination, Wg Cdr Harish formulated sound standard operating procedures and checklists to effectively utilise the aircraft as a weapons system. A large number of pilots were successfully converted onto the type and were distributed to other Bison squadrons to propagate the knowledge and training thus gained. The success and high professional standards displayed by the squadron in various exercises at national as well as international level stand testimony to the professionalism and dedication of the officer. The officer also formulated a detailed Air Test Proforma to be followed for the Bison aircraft. For his professionalism, dedication and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu. Sena Medal to Wing Commander Nayani Harish.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sreekumar Prabhakaran 17318 F(P)Unit : Suryakiran  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sreekumar Prabhakaran (17318) flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. He is on the posted strength of Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) as Commanding Officer since May 2002. He has led the SKAT with distinction, carrying out a total of 56 displays in all corners of the country and abroad. He ensuredï·“ that the team was highly motivated at all times. Leading the nine member aerobatic team, he displayed confidence, precision and flying skills of the highest order. He ensured that the team always practiced thoroughly before each display and subsequently operated at its best during the displays. Their aerobatic displays have helped greatly in motivating the youth in all parts of the country towards joining the Indian Air Force. The SKAT display during Exercise VAM SHAKTI over Pokharan on 14 Mar 2004 was also highly appreciated by both Indian and foreign spectators. During February ï·“ March 2004, he led the SKAT on its maiden visit abroad to participate in the Asian Aerospace Air Show at Singapore from 24ï·“29 February 2004. The ferry flight to and from Singapore required detailed planning and coordination with various agencies in different countries. This was meticulously done under the leadership of Wg Cdr Prabhakaran, and the SKAT maintained their planned schedule immaculately. During the Air Show at Singapore, the team lead by him carried out five aerobatic displays, while one display each was carried out at Bangkok and Yangon on the way to/from Singapore. All these seven displays were carried out meticulously and with precision in front of thousands of spectators. With their breathtaking displays, the SKAT brought laurels to the country and to the Indian Air Force. For the leadership and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Sreekumar Prabhakaran.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr S Hari Krishnan Nair 17338 F(P)Unit : ASTE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander S Hari Krishnan Nair (17338) flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. He is the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit since 16 Jun 2003. Immediately after he took over, the unit was reï·“tasked to create a formation display team [Sarangs] with a view to perform before international audience at Singapore during Asian Aerospace 04. To accomplish this task five additional pilots were posted in to fill in the cockpit vacancies. Considering the short time available, it was a major task to convert these pilots and train them to perform a world class formation display. In addition, the degree of difficulty of the assigned task was not known since Indian Air Force was attempting such a venture for the first time and there are very few helicopter display teams in the world. Notwithstanding these limitations, he undertook the challenge in his stride. Wg Cdr Nair carried out immaculate planning regarding the airlift of five helicopters from Bangalore to Singapore and back. He accompanied the helicopters with a small team of technicians to ensure complete safety during the move. At Singapore the aircraft were built up in a record two days time, ready for the air show. The air show was at a foreign base, over sea and restricted airspace. In addition, stringent aviation regulations were imposed by the host country as per their procedure. He modeled the air display to suit all the conditions and ensured perfect display, which drew appreciation from A foreign dignitaries, international media and the general public. The entire exercise went through without even an incident. The performance was applauded by the press and other participants. As a special gesture, the US MoD sent a note of appreciation to Air HQ on the team's performance. Appreciation of other foreign military heads was also conveyed personally to the Chief of the Air Staff during his visit on the inaugural day of the Air Show. For his exceptional devotion to duty, initiative and performance, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander S Hari Krishnan Nair.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle 17710 F(P)Unit : 104 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle (17710) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 21 Dec 1984. He has more than 5400 hours of accident free flying to his credit. He is Commanding Officer of a frontline Attack Helicopter Squadron since 30 Jun 2003. Wg Cdr Wagle took over the command of the Squadron at a crucial juncture when the Sqn aircraft were being modernized with State of the Art equipment. His leadership and motivation were manifested in the smooth and speedy absorption of the high technology in the squadron. With the successful integration and assimilation of the cutting edge technology, the IAF can now boast of operating one of the most lethal Attack Helicopters in the world. The squadron was beset by various maintenance problems when tools and testers from the squadron were sent to Congo to support the maintenance requirements of the UN mission there. Wg Cdr Wagle became the driving force behind various inï·“house solutions and innovations to overcome these deficiencies and yet sustained a very high serviceability of aircraft, often reaching 100% for sustained periods. The Sqn performed exceptionally during all inspections including three inspections by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team and the squadron was declared the Best Combat Helicopter Squadron of the IAF. For his exceptional devotion to duty and inspiring leadership, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Umesh Rakhra 18071 F(P)Unit : 24 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Umesh Rakhra (18071) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1985. He has a total flying experience of 1700 hr on type and a cumulative flying experience of 3760 hr. He has been and Commanding Officer of a frontline fighter Squadron since Sep 2002. As Commanding Officer, Wg Cdr Rakhra dedicated himself in achieving high operational status of the squadron. He was trained on type aircraft in Russia in 1997. He has been personally involved in conducting the training of more than 70 pilots of this type. As a lowï·“level aerobatics display supervisor, he had flown more than 225 lowï·“level aerobatics display sorties and trained three pilots in this role. He was the member of close formation aerobatics team on type in 2001. He is also the instrument rating examiner on type. During "Op Parakrarn" Wg Cdr Rakhra ensured high state of Op capability of the Sqn and the Sqn was the forerunner in execution of special missions related to the "Op Parakrarn". He produced Ops aircrew. on time to meet the requirements of the fleet. Under his command the Sqn has been the steppingï·“stone for induction and has performed exceptionally well inspite of manpower constraints created due to routing of aircrew and ground crew to other Sqns. The Sqn has gone on to fly 12500 accident free hours in the period under consideration. He put in concerted efforts in maintaining the equipment deployed at Op locations at all times and the Sqn still continues to be on 12h standby since Op Parakram. Under his able guidance and leadership the Squadron has moved to a new location at a short notice, which required considerable coordination and planning. For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Umesh Rakhra.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjay Anand Kunte 18073 F(P)Unit : 127 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sanjay Anand Kunte (18073) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1985. He is the commanding officer of a helicopter unit since 05 August 2002. In Jun 03, Eastern Air Command (EAC) was tasked with preparing for 'Op Fort William'. This included coordinating the joint planning and training of a large number of army troops and aircrew of the three helicopter units of EAC. It also involved formulating innovative tactics especially with Night Vision Goggles (NVG). Being the only NVG supervisor in EAC, Wg Cdr Kunte singleï·“handedly took on the task of imparting NVG training to pilots of EAC. His farsightedness, flawless planning and eye for detail were instrumental in his being selected as Task Force Commander for the operations. He planned and executed training of 3600 troops and 60 aircrew at various locations in the Northï·“East. He played an important role in formulating the appreciation and detailed plan of action for the operations. During the actual deployment phase of the operations, Wg Cdr Kunte displayed very high degree of professionalism and coordinated the move of units and execution of the plan in an absolute flawless manner, which was appreciated by the Chief of Army Staff and Headquarters of Royal Bhutan Army. This resulted in the Air Force and Army gaining immense goodwill of the Bhutanese authorities. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjay Anand Kunte.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Kishore Kumar Khera 18256 F(P)Unit : 14 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Kishore Kumar Khera (18256) Flying (pilot) was commissioned on 07 Jun 1986. He is Commanding Officer of a fighter Sqn with effect from 07 Jul 2003. Wg Cdr Khera was selected to lead the Jaguar team for participation in Exercise Cope Thunder in Alaska, USA from 07ï·“30 Jul 2004. The team was expected to take part in this multinational exercise involving eleven countries. A total of fifteen Jaguar pilots, two engineering officers and sixtyï·“five technicians from five different squadrons and three Jaguar bases were placed under his command for this purpose. He integrated all personnel selected for the mission into an efficient and well trained team. The training was carried out in a very systematic fashion spread over six phases from Feb 04 to May 04 making optimum use of available resources. The aircrew training involving inter revalidation, inter variant conversion, AAR qualification, ILS/VOR and TACAN training was executed in a professional manner. The team performed creditably during the exercise and kept the IAF flag ï·“flying high. The most significant part of preparation was maintenance planning for the mission. This was the first time that the IAF was deploying its combat aircraft for an exercise abroad and planning had to cater for all contingencies in terms of spares, support equipment and optimal utilization of all available resources at hand. This led to realization of afl set objectives, and flawless execution of the mission as planned. For his professionalism and exceptional devotion to duty, the HonIle President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Kishore Kumar Khera.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Mohan Gupta 18562 F(P)Unit : 37 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Mohan Gupta (18562) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1986 in the IAF He is posted as a Chief Operations Officer at Air Force Station Car Nicobar with effect from 23 Jun 03. On 08 Oct 03, at 0925 h, he received a message that the Adventure Expedition at the Galathea river in the Great Nicobar Island was more than 18 hours overdue. Reacting to an emergent situation he immediately tasked the Base Helicopter Unit to launch the rescue helicopter. Ensuring no delay, the helicopter was airborne within thirty minutes of the receipt of the message with Wg Cdr Gupta as captain. On landing at Campbell Bay, even though limited details of the expedition were available with the local Detachment Commander, he and his crew worked out the possible route taken by the expedition members. He then took off for the rescue with emergency rations and medical supplies. He ensured that a proper briefing was carried out for effective and optimum crew utilisation. The entire route was in a hilly terrain with dense foliage, which made ground observation very difficult. Through initially no results were achieved he persisted with the search, effectively utilizing each member of his crew to finally spot the team twelve kilometers from their planned RV point. The team was in a deep narrow valley with tall trees ranging from 25 to 100 meters height on either side. This precluded a landing. He assessed the situation and decided to winch up the personnel. Variable winds and limited tip clearance of only five to ten meters made the task extremely demanding and challenging. Displaying a very high level of flying accuracy, concentration and crew resource management in this environment, all the fifteen members were successfully winched up. They were provided initial nourishment and brought back safely. For his exceptional devotion to duty and professional acumen in executing the rescue mission, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Mohan Gupta.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ravi Khanna 18565 F(P)Unit : 6 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Ravi Khanna (18565) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1986. He was posted as Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron with effect from 23 Jul 2003. Wg Cdr Khanna was a thorough professional and he led his squadron competently. Under his leadership the unit not only accomplished all assigned tasks to perfection, it also set an example for others to emulate. During Eklavya 2003, the Squadron bagged five trophies out of a total seven and was adjudged overall best in the gunnery meet. The Squadron came first in three team events of which he led one and participated in another. It was also declared as the best Fighter Squadron in the Indian Air Force. As Commanding Officer of the unit, he had taken the Squadron to participate in the prestigious exercise Vayu Shaktiï·“04'. On 26 Feb 04, he was authorized to fly as No. 3 in a four aircraft formation that was to drop 1000 pound retarded bomb over Pokhran Range as part of a battle inoculation exercise. During the mission, after release, the bomb exploded in air very close to the aircraft causing the aircraft to disintegrate, resulting in fatal injuries to Wg Cdr Khanna. Throughout his tenure as Squadron Commander, he insisted on maintaining the unit at a high level of professional standard. For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Ravi Khanna (Posthumously).
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
JWO Surendra Kumar 668479 ORUnit : 122 HF  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : 668479 Junior Warrant Officer Surendra Kumar Mohanty Flight Gunner is on the posted strength of a Helicopter unit in Andaman and Nicobar island since 22 Apr 2002. On 08 Oct 03 at 0925 h, after being detailed as the Flight Gunner on a mercy mission for the rescue of fifteen members of the expedition on the Galathea river in the Great Nicobar island, JWO Mohanty promptly reacted to the emergent situation and ensured that the helicopter was loaded with the requisite survival equipment and emergency food and water in the minimum possible time. Due to his vast experience as a Flight Gunner, JWO Mohanty was able to provide valuable inputs to the captain during the.crew briefing prior to the mission. During the search, he displayed keen observation and high situational awareness in surveying the route from the cargo compartment. The team was located in a deep narrow valley with tall trees ranging from 25 to 100 meters height on either side. This precluded a landing and the personnel had to be winched up. Variable winds and limited tip clearance of only five to ten meters made the task extremely demanding and challenging. Displaying exceptional competence and handling of the winching equipment, he winched up the fifteen members in the minimum possible time in extremely adverse conditions. Once on board, he provided them initial nourishment and comfort. All this while, he kept guiding the pilot in maintaining the ground position in the restricted area of operation. The mission would not have been successful but for his valuable contribution. For his exceptional devotion to duty and professionalism, the HonIle President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Junior Warrant Officer Surendra Kumar Mohanty.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Umesh Kumar Sharma 17323 F(P)Unit : 109 HU  Award Date 27 Dec 05 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Umesh Kumar Sharma (17323) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Helicopter Stream of the IAF on 22 Dec 1983. He is a Type Qualified Flying Instructor and has also served as a production test pilot in a Mi-8 Base Repair Depot. He has to his credit over 5600 hrs of accident free flying. He is presently posted as Commanding Officer of a Mi-8 Helicopter unit at Air Force Station, Sulur since 11 Aug 2003. Air HQ detailed Wg Cdr Sharma lo load a contingent of six helicopters for undertaking rescue iind relief operations In Sri Lanka, named 'Op Sea Wave'. Utilising his skills ol professionalism and foresightedness, a meticulous induction plan was prepared. He led the first wave of three helicopters from Sulur to Colombo as the Task Force Commander. Immediately after landing in the midst of chaos in Sri Lanka, he co-ordinated with the SLAF HQ and various aid agencies and chalked out the modus operand! for the relief work. He displayed sterling leadership qualities leading the IAF contingent in Sri Lanka and was responsible for effective planning and successful execution of the rescue and relief effort. On 27 Dec 2005, 181 foreign tourists including ladies and children were injured and stranded in the worst affected areas of Galle, Matara and Hambantota. On receiving the news, Wg Cdr Sharma took on the onerous task of immediate evacuation. He was the first to recce and select suitable landing sites within the rubble and wreckage of devastation and ensured quick and safe evacuation to Colombo, thereby saving precious lives in time. He gallantly took upon himself the risk of being the first to recce and decide on the safe routes to fly in the LTTE infested areas. Displaying exceptional courage, despite a potential threat, he co-ordinated airlift of the relief material from SLAF bases to the LTTE controlled areas of Batticaloa, Ampara, Vavuniya and Trincomalee. During the operation, under his leadership, the contingent achieved a task of airlifting 2,35,000 Kg and 673 people, flying a total of 422 sorties/ 270 hours, without any flying accident/incident. For this act of exceptional courage, leadership qualities and selfless devotion to duty during the 27 days of rescue and relief operation in Sri Lanka by the IAF contingent of helicopters, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Umesh Kumar Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem 18101 F(P)Unit : 118 HU  Award Date 19 Jul 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem (18101) Flying (Pilot) Is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit as its Commanding Officer since 11 Aug 2003. On 10 Jul 2004 Wg Cdr Vridhachalem undertook a mercy mission at short notice from a village near Darranga, south of the International border with Bhutan. On reaching the area Wg Cdr Vridhachalem realized during the recce, that the Pugladia river had breached its banks splitting the village into two. The rising waters of the river were slowly submerging remnants of the village and the marooned villagers were faced with imminent danger to their lives. Despite the fact that there was no clear landing area available in the village, Wg Cdr Vridhachalem displayed gallantry in making a precise landing in a small water-logged clearing within the village. He hovered the helicopter low with one wheel touching the water-logged ground and evacuated the marooned villagers in an orderly manner. On 19 Jul 2004 Wg Cdr Vridhachalem received an urgent request from the DC Nagaon to launch helicopters for evacuating thousands of marooned villagers near Hojai. Two helicopters under the command of Wg Cdr Vridhachalem were launched for Hojai within a mere 30 minutes. The area near Hojai was totally inundated by the Kopili river. The river had breached its banks at a number of places and the resultant flash flood had taken the helpless residents totally by surprise. No clear area was available for launching conventional rescue operations. Assessing the difficult situation and the limited time available, Wg Cdr Vridhachalem brought the helicopter to a low hover on a submerged culvert, He commenced the rescue operation with the helicopter held steady at low hover over the culvert. I lundreds of civilians waded through waist deep water to board the safety of the helicopter hovering a few feet above the ground. He flew as many as 12 sorties to evacuate the marooned civilians without taking a break. The fact that such difficult operations were executed flawlessly by precise hovering over water, with frantic civilians clamouring to be rescued, speaks volumes of the leadership and professionalism displayed by the CO of the unit. The officer led by personal example in ensuring a high level of team motivation exhibited by all personnel of his unit In utiderlaklnn rescue missions under most difficult conditions. For these acts of exceptional courage in rescuing hundreds of lives, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

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