114 Helicopter Unit
Air Vice Marshal Arvind Dalaya's Collection
114 Helicopter Unit was raised at Leh on 01 Apr 64 at a height of 10,600 ft, the only flying unit of IAF to be formed at such resplendent heights. The unit was formed with an establishment of 10 Chetak (Then Alloutte III) helicopters under the command of Sqn Ldr A Dalaya,VM.
Till that point of time, a few Chetaks were operated by 104HU, But 114HU had the distinction of being the first All-Chetak unit raised in the IAF.
The end of 1964 saw 114 HU moving to Jammu and operating two detachments, one each in Srinagar and Leh. Shortly thereafter the unit was baptised by fire in the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict. Prior to the commencement of hostilities, the unit was engaged in extensive reconnaissances for the Indian Army on the Sialkot and Uri-Poonch sectors. The unit's helicopters were a familiar sight, with its Chetaks festooned with large Red Cross markings, it was the only unit to solely engage in Case-Evac and mercy missions.
In acts of real heroism 114HU pilots evacuated 46 casualties from the battlefield in the midst of intense enemy fire and frequent, air raids between 11 Sep and 23 Sep 65. In all, the unit flew 105 hours towards evacuation of 79 battlefield casualties and intelligence gathering reconnaissances.
Having proved its mettle in war, its end saw the unit flying the Indian President in Lahore sector and the Prime Minister in the Sialkot sector in Oct 65. Three pilots of the Unit were awarded the Vayusena Medal for their role in the 65 Ops, including the CO.
1. Flying PM Shastri to Kaluchak Post
The first photograph was taken just after the 1965 war. Sqn Ldr Dalaya flew to Jammu to pick up PM Shastri and take him to visit and speak to the troops at most of the forward pickets. This photo is from the post at Kaluchak. Lt. Gen Dunn, the Corps Commander of I Corps , seen in the picture, briefed the PM.
2. Flying President Radhakrishnan to Khem Karan
Sqn Ldr Dalaya flying the President,Dr S Radhakrishnan to the Khem Karan sector (Lahore) from Halwara after the War.
3. At Haji Pir Pass
India had captured the Hajipir Pass in Kashmir. The Army Chief, General Chaudhuri, is inspecting the Pass. Sqn Ldr Dalaya is to the far right.
4. Crash of P/O Palit’s Alouette III in 1964.
Khardungla Pass (15,000 ft.) is north of Leh airfield. In order to go over the pass, the pilot had to fly along the contours of the hillside, making use of the updrafts (thermals) to gain height. Palit’s engine failed at about 12,500 ft. He spiraled down and tried to find a flat area to land. He hit some boulders and crashed. Thankfully, he and his co-pilot survived.
5. Vayusena Medal in 1966
Receiving the Vayusena Medal from CAS Arjan Singh in 1966.
6. Casevac from 1965
An Alloutte III of 114 HU on a Case Evac mission in Kashmir. The Allouttes of 114 were boldly marked with the Red Cross emblem during those years.
© Copyright 2007 Air Vice Marshal Arvind Dalaya and Ajit M. Gadre. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of either Air Vice Marshal Arvind Dalaya or Ajit M. Gadre is prohibited.
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