Wing Commander Sanjeev Narayan Deshpande (16559) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981. He has been the commanding officer of a fighter squadron, AF since 10 Jan 2000. Prior to taking over command of the Sqn, he has been the Chief Operations Officer of a frontline fighter base. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor. While he was the Flight Commander, his Sqn had the distinction of being adjudged the best fighter Sqn in WAC, IAF.
Wg Cdr Deshpande has been one of the first in his batch to command a fighter squadron. When he took over the command of the squadron there were 11 U/T ops and or U/T con pilots. Without complaining, he undertook the challenge of upgrading the squadron operational state. With his exemplary leadership, exceptional initiative and dedication in a short span of one and half years, the squadron achieved 100% ops status and ratings in May 2001. With is untiring efforts the squadron had the distinction of making 27 pilots operational by day of which 16 have become operational by night too.
While being the last to rest on his laurels he took upon himself to bring up the ops status of the Sqn in the ops role of valley attacks and high altitude weapon delivery. With his methodical approach, planning, professionalism and perseverance 27 pilots have become qualified in valley attacks and high altitude weapon delivery, which has been appreciated by the AOC-in-C, WAC and CAS. His extraordinary efforts and commendable enthusiasm was evident from the fact that he always led from the front and flew close to 90 sorties in the last two years. These results are noteworthy for they have been achieved without a single pilot error accident and the Sqn averaging over 300 sorites/180 hours per month inspite of poor serviceability before the R-11 engines were replaced by R-13 engines on the aircraft.
Although the effort was on bringing the ops status of the squadron, other fields were not left unattended and the Sqn under his able leadership also won the inter unit sports championship for the year 2000-01.
For his distinguished service and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjeev Narayan Deshpande.