Group Captain Prabhakar Shanker Dere (3883) was commissioned in the Flying (Pilot) Branch of the Indian Air Force in April, 1950. He has acquitted himself most creditably in a variety of operational, instructional and staff appointments.
Early in his career, Group Captain Dere qualified as a Flying Instructor and served in that capacity at the Air Force Academy. Later, as the Chief Flying Instructor of the Transport Training Wing, he was responsible for conversion training of a large number of pilots. He rendered commendable service as Deputy Director Personnel (Officers) at Air Headquarters, and served with distinction as Commander of a Tactical Air Centre.
In October, 1971, Group Captain Dere was appointed Group Captain Air II at Headquarters Eastern Air Command and was responsible for planning and execution of Air Operations of the Transport Force in the Eastern Sector. With his vast training experience and dynamic approach to his task, he soon organised and conducted intensive night flying training for all aircrew of various transport aircraft and helicopter. During the Indo-Pakistan operations in December, 1971, with his sound planning and direction, the Transport Force achieved most outstanding results in numerous missions undertaken by it in support of the Army and our own Fighter Force. At all stages of the operations, speedy deployment of our forces and vital logistic support in terms of spares, ammunition, explosives and other supplies were carried out effectively by air. Evacuation of casualties by air were also carried out promptly. Inspite of very heavy demands on the limited resources of Transport Force, Group Captain Dere utilized the aircraft and helicopters with maximum flexibility and achieved concentration wherever it was needed,
Group Captain Dere organised the para operations which were the biggest airborne operation in the history of the Indian Air Force. The outstanding success of the airborne operation earned laurels for the Indian Air Force. He also organised with great success the tactical airlift by helicopters of troops by day and night in the Brahmanbaria, Narsingdi, Daudkhandi and Bairab Sectors. This airlift enabled our ground forces to race against time in their advance to Dacca and renewed their confidence in the Air Force to provide them unprecedented mobility. The effective bombing raids over Dacca and Kurmitola were also organized by Group Captain Dere.
The outstanding success achieved by the Transport Force in the Eastern Sector was largely due to the sound planning and efficient direction of the Air Operations by Group Captain Prabhakar Shanker Dere.