|Sqn Ldr||Vishwanath Balakrishna Sawardekar 4593 GD(P)||Unit : No.101 Squadron||Award Date 10 Sep 65||Announced 15 Aug 66|
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Squadron Leader Vishwanath Balkrishna Sawardekar had been attached to a Fighter reconnaissance squadron for operational duties during the September 1965 operations. On 10th September, 1965, he, along with his copilot, was about to take off on a sortie in a jet trainer, the airfield was suddenly attacked by four Pakistani aircraft as a result of which the trainer aircraft caught fire. Before they could abandon the burning aircraft, the co-pilotâ€™s clothes caught fire; he crawled away from the aircraft but collapsed after removing the top of his burning overall. Sqn. Ldr. Sawardekar received facial injuries. At this stage the ammunition in the aircraft caught fire and began to explode. Without regard for his own safety, Sqn. Ldr. Sawardekar ripped off the remnants of the co-pilotâ€™s overall which was still burning and cut away his burning shoes and socks. He then wrapped his own overall around co-pilotâ€™s body and smothered the flames. He saved the life of his comrade.
Squadron Leader Vishwanath Balkrishna Sawardekar displayed exemplary courage and a spirit of comradeship and devotion to duty which are in the best traditions of the Air Force.
Other Details: Sqn. Ldr Sawardekar along with Sqn Ldr M J Marston were taxiing in a Vampire Trainer at Bagdogra, when the airfield was attacked by Pakistani Sabres. The Vampire was attacked and it caught fire. Sqn. Ldr Sawardekar jumped out of the burning aircraft and rescued his co-pilot inspite of his own injuries and exploding ammunition. Sqn Ldr Sawardekar elected to help his colleague with utter disregard to his personal safety.
|Reference:||Gazette of India , 8th October 1966 - No.73 - Pres/66 dated 30th September 1966|