Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List for the 109 HU

A total of 15 Awards are listed.
Vayu Sena Medal : 15 |
Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sgt Sansar Singh 208603 ORUnit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 66
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan, Sergeant Sansar Singh was a Flight Engineer in a Helicopter Unit, carried out 93 sorties and flew one hundred and four hours. He was one of the most willing workers and always volunteered to fly on operational missions. He undertook sixteen offensive sorties against the strongholds of Pakistani infiltrators in Jammu and Kashmir at great personal risk. He went on forty-two casualty evacuation sorties and attended to casualties while in flight and thereby saved many valuable lives. On several occasions he was called upon to convert a helicopter quickly from offensive version to the casualty evacuation version. He carried out these tasks with commendable speed and without caring for his personal safety or comfort. His airfield was under constant threat of enemy air raids without warning and the forward helipads were within the range of enemy fire.

Sergeant Sansar Singh has displayed commendable zeal for operational flying, a keen sense of duty and unwavering courage in carrying out all the tasks entrusted to him

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th February 1966 - No.14-Pres/66 dated 1st January 1966 

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Manjit Singh Dhillon 7021 GD(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 70
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Manjit Singh Dhillon, General Duties (Pilot), has flown a total of 1,375 hours in forward areas in less than three years. He has flown 2,305 hours on helicopter aircraft without a single accident; most of the flying was over difficult hilly terrain. On 27th March 1967, two helicopters, one of which was flown by Flight Lieutenant Dhillon, were sent out on detachment to a forward area to carry out a search and rescue mission for an Army patrol which was lost in that extensive marshy area. Flight Lieutenant Dhillon carried out a very long hazardous search of the area, which had hardly a ground feature to pinpoint and was able to locate the lost patrol. After finding a suitable spot, he landed and rescued the patrol. During his flying career, Flight Lieutenant Dhillon has worked hard to train the unit pilots. Thus, his unit has always been in a high state of operational preparedness.

Throughout, Flight Lieutenant Manjit Singh Dhillon displayed courage and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1970 - No.16 - Pres/70 dated 26th January 1970 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Ramesh Thakurdas Chandani 9797 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

During the operations, against Pakistan in December, 1971, Flight Lieutenant Ramesh Thakurdas Chandani carried out twenty-six sorties in JAMMU AND KASHMIR Sector. On the 14th December, 1971, when he was returning from Nainakot, his co-pilot drew his attention to one of our aircraft which had been shot down and was on fire. He immediately landed near the wreckage and rescued an Army Officer who was the only living occupant of the aircraft and thus saved his life.

Throughout, Flight Lieutenant Ramesh Thakurdas Chandani displayed courage, professional skill and devotion to duty,

Reference: Gazette of India dated 7th October 1972 - No.108 - Pres/72 dated 23rd September 1972 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Nilkanth Keshav Barvey 5864 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

Squadron Leader Nilkanth Keshav Barve has been commanding a Helicopter Unit since January 1969. He has flown more than 3,300 hours, of which over 1,240 hours were on operational missions in the Northern and Eastern Sector. He has also 1,050 instructional flying hours to his credit. Throughout his career, he has displayed extreme devotion to duty and has set an inspiring example to others in undertaking hazardous flying commitments. Under his leadership, his unit achieved an accident free flying record. He has also trained many pilots in a special role.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th May 1973 - No.28 - Pres/73 dated 26th January 1972 

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Mirza Murtuza Ali 11340 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 78
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Mirza Murtuza Ali is posted as Flight Commander of a Helicopter Unit since 5th January, 1975. He has been responsible for execution of all flying task of the unit as well as training or aircrew. This being a type conversion unit of the Air Force, it fell on Flight Lieutenant Ali, to organise and execute conversion of the pilots. Besides supervision, this entailed a tremendous amount of instructional work, both in the air and on the ground. He devoted himself, whole-heartedly to the task and with his professional skill, perseverance and sustained hard work was able to train 25 pilots on type, which is an exceptionally high number by any standards. He involved himself closely with all aspects of flying activities in the unit. With his effective supervision, he contributed significantly towards the unit's performance of 2214 hours of accident free flying in 1976. He set an example to his colleagues and juniors by flying 631 hours himself during the same period. He holds a current B/ Master Green category.

Flight Lieutenant Mirza Murtuza Ali has thus displayed professional competence, leadership and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd December 1979 - No.67- Pres/79 dated 26th January 1978 

Bar to Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Manjit Singh Dhillon 7021 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 79
Details :

Wing Commander Manjit Singh, Dhillon was commissioned in the Air Force in 1963. He has undergone advanced Helicopter courses in foreign countries and is in command of a Helicopter Base at present. He has over 4500 hours helicopter flying to his credit. He has taken part in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak conflicts. He was awarded Vir Chakra for gallantry during Indo-Pak Conflict, 1971.

The Bhagirathi river experienced unprecedented floods during August, 1978. Wing Commander Manjit Singh Dhillon conducted the relief operations and under his guidance, 35 tons of food and other supplies were airlifted to stranded pilgrims within a short period. He also directed the evacuation of 362 old and infirm pilgrims and parties of school and college students.

Immediately after the floods in the Bhagirathi river, on the night of 3rd September, 1978, All India Radio broadcast a warning of expected floods in the areas adjoining Sharanpur, Kamal and Delhi. Wing Commander Manjit Singh Dhillon anticipated that there would be a requirement of relief operations in the Western UP area. He, therefore, immediately mounted Helicopter Flights to monitor the flow of water in the river Yamuna and, thereafter, directed relief and supply dropping missions in the Western UP and the Haryana sectors till the floods in the Yamuna receded. Throughout the period of relief operations commencing from the middle of August, 1978, till their completion in mid September, 1978, Wing Commander Dhillon worked tirelessly and it was by his singular determination and dauntless efforts tint relief was provided in the shortest possible time to the affected areas.

Throughout these operations, Wing Commander Manjit Singh Dhillon has displayed initiative, professional competence and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 1980 - No.7- Pres/80 dated 26th January 1979 

Vayu Sena Medal
MWO Gopi Ram Punia 218480 ORUnit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Master Warrant Officer Gopi Ram Punia, Flight Engineer, has been on the posted strength of a helicopter unit in the Air Force since Feb 1981. He has over 6000 hours to his credit.

His performance during his long and distinguished career has been marked by competence, diligence and determination in the face of difficulties to achieve the tasks assigned.

On 06 Jun 83, MWO Punia rendered invaluable assistance to his crew, engaged in the hazardous task of evacuating people from a burning skyscraper in Delhi.

On 10 Apr 84, MWO Punia was detailed as the Flight Engineer on a Mi-8 helicopter at a short notice for an operational exercise in Ladakh. While operating in the Ladakh sector, he applied himself with professional zeal to ensuring that the helicopter was always ready for its designated missions. The flying commitments undertaken by him, entailed flying over snow covered hostile terrain at altitude.

MWO Punia flew 61 sorties in a short span of 14 days, at times being on duty for over 12 hours a day. He displayed flawless professional competence, determination and untiring dedication in achieving the operational task assigned to him.

For his exemplary professionalism, determination and devotion to duty in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to MWO Master Gopi Ram Punia.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 6th April 1985 - No.29-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Vayu Sena Medal
WO Gandhuri Kasi Viswanadha 271455 ORUnit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Warrant Officer Ganduri Kasi Viswanadham, Flight Gunner has been on the posted strength of a helicopter unit in the Air Force since 10 May 82.

During his present tenure in the unit, he has flown over 800 hours, and has logged a total of almost 1800 hours of accident/incident free flying to his credit. This includes VVIP/ VIP commitments, flood relief and rescue operations and high altitude air maintenance missions. He holds 'A' Category on the Mi-8 helicopters and has been the Command Examiner for Flight Gunners.

WO Ganduri with his total involvement and hard work has a special gift of imparting training and professional knowledge to his colleagues and subordinates. Through sound professional knowledge, systematic planning and methodical organizational ability, he has been instrumental in improving the professional standards and the general performance level of the Flight Gunners in his unit.

Disregarding his personal comforts and domestic problems, he makes himself available for any task, at any hour of the day or night. That he is thoroughly dependable has been shown by him time and again. During a recent operational exercise, he carried out the task working without rest or respite for long hours in the face of adverse flying conditions. He set a laudable example by flying 101 hours involving 144 sorties over the Siachen glacier during the exercise.

For his professional competence, determination, dedication and devotion to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of the Air Force, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Warrant Officer Ganduri Kasi Viswanadham.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 6th April 1985 - No.29-Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Harbans Singh Bath 12008 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Squadron Leader Harbans Singh Bath is an experienced helicopter pilot and very competent Qualified Flying Instructor currently holding A/Master Green CAT/ Instrument rating on Mi-8 Helicopter. He is at the moment one of the most experienced helicopter pilot in the Indian Air Force and has over 5000 hours to his credit.

Sqn Ldr HS Bath was inducted into Operation Meghdoot in the month of March 84. He has been actively operating in the Siachen Glacier area and has flown as many as 170 sorties. On many occasions, Sqn Ldr Bath has undertaken flawlessly much needed air maintenance sorties under inclement weather conditions and within enemy fire to C-3 and BILLA FONDLA dropping zones and has successfully dropped the delicate and cumbersome loads like pre-fabricated huts without any damage, displaying daunt less courage and precision. Sqn Ldr Bath is one of the pilots to have undertaken trial landing at Forward Logistic Base at the height of 4.7 Kms to explore the possibilities of causality evacuations and landing supplies in extreme emergency, thus creating a world record by landing a Mi-8 helicopter at such an altitude. All these tasks involved using the helicopter at its peak performance under adverse conditions which demands a very high degree of competence and professional skill of the pilot.

Sqn Ldr HS Bath being a QFI has been responsible for the operational training of the unit pilots. It is due to his single handed effort and selfless dedication that the unit pilots could be trained in the Siachen glacier area to undertake demanding and herculean task. Throughout his stay in the unit, Sqn Ldr HS Bath has been a living example of courage, dedication and devotion to duty. He has always been a source of inspiration to the others. Putting service before self and unmindful of his personal safety he has always come out with flying colours whenever entrusted with any challenging task, no matter what the odds were.

For displaying dauntless courage, initiative, professional skill and devotion to duty of a very high order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Harbans Singh Bath.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Venkatesa Swaminatha Nagendra Nath 13165 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 11 Oct 87 Announced 14 Apr 88
Details :

Squadron Leader Venkatesa Swaminatha Nagnendra Nath is posted to a Helicopter unit. He has been carrying out helicopter operations in Jaffna from the beginning of the current operations.

On the night of 11/12 Oct 87, he was on co­pilot duties with Wing Commander VKN Sapre in a helicopter wherein three urgent missions had to be conducted for induction of the Indian Army troops in an area known to be surrounded by LTTE elements. During these three night missions the aircraft came under adverse enemy fire and was extensively damaged. He displayed courage and valour and gave full support to his Captain while operating in such environments and made a valuable contribution in retrieving the helicopter safely back to base. He has flown 40 missions in the area.

For displaying extraordinary dedication to duty and commendable professional competence, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Squadron Leader N Nath.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th August 1988 - No.78-Pres/88 dated 15th April 1988 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Ramesh Balkrishnan 16587 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 11 Oct 87 Announced 14 Apr 88
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Ramesh Balkrishan is posted to a Helicopter unit and has been operation from Jaffna in support of the Indian Peace Keeping Force.

Flt Lt. B Ramesh was detailed as Co-Pilot with Sqn Ldr DR Doraiswamy on special helicopter operation in the night of 11/12 Oct 87. This crew was responsible for successfully landing the troops for three missions at the helipad which was under heavy fire. The helicopter received heavy damage. Flt Lt B Ramesh gave valuable support to his Captain and thereby ensured that the helicopter was flown back to base successfully.

For his commendable dedication to duty and professional competence of a high order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Flt Lt B Ramesh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th August 1988 - No.78-Pres/88 dated 15th April 1988 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr M R Anand 18257 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Jun 88 Announced 26 Jan 89
Details :

Flying Officer MR Anand (18257) Flying (Pilot) of a helicopter unit has flown over three hundred and fifty five sorties in Op Pawan till date. Most of these missions involved operating over inhospitable terrain and under the most trying operational conditions.

On 27 Jun 88, Fg Offr Anand was detailed as co-pilot for an important but highly dangerous task in the jungle areas south of Alampil, where active ground operations were in progress, However, during the execution of this vital task, the helicopter was hit by ground fire, in which of Fg Offr Anand also sustained minor injuries. Unmindful of it all, this officer in the best traditions of the Air Force, continued with the mission and ably assisted his Captain in dealing with the situation and recovering the helicopter at the closest helipad without further damage to his helicopter or injury to the troops.

Despite his relative inexperience and injury, Fg Offr Anand displayed courage, determination and professionalism of the highest order.

Fg Offr Anand, during his tenure in the Op Pawan area, has always accepted willingly and cheerfully and mission assigned to him.

For his courage in the face of enemy, determination and display of professionalism under operational conditions, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Fg Offr MR Anand.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 22nd April 1988 - No.39-Pres/89 dated 26th January 1989 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Kandarpa Venkata Surya Narasimha Murthy 20136 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Murthy is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 helicopter unit since Dec 94. He had joined the unit immediately after completing ab-initio training on Mi-8 helicopter and his experience on Mi-8 helicopter is very limited.

On 14 Mar 95, Flt Lt Murthy was detailed for a continuation training sortie on a Mi-8 helicopter. During the second circuit, on approach, just as he was coming to hover, he experienced total loss of directional control and the aircraft yawed uncontrollably to the left and turned through 450 degrees. Flt Lt Murthy, under this critical situation, put the helicopter down by taking prompt and correct action with no damage to the helicopter. On touch down, Flt Lt Murthy ordered the flight engineer to shut down the engines, which was executed without delay. He ordered the flight gunner, flight engineer and co­pilot to vacate the helicopter. Flt Lt Murthy abandoned the helicopter only after ensuring that the rotors had stopped so that no damage to the aircraft could take place.

It was discovered to be a case of tail rotor control failure which is a very critical and serious emergency in any helicopter and can result in disaster. Flt Lt Murthy displayed exceptional degree of professional skill and courage in tackling the grave emergency situation.

For his exceptional courage and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant KVSN Murthy.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th March 1996 - No.23-Pres/96 dated 26th January 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Umesh Kumar Sharma 17323 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  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 (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Amitabh Raja Shendye 19904 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Amitabh Raja Shendye (19904) F (P) was commissioned as a Pilot in the Helicopter stream on 17 Dec 88. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander in two operational Helicopter Units and has also commanded a Helicopter Unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) and a Unit Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner (UIRIE) with over 5100 h of accident free flying to his credit. He is also a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. For his operational achievements, he has received commendation by the CAS and by AOCin-C, Eastern Air Command.

In his long and distinguished flying career, Wg Cdr AR Shendye has flown almost all the helicopters in the inventory of the IAF and has participated in numerous operations and rescue missions. He was actively involved in Op Bajrang and Op Rhino against ULFA activists from 1990-92. From 1993-95, he took part in Op Meghdoot on the Siachen Glacier. During, Op Parakram, as Flt Cdr, he coordinated the deployment of his helicopter unit along the border in five different detachments. In the aftermath of the Tsunami, he was the Flt Cdr of the IAF contingent which was deployed in Sri Lanka for relief operations as part of Op Sea Wave. He carried out the maximum flying in the inhospitable LTTE infested areas, for which he received Certificate of Appreciation from the Government of Sri Lanka and letter of appreciation from AOC-in-C Southern Air Command.

During his tenure as the CO, his helicopter unit has been tasked with a number of rescue and relief missions. He has displayed sterling leadership qualities by ensuring a high operational and maintenance status and successfully executing each assigned task. He has also led from the front, by choosing to undertake the most difficult mission himself. He carried out casualty evacuation and flood relief operations near Kolhapur from 0513 Aug 05 displaying professional skills of a very high order amidst adverse weather conditions. During the operation, a total of 28475 kgs of relief supplies were airlifted and 42 people were rescued from the flooded area, flying a total of 64 sorties in 24 hours. He was responsible for effective planning in carrying out casualty evacuation and relief operations near Rajahmundhry from 21-26 Sep 05, near Mettur dam on 24 Oct 05, near PondicherryCuddalore from 25 Nov 05-01 Dec 05 and from river Amaravati on 11 Dec 05.

For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Amitabh Raja Shendye.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 10th November 2008. No. 34-Pres/2008 dated 26th January 2008 

The Awards Database presented here was made possible by the kind generosity of Air Marshal Bharat Kumar, author of Courage & Devotion to Duty : A Chronicle of IAF's Honours and Awards (1932-2008). Air Marshal Bharat Kumar had very graciously given permission to reproduce the citations from the book on this website.
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Note: All the data available here is publicly available in the Gazette of India, published by the Indian Government, or from public domain sources, press releases about Awards and Right-To-Information (RTI) Requests. Additionally data shared by veterans is added to the page with permission. No data with respect to serving officers below the rank of AVM is displayed. Information in Gazette of India and Award citations and photographs as released by the Indian Air Force are the only details displayed.