Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List for the 20 Sqn

A total of 13 Awards are listed.
Vayu Sena Medal : 13 |
Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr Dilip Kamalakar Parulkar 7227 GD(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 01 Jan 66
Details :

Soon after commencement of operations against Pakistan, Flying Officer Dilip Kamalakar Parulkar volunteered for operational duties and was attached to a fighter squadron. On his first mission, where he reached the target area, he met very heavy ground fire. With complete disregard to his personal safety, he went in to attack the ground target. During this attack, his aircraft was hit by enemy fire and a bullet pierced the aircraft and injured his right shoulder. He informed the leader that his right arm has been disabled and that he was dropping out of disengagement. The leader advised him to eject himself if he found difficult to fly than lose his valuable life. He flew it back to base with his left hand and landed and made a successful landing.

Flying Officer Dilip Kamalakar Parulkar showed commendable courage, skill and devotion to duty.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Nirmal Chandra Suri 4236 GD(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 69
Details :

Wing Commander Nirmal Chandra Suri has been commanding a fighter Squadron since August 1966. There was an operational requirement to evolve a modification for release of armament stores from the type of aircraft in his Squadron to enhance its fire power. This modification, which was a major one, was personally supervised by Wing Commander Suri. The modification has not only enhanced the fire power of the I.A.F. but also saved a large amount of foreign exchange. Wing Commander Suri has flown about 3,500 including 175 hours by night on single engine aircraft. When posted to the staff of the aircrew Examining Board for a period of 3 years, he acted as Examiner on Six different types of aircraft including Jets. During this period he flew over 600 hours for instrument rating of pilots and categorisation of the flying instructors.

Throughout, Wing Commander Nirmal Chandra Suri displayed professional skill and devotion to duty in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th April 1969 : No.18 - Pres/69 dated 26th January 1969 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Charan Singh Dhillon 8376 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

During the operations against Pakistan in December, 1971, Flight Lieutenant Charan Singh Dhillon was one of the senior pilots of a Fighter Bomber squadron. On the 4th December, 1971, he carried out a deep day penetration mission to an enemy airfield and destroyed a P.O.L. and Ammunition Dump, despite aerial engagement and heavy ground fire.

While returning from his mission, he was engaged by an enemy aircraft in close combat and though he was extremely short of fuel, yet he successfully disengaged his aircraft. Later, when about 10 miles away from the base, his engine flamed out he successfully force landed at the base and saved the valuable aircraft.

In this action, Flight Lieutenant Charan Singh Dhillon displayed courage and professional skill.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Alban Anthony D'Rozario 5044 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 73
Details :

Squadron Leader Alban Anthony D'Rozario was a Flight Commander of a fighter Squadron during the operations in December, 1971. In the very early hours of 4th December, 1971, he flew in an urgently needed operational aircraft from a rear base and a few hours later led a four aircraft strike on an airfield, which was heavily defended. He pressed home his attacks and seriously damaged one enemy aircraft inside a blast pen. On 6th December, 1971, though his wingman's aircraft went unserviceable on the ground, he voluntarily proceeded on an interdiction mission, during which he destroyed two enemy diesel engines near Wazirabad, and brought back valuable information regarding enemy movements based upon which subsequent missions were planned. On the 7th December, 1971 he led a four aircraft deep penetration day strike on Kohat airfield where he set fire to a hangar and damaged other airfield installations. He thereafter, flew three close support missions in the Samba, Chhamb and Naoshera areas and inflicted heavy casualties on enemy troops and vehicles. On the 12th December, 1971 the Squadron was ordered back to a rear base but Squadron Leader D'Rozario voluntarily stayed at the forward base and led another close support mission on 13th December, 1971 in order to familiarise the relief Squadron's Flight Commander with tactics and terrain. Throughout, Squadron Leader Alban Anthony D'Rozario displayed courage and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 23rd March 1974 - No.34 - Pres/74 dated 26th January 1973 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Daya Krishan Dhiman 5180 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 78
Details :

Wing Commander Daya Krishan Dhiman was serving as Commanding Officer of a fighter squadron. While on duty as flying supervisor in the Air Traffic Control, he was called upon to assist an aircraft Pilot who was involved in a grave situation of loss of power controls and all hydraulic services, failure of both generators with impending total loss of electric supply and loss of speed control due to throttle being stuck at 98% RPM. It was a unique and challenging situation and to avoid a serious accident, it was necessary to land the aircraft immediately. The advice tendered by Wing Cdr Dhiman to the pilot of the aircraft at that moment, which enabled the latter to accomplish safe recovery of the aircraft, is a proof of his sound professional competence. This also subsequently led to the discovery of the cause of the aircraft failure. As Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Dhiman raised by his hard work, the operational potential of the unit both on the ground and the air. Although his unit is equipped with old aircraft with enormous maintenance and operational problems, he overcame all the handicaps and enabled his unit to achieve outstanding operational training standards.

Wing Commander Daya Krishan Dhiman has thus displayed professional competence, leadership and devotion lo duty of an exceptional order.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Dilip Kamalakar Dighe 9745 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Dilip Kamalakar Dighe is in the Command of "Thunderbolts" since Nov 82 and has ably performed the aerobatic display task in a most splendid manner.

He has very competently lead the intricate, thrilling and breathtaking formation displays on various occasions all over the country, and even abroad, in a most praiseworthy manner. His efforts and performance have been applauded and appreciated not only by the Chiefs of air Staff themselves but has won many accolades from many National and International dignitaries. Wg Cdr Dighe is an outstanding professional who combines skill with knowledge and comes out with innovative ideas. It was under his guidance and leadership that 'Thunderbolts' emitted red trails for the first time while executing 'Thunderbolts' aerobatic manoeuvres over Vijay Chowk during the 'Beating The Retreat' Ceremony in Jan 05. This remarkable feat literally added colour to the fine performance so skillfully executed. The success of the display mainly rested on his dynamic drive and flawless execution.

In addition, when the Squadron was assigned the dual roles of display as wall as operation, Wg Cdr Dighe set the ball rolling by providing the right guidance and setting right priorities. He ensured that pilots became fully Ops at the fastest pace even while training for the displays. With his foresight, calm approach and meticulous planning, he moved the Squadron to new location in a very smooth manner which was only possible with hits utmost devotion and dedication.

In recognition of his skilful flying, outstanding leadership both in the air and on ground, devotion to duty and exemplary supervision, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wg Cdr DK Dighe.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Anup Rajkumar Nigam 13240 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Squadron Leader Anup Rajkumar Nigam (13240) F (P) is on the posted strength of "the Thundorbolts" since Sep 81. He was attached for three months before this on selection of formation aerobatic team. His effective association with Thunderbolts is from May 81. He is the pioneer member of nine aircraft team. During the Golden Jubilee year the Thundorbolts performed extremely well for which he has been commended by the Chief of the Air Staff.

Today, Sqn Ldr Nigam is a Senior Flight Commander of the Squadron. He has a very large share in excellent performance of the Squadron all along. The formation Aerobatic Team was undergoing changes and rotation of pilots began after Golden Jubilee year. The task was heavy on the unit and he has been instrumental in training new members of this Thunderbolt team. His supervision, guidance and constant effort that has given the unit safe and eventful flying. He has always put service before self and on every field he has produced wonders. As a Unit Flight Safety Officer, he has worked hard in promoting safety and in conducting safe flying. As a Mess secretary he judged the weak areas of the Mess and put in lot of work to improve it.

During the Republic Day celebration of 1985, the "Thunderbolts" performed over Vijay Chowk. He was the Deputy leader of the formation. The performance was excellent and appreciated by one and all. This was the first time Thunderbolts had displayed with red colour. The success of detachment was mainly because of his meticulous planning and execution.

Sqn Ldr Nigam is only member who has taken part in each and every display of Thunderbolts in last 3 years and nine months. The first member to gain operational status when unit was given operational role, today he is Senior Flight Commander handling dual role of the unit successfully.

For his constant hard work, devotion to duty and exemplary supervision, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Anup Rajkumar Nigam.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Biswajit Mukerjee 10885 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 89
Details :

Wing Commander Biswajit Mukerjee (10885) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Air Force on 04 Jan 67. He is a fighter pilot and a qualified flying instructor with approximately 3500 hours of accident free flying to his credit.

He took over the command of Thunder Bolts Squadron in Jul 85. With determined effort, within a short time, he was able to make the entire squadron fully proficient in its operational tasks in the Siachen and Leh areas and was also able to maintain a fully operational permanent detachment of Hunter aircraft at the high altitude Leh airfield for two years. In spite of the Units aircraft almost 30 years old, Squadron attained 100% serviceability of its aircraft during 1986 due to his sustained efforts.

In the formation aerobatic role, Wg Cdr Mukherjee with his inspired leadership, constant training, practice and close personal involvement, built up a composite 9 aircraft team. During the period, the team demonstrated their professionalism and competence in carrying out precision formation aerobatic flying with split second manoeuveres in a number of displays throughout the country.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, total dedication, excellent leadership and professional competence, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr Biswajit Mukherjee.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Tejbir Singh Pandhawa 12947 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 91
Details :

Wg Cdr Tejbir Singh Randhawa was commissioned in the IAF as a Flying (Pilot) on 22 Jan 72,

On 04 Jul 88, Wg Cdr Randhawa took over the Command of a fighter squadron. This was the time when most of the experienced team members were posted out. He had the dual responsibility of selection and training of new members, to form a 9 aircraft close formation aerobatics team, in a limited time frame which also included the monsoon period. Over and above this, he was also tasked to train U/T Ops Pilots from OCU. The grand finale came in Mar 89, when the 9 aircraft display at a range for Air Power Demonstration, held the spectators spell bound.

In Oct 89, the close formation aerobatics role was suspended and the Sqn was asked to change over to operational role. Wg Cdr Randhawa accepted this change willingly and improved upon the Ops status of the Sqn Pilots to a very high percentage and the rating status to 100% in a veritably short span of time. This achievement ensured the squadron's participation in Inter-Squadron Gunnery Meet 'EKLAVAYA' where the unit proved its worth by winning trophies for the individual events.

For his excellent professionalism, sustained hard work beyond the call of duty, selfless devotion to duty and qualities of leadership, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wg Cdr TS Randhawa.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 24th August 1991 - No.3-Pres/91 dated 26th January 1991 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Ashish Ranjan 16230 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date 18 Jan 91 Announced 26 Jan 92
Details :

On 18 Jan 91, Sqn Ldr A Ranjan was authorized to fly as a leader on a Hunter ac in a 2 ac sortie.

After 30 minutes of flying, at 16000' and 380 Kts, the pilot found his throttle non effective and RPM stuck at 7500. He assessed the situation and instructed his No. 2 to return individually.

Sqn Ldr Ranjan had a choice of carrying out a planned ejection or flaming out the engine and carrying out a dead stick landing. Despite fuel constraint, high speed and RPM stuck at a high power, Sqn Ldr Ranjan decided to bring back the aircraft. He also allowed adequate time for the ATC to recover other airborne ac. Displaying a very high degree of professional competence, he skillfully manoeuvred the aircraft so as to be able to make an approach with speed higher than permissible speed. He switched off the engine using LP cock when he was still on approach. Thereafter, using excess speed to reach the runway, he carried out a planned dead stick landing. The touchdown was well controlled albeit at a higher speed. By judicious use of brakes and tail parachute the aircraft was brought to a halt at the end of runway with no damage. On subsequent examination the throttle linkage to the engine was found disconnected.

The sound assessment of a very critical situation and subsequent safe and undamaged recovery of a valuable aircraft was undoubtedly an example of total professional approach, display of exceptional flying skill and sound airmanship with scan regard for personal safety, on the part of Sqn Ldr Ranjan.

For his courage, sound assessment of critical situation, flying skill and professional approach, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Sqn Ldr A Ranjan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th April 1992 - No.29-Pres/92 dated 26th January 1992 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Keshav Gopal Bewoor 13570 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Wg Cdr KG Bewoor was commissioned on 09 Feb 74. He took over the command of a Hunter Squadron on Oct 91 at a critical juncture, when the previous Commanding Officer was seriously injured in an aircraft accident and hospitalized. The tasks at hand included revitalizing the squadron which was without its Commanding Officer for three months, preparation for a colour presentation by the President of India and the Hunter Operations Flying training which was behind schedule.

Wg Cdr Bewoor got down to the tasks at hand systematically worked to ensure that the training of 147 Pilots course finished on schedule. He set a very high standard for the colour presentation ceremony. By personal example and leadership, he motivated the officers and men in revitalizing the squadron and brought up the morale to the highest level.

During his command, the squadron was rated very high by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team. The squadron flew a total of 7230 sorties without any accident. The squadron was awarded the Best Fighter Squadron trophy in Eastern Air Command for the year 1992-93.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr KG Bewoor.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th March 1994. - No.20-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1994 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Vijay Kumar Bali 13787 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Wing Commander Vijay Kumar Bali has been in command of the only Hunter Squadron (Sqn) since 31 May 93. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of Defence Service Staff College. The officer has over 2600 hours of accident free flying to his credit. Wg Cdr Bali has been responsible for operational conversion and training of newly commissioned officers on Hunter aircraft prior to their posting to front line fighter Sqns. During financial year 1994-95, the Sqn under his command flew 4976 sorties without any accident/incident, averaging 414 sorties per month. In Oct 94, the Sqn reached its zenith when it flew 615 sorties, which was the highest effort achieved by the Hunter fleet in the previous five years. The squadron successfully completed three operational Training courses, all well ahead of schedule. The aging Hunter fleet faced serious constrains involving constant maintenance, lack of adequate spares and poor product support. Wg Cdr Bali ensured an exceptionally high average serviceability state of 75.2% during FY 1994-95. In Oct 94, the Sqn achieved 100% serviceability on four consecutive days.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vijaya Kumar Bali.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ajay Rathore 18258 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Ajay Rathore (18258) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a Fighter pilot on 07 Jun 86. He has close to 4000 hrs of flying to his credit and is qualified on the Su-30 MKI, Su30K, MiG-27ML and MiG-23BN aircraft. A recipient of the Scudder Medal for standing first in the overall order of merit in the 55th Defence Services Staff Course, the officer is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has been commended by the Chief of the Air Staff for his dedication to duty.

The officer has ensured smooth induction and operationalisation of the latest variant of Su-30MKI aircraft into the IAF and has contributed immensely to the enhancement of work culture in his Squadron. It is due to his sheer hard work and thorough professional approach that the squadron has consistently performed well in all spheres of activity. Notwithstanding the attendant pressures of new inductions, he has flown nearly 550 hrs in the last year and half. He has shown immense courage, exceptional skill and determination to successfully undertake pioneering missions on the Su-30MKI aircraft, such as the search and successful location of the crashed naval Kamov helicopter (19-24 Aug 05), using the onboard sensors of the Su-30MKI, which led to the recovery of a survivor.

The Su-30MKI is being hailed as a 'first of its kind' project in which the best of Russian and western technologies have been synergised to produce one of the most potent fighter aircraft in the world. Utilising his exceptional knowledge of the integration aspects of the Su30MKI aircraft and analytical approach, Wing Commander Ajay Rathore has successfully spearheaded the indigenisation of the SAPFIR Mission Planning and Debrief System hardware of the aircraft, resulting in significant cost saving to the Indian Air Force (original Russian system costs US $70,000/- vis-à-vis the proposed indigenised system cost of Rs. 3.5 lakhs). Additionally, using his unparalleled knowledge of Su-30MKI operations and systems, he has also been instrumental in the development of a desktop computer based Cockpit Procedure Trainer for the Su-30MKI aircraft, further development of which has now been handed over to Software Development Institute, IAF. The officer has also been actively involved in the User Evaluation Trials of the Su-30MKI aircraft, and through his analytical ability and foresight, has been able to resolve a number of development related issues pertaining to the aircraft.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ajay Rathore.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

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.