Awardee List for the 104 HU

A total of 7 Awards are listed.
Shaurya Chakra : 1 | Vayu Sena Medal : 6 |
Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Manohar Pandurang Rane 9763 F(P)Unit : No.104 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 01 May 79 Announced 26 Jan 80
Details :

On 01 May 79, Squadron Leader Manohar Pandurang Rane was detailed to fly the Chief of the Staff from Halwara to Barnala and back. On completion of task, when he was flying the helicopter back to base, the rotor blade spacing cables broke and severed two of the three controls rods to the rotor head. This left him with no control over the attitude or descent path of the helicopter. He assessed the performance what little control remained and gradually managed to coax the aircraft into a slightly nose-up descent path. Realizing that he would not be able to slow down the descent rate, he shut down the engine as there was no other alternative. Unfortunately the helicopter crashed and caught fire and Squadron Leader Rane lost his life.

Squadron Leader Manohar Pandurang Rane thus displayed courage, professional skill and devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India , 24th May 1980 - No.37 - Pres/80 dated 26th January 1980 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Vinod Kumar Sehgal 3853 GD(P)Unit : No.104 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 01 May 61 Announced 15 Aug 61
Details :

On 1st May 1961, one Dakota aircraft, while on a sortie near the U.P./Tibet border area was reported missing. Squadron Leader Sahgal, who was commanding a Helicopter unit, volunteered to lead the Helicopter Detachment personally to locate the missing aircraft and conduct the rescue operations. This task not only involved reconnaissance over a hazardous mountainous area under unfavourable weather conditions, but also entailed considerable administrative and logistic planning in moving the detachment at short notice to various advanced outposts. He ferried the helicopter form his parent unit to an advanced base on 2nd May commenced intensive search of the area where the aircraft was report4ed to have crashed. Due to conflicting reports regarding he location of the crashed aircraft, it became frequently necessary to modify the operational and logistical plans and adjust it suitably to meet the situation. Next day he resumed the search and succeeded in establishing that the aircraft had not crashed I the area reported. By this time information had been received that the surviving members of the crew had reached one of the advance Army out posts. Squadron Leader Sahgal had therefore to move his detachment further up in order to rescue the survivors who were injured and needed immediate evacuation. Despite the difficult terrain and bad weather, he succeeded in locating a s suitable landing area. In evacuating the survivors, Squadron Leader Sahgal took an extremely bold step to fly out two survivors at a time, there by completing the evacuation in the least possible time. With a view to recover the bodies of the dead, he was detailed to further reconnoiter the area. In spite of fatigue, he carried out the search. During all these flights, Squadron Leader Sahgal had to fly his helicopter practically to the limits of the performance under adverse weather conditions.

Reference: Gazette of India 3rd February 1962 - No.24 - Pres/62 dated 26th January 1962 

Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Subhash Madanmohan Hundiwala 6351 F(P)Unit : No.104 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

Squadron Leader Subhash Madanmohan Hundiwala has been commanding a helicopter unit since February, 1971. In April, 1971, he was assigned an important and difficult task which necessitated airlifting of men and stores at a very short notice. Nearly 600 hours of flying effort was put in by his Detachment within a short span of 40 days, of which over 400 hours were flown during the first 15 days. In carrying out a task of such magnitude, he displayed leadership, organizing ability and exceptional devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 12th May 1973 - No.27 - Pres/73 dated 26th January 1972 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Fg Offr Jyoti Prakash Mathur 11366 F(P)Unit : No.104 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 72
Details :

Flying Officer Jyoti Prakash Mathur has been serving with a helicopter unit since April 1968. On the 27th April 1971, while serving with a Detachment he was detailed to undertake an operational mission. On the return flight his, track lay over thick forest and hilly terrain. After flying for 30 minutes the engine of the helicopter failed due to a mechanical defect. He immediately put the aircraft into auto­rotation, and proceeded to carry out a forced landing. He selected a paddy field on the edge of the forest and skillfully manoeuvred the helicopter to a safe landing.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Chetan Swaroop Kataria 7605 F(P)Unit : No.104 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 77
Details :

Squadron Leader Chetan Swaroop Kataria has been the Officer Commanding of a VIP Communication Helicopter Unit since May, 1974. He has a total of 3300 hours of accident free flying to his credit and has been responsible for the training of many new pilots and in improving the categorization state of his unit to a very high operational standard. He not only discharged his duties well out also undertook numerous mercy missions find flood relief operations in Punjab and Rajasthan in 1975. Because of his exceptional organizational ability, guidance find devoted supervision, the unit flew 3600 accident free hours within a period of 19 months. He successfully organised the development of a battery-operated portable refuelling rig for Chetak helicopter, on no cost basis, in his unit, which is a creditable achievement.

On 16th October 1975, Squadron Leader Kataria, while on a night training flight noticed that his helicopter had developed engine trouble due to material failure, with total loss of engine torque and heavy reduction in the rotor RPM. He faced the hazardous situation calmly and landed safely without any damage to the helicopter.

Squadron Leader Chetan Swaroop Kataria has displayed courage, high professional skill and devotion to duly of a high order.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 27th May 1978 - No.29- Pres/78 dated 26th January 1977 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Ashok Anand Thosar 8209 F(P)Unit : No.104 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 79
Details :

Squadron Leader Ashok Anand Thosar has been in an operational Helicopter Unit in Western Sector since May, 1976. He has to his credit 3600 hours of living, out of which 2500 accident free hours have been on helicopters mainly over inhospitable terrain. Under his leadership, his unit, accomplished all operational tasks with great success and achieved the distinction of winning Flight Safety Trophy for the year 1977 for the Accident Free Flying record.

He has successfully undertaken innumerable operational missions, which included VIP commitments, logistic support, relief operations and casualty evacuations. During August, 1977, he gave an excellent account of his professional skill as a Chetak Helicopter Team Leader while conducting Flood Relief Operations in Delhi Area. Again, on 4th September, 1977, he evacuated a dangerously ill Army Jawan from an unprepared and restricted helipad at a height of 13,500 feet and saved a valuable life.

Squadron Leader Ashok Anand Thosar has thus displayed courage, professional skill 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 (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle 17710 F(P)Unit : No.104 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle (17710) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 21 Dec 1984. He has more than 5400 hours of accident free flying to his credit. He is Commanding Officer of a frontline Attack Helicopter Squadron since 30 Jun 2003.Wg Cdr Wagle took over the command of the Squadron at a crucial juncture when the Sqn aircraft were being modernized with State of the Art equipment. His leadership and motivation were manifested in the smooth and speedy absorption of the high technology in the squadron. With the successful integration and assimilation of the cutting edge technology, the IAF can now boast of operating one of the most lethal Attack Helicopters in the world.The squadron was beset by various maintenance problems when tools and testers from the squadron were sent to Congo to support the maintenance requirements of the UN mission there. Wg Cdr Wagle became the driving force behind various inï·“house solutions and innovations to overcome these deficiencies and yet sustained a very high serviceability of aircraft, often reaching 100% for sustained periods. The Sqn performed exceptionally during all inspections including three inspections by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team and the squadron was declared the Best Combat Helicopter Squadron of the IAF.For his exceptional devotion to duty and inspiring leadership, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

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.