Awardee List for the 119 HU

A total of 6 Awards are listed.
Vir Chakra : 1 | Shaurya Chakra : 1 | Vayu Sena Medal : 4 |
Vir Chakra
Wg Cdr Dhirendra Nath Sahae 11590 F(P)Unit : No.119 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 24 Aug 88 Announced 26 Jan 90
Details :

On the 24th August 1988 when ‘OP CHRCKMATE’ phase (III), being conducted by 4 Inf Div in Mitikaikulam jungles in Sri Lanka, Wing Commander Dhirendra Nath Sahae was detailed of standby at Mulaitivu helipad with 4 x 16 57 mm RPS in offensive role. During a dare devil attack on the TAC HQ of 7 Brigade, the militants blew up one OP Chetak and managed to damage another. They also managed to attack the HQ with RPG and automatic weapons thus gravely endangering lives of GOC IPKF Land Forces, other senior Army and Air Force Officers present at that location. Wing Commander Sahae was immediately asked to scramble in order to deal with LTTE threat. He got airborne and reached the area within record time of 12 minutes. He engaged the militants and fired the rockets at the area as directed by another airborne Chetak aircraft. He successfully neutralized and threat and ensured safety and security of the TAC HQ and senior Army and Air Force Commanders at the site. Three militants were reported killed due to his timely action and they were forced to withdraw without causing any further damage.

Wing Commander Dhirendra Nath Sahae, thus, displayed exceptional professional skill, devotion to duty, courage and bravery of high order in action against militants.

Reference: Gazette of India , 28th April 1990 - No.33 - Pres/90 dated 26th January 1990 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Gulzarinder Singh Braich 8762 F(P)Unit : No.119 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 14 Mar 79 Announced 26 Jan 80
Details :

During March, 1979, Lahul and Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh were subjected to heavy snowfall and avalanches which had disrupted all traffic to and from the valley and had considerable loss to life and property of the inhabitants. Squadron Leader Gulzarinder Singh Braich was detailed to undertake relief supply missions in the area. Undeterred by the adverse weather conditions and the consequent flying hazards, he flew eight sorties with 6,700 kilograms of supplies for the affected people.

Squadron Leader Gulzarinder Singh Braich thus displayed courage, determination and devotion to duty of a high order.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Krishan Kumar Sangar 7017 F(P)Unit : No.119 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 75
Details :

Squadron Leader Krishan Kumar Sangar was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in January, 1963. He has been posted to a Helicopter Unit since June, 1972. During the period of July-August, 1973, he rescued 532 persons from the flooded areas of Haryana, Punjab and J&K. All these rescues were carried out in conditions of extremely bad weather and at great personal risk. He has to his credit a total of 4,039 accident­free hours, out of which he has flown 2,600 hours as a first pilot during his operational tenures in the hills of Eastern and Western sectors.

Throughout, Squadron Leader Krishan Kumar Sangar displayed courage, professional skill and exceptional devotion to duty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 21st February 1975 - No.16 - Pres/75 dated 26th January 1975 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sgt Jatindra Nath Pradhan 695654 ORUnit : No.119 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 95
Details :

695654 Sergeant Jatindra Nath Pradhan, Flight Gunner is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 Helicopter Unit of Indian Air Force since 14 Dec 93.

On 22 Jul 94, Sgt Pradhan was detailed as the second Flight Gunner for rescuing the occupants of a truck that had been stranded in the middle of Kalisindh River which was in spate.

One of the two occupants of the truck had earlier been washed away in the turbulent, surging flood waters. The ill-fated truck lay almost submerged some 75 m from the nearest bank with the water level just below the roof. The cascading waters were shaking the truck violently, making for a very precarious unstable perch. The truck was just 10 feet way from a cataract where the foaming and swirling water was threatening to wash it away any moment.

Despite the frightening circumstances, Sgt Pradhan descended via the winch to the top of the truck to rescue the sole survivor. He did so knowing that he would have to wait on the truck in its perilous position, till the winch was lowered a second time. Having secured the helpless survivor Sgt Pradhan awaited his turn with great fortitude knowing fully well that at any moment he himself could be washed away. Thus, in keeping with the best traditions of the Air Force, Sgt Pradhan risked his own life to save another.

For exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sergeant JN Pradhan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 7th October 1995 - No.184-Pres/95 dated 15th August 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ravi Krishnan 13807 F(P)Unit : No.119 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 19 Jun 96 Announced 15 Aug 96
Details :

Wing Commander Ravi Krishan (13807) Flying (Pilot) is Commanding a Helicopter Unit since 28 Mar 93. He has got 6200 hours of total service flying, out of which 3200 hours are on type.

Consequent to cyclone storm hitting Saurashtra area on 17 Jun 96, a request was received from Civil authorities on 19 Jun 96 to rescue three seamen from a sinking barge in the Gulf of Kutch. Existing weather was not fit for this rescue operation, but following the highest tradition of the Air Force, Wing Commander Ravi Krishan as a commanding officer decided to lead from the front and took on this task.

Surface winds were exceeding 70 kmph, incessant rain had reduced the visibility and the sky was covered with 6 Octa of low clouds at 90 mtrs AMSL & the sea was very choppy. Inspite of these unfit and dangerous conditions, not caring for his own safety and beyond the call of duty, Wing Commander Ravi Krishan displayed exceptional courage to undertake the mission.

After getting airborne, a thorough search was carried out in poor visibility and the seamen were spotted. Hovering itself in the prevailing adverse weather conditions was an impossible task. In addition, carrying out winching operation to rescue three untrained civilians, panicking to get to safety, ignorant of winch limitations was a mission which required extreme courage, skill, devotion and coordination. Wing Commander Ravi Krishan, without caring for his own safety, not only flew his helicopter in these dangerous conditions as the captain of the aircraft, but also led his team in an exemplary manner. This resulted in successful winching operations rescuing the seamen from a certain disaster, which would have certainly led to their loss of life. This act of gallantry above and beyond the normal call of duty displayed by him speaks volumes of his exceptional courage and professionalism.

For this act of exceptional gallantry, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ravi Krishan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 30th November 1996 - No.92-Pres/96 dated 15th August 1996 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Pankaj Vishnoi 17347 F(P)Unit : No.119 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 00
Details :

Squadron Leader Pankaj Vishnoi (17347) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since Mar 97. He has flown more than 4600 hrs and is a Type Qualified Flying Instructor.

On 19 May 99, a severe cyclone storm hit near the Kutch coast causing heavy devastation and destruction in the high seas around the coastal areas of Porbandar. A message was received to rescue a country vessel "Al Quasmi" which was incapacitated due to engine problems in the mid seas. Sqn Ldr P Vishnoi was detailed to under take this arduous task to winch out the passengers from the disabled ship to safety. Inclement weather and gusty sea conditions made it harder to achieve this mission. He took off from Porbandar and located the ship after searching relentlessly for an hour in conditions of low clouds and thundershowers. He commenced winching under strong wind conditions and low clouds and was able to pick up five persons. Thereafter the visibility started reducing making it more and more difficult to operate over sea as the waves rose to a height of 3-5 mtrs. Sqn Ldr P Vishnoi continued with the task, with great courage and determination and successfully managed to rescue a total of eight persons after which the wealthier did not permit him further operations.

Sqn Ldr P Vishnoi was also responsible for recovery of the Atlantique aircraft debris which was shot down over the Bundela Rann of Kutch on 10 Aug 99. The task was carried out in a difficult terrain and under very hostile conditions.

For his professionalism and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr P Vishnoi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st July 2000 - No.85-Pres/2000 dated 26th January 2000 

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.