Awardee List for the 127 HU

A total of 9 Awards are listed.
Vayu Sena Medal : 8 | Vishist Seva Medal : 1 |
Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Fali Homi Major 11442 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 92
Details :

Gp Capt Fali Homi Major, a helicopter pilot, raised and commanded the first Mi-17 Helicopter Unit in the IAF in 1985. He now commands one of the Helicopter Units in the Air Force.

Immediately after taking over command of his present unit, he proceeded to Sri Lanka, where his unit was operating in the offensive and logistic support role in support of "OP Pawan". He personally flew a number of operational sorties and supervised the functioning of the detachment there. It was largely due to his personal example and leadership qualities that the unit won many laurels including the appreciation of AOCin-C, WAC, AOC-in-C, SAC and the award of the prestigious IPKF standard.

In Feb 1990, the unit was inducted directly from Sri Lanka to Srinagar in support of "OP Rakshak". Gp Capt Major ensured that his aircrew were trained on the armament role of the aircraft in the shortest possible time to meet the requirement for armed "Internal Security" duties. He flew extensively in the area of operation and closely supervised the conduct of various operations.

Besides "OP Rakshak", his unit also operates in support of "OP Meghdoot". Gp Capt Major was instrumental in evaluating the Mi-17 helicopter in high altitudes and formulating SOPs and tactics in 1985. Today, with his sound knowledge and extensive flying in the area, his unit is doing yeoman service in support of "OP Meghdoot".

As the Task Force Commander of Exercise "Sky Hawk" in Nov 1990, he created some kind of a record by launching 302 night SHBO missions involving 900 combat troops with a force-level of 21 helicopters. His profes sionalism and direction ensured 100% mission accomplishment without an accident/incident and with a clock-work precision.

For his dynamic leadership, exceptional devotion to duty, professionalism and undaunted efforts to enhance the image of the IAF Helicopter Fleet, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Gp Capt FH Major.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Sanjeev Sharma 20489 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 23 Jun 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Squadron Leader Sanjeev Sharma (20489) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted Strength of a helicopter unit since 11 Oct 1999. On 23 Jun 2000, an emergency message was received from the Deputy Commissioner, Tezu District that the lives of more than 100 people were at stake as the Lohit river had risen to dangerous levels inundating large areas. Also, a bus carrying 42 passengers was stranded on a remote Island. Unless rescued immediately, all 42 people were likely to perish. The weather was marginal with Incessant drizzle, low clouds and poor visibility. Sqn Ldr Sharma immediately swung into action. Using his skill he negotiated adverse weather to reach the site. Displaying a keen sense of professionalism and skills he winched up five people who were perched on the roof of the bus. Thereafter, displaying his Indefatigable spirit, grit and determination, Sqn Ldr Sharma flew 12 sorties rescuing 141 people including six infants from various marooned villages. The rescue operation was so well planned and efficiently executed even in trying circumstances that the casualties were landed at Tezu Aircraft Landing Ground even before the District Administration could reach there. This daring operation enhanced the image of the IAF among the people of the region. For his act of daring rescue of flood ravaged people and displaying courage under trying circumstances, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Sanjeev Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
WO Kailash Chandra Das 641288 ORUnit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 24 Aug 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : 641288 Warrant Officer Kailash Chandra Das Flight Gunner Is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 25 May 1998. He is a Flight Gunner insfauctor. On 24 Aug 2000 WO Das was detailed for flood relief operations in Hyderabad City. Approximately 150 people were stranded atop a submerged building. Flood waters had damaged the foundation of the building and it was likely to collapse. Immediate evacuation of the victims was necessary to save their lives. On reaching the spot at about 1645 hrs, WO Das prepared for winching operation. On instructions of the captain he guided the helicopter to manoeuvre at the required spot. Less than two hours were available to evacuate the marooned people before sunset. To save time during the rescue operation WO Das physically pulled in the rescued passengers from the cargo compartment door. His physical effort led to fatigue but due to his strong will he continued and winched up 127 adults and 15 children in about one hour and forty-five minutes. Warrant Officer Das displayed a high degree of professional competence, courage and strong will. His selfless action enabled 127 adults and 15 children to be saved. The Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Warrant Officer Kailash Chandra Das.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Yogendra Rajora 17327 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 02
Details : Wing Commander Yogendra Rajora (17327) F (P) was commissioned in IAF as helicopter pilot on 22 Dee 83. He is a Test Pilot and has flown more than 4800 h of flying of which more than 900 h has been in "Op Meghdoot" and "Op Rakshak" sectors. During his flying in "Op Meghdoot" sector he was involved in some of the highest airdrops undertaken by Mi-17 helicopters. While flying in the Srinagar valley his helicopter was shot at by the militants and damaged. However, he showed great presence of mind and recovered the helicopter safely from a forward helipad. As a test pilot also he has been involved in a large number of projects. He was also involved in the Mi-35 upgrade project while serving as the flight commander of an Attack Helicopter squadron. He has been in command of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit since 15 May 2000. During his tenure he has always been leading from the front. He was Involved In a number of flood relief missions in Arunachal Pradesh, often flying in adverse and Inclement weather. In these missions he has rescued almost 400 people mainly from remote and inhospitable sites. Despite erratic flow of spares, he has ensured that the unit maintains a high serviceability. As a result the unit has been able to undertake all assigned tasks with a high degree of reliability and safety. At the same time the training of all personnel, including aircrew, has progressed at a fast pace. The unit has flown more than 2200 hours and airlifted over 2100 tons of load since he assumed command of the unit. This also includes airlift of six bulldozers to helipads at elevations ranging from 1700 to 2400 meters. All this has been made possible due to his total involvement and professional approach, which has resulted in execution of these tasks with total safety. For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President Is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Yogendra Rajora.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th June 2002 - No.118-Pres/2002 dated 26th January 2002 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjay Anand Kunte 18073 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sanjay Anand Kunte (18073) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1985. He is the commanding officer of a helicopter unit since 05 August 2002.In Jun 03, Eastern Air Command (EAC) was tasked with preparing for 'Op Fort William'. This included coordinating the joint planning and training of a large number of army troops and aircrew of the three helicopter units of EAC. It also involved formulating innovative tactics especially with Night Vision Goggles (NVG). Being the only NVG supervisor in EAC, Wg Cdr Kunte singleï·“handedly took on the task of imparting NVG training to pilots of EAC. His farsightedness, flawless planning and eye for detail were instrumental in his being selected as Task Force Commander for the operations. He planned and executed training of 3600 troops and 60 aircrew at various locations in the Northï·“East. He played an important role in formulating the appreciation and detailed plan of action for the operations.During the actual deployment phase of the operations, Wg Cdr Kunte displayed very high degree of professionalism and coordinated the move of units and execution of the plan in an absolute flawless manner, which was appreciated by the Chief of Army Staff and Headquarters of Royal Bhutan Army. This resulted in the Air Force and Army gaining immense goodwill of the Bhutanese authorities.For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjay Anand Kunte.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Bhanu Johri 18831 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 16 Oct 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Bhanu Johri (18831) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Mi-17 Helicopter Unit and is commanding the unit since 19 Jul 2004.On 16 Oct 2004, Wg Cdr .John was tasked to undertake a rescue mission of a trekking team consisting of 29 people including 12 foreign nationals stranded at 3428 meters altitude in the inhospitable terrain of Arunachal Pradesh.In an act of extreme bravery, Wg Cdr Johri got airborne in a Mi-17 helicopter in inclement weather with an aim to rescue the trekking team. Maneuvering the helicopter skillfully and valiantly through the clouds, he climbed to 4.5 km to reach over the given coordinates, but due to excessive clouding was unable to locate the survivors. Wg Cdr Johri, however gallantly persisted against all odds and proficiently, handled the helicopter in and out of the clouds from 4500 meters to 3300 meters altitude to continue with the search mission. Still unable to sight the trekking team, he made an exceptionally courageous decision to carry out an approach terminating in OGE hover at 3200 meters altitude in a deep narrow valley with a dead end aiming to locate the team. His sheer perseverance was ultimately rewarded and the team was finally located in this attempt. With limited endurance and fast deteriorating weather in the narrow valley, he took a judicious decision in carrying out three shuttles to rescue all the members In the nick of time and was solely responsible for saving the lives of the entire team. This heroic rescue mission in the face of extreme odds of inclement weal her and unforgiving terrain drew immense appreciation and international acclaim including the Israeli government, thereby earning laurels for the nation and the IAF.For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Bhanu Johri.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Subroto Kundu 20781 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 10 Nov 06 Announced 15 Aug 07
Details :

Wing Commander Subroto Kundu (20781) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Mi-17 Unit since 26 Sep 05 and has been functioning as the Flight Commander. He has been instrumental in planning and executing some of the major exercises undertaken by the unit. It includes induction of combat troops in the hills of Walong and casualty evacuation of CRPF troops by night, using Night Vision Goggles (NVG). These operations, carried out into the hills and the dense forests of North East, have given a fillip to the op potential of the armed forces.

On the night of 10 Nov 06, he was tasked for casualty evacuation of CRPF troops of 33 CRPF Bn, who were victims of an IED blast near Tinsukia. Though the weather was extremely marginal for the night flying, he decided to undertake this task in order to save the lives of the injured troops. He landed a Mi-17 helicopter in pitch darkness at an unlit helipad in the thick jungles near Roing with the sole aim to rescue the injured troops. He accomplished the task by evacuating one dead and other critically injured troops from Roing to Mohanbari, in a most professional manner. His professional courage and timely action saved the lives of two critically injured troops. The officer landed the helicopter on unchartered and unlit territory in thick jungles on a dark night displaying extreme level of courage and professionalism. Further, this operation was the first of its kind in the history of Indian Air Force and has projected the humane face of the service. For this act of exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Subroto Kundu.


Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Kenneth Allen 18805 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Kenneth Allen (18805) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 13 Jun 87.

He is presently on the posted strength of an operational Mi-17 Unit as the CO since 28 Apr 06. He is a Helicopter Combat Leader instructor who has been involved in formulation and development of helicopter tactics at Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment and has been the Directing Staff of all Helicopter Combat Leader courses conducted till date. He was also a member of the first IAF Contingent for the United Nations mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo as the Flt Cdr of the Mi-25 Sqn.

During his tenure as CO, the unit has seen a marked improvement in operational orientation, maintenance and administration. The notable achievements of the unit have been the first ever casualty evacuation by night using Night Vision Goggles and first troop induction by night into Arunachal hills. Despite constraints of aircraft serviceability, he was instrumental in significant impr- ovement in the unit's operational status, quantum rise in operational role training by almost three times, night effort by two times and Night Vision Goggle training by almost eight times within the initial six months, and 100% categorisation of all unit aircrew within 10 months. All of this was achieved with nil accident and incident (human error). This could not have been possible, but for total involvement, meticulous planning, foresight of a high order and exceptional leadership displayed by Wg Cdr Allen, which ensured quality output from his subordinates.

For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Kenneth Allen.

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

Vishist Seva Medal
WO Anand Ballabh Joshi 657301 ORUnit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 03 Announced 26 Jan 03
Details :

657301 Warrant Officer Anand Ballabh Joshi Flt Gnr has been on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 02 Apr 1998.

On 30 Jun 2001 ten civilian labourers in two trucks were marooned in a flash flood in Tawi River. The sudden surge in water flow and strong currents resulted in the trucks getting bogged down. Surface means of rescue, were attempted, had to be abandoned due to the fast current. No other means of rescue other than air evacuation was feasible in the time frame available before the trucks were totally submerged. The risk of the trucks getting washed away in the rising water and fast current appeared imminent endangering the lives of ten civilians.

WO Joshi was detailed as the Flight Gunner for the rescue mission. During the briefing conducted when a volunteer was sought to be winched down on to the marooned truck, Warrant Officer Joshi immediately volunteered for the task despite the inherent risk. After establishing a hover over the trucks, Warrant Officer Joshi was winched down from a height of more than 20 m. His presence on the truck was inescapable to brief the untrained civilians as well as to ensure an organised recovery. The strong current and resultant wobbling of the marooned truck coupled with the persistent light drizzle and rotor downwash made the job of Warrant Officer Joshi a professional challenge. WO Joshi maintained his cool even under such difficult circumstances. After briefing the civilians he ensured that they were winched up one at a time after being firmly secured to the rescue strap. Warrant Officer Joshi's contribution is no small measure to the completion of winching in the shortest possible time. Warrant Officer Joshi remained on the marooned truck and was the last person to be winched to safety.

The successful and timely completion of the daring rescue operation was possible due to the cool composure and professionalism displayed by WO, even when under personal danger. This operation which received wide publicity, kept the flag of the IAF flying in addition to raising the esteem of IAF in the eyes of the common man and saving valuable lives.

For this display of exemplary personal courage, cool composure and high standards

of professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vishisht Seva Medal' to Warrant Officer Anand Ballabh Joshi.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2003 Number: 

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.