Awardee List for the 153 HU

A total of 13 Awards are listed.
Shaurya Chakra : 1 | Yudh Seva Medal : 1 | Vayu Sena Medal : 9 | Sena Medal (Gallantry) : 1 | Mention in Despatches : 1 |
Shaurya Chakra
LAC Arvind Kumar 774907 ORUnit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Leading Aircraftman Arvind Kumar was on the posted strength of a squadron at Bhuj since 28 Jan 2000. On the morning of 26 Jan 2001, a devastating earthquake hit Bhuj wherein a lot of buildings collapsed, trapping people within them. Immediately after the earthquake Leading Aircraftman Arvind Kumar rushed to the affected residential quarters within the Air Force Camp and commenced rescue operation. With raw courage, make shift tools and bare hands, he made passage through a small opening in the rubble and rescued a girl. Then he proceeded to the collapsed DSC quarters where some people where trapped inside. Again, with grit and indomitable will he tunneled through the rubble to pull out two persons. For the next four days, he was instrumental in locating and rescuing 12 trapped persons. It was his initiative and sheer courage which saw him repeatedly going under the debris to extricate persons trapped within and all this when tremors were still being experienced. During this he succeeded in taking out a child by cutting leg from dead body under which the child was trapped. On 29 and 30 Jan 2001 when hope of locating and rescuing live persons was diminishing. LAC Kumar showed a high degree of perseverance and continued working untiringly. His efforts paid of, when a girl child was rescued alive on 30 Jan 2001. His heroic efforts and never say die attitude resulted in rescue of 20 Air Force personnel and civilians.

Leading Aircraftman Arvind Kumar displayed courage of high order and utmost commitment for saving precious human lives.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Yudh Seva Medal
Flt Lt Amrinder Singh Gill 17317 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 90 Announced 26 Jan 90
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Amrinder Singh Gill has been posted to one of the Helicopter Units since 15 Dec 86.

Flt Lt Amrinder Singh Gill was amongst the first from the unit to join IPKF. The officer has flown over 700 missions logging 350 hrs under the most hazardous and hostile conditions. Flt Lt Amrinder Singh Gill has undertaken the widest variety of operations in the operation PAWAN, ranging from the most dreaded troop induction to air maintenance and the most daring casualty evacuations by day and night. Flt Lt Amrinder Singh Gill with his ability to remain cool in the face of ever elusive enemy had constant ground fire, is an example of the ultimate in professionalism.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1990 Number: 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Ram Mohan Shridharan 12033 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 92
Details :

Wg Cdr RM Sridharan took over as Commanding Officer of one of the AF Helicopter Units in Nov 88.

He was entrusted with the task of raising the unit with new aircraft and making it operational in the shortest possible time. This task, which he set about most diligently and displayed outstanding eagerness to serve and an exemplary enthusiasm in fulfilling his responsibilities. He set up the unit in the shortest possible time, imparted training to aircrew to operate in Siachen glacier.

Over the last two years, under his command, the unit has flown over 5500 hrs accident-free, out of which 3500 hrs have been flown in Siachen glacier. About 3500 Tons of load has been air dropped at various posts over the glacier. Under his able leadership and deft guidance his unit has airlifted armament, troops and essential supplies in aid to civil power during Oct/Nov 90 over inhospitable terrain and climate of J&K area.

Wg Cdr Shridharan was given the task of selecting DZs and carrying out trial, based on which the complete airlift was executed. On another occasion, the heavy equipment of Border Roads Organisation was carried across river in Arthal Area under slung. It was once again Wg Cdr Shridharan's guidance and leadership that such an extra-ordinary task was successfully completed.

For his exemplary sense of duty, leadership, able guidance and exemplary enthusiasm, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wg Cdr RM Sridharan.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Harbhajan Singh Sandhu 15428 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Wing Commander Sandhu was on the posted strength of a helicopter unit operating in 'Op Meghdoot' since May 93. He had been posted as Flight Commander, after successful completion of the Air Staff Course. He was tasked to plan and execute the air maintenance task in 'Op Meghdoot' area and ensured that his was always completed inspite of large number of variables.

Wing Commander Sandhu is a pioneer in Siachen operations having operated on the glacier in 1984. He utilised his previous experience to good effect in the present tenure. He has flown a total of over 622 hours in 'Op Meghdoot' area. As a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) he also imparted the knowledge to the other pilots of the unit. Being the only QFI during the first year of his tenure, he had the added responsibility of training and clearing the pilots for operations in Siachen. He also undertook the first-ever night flying trials at Thoise airfield. Wg Cdr Sandhu has accident-free flying of over 3900 hours and his rich experience has always been a source of inspiration to the other pilots.

For displaying exceptional courage and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander HS Sandhu.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Govindan Ajit Kumar Nair 14677 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Wing Commander Govindan Ajith Kumar Nair (14677) F (P) is on the posted strength of 153 HU, AF since 21 Jun 94. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and an A-2 Flying Instructor. He is an experienced helicopter pilot and has amassed over 4930 hrs of operational flying. A pioneer of Mi-26 helicopter fleet he has also been a member of the Antarctica Expedition team on two occasions.

During his present tenure, he has flown 510 hrs in Siachen Glacier towards "OP Meghdoot". Displaying exceptional courage in this inhospitable terrain and low intensity conflict environment, he has not only been instrumental in delivering vital supplies to our troops but also training all aircrew in the highest helipads/ threatened DZs in the sector. He has also carried out ArmyAir Force joint appreciation and formulated SOPs for safe operations in this sector.

Under his able leadership, the unit has logged over 7500 hrs of accident free flying and achieved all allotted tasks. He has simultaneously ensured a high state of operational preparedness of the unit. This was evident during the DASI inspection, wherein the unit was assessed as "Average Plus". Wing Commander Ajith Kumar has been instrumental as Deputy Task Force Commander in Ex-Chakravyuh in flawless planning and execution, evacuation of a large number of causalities of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in Aug 96 and night operation between Leh, Thoise and Base Camp has been praise worthy and in the highest traditions of our service.

For his exceptional courage, professional excellence and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Wing Commander G A K Nair.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Somesh Kumar Saini 21021 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Flight Lieutenant S K Saini (21021) F (P) has been on the posted strength of 153 Helicopter Unit since 26 Jul 93.

During the recent Amarnath Yatra tragedy, the IAF was called upon to undertake the necessary relief operations. Flight Lieutenant Saini who participated in the operations, indeed did a very commendable job by evacuating 136 causalities, 28 bodies and 07 passengers. This was the maximum number of causalities that were airlifted by any individual during these operations. It is noteworthy that these operations were carried out in marginal weather, from unprepared surface and in hostile environment.

Flight Lieutenant S K Saini has been operating in OP Meghdoot area for the past three years and has successfully completed over 810 hours on the glacier. He has also flown extensively all over Jammu and Kashmir sector.

The unit was given the task, to carry out a night cross country from Thoise to Leh and back and subsequently lay down SOP for causality evacuation. Flight Lieutenant Saini a selected aircrew was detailed to carry out this task. Flight Lieutenant Saini, a thorough professional got into the minutest of the details and left no stone unturned to carry out the assigned task safely and successfully. For his exceptional courage and professionalism of highest order, excellent team work and exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Flight Lieutenant S K Saini.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Karan Vir Singh Pammar 15688 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Karan Vir Singh Parmar (15688) Flying (Pilot) is commanding a front line helicopter unit since 28 July 97. As commanding officer, he has involved himself deeply in all aspects of helicopter operations. He has worked with dedication and meticulous care in producing training notes for armament delivery from helicopter. He has also applied himself in analysis of the long standing problem of rocket firing and has evolved concepts for combat employment of the helicopter.

It is highly creditable that Wing Commander Parmar has achieved all this concurrently with commanding a unit involved in air maintenance in Saichen area. A keen flier himself, the officer has set a personal example for his subordinates to emulate. Under his guidance the unit has exceeded all previous levels of air maintenance wherein 1100 tonnes of load was lifted in three months. This was achieved at a time when it was critical for the operational posture in the sector.

In the course of this task, he has also improved the training status of the unit so that the maximum aircrew are now qualified for glacier operations. In achieving these tasks, he has shown a great ability to motivate and inspire personnel under his command to overcome physical discomfort and domestic difficulties for all round improvement.

For his continued professional competence and extreme devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Karanvir Singh Parmar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Tejinder Singh Sareen 17138 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Tejinder Singh Sareen (17138) F (P) was posted as the Flight Commander of an Attack Helicopter Squadron with effect from 03 May 1998. During his tenure as the Flight Commander this officer involved himself intensely in the operational well being of the Squadron. The Squadron has a peculiar chain of control with the Army, Western Air Command, AOC J&K and the local administration. The tasking, therefore, becomes multi point and places a great strain on the Unit. The Flight Commander, being the pivot, has to deftly manage the man and material resources to meet multi point demands. Wg Cdr TS Sareen managed this very well. With his knowledge of the aircraft he maintained a high serviceability.

During the Kargil war he led the Squadron Detachment in the Valley. For the last six months, the squadron has been manning a detachment of the same place and Wg Cdr TS Sareen has been leading the detachment most of the time. He has also been involved in the trials on the usage of the Attack Helicopter in the Valley with certain modifications. Whenever the Squadron got tasked for the anti-insurgency operations in the Valley, Wg Cdr TS Sareen was in the forefront, which is an ample display of his leadership qualities.

For devotion to duty and professionalism and for being an example to emulate, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Tejinder Singh Sareen.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
JWO Valiya Veetil Rajeev 669018 ORUnit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

669018 Junior Warrant Officer Valiya Veetil Rajeev, Flt Engr is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 12 Jan 1998. He has been flying extensively in the highly demanding and hostile terrain of the Op Meghdoot and Op Rakshak sectors. He is an exemplary airman and a distinguished Flt Engr who has as astute knowledge of various helicopter systems and procedures.

Over a period of three years, JWO VV Rajeev has flown a total of 950 hrs of which 750 were flown in air maintenance sorties in the Siachen Glacier and Kargil sectors. During the month of Feb 2000, repeated enemy firing over Alpha and Jwala DZs in the Op Meghdoot sector brought the dropping missions to an abrupt halt. The forward posts of Indian Army were in dire need of ration and ammunition. JWO VV Rajeev, with his vast experience and excellent knowledge of the topography, volunteered for emergency drops over the DZs. Accurately monitoring engine and rotor parameters, he guided the crew of the helicopter towards the DZ by resorting to terrain masking. This provided reasonable cover and concealment to the helicopter right up to the DZ. The drop was successful and further missions could be carried out due to the confidence instilled by JWO VV Rajeev.

His sound knowledge on all matters pertaining to service flying makes him a very valuable and dependable worker. His thorough professionalism and sense of responsibility has been big motivating factor for his juniors and colleagues instilled by JWO VV Rajeev.

For his dedication to the service and devotion to duty of a high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Junior Warrant Officer VV Rajeev.


Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Mayanglambam Manimohon Singh 24229 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 21 Sep 03 Announced 15 Aug 04
Details : Flight Lieutenant Mayanglambam Manimohan Singh (24229) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an operational Mi-17 IV Helicopter Unit of the Indian Air Force, since 19 August 2002.

On 21 September 2003, our troops on the LOC in the Gurez sector noticed an infiltration attempt by a band of insurgents. There was an immediate need to encircle the insurgents and seal the escape route before they could mingle with the general populace. The insurgents were heavily armed and known to be equipped with machine guns and even the presence of shoulder fired missiles was not ruled out. The hostile terrain precluded any movement of troops on foot in the required time frame. HQ 15 Corps projected a requirement of undertaking the induction of troops to cut off the escape route for the insurgents. The general terrain in the objective area was heavily forested. Flight Lieutenant MM Singh was detailed to carry out troop induction. He planned the mission in the most professional manner and executed it with meticulous precision.

The mission required troop induction at an unprepared and unrecced area in hostile environment. Flight Lieutenant MM Singh, realizing the grave and imminent danger and requirement of extremely high skills, decided to lead the formation of two helicopters. He flew the mission in extremely turbulent wind conditions and deteriorating weather. The landing site, which was near the line of control, had no protection and there was a constant threat of fire from the terrorists, who were hiding in the vicinity. Despite the lurking danger, he kept the aim of the mission uppermost in his mind and displayed exceptional courage by carrying out two missions at an unsurveyed site on a ridge at an elevation of 13,000 feet on the first day and four more missions the next day in similar conditions. The successful air operations greatly aided the Indian Army in their anti-terrorist operation.

For this act of Gallantry, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Mayanglambarn Manimohan Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th November 2004 - No.131-Pres/2004 dated 15th August 2004 & AFD2005 Investiture Booklet 

Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanathan 21252 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 01 Jul 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Wg Cdr Ajit Ramanathan SM was commissioned on 15 Jun 91 and was on the posted strength of 153 Helicopter Unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Instrument rating Instructor and Examiner and has over 5200 hours of flying to his credit. He is alumni of the prestigious National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.

On the afternoon of 01 Jul 04, then Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanathan was on a check sortie involving helipad ops in the 'Romeo' sector in J&K. While returning from the mission, he received a radio transmission from an Army aviation helicopter, requesting for a casualty evacuation of the Commanding Officer of 16 Maratha Li who was seriously wounded in an encounter with ANEs from Sekhlu helipad. Even though the attempt made by the Cheetah helicopter had been unsuccessful due to inclement weather, Sqn Ldr Ajit was not deterred. He immediately took stock of the situation and in spite of limited fuel and deteriorating weather conditions, turned back towards Sekhlu. Although he could not penetrate the weather the first time, rather than abandon the mission, he landed at Rajouri, ready to make another attempt as soon as possible. At the first window of opportunity, he took off for Sekhlu. The presence of extremely inclement weather and failing light conditions in the tricky hilly terrain of Romeo sector made the task extremely demanding. With his determination and high degree of skill, he was able to safely land the helicopter at Sekhlu.

The casualty arrived at the helipad after sunset. The weather report of the area was showing a deteriorating trend, with destination Udhampur reporting a weather warning for rain and thundershowers. While most factors were against, he was not dissuaded from his resolve to go ahead with the evacuation. He finally took off with the casualty on board 25 minutes after sunset. He now flew through the same restrictive conditions further worsened by the darkness. The hill shadows and presence of rain and clouds severely constrained the visibility, making flying extremely difficult. The presence of thunderstorm and rain made spotting and landing at Udhampur airfield, an extremely demanding task which was achieved safely with utmost professionalism.

The officer's act of selfless courage of flying his helicopter through difficult terrain and in deteriorating weather and poor light conditions, not only saved the life of a Commanding Officer, but also helped in boosting the morale of the ground forces. For having displayed flying skill, airmanship of exceptional order, courage and valour then, Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanthan was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry) on 26 Jan 2005.

Note: Officer evacuated: Col AS Chahal, SM , then CO, 16 Maratha Light Infantry

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Jitender Yadav 21009 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 21 Jun 06 Announced 15 Aug 07
Details :

Wing Commander Jitender Yadav (21009) F (P) was commissioned on 15 Dec 90 as a Helicopter Pilot in the IAF and is on the posted strength of a front line Mi-17 IV Unit since Dec 2002. The Officer has flown more than 4400 hrs of accident/ incident free flying and is a Right Hand Seat Check Pilot. He has flown more than 1400 hrs of operational flying in his present tenure which includes various relief operations, CI Ops in J&K sector and more than 500 hrs towards Op Meghdoot.

On 21 Jun 06, a major road accident occurred hear Batot in Doda district of J&K. The Unit was tasked at 1745 hrs to evacuate the casualties from the accident site and Wg Cdr Yadav volunteered to undertake the mission. The closest Mi-17 helipad from the site was more than an hour drive and as it was late in the evening, Wg Cdr Yadav suggested that the Casualty Evacuation (Cas Evac) could be undertaken from Dharmund helipad, which was smaller than required helipad but very close to the accident site. The helicopter took off within 35 min of the receipt of the message although the unit was not standing by for a Cas Evac mission. On landing at the helipad it was revealed that there were more than 40 dangerously ill casualties to be evacuated and not 10 as was the initial message. Inspite of the best efforts by the crew members only 14 lying casualties with the life support system could be loaded in the helicopter. Due to gravity of the situation, the officer decided to take permission for a second sortie even when it was required to come back to the small helipad in the hills, on a dark night. He thoroughly briefed the helipad authorities regarding the lighting arrangements required at the helipad for dark night Ops and use of flares for illumination of the helipad.

Under positive clearance from HQ AOC J&K the helicopter took off from Jammu airfield 15 min after sunset for Dharmund helipad, which is located in Chenab river valley well into the steep hills. With a definite plan in mind, a well co­ordinated landing was executed at the helipad almost 45 min after sunset in total dark conditions. A total of 19 very critically injured lying patients were taken in second shuttle. A pre-planned take off into the valley and climb above the ridge was carried out and a safe recovery executed at Jammu Airfield. His relentless effort and untiring perseverance stood tall upon the challenge of landing on a small helipad, in dark night. With unwavering determination, the officer took calculated risk and that helped to save many lives.

For this act of exceptional courage and professionalism, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Jitender Yadav.


Mention in Despatches
Sqn Ldr Gurpreet Singh Kochhar 21278 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :
Citation Not Available
Reference: Gazette of India No.28 - Pres/2000 dated 11th March 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.