Awardee List for the 503 SU

A total of 2 Awards are listed.
Shaurya Chakra : 1 | Vayu Sena Medal : 1 |
Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Seetharaman Lakshmi Narayanan Thantry 12847 AE(L)Unit : 503 Signal Unit  Award Date 14 Oct 82 Announced 26 Jan 84
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Seethraman Lakshimarayan Thantry was a member of the team entrusted with the task of installation, testing and commissioning of Diesel Generating Sets in the Power House.

On the 14th October, 1982 after the rectification of excessive vibrations in one engine, it was started for further checks. As soon as the engine was started it went into runway condition, the speed shooting up much beyond the normal operating speed of 1000 RPM. Efforts to shut off the engine from the electrical control panel in the Control Cabin, and also by manually operating the stop solenoid fitted on the engine failed. In the mean time the material on the exhaust pipe of the engine caught fire. The whole power house was filled with toxic fumes and heavy smoke which reduced the visibility inside practically at zero. Heavy sparks were also noticed from the alternator. Realizing the gravity of situation Flight Lieutenant Seethraman Lakshimarayan Thantry, decided that the fuel supply to the engine should be closed to starve the engine fuel. In spite of grave risk to his person he went crawling behind the engine and closed the fuel valve to the engine. The fire extinguishers were thereafter operated to put out the fire.

Flight Lieutenant Seethraman Lakshimarayan Thantry thus displayed exemplary courage in saving the running engine from total ruin, and also possible heavy damage to rest of installed equipment in the Power House.

Reference: Gazette of India , 24th March 1984 - No.25 - Pres/84 dated 26th January 1984 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Rakesh Kacker 12951 F(P)Unit : 503 Signal Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Group Captain Rakesh Kacker (12951) Flying (Pilot) was the Chief Operations Officer at No 7 Wing AF from Feb 95 to Oct 96 and since then is the Station Commander of 503 SU, AF.

In view of the high attrition of IAF fighter aircraft due to bird strike, it was directed that undergrowth and unnecessary vegetation from Ambala airfield was to be eradicated at the earliest. At Ambala, this would prove a daunting task since two loop areas north of the airfield were thick jungles.

By virtue of his primary duty, this seemingly insurmountable task was given to Group Captain Kacker. The Officer was unperturbed by the very magnitude of the task and methodically began by examining all options. The Officer, aware that several crores of valuable Public Fund had recently been wasted as a result of the loss of two aircraft, was determined that he could work within the existing framework. The Defence Estate Officer was persuaded to provide manpower for this task. Primarily the contractor needed constant close supervision to ensure that legitimacy was maintained. Having cleared the area, the officer then interacted laterally with his Army counterparts for provision of heavy machinery to ensure control of vegetation and was quick to put these areas under cultivation. Work under his direction, continued unabated in order to deny birds the sanctuary to roost or nest on the airfield. This also resulted in noticeable decline in small bird activity.

In addition to above, the officer was simultaneously monitoring the installation and operation of Semi Automated Base Air Defence Centre in Base Ops (the first of its kind installed in IAF). As Stn Cdr, 503 SU, AF the officer has been instrumental in overall improvement of quality of life of personnel with his innovative ideas and also achieving high operational preparedness of the Station.

For successfully directing the task of improving flying environment and for his innovativeness in circumventing problem areas, for his moral courage and for rendering distinguished service of high order, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Group Captain Rakesh Kacker.

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

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.