Awardee List for the AFA

A total of 13 Awards are listed.
Shaurya Chakra : 2 | Vayu Sena Medal : 3 | Vishist Seva Medal : 8 |
Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Sumit Mukerji 12925 F(P)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 08 May 80 Announced 26 Jan 81
Details :

On the 8th May, 1980, Flight Lieutenant Sumit Mukerji was flying an instructional Instrument Flying sorties. At a height of 4900 metres, he experienced a front bearing failure and shortly engine seizure took place. Till then, no reliable statistics were available on the rate of descent of aircraft experienced with seized engine and different configuration of aircraft using undercarriage and flaps. With a totally professional approach, unmindful of great danger to his own life, Flight Lieutenant Mukerji passed on to the flying control the various rates of descent he experienced with and without undercarriage. Despite a very high rate of descent, he through his fine airmanship managed to land the aircraft and thereby saved a valuable aircraft from certain destruction. He also helped in collecting valuable data on the situations that follow an engine seizure.

In this action, Flight Lieutenant Sumit Mukerji displayed courage, presence of mind and professional skill of a high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 18th April 1981 - No.28 - Pres/81 dated 26th January 1981 

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Cdt Mohinder Jeet Singh Bains Aux 32220 F(P)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 08 Sep 84 Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

On the 8th Sept. 1984, Flight Cadet Mohinder Jeet Singh Bains, who was undergoing Advance stage training at an Air Force Training Institution, was authorised to fly a Low Level Navigation sortie with a chase pilot. Just after take off, he experienced an engine flame-out. Facing the most critical emergency in a single engine jet aircraft. Flt Cdt Mohinder Jeet Singh Bains, inspite of his very limited experience as a trainee pilot, was calm. He turned the stricken aircraft away from heavily populated areas to head for a lake in order to avoid loss of lives on the ground and damage to civilians property. Thereafter, following the drills he had been taught, he jettisoned the canopy and put the aircraft smoothly down, wheels up, on the edge of the lake. The aircraft skimmed along the water and slowed down about three hundred meters into the lake, then nosed into settle wings level on the bottom, twenty feet down. Underwater, Flt Cdt Bains unstrapped himself from his seat and his parachute, disconnected his oxygen tube and came out of the cockpit. But immediately he got entangled in the weeds in the lake. Though weighed down by his boots and overalls, he made a tremendous effort and almost reached the surface but the weeds pulled him down. He attempted to remove his boots and by the time he unlaced one, he had suffocated and drowned.

Flight Cadet Mohinder Jeet Singh Bains thus displayed cool courage, presence of mind and a high sense of responsibility.

Reference: Notification No. 28-Pres/86 dated 26th January, 1986 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 22nd March, 1986. 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Gurcharan Singh Baweja 15030 F(P)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 01 Apr 87 Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Squadron Leader Gurcharan Singh Baweja has been on the posted strength of Air Force Academy as Qualified Flying Instructor in HJT-16 aircraft since 09 Jun 85. During a short period of slightly less than two years, he has flown a total of 816 hours on Kiran aircraft.

On 01 Apr 87, while flying on instructional sorties in a Kiran aircraft, on the final approach at 300­400', he noticed that even though the pupil was moving the throttle forward to correct for a slightly undershooting approach, the RPM was winding down rather than increasing. Sqn Ldr Baweja immediately took over control and sized up the situation in a split second. He and the pupil had the opportunity to eject, but realizing that he still had some decaying power and even though the aircraft was low on the glide slope it had a slightly higher IAS, he decided to carry on with the approach and make the beginning of the R/W for a safe landing. He now optimised his approach and by deft handling of the aircraft in this critical stage, was able to round off over the undershoot area which enabled a safe touch down just a few feet ahead of the beginning of the R/W. By the time the aircraft touched the R/W, the engine had flamed out fully. This commendable performance was not a reflex action or a chance outcome, but a well judged and premeditated act in which Sqn Ldr Baweja exhibited professional skill and proficiency of the highest order and, as a result, he not only saved a valuable aircraft but also provided an opportunity to locate the cause factor for the engine failure.

Sqn Ldr Baweja is a self motivated officer who goes out of his way to keep his knowledge up to date.

For his exceptional professionalisms, keeping his cool while handling a critical emergency and rate devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Sqn Ldr Gurcharan Singh Baweja.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 2nd April 1988 - No.24-Pres/88 dated 26th January 1988 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Gurcharan Singh Bhogal 12504 F(P)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 95
Details :

Group Captain Gurcharan Singh Bhogal was commissioned in the IAF on 19 December 1970. He has over 1300 hrs of accident free flying to his credit. He is also an A-2 flying instructor with over 1000 hrs of instructional flying, and has been an Air Force Examiner. A graduate of Defence Services Staff College he has served as Directing Staff at this prestigious Institution.

Gp Capt Bhogal was posted to the Air Force Academy (AFA) as Chief Instructor (Flying) in March 1993, where he has been responsible for the supervision and conduct of all flying training at the Academy. This task is extremely challenging as it involves conduct of flying and ground training in six different syllabi. This enormous task involves close and direct supervision to ensure the highest quality of flying training amounting to 18,000 hours per year, which is the maximum flown at any IAF Station. In addition Gp Capt Bhogal has personally supervised training and standardisation of a large number of flying instructors.

Induction of women trainees into the flying branch resulted in increased quantum of flying at AFA. Gp Capt Bhogal was asked to introduce simultaneous mixed flying of Kiran and HPT32 aircraft in order to increase availability of ac and achieve optimum utilisation of manpower and ac resources. Gp Capt Bhogal worked ceaselessly to revise orders and procedures with great care and deliberation to ensure that mixed flying is carried out in a very safe environment. The Academy was awarded the Best Flying Training Establishment and the best Flight Safety Trophies of Training Command for the year 1993.

For exceptional devotion to duty the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Gp Capt Gurcharan Singh Bhogal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 1995 - No.99-Pres/94 dated 26th January 1995 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Arun Purushottam Garud 14692 F(P)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Arun Purushottam Garud was commissioned as a Helicopter Pilot on 29 Dec 76. An A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor, he has instructed at four flying training establishments including the prestigious Flying Instructors School. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and has 5200 hours of accident free flying to his credit.

Wg Cdr AP Garud was posted to Air Force Academy on 10 Aug 92. He was instrumental in planning and executing flying training of eleven courses including three women courses. Over 200 trainees graduated under his guidance and his Squadron flew over 10,000 accident free hours in this period. Wg Cdr Garud managed this outstanding feat by focusing his attention on critical areas of flying and conducting workshops personally, to educate each staff and student alike. He achieved each of his enormous time bound tasks always on schedule through effective supervision, dedication and example.

Wg Cdr Garud fabricated several training aids which had valuable impact on basic training. These included a video film on circuit and landing and computer graphics for scan patterns in Instrument Flying. All these training aids are used by over two hundred trainees and seventy Flying Instructors every year.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Arun Purushottam Garud.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 15th March 1997 - No.19-Pres/97 dated 26th January 1997 

Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Rathindra Nath Sen 4374 AE(L)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 26 Jan 75 Announced 26 Jan 75
Details :

Wing commander Sen carried out a through project study for setting up of 35 mm movie projection system in the Air Force Academy from Air Force Welfare Funds, Funds generated from this venture were channeled towards construction of an open Air Theater, which again was designed by Wing Commander Sen after a second project study. The personal interest taken by him in contacting Local Government and private agencies for release of steel, cement, and other restricted quota items, and getting the project going with rapidity speaks highly of his initiative. The theater, the construction was started in December, 1973, was ready for operation on 1st April, 1974, largely due to consistent interest taken by Wing Commander Sen. He has also designed and locally fabricated a Kiran Wireless Trainer for training wireless mechanics on Kiran signals installation.

The dedicated work, drive and leadership of Wing Commander Sen was largely instrumental in ensuring establishment of sound and effective signal echelon at Air Force Academy. His consistent zeal to execute all assignments from inception to successful frutition, made heavy demands on him well beyond the call of duty. He has rendered distinguished service of a high order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1975 Number: 

Vishist Seva Medal
MWO Kalathil Nellikka Chandran 14969 ORUnit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 26 Jan 76 Announced 26 Jan 76
Details :

Master Warrant Officer Chandran was enrolled on 1 Nov 42. He was posted to Air Force Academy where he was in-charge of Harvard second line servicing. It was largely due to his efforts that inspite of the age of the Aircraft, the training targets could be adhered to and courses passed out on schedule. Notable amongst his achievements is elimination of Counter Weight shaft failures. In 1974 there were incidents of the front cowling of Harvard aircraft fouling with the propeller. With his professional knowledge and personal participation he evolved suitable servicing instruction to prevent recurrence of such incidents. His contribution to make flying safe is substantial.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1976 Number: 

Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Nippani Lakshmi Narayana Rao 4837 F(P)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 26 Jan 77 Announced 26 Jan 77
Details :

Wing Commander Nipani Lakshmi Narayana Rao (4837) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of Air Force Academy with effect from April 1973 as Chief Operation Officer. During 1974, Wing Commander Nipani Lakshmi Narayana Rao was called upon to take over the duties of Chief Flying Instructor Harvard Training Squadron in addition to the Chief Operation Officer's duties in the absence of a regular incumbent on the establishment of Air Force Academy. These two appointments jointly placed lot of responsibilities on him. It was due to his devotion to duty, hard work and perseverance that not only the flying training task was completed in time, he himself did 400 hors of supervisory instructional flying during this period. Wing Commander Nipani Lakshmi Narayana Rao has done over 6000 hours of service flying out of which 2000 hours are instructional.

Wing Commander Nipani Lakshmi Narayana Rao was also entrusted with various welfare responsibilities at the Air Force Academy which he performed in an excellent manner. The results produced by him were only possible due to his high sense of responsibility, devotion to duty, integrity and working long hours with single mindedness of purpose without caring for personal comforts.

For his distinguished service of a very high order, Wing Commander Nipani Lakshmi Narayana Rao is awarded Vishisht Seva Medal.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1977 Number: 

Vishist Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Sundaram Kalyanasundaram 5613 AE(M)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 26 Jan 78 Announced 26 Jan 78
Details :

Wing Commander Sundaram Kalyan Sundaram was commissioned in the Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) Branch of the Air Force in November 1968.

He has been the Chief Engineering Officer of the Air Force Academy since 16 September 1976. Undeterred by the high Aircraft-onGround rate of rotables and ARS spares, and the problems faced on the tail plane, nosewheel assembly and canopies, Wing Commander Sundaram displayed intelligent planning, effective material management, high devotion to duty an cordial relationship with HAL, thus raising the serviceability progressively to 70%. Wing Commander Sundaram Kalyan Sundaram has all along deployed outstanding work, intelligence, management ability and a high sense of devotion to duty and has thus rendered distinguished service of a high order. The President is pleased to award him Vishisht Seva Medal.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1978 Number: 

Vishist Seva Medal
Fg Offr Nav Ratan Shukla 16475 AE(M)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 26 Jan 85 Announced 26 Jan 85
Details :

Flying Officer Nav Ratan Shukla was commissioned in Jun 81 and since then has been posted at the Air Force Academy as Officer-in-Charge CR&SS.

Despite the introduction of various modifications, technical instructions and servicing bulletins, the snags of 'Nose Red' and Canopy Unlocking Warning have been occurring on the Kiran aircraft. Fg Offr Shukla designed and fabricated a special peg spanner for effectively locking the nose undercarriage downlock micro switch actuating pin, introduced vide Mod 287A. He evolved a system of determining the requirement of shimmying for this pin to render the microswitch operation foolproof. This has considerably reduced the 'Nose Red' incidents on post-Mod 287A/334 aircraft. These rigging instructions have since been accepted by both HAL and the IAF. Standard Technical Instructions, incorporating his design, are under issue.

Earlier, he suggested rigging instructions for clam shell operating mechanism, to overcome play in the canopy locking mechanism, which often resulted in a canopy unlocked warning. These instructions, accepted by HAL (BC), have since been issued for implementation. This has virtually eliminated the canopy defects.

As Officer-in-Charge CR&SS, Fg Offr Shukla has maintained a very high production output. His achievements and exceptional devotion to duty, have been a source of inspiration to maintenance personnel at the Academy.

For his commendable initiative and innovative skills, the President is pleased to grant Vishisht Seva Medal to Flying Officer Nav Ratan Shukla.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1985 Number: 

Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt Jaspal Singh Gujral 11300 F(P)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 26 Jan 94 Announced 26 Jan 94
Details :

Group Captain Jaspal Singh Gujral was commissioned on 31 Dec 67 as a fighter pilot. A graduate of Defence Services Staff College and Instiute of Defence Management, he commanded a MiG-21 fighter squadron during 1985-87. For exceptional devotion to duty, he was awarded Vayu Seva Medal in 1988. Gp Capt Gujral is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and has flown more than 3800 accident free hours on single engine aircraft.

For his professional competence, Gp Capt Gujral was specially selected fro appointment of Chief Instructor (CI) Flying at Air Force Academy (AFA), the premier flying training institution of the IAF. In this appointment, he was overall incharge of ab-initio and advance flying training of pilots. Gp Capt Gujral produced excellent results while training 547 pilot trainees - the mainstay of the IAF during times to come. His personal involvement in all aspects of training culminated in consi derable improvement in flight safety. Flight safety record of zero landing accidents sine 30 Sep 91, and zero spin accident of trainees since 01 Dec 90 are visible indicators of his superb performance. Besides, Gp Capt Gujral has coordinated and led seven fly pasts during Graduation Parades, remodified Academy orders concerning local flying areas (LFA) management and fabricated a scale model of LFA. In addition he compiled and excellent précis on "service etiquettes" in the IAF. His services have contributed immensely in producing highly accomplished officer. While attaining this objective, he also ensured that no aircraft were lost during conduct of training.

For distinguished service of a high order, the President is pleased to award Vishisht Seva Medal to Gp Capt Jaspal Singh Gujral.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1994 Number: 

Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt Ranjit Singh Tathgur 11877 F(P)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 26 Jan 96 Announced 26 Jan 96
Details :

Group Captain RS Tathgur was commissioned on 29 Dec 68. A veteran fighter pilot with over 4100 hours of accident free flying to his credit, he is also an A-2 flying instructor. Further his track record as Flight Commander and Commanding Officer of two operational Squadrons is excellent.

Group Captain RS Tathgur was posted as Academy Flight Safety & Inspection Officer in Apr 93 and took over as Chief Operations Officer in Apr 94. The Academy flies over 18,000 hours per annum. Most of this is carried out by ab-initio trainees, which explains the crucial role of both the above appointments in maintaining a safe flying environment. That the Officer has more than met the standards expected of him is evident from the fact that the Academy accident rate for the year 1993-94 was zero. Further as Chief Operations Officer he has maintained a continuous check on potential hazards to flying by eradicating bird roosting areas in the aerodrome vicinity, paying great heed to aerodrome maintenance, introducing Red & Green periods for flying and personally surveying and clearing sectors for low flying. He was also responsible for revamping the pre-accident plan and ensuring its regular practice. These achievements undoubtedly contributed a great deal to the Academy winning the Best Flying Training Establishment trophy for two consecutive years and the coveted Flight Safety Trophy in 1993-94.

For distinguished service of a high order, the President is pleased to award 'Vishisht Seva Medal' to Group Captain RS Tathgur.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1996 Number: 

Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt Sajjad Rahim 13031 AE(M)Unit : Air Force Academy  Award Date 26 Jan 02 Announced 26 Jan 02
Details :

Group Captain Sajjad Rahim (13031) AE (M) was commissioned as an Engineer in the Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) Branch on 17 Jan 72. He has held the appointments of Flight Engineer Leader, Officer Commanding, Director at Air HQ and Chief Engineering Officer, Air Force Academy. He is a graduate from Defence Services Staff College, a postgraduate in Aerospace Engineering from IIT, and holds Master Degree in Business Administration. During his tenure as JD/Director, Armament & Safety Equipment, he evolved a concept and methodology to rejuvenate life expired bombs by opening up the bomb body, removing the life expired charge and replacing it with advanced High Explosive charge. The recycling of the 3200 old bombs held the potential of saving of Rs 30 crore initially at the rate of Rs 95,000 per bomb. This has now become a regular practice. As Chief Engineering Officer at Air Force Academy, since 09 Nov 98, by dedication, hard work and professionalism he changed the work culture and made the organisation more focussed. His skillful management resulted in improvement of Kiran fleet average serviceability from 59% in 1998 to 83% in 2000. The corresponding figures for HPT-32 aircraft were 69% and 85%. 100% serviceability was achieved on Kiran and HPT-32 fleets on 39 and 59 occasions respectively. The sustenance of high serviceability resulted in smooth conduct of annual flying training task of 5,500 hours for Kiran and 11,500 hours for HPT-32. During his stewardship 48 Kiran and 56 HPT-32 aircraft were recovered from prolonged non-availability. The non- availability of critical components like cooling Air pack and Artificial Horizon for Kiran was overcome by putting in place a system for transferring the components between flying aircraft, thus improving aircraft availability. In addition, the serviceability of systems such as Radiotelephony, Arrester barrier, Telephone exchange, etc was maintained over 99%. By tactful liaison with DoT, the Ultra High Frequency linked telephone circuit was changed over to optical fibre cable, without any breakdown of communication links, leading to a saving of Rs Two lakhs annually.

For his dynamic leadership, professional dedication and distinguished services of a high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vishisht Seva Medal' to Group Captain Sajjad Rahim.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2002 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.