Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1329 Awards are listed.
Vayu Sena Medal : 1329 |
Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ravi Khanna 18565 F(P)Unit : No.6 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Ravi Khanna (18565) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1986. He was posted as Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron with effect from 23 Jul 2003.Wg Cdr Khanna was a thorough professional and he led his squadron competently. Under his leadership the unit not only accomplished all assigned tasks to perfection, it also set an example for others to emulate. During Eklavya 2003, the Squadron bagged five trophies out of a total seven and was adjudged overall best in the gunnery meet. The Squadron came first in three team events of which he led one and participated in another. It was also declared as the best Fighter Squadron in the Indian Air Force.As Commanding Officer of the unit, he had taken the Squadron to participate in the prestigious exercise Vayu Shaktiï·“04'. On 26 Feb 04, he was authorized to fly as No. 3 in a four aircraft formation that was to drop 1000 pound retarded bomb over Pokhran Range as part of a battle inoculation exercise. During the mission, after release, the bomb exploded in air very close to the aircraft causing the aircraft to disintegrate, resulting in fatal injuries to Wg Cdr Khanna. Throughout his tenure as Squadron Commander, he insisted on maintaining the unit at a high level of professional standard.For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Ravi Khanna (Posthumously).
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
JWO Surendra Kumar 668479 ORUnit : No.122 Helicopter Flight  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : 668479 Junior Warrant Officer Surendra Kumar Mohanty Flight Gunner is on the posted strength of a Helicopter unit in Andaman and Nicobar island since 22 Apr 2002.On 08 Oct 03 at 0925 h, after being detailed as the Flight Gunner on a mercy mission for the rescue of fifteen members of the expedition on the Galathea river in the Great Nicobar island, JWO Mohanty promptly reacted to the emergent situation and ensured that the helicopter was loaded with the requisite survival equipment and emergency food and water in the minimum possible time.Due to his vast experience as a Flight Gunner, JWO Mohanty was able to provide valuable inputs to the captain during the.crew briefing prior to the mission. During the search, he displayed keen observation and high situational awareness in surveying the route from the cargo compartment. The team was located in a deep narrow valley with tall trees ranging from 25 to 100 meters height on either side. This precluded a landing and the personnel had to be winched up. Variable winds and limited tip clearance of only five to ten meters made the task extremely demanding and challenging. Displaying exceptional competence and handling of the winching equipment, he winched up the fifteen members in the minimum possible time in extremely adverse conditions. Once on board, he provided them initial nourishment and comfort. All this while, he kept guiding the pilot in maintaining the ground position in the restricted area of operation. The mission would not have been successful but for his valuable contribution.For his exceptional devotion to duty and professionalism, the HonIle President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Junior Warrant Officer Surendra Kumar Mohanty.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Umesh Kumar Sharma 17323 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 27 Dec 05 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Umesh Kumar Sharma (17323) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Helicopter Stream of the IAF on 22 Dec 1983. He is a Type Qualified Flying Instructor and has also served as a production test pilot in a Mi-8 Base Repair Depot. He has to his credit over 5600 hrs of accident free flying. He is presently posted as Commanding Officer of a Mi-8 Helicopter unit at Air Force Station, Sulur since 11 Aug 2003.Air HQ detailed Wg Cdr Sharma lo load a contingent of six helicopters for undertaking rescue iind relief operations In Sri Lanka, named 'Op Sea Wave'. Utilising his skills ol professionalism and foresightedness, a meticulous induction plan was prepared. He led the first wave of three helicopters from Sulur to Colombo as the Task Force Commander. Immediately after landing in the midst of chaos in Sri Lanka, he co-ordinated with the SLAF HQ and various aid agencies and chalked out the modus operand! for the relief work. He displayed sterling leadership qualities leading the IAF contingent in Sri Lanka and was responsible for effective planning and successful execution of the rescue and relief effort.On 27 Dec 2005, 181 foreign tourists including ladies and children were injured and stranded in the worst affected areas of Galle, Matara and Hambantota. On receiving the news, Wg Cdr Sharma took on the onerous task of immediate evacuation. He was the first to recce and select suitable landing sites within the rubble and wreckage of devastation and ensured quick and safe evacuation to Colombo, thereby saving precious lives in time.He gallantly took upon himself the risk of being the first to recce and decide on the safe routes to fly in the LTTE infested areas. Displaying exceptional courage, despite a potential threat, he co-ordinated airlift of the relief material from SLAF bases to the LTTE controlled areas of Batticaloa, Ampara, Vavuniya and Trincomalee. During the operation, under his leadership, the contingent achieved a task of airlifting 2,35,000 Kg and 673 people, flying a total of 422 sorties/ 270 hours, without any flying accident/incident.For this act of exceptional courage, leadership qualities and selfless devotion to duty during the 27 days of rescue and relief operation in Sri Lanka by the IAF contingent of helicopters, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Umesh Kumar Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem 18101 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 19 Jul 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem (18101) Flying (Pilot) Is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit as its Commanding Officer since 11 Aug 2003.On 10 Jul 2004 Wg Cdr Vridhachalem undertook a mercy mission at short notice from a village near Darranga, south of the International border with Bhutan. On reaching the area Wg Cdr Vridhachalem realized during the recce, that the Pugladia river had breached its banks splitting the village into two. The rising waters of the river were slowly submerging remnants of the village and the marooned villagers were faced with imminent danger to their lives. Despite the fact that there was no clear landing area available in the village, Wg Cdr Vridhachalem displayed gallantry in making a precise landing in a small water-logged clearing within the village. He hovered the helicopter low with one wheel touching the water-logged ground and evacuated the marooned villagers in an orderly manner.On 19 Jul 2004 Wg Cdr Vridhachalem received an urgent request from the DC Nagaon to launch helicopters for evacuating thousands of marooned villagers near Hojai. Two helicopters under the command of Wg Cdr Vridhachalem were launched for Hojai within a mere 30 minutes. The area near Hojai was totally inundated by the Kopili river. The river had breached its banks at a number of places and the resultant flash flood had taken the helpless residents totally by surprise. No clear area was available for launching conventional rescue operations. Assessing the difficult situation and the limited time available, Wg Cdr Vridhachalem brought the helicopter to a low hover on a submerged culvert, He commenced the rescue operation with the helicopter held steady at low hover over the culvert. I lundreds of civilians waded through waist deep water to board the safety of the helicopter hovering a few feet above the ground. He flew as many as 12 sorties to evacuate the marooned civilians without taking a break. The fact that such difficult operations were executed flawlessly by precise hovering over water, with frantic civilians clamouring to be rescued, speaks volumes of the leadership and professionalism displayed by the CO of the unit. The officer led by personal example in ensuring a high level of team motivation exhibited by all personnel of his unit In utiderlaklnn rescue missions under most difficult conditions.For these acts of exceptional courage in rescuing hundreds of lives, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 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 Pemmaraju Maheshwar 19183 F(P)Unit : 37 Wing  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Pemmaraju Maheshwar (19183) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Air Force Station Carnicobar since 05 Apr 2004.On 26 Dec 2004, Air Force Station Carnicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake which was followed by Tsunamis. The house atop which Wg Cdr Maheshwar had taken refuge along with his and a few other families collapsed due to the onslaught of the tidal waves. While most of the families perished, Wg Cdr Maheshwar and his family miraculously survived suffering heavy physical injuries. After regrouping his family and placing them on a safe location, the professional in him came alive,Inspite of being badly Injured by the swirling debris, Wg Cdr Maheshwar got airborne for a short while in a Mi-8 to lake stock of the extent of devastation. From that moment onwards, despite the recently experienced trauma of witnessing the loss of colleagues and their families, Wg Cdr Maheshwar worked tirelessly to ensure that the runway and all the support services were available round the clock to facilitate evacuation of approximately 5500 personnel, families and civilians from the island of Carnicobar and also enable the unhampered ingress of relief materials. The civilians of the islands wanted to be evacuated to Port Blair. The management of this extra traffic was well regulated by his personal intervention. The runway at Carnicobar had never seen so much night flying before especially by big aircraft like IL - 76 and a large number of AN -32 aircraft. These aircraft flew on emergency lighting system as no electrical systems exist and the surrounding area was In darkness as there was no power supply. Extensive and incident free air operations took place by day and night on a rapidly deteriorating quake damaged runway surface. His personal involvement and supervision ensured'the smooth flow of traffic. Though the medical team advised complete rest to prevent aggravation of haematoma injury, Wg Cdr Maheshwar continued to maintain round the clock vigil to ensure a safe operational environment in a post calamity scenario, where most of the technical facilities were not functional.For this act of exceptional courage, selfless devotion to duty towards mankind, extraordinary physical and menial ronm^d find exemplary leadership in a natural disaster without concern for his personal loss or trauma, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Pemmaraju Maheshwar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Manish Girdhar 20163 F(P)Unit : No.122 Helicopter Flight  Award Date 10 Jul 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Squadron Leader Manish Girdhar (20163) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 Helicopter Flight, located at Air Force Station Car Nicobar, with effect from 19 May 2003. He is the Flight Commander of the unit, holds Cat/IRA/Master Green and is a Right Hand Seat Check Pilot.On the evening of 09 Jul 2004, Sqn Ldr Girdhar received the commitment to launch a rescue helicopter for two senior scientists, including one from BARC, and three Coast Guard personnel marooned at Barren Island, India's only active volcano. The helicopter was to get airborne at first light on 10 Jul 2004. Realising the sensitivity of the mission and leading from the front, he chose himself as the captain. He also directed the unit Engineering officer to undertake out of phase servicing of the rescue helicopter to ensure optimum availability of aircraft hours.On landing at Port Blair during the early hours of 10 Jul 2004, he carried out an on the spot assessment of the situation in co-ordination with the other members of the rescue team, which included one Coast Guard officer and three divers. He conducted a thorough mission briefing for all the team members, motivated them and kept them primed for the task at hand. On reaching Barren Island, the marooned scientists were located on a thin cove, south of the island, surrounded by steep sloping rock walls on three sides. Gusty and strong tail winds of 18-25 knots, limited area and daunting cliffs precluded a conventional rescue. Displaying a high level of competence and professionalism, he carried out a curved approach terminating in a 30 meters hover over the sea. Using all his flying experience, hi skillfully manoeuvred the helicopter rearward and sideward in the confined space to position just beyond the water line with bare minimum clearance of five to seven meters from the rork fare. Thereafter he landed the helicopter on a small portion of the protruding land, He maintained partial power ensuring tluil the helicopter did not sink Into the soft ground. The survivors were then recovered, provided water and light refreshments on board and flown back to Port Blair. During the entire mission he maintained a high degree of coordination between the crew members, synergised their efforts and played a leading role in Crew Resource Management.For this act of exceptional courage and leadership in accomplishing a mercy mission with alacrity, efficiency and competence, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Manish Girdhar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Tapesh Shankar 20444 F(P)Unit : No.78 Squadron  Award Date 17 Oct 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Squadron Leader Tapesh Shankar (20444) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a FRA Squadron since 1 (5 Dec 2002. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, holding Cat/IR B Master Green on IL- 78 MKI aircraft.On 17 Oct 2004 Sqn Ldr Shankar was detailed to fly from Trivandrum to Mauritius as part of Ex Golden Eagle. After an hour and fifteen minutes of flying at an altitude of 28,000 feet over the Indian Ocean in adverse weather conditions, the main hydraulic system of the aircraft failed. In addition, as the aircraft was manoeuvred to turn, the right spoiler, which assists in turning the aircraft, got stuck in the extended position. It led to a serious multiple emergency situations in which prompt actions and careful handling of the ac was imperative. He tackled the emergency in a very calm and professional manner and decided to return to Trivandrum. He flew the complete route manually, as the autopilot was not able to hold the existing excessive control forces. The control forces were so high that he had to fly with the control column deflected to the left by almost 70 degrees and also use his knees to hold it in the required position. On the final approach for landing at Trivandrum, as the speed was reduced to approach speed, the aircraft started side-slipping and became almost uncontrollable, because of the reduced effectiveness of ailerons vis-a-vis the spoilers. Sqn Ldr Shankar understood the cause of the difficulty and immediately increased speed till just short of touch down to counter the sideslip by flying with cross controls and executed a perfect landing. In the absence of the main hydraulic system, wheel-braking effectiveness was also reduced. The handling of the emergency by him illustrates his professional competence and knowledge of IL-78 aircraft systems. Prompt actions taken by him explicitly endorse his presence of mind and exceptional situational awareness. By smoothly recovering a disabled aircraft in adverse weather and in extremely difficult and trying conditions. ik; saved a strategic asset and valuable lives on board.For this act of gallantry, competence and demonstration of professional excellence, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Tapesh Shankar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ashok Pande 20521 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 09 Jul 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Squadron Leader Ashok Pande (20521) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of 1 18 Helicopter Unit since 14 Jul 2003. He is a seasoned twin-engine helicopter pilot wilh over 3200 hours of flyling. He is a soft spoken and a thorough professional, who with his maturity and experience has been an invaluable advisor and a competent officer.On the 09 Jul 2004, Sqn Ldr Pande was detailed as the Captain of a helicopter for evacuating marooned school children in a boarding school, North of Rangia with the raging flood waters threatening-to wash away the whole building. In-addition to the raging flood waters, the adverse weather with low, dark clouds and rain made the condition dangerous and risky. This aggravated the difficulty in rescue operation. The only landing place available on site where children were stranded was football ground, which too was filled with knee-deep flood water. Landing of helicopter in knee-deep flood water required high level of professionalism and tremendous courage. However, undeterred by such risky and hazardous conditions Sqn Ldr Pande took a brave decision to land the helicopter in knee deep water so as to accomplish the task of rescuing children who otherwise would have been drowned. With sole aim of rescuing 140 children Sqn Ldr Pande risked his life and landed not only once but carried out eight sorties to save the children. In the ensuing days he also rescued 1080 marooned villagers and dropped over 35 tons of essential supplies at various difficult and hazardous terrains. He exhibited exceptional professionalism and coin-age in the best traditions of Air Force, which resulted in saving the several countrymen from the natural calamity.For this act of exceptional courage in extreme adverse conditions, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Ashok Pande.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Sachin Kapoor 21853 F(P)Unit : Flying Instructors School  Award Date 10 Nov 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Squadron Leader Sachin Kapoor (21853) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Flying Instructors School since 01 Dec 2003. He is from the transport stream and is an A2 instructor on both HPT-32 and HJT-16.On 10 Nov 2004 Sqn Ldr Kapoor was detailed to fly as a captain along with Sqn Ldr Dhiraj Anand, to carry out airframe and engine check on Kiran Mk-1 aircraft. At a distance of M kilometers from base, Sqn Ldr Anaiul was carrying out barrel roll to check the altTraine handling characteristics. During the barrel roll, Sqn Ldr Kapoor experienced a loss of thrust followed by engine flame out. He immediately took over controls and attempted relight which was unsuccessful. Soon generator warning light became "On" and main hydraulic pressures dropped. Subsequently, the RPM dropped to zero and finally the engine seized. This was a dangerous situation and he could have ejected from the aircraft.However even in such a grave and emergent situation when the aircraft engine had seized, he decided to risk his life to save the aircraft. He tried for a force landing at base with seized engine despite a high and unpredictable rate of descent. It was extremely dangerous and demanded very high degree of courage and professionalism. Undeterred by fear to his life, he manoeuvred the aircraft proficiently and positioned correctly over all key reporting points keeping in mind the increased rate of descent. On finals, when the flaps were lowered on emergency, he skillfully controlled the large change in pitch and gallantly landed the. aircraft safely on the centerline of the runway. He displayed immense courage and handled the emergency in a most competent manner. Sqn Ldr Kapoor not only saved a valuable aircraft as well as vital evidence for investigation but also promoted the gallant and professional traditions of the Air Force.For this act of exceptional courage and professional competence, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Sachin Kapoor.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Samir Ranjan Das 24040 F(P)Unit : No.41 Squadron  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Squadron Leader Samir Ranjan Das (24040) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of DO 228 Squadron, Air Force since 27 Jan 2004. He is an experienced Flying pilot, with 2800 hours.Sqn Ldr Das was on detachment to Air Force Station, Carnicobar during the month of Dec 2004. On 26 Dec 2004 at 0630 Mrs, Carnicobar was hit by severe Earthquake followed by Tsunami. During and after the Tsunami onslaught, he was selflessly and courageously involved in saving lives and organising safe conduct of rescue and relief operations. Courageously wading through the rising level of water at chest level he went towards married quarters lo help tho slnmded families. Seeing the houses being swept in the killer waves, he ran towards the tarmac to save the aircraft. 1 Ic along with the crew started the aircraft and positioned it on the runway. He immediately gave May Day calls to Chennai and requested for rescue and relief. He then went towards the submerged end of runway braving the neck deep reptile infested water without fear of being bitten and helped fifteen stranded families to the safety of high ground. He rescued one snake bite victim out of the water thus saving his life. Thereafter, he courageously entered the submerged married quarters through the unknown waters looking for survivors. He entered the half broken, unsafe Officers Mess and collected few food item/soft drinks, which was sent for ladies and children before relief arrived. His farsightedness proved useful for the survivors.He flew the first casualty evacuation sortie from Carnicobar carrying 20 critically injured survivors and brought back much needed life saving medical aid, food and water. He was flying till late night without food in shorts, T-shirt and slippers only and unmindful of his personal needs. He was flying for the first lime over seas by night with no Navigation aids available and evacuated a total of 60 critical casualties, one of which was a cardiac arrest patient, the very first day and thus saved lives.His relentless efforts towards search and rescue and total involvement in casualty evacuation/ relief operations resulted in saving lives. It aptly exhibited sense of 'Service Before Self.For this act of exceptional courage in saving lives and bravery in the face of National disaster, the Hon'ble President Is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Samir Ranjan Das.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Santosh Kumar Yadav 25106 F(P)Unit : No.41 Squadron  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Flight Lieutenant Santosh Kumar Yadav (25106) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of DO-228 Squadron, Air Force since 29 Sep 2003. He is an experienced Flying pilot, with 2150 hours.Fit Lt Yadav was on detachment to Air Force Station, Car Nicobar during the month of Dec 2004. On 26 Dec 2004 at 0630 h, Carnicobar was hit by severe Earth-quake followed by Tsunami. During, and after the Tsunami onslaught, he was selfless and courageously involved in helping save lives and organising safe conduct of rescue and relief operations. Braving the rising waters at neck level, without fearing for his own life, he swam towards married quarters to help the families stranded on top of the buildings. During his daring endeavor to save precious lives, he was caught in the massive waves and was swept off for about 200 meters through thick jungle and barely managed to save his life after holding onto the trees and then swimming hard to get out of the killer waves. He came out of water with deep cuts and bruises all over his body. He alongwith the crew taxied the aircraft to safety and gave May Day calls to Chennai on HF radio and requested for rescue and relief. He alongwith the Sqn personnel then went towards the submerged end of runway entering neck deep reptile infested water and helped 15 stranded families to the safety of high ground. Thereafter, he along with the crew bravely entered the water and submerged married quarters looking for survivors. He entered iho half broken, unsafe Officers Mess iinil collected few food Hem / sofl drinks, whirl) was scnl for ladies and children. His farsightedness proved useful to the victims.He flew the first casualty evacuation sortie from Carnicobar in mid- afternoon carrying 20 critically injured survivors. He brought back the much needed life saving medical aid, food and water supplies. He was flying till late night in shorts and T-shirt only, unmindful of his personal needs. He flew for the first time over seas by night with no Navigational aids available and airlifted a total of 60 critically injured casualties helping save lives. His relentless efforts towards search and rescue and total involvement in casualty evacuation/ relief operations resulted in saving lives. It aptly exhibited sense of 'Service Before Self.For this act of exceptional courage In saving lives and bravery in the face of National disaster, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Flight Lieutenant Santosh Kumar Yadav.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Devavrat Jagdish Bhandarkar 25338 F(P)Unit : No.122 Helicopter Flight  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Flight Lieutenant Devavrat Jagdish Bhandarkar (25338) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of MI-8 Helicopter Flight of Air Force Station Carnicobar since 10 Nov 2003.On 26 Dec 2004, the Air Force Station Carnicobar was struck by severe earthquake which was followed by dangerous and devastating Tsunami waves that nearly wiped out the domestic area. Flt Lt Bhandarkar, having escaped the initial onslaught, proceeded with duty to provide succour to his fellow men. I le promptly started up the second helicopter for rescue operations. While starting up the helicopter, the dangerous waves entered the dispersal area with a tremendous force and were about to wash away the helicopter. Unmindful of the risk to his life he started the helicopter, which later on proved a boon for saving several lives. He not only saved the valuable asset but was also instrumental in evacuating large number of people who were trapped in the aftermath of Tsunami. He initially flew with the Chief Operations Officer and later with the Commanding Officer, carrying out search and rescue operation by landing at extremely restricted and dangerous spots. He was also involved in winching up personnel and their families from various spots under Hazardous and adverse conditions. The personnel were stranded at many hazardous and dangerous points from where it was very difficult to carryout the rescue. But unmindful of his personal safety and limited safety margins he risked his life to save the stranded personnel. He flew continuously for more than three hours facing extreme adverse conditions amid the fear and apprehension among the personnel striving for life.Immediately after the aerial rescue, despite fatigue and exhaustion, He joined the ground rescue parly to carry out extensive search and rescue In the Tsunami ravaged area. He also carried out the difficult task of extricating and identifying bodies of the dead, which is yeomen service of highest order towards humanity. He untiringly worked day and night for the subsequent four days regardless of the personal safety, comfort, health hazards and displayed immense courage of the highest order. He proved to be a morale booster for others.For this act of exceptional courage and selfless commitment in saving human lives after devastating Tsunami, the Hon'ble President Is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Flight Lieutenant Devavrat Jagdish Bhandarkar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sgt Devendra Kumar Sharma 765876 ORUnit : No.122 Helicopter Flight  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : 765876 Sergeant Davendra Kumar Sharma Flight Gunner is on the posted strength of Mi-8 Helicopter Flight of Air Force Station Carnicobar since 10 Nov 2003.On 26 Dec 2004, the Air Force Station was struck by a severe earthquake followed by devastating Tsunami waves. Sgt Sharma escaped the onslaught and immediately prepared the helicopter for rescue operations. As the Fit Gnr, he ensured availability of all required equipment on board enabling an expeditious take off. After take off, the captain assessed the situation to be extremely serious with high tidal waves engulfing the domestic area. In the rescue operations that followed Sgt Sharma played a crucial role ns the Fit Gnr and ensured successful evacuation of over 250 people. The rescue operations were carried out from roof tops, balcony and radar ramp, with violent waves devastating the buildings below. The area was restricted and time was at a premium. The survivors were panic stricken and winching thorn required acnirncy and skill. Sgt Sharma displayed great courage, despite the trauma lie underwent and gave valuable Inputs to the Captain of the helicopter, thus ensuring speedy evacuation of people. At one stage the people became so desperate for survival that they were hanging on to the winch cable in groups thus endangering the helicopter itself. Sgt Sharma, with his experience controlled the crowd from the helicopter effectively and continued with the rescue operations. He remained composed through out the long duration of rescue operations of over three hours.For this act of gallantry In reacting to one of the gravest situations, the Hon'ble President Is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Sergeant Davendra Kumar Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Makarand Ranade 18586 F(P)Unit : No.26 Squadron  Award Date 06 Apr 05 Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Makarand Ranade (18586) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a MiG-21 Squadron since 10 Jul 2001 as the Commanding Officer.On 06 Apr 2005, he was authorised to fly a Practice Interception mission by Dark Night. He got airborne in a Mig-21 Bis aircraft. After take off, at 1. 8 km height, during the right turn towards the exercise area, he experienced booster hydraulic system failure with the pressure rapidly dropping to zero. This resulted in aircraft controls becoming hard and ineffective, making maneuvering of the aircraft difficult. Realising the gravity of the situation, he took prompt actions and decided to execute an immediate overweight landing at base. An overweight, flapless approach and landing in dark night conditions in a MiG 21 aircraft with restricted aircraft control calls not only for precision, skill but also for courage and determination. On approach, the very high nose up altitude completely obscures runway view. The approach is low with less separation from ground and there is no visual contact with ground due to dark night conditions. All these factors combine to make approach and landing a high risk manoeuvre with negligible margin of error. However, Wg Cdr Ranade continued with recovery undeterred and unfazed by the challenge of the situation.Wg Cdr Ranade has handled the emergency in a very competent and commendable manner. He has stayed calm and yet quickly grasped the emergency indications and the need to land without delay. By his sheer presence of mind, prompt actions and commendable flying skill, he has managed to recover the aircraft safely. Post flight inspection revealed that a portion of the rear fuselage had got burnt in flight due in the fire caused by burning of the hydraulic fluid around the heat shield. Any more delay in recovery would have inevitably caused the main hydraulic system to fail, thereby forcing the pilot to eject and consequently resulting in loss of a costly aircraft,For this act of gallantry during an emergency by dark night, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Makarand Ranade.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Ramesh Chandra Tripathi 19383 LGSUnit : Para Training School  Award Date 30 May 05 Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Ramesh Chandra Tripathi (19383) Logistics/Para Jump Instructor is on the posted strength of a Paratroopers Training School AF since Aug 2003.Wg Cdr Tripathi after completing the basic and advance mountaineering courses with 'A' grading from recognized institutes, has been pursuing mountaineering since 1992. He has actively participated in IAF mountaineering expeditions since then. During the pre-expedition training to Mt Kamet (7757) Wg Cdr Tripathi sacrificed the summit 150 meters below the summit in order to save his fellow mountaineer from a height of 7500 meters. With rare dedication, he organised a rescue and brought the casualty down to 6400 meters. Wg Cdr Tripathi in his attempt to save life of his buddy, received third degree frost bite in his hands and toes.In the recent IAF Mount Everest Expedition, Wg Cdr Tripathi showed exemplary performance. The officer, a proficient mountaineer, took part in the second summit attempt after the first one had failed and reached the summit In record time, braving cold weather and extremely difficult terrain. In a situation where no IAF officer had been before, he has shown exemplary courage and determination in bringing laurels for the service.For his act of exceptional courage and bringing laurels to the Indian Air Force, the Hon'ble President Is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Ramesh Chandra Tripathi.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Uday Kant Jha 20568 F(N)Unit : No.106 Squadron  Award Date 21 May 99 Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Uday Kant Jha (20568) Flying (Navigator) was on the posted strength of a Flight Reconnaissance Squadron since 31 Dec 1997. On 21 May 1999, he was tasked to undertake a vital Photo Reconnaissance mission in Dras, Batalik and Kargll sectors near the Line of Control as navigator of the aircraft.During the mission, at about 0900 hrs, after photographing Batalik sector, aircraft experienced violent jolt accompanied by yaw and roll. The escort aircraft reported bright flash along wlth debris flying off and smoke emanating from the reccee aircraft's starboard engine. The aircraft had been hit by a missile. The officer immediately came back to navigator ejection seat and promptly assisted the pilot in emergency actions. Suspecting missile attack, he helped the pilot to take evasive actions from further missile attacks and advised the pilot to steer course to divert to Srinagar. The grave and life threatening situation did not deter the officer from carrying out his professional duty.Despite very restricted visibility from ejection seat of the aircraft and difficult terrain to map read, he assisted the pilot in giving accurate position and ensured that the aircraft was on right track to Srinagar. Wg Cdr Jha displayed exceptional courage and professionalism in assisting the pilot to reach Srinagar airfield.Wg Cdr Jha. who Is highly qualified on Photo Reconnaissance role was very confident about the photographs taken and knew that it will be very useful for Operations. Disregarding his. personal safety, maintaining a level head without panic, he assisted the pilot to retrieve the aircraft alongwith the mission photographs, which proved invaluable during Operation Vijay. He was a rare navigator in the history of Indian Military aviation who has survived a missile hit.For this act of exceptional courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President) is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Uday Kant Jha.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Jaspreet Singh 20977 F(P)Unit : No.9 Squadron  Award Date 25 Oct 04 Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Jaspreet Singh (20977) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Flying Branch on 15 Dec 1990. He is on posted strength of Fighter Squadron as Flight Commander since 29 Oct 2004.On 04 Oct 2004, a belly landing accident of Mirage-2000 took place at Mauritius International Air port. This officer while on the posted strength of a fighter squadron in the Southern Sector, was specially chosen to ferry the aircraft from Mauritius to Trivandrum and further to Bangalore after structural repairs at Mauritius. The ferry route from Maurititus to Trivandrum was across the Indian Ocean, covering a total distance of 2126 NM. Between 12 Oct 2004 and 19 Oct 2004, the officer carried out taxi and three air test sorties on the belly landed aircraft and in the last sortie he also undertook successful Air to Air Refueling (AAR) operations to check the serviceability of the system. On 18 Oct 2004, a weather system had started forming close to the equator, with its broadcast part lying across the ferry route. On the morning of 25 Oct 2004 the satellite pictures revealed that the first 1000 NM of the ferry route was clear. A total of three AAR brackets were required to complete this ferry. However, the last 1100 NM was still covered up with weather and AAR was not possible on that part of the leg. Wg Cdr Singh studied the weather pictures carefully and devised an ingenious plan to undertake the mission. The plan envisaged detaching from the Flight Refueling Aircraft (FRA) 1100 NM short of Trivandrum, climbing to a level above 40,000 ft and fly to Trivandrum. The weather at Trivandrum was also predicted to be bad. Wg Cdr Singh carried out meticulous planning and asked for one more FRA at Trivandrum in case of requirement to divert to Bangalore. The ferry was undertaken with precise co-ordination, team work and piloting skills of the highest order. It entailed 5:10 h of non-stop flying with three air to air refuelling and an intake of over 7000 Kgs of fuel from the FRA.The ferry of M-2000 across a stretch of 2126 NM was one of the most challenging, daring and risky operations ever undertaken by a fighter aircraft in the history of the 1AF. That It was carried out by a single seat, engine nlrcrafl, over the high seas in the inclement weather is even more remarkable.For his sincerity, exceptional courage and professionalism beyond the call of duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Jaspreet Singh.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Joseph Suares 21209 F(P)Unit : No.8 Squadron  Award Date 30 Nov 04 Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Joseph Suares (21209) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a premier fighter Squadron since 21 May 2001 and Is presently the Flight Commander. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has 1950 hours of total service flying.On 30 Nov 2004, while operating Air to Ground firing from Tezpur, Wg Cdr Suares was airborne for a range dual check sortie over Dulang Mukh range, with a trainee pilot. While leaving range, the aircraft experienced a sudden total electrical failure. Total electrical failure leads to immediate failure of all communications equipment, vital aircraft instrument as well as navigation equipment. The control system in pitch channel also becomes ineffective making manoeuvering of aircraft difficult. Wing Commander Joseph Suares promptly and correctly assessed the gravity of the situation and decided to recover the aircraft at Jorhat, the closest diversion. Enroute to Jorhat he correctly assessed the weather to be marginal and decided to recover at Tezpur. The multiple . unserviceabilities coupled with tho inclement weather made the task much more difficult for the pilot to land the Mig-21 aircraft. For lowering of undercarriage, Wg Cdr Suares had to gesticulate and shout to the trainee to lower the nose wheel on emergency since it can only be done from front cockpit. He lowered the main wheels himself using the emergency system. He then executed a safe flapless approach and landing. Even without , the tail chute and the anti skid system he safely stopped the aircraft without blocking the runway. Executing recovery of aircraft under these circumstances was a daunting task requiring extreme courage and determination. Any error could prove fatal. The pilot though had the option to eject under such marginal conditions, decided to save the aircraft against heavy odds.Wg Cdr Suares remained calm, composed and was situationally alive to the events while handling an adverse and completely unfamiliar situation. His professional acumen, maturity, and situational awareness in handling an unprecedented and unfamiliar situation made the crucial difference between a safe recovery and an accident.For displaying exceptional courage In handling of a critical emergency, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Joseph Suares.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Sirigare Shivashankappa Chaitanya 24143 AELUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 30 May 05 Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Squadron Leader Sirigere Shivashankarappa Chaithanya (24143) Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics) was on the posted strength of a Signal Unit from 03 Nov 2003.Sqn Ldr Chaitanya was an outstanding mountaineer who had been pursuing his passion of mountaineering since 2001 after completing Basic Mountaineering Course and Advance Mountaineering Course from HMI Darjeeling. He has been member of expeditions to Mt Deo Tibba, Manali Peak, Mt Kabru Dome and Mt Kamet in Garhwal Himalayas and surnmittcd all of them.Sqn Ldr Chaitanya was selected as a climbing member for Mt Everest expedition. This physically fit and motivated officer took it as a challenge and was very jubilant about the selection, lie was detailed for summit attempt In the second team and reached the summit on 30 May 2005. He lias brought pride to the Nation as well as IAF by putting the National Flag on the top of the world. Unfortunately, while returning from the summit he faced snow blizzard and extreme conditions. Undeterred, he fought to save the life of his climbing sherpa while himself trying to reach back to camp. He constantly encouraged his Sherpa to get back to camp despite his exhausted condition. Sqn Ldr Chaitanya did not make it back to camp. It is presumed that he fell to his death from the north-east ridge.For displaying exceptional courage and bringing laurels to the Indian Air Force, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Sirigere Shivashankarappa Chaithanya (Posthumously).
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sgt Nikku Ram Choudhary 727844 ORUnit : 256 Signal Unit  Award Date 30 May 05 Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : 727844 Sergeant Nikku Ram Choudhary Clk GD is on the posted strength of a Signal Unit since 26 Dec 2004.The SNCO is an outstanding mountaineer and has been pursuing his passion of mountaineering from 2001. He has been a climbing member for several successful mountaineering expeditions like Mt Deo Tibba, Mt. Hamuman Tibba, Mt Kamet and Mt Kabru Dome.Sgt Choudhary was selected as a climbing member in the Mt Everest (8848M) expedition due to his dedication, discipline, positive mind set and excellent performance on the mountains in previous expeditions. He was detailed for summit attempt in second team and was able to put the National Flag and IAF on the top of the world and became first SNCO of the IAF to reach on the top of the Mt Everest. In a situation where no IAF airman had been before, he has shown exemplary courage and determination In brining laurels for the service. During the expedition the air warrior has contributed his best for the success of the expedition. He was ever ready to take on any responsibility assigned to him. Sgt Choudhary has brought pride to the Nation as well as for the IAF.For exceptional courage and bringing laurels to the Indian Air Force, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Sergeant Nikku Ram Choudhary.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Ravinder Kumar Dhir 15678 F(P)Unit : Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Group Captain Ravinder Kumar Dhir (15678) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of Air Force Test Pilots School (AFTPS) since 01 Jul 2003. Earlier he was a member of Bis Upgrade Team at Russia and inducted BISON aircraft in the 1AF as Commanding Officer of that Squadron. He is on the posted strength of Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) since 09 Dec 2002 and was the Chief Projects Manager (CPM) till Jun 2003. He was actively involved with ADA, HAL, CABS and NAL towards TEJAS, UT and SARAS projects. He was member of First Flight Review Board of UT and MMR on HACK-AVRO. He was instrumental in framing the MoU between Air Force and NAL, for first ever prototype flight testing of SARAS aircraft by ASTE and certification by DGCA.Air HQ in Jun 2003 increased the intake for the Flight Test Course (FTC). Notwithstanding the limitations of manpower and aircraft resources, he undertook the challenge in his stride. He personally supervised the exercises by flying instructional sorties, and coordinated outstation activities with Air HQ, to ensure timely completion of 26 FTC. The next FTC, also with increased strength, is progressing on schedule. With emphasis on team work he motivated his staff by personal example to meet the 1AF requirements of training more tesl crew. AFTPS was tasked to achieve recognition of FTC for grant of M Tech Degree to students by Visvesvaniya Technological University Belgaum, Karnataka. With his perseverance and diligence Gp Capt Dhir achieved the same and a comprehensive plan to initiate the postgraduate course for 28 FTC commencing Jul 05 has been formulated. To mark the Silver Jubilee of the AFTPS a first ever International Seminar on Flight Testing and Flight Test Training was held at ASTE Six foreign test pilot schools from USA, UK, France and Brazil participated. Gp Capt Dhir demonstrated exceptional management skills by planning each activity meticulously, and conducted the seminar in the most befitting manner. Capitalizing on the lessons learnt, he formulated comprehensive training package for students involving special Systems' Evaluation capsule at USNTI'S, and Preview Exchange with three foreign schools, at no cost basis, which was approved at Air HQ. A promotional film on AFTPS was also made during this period. Formal request by four countries to train their officers at AFTPS reflects the international recognition achieved by AFTPS.For his exceptional devotion to duty, Initiative and performance, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Ravinder Kumar Dhir.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Ravinder Kumar Sharma 16050 F(P)Unit : No.49 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Group Captain Ravinder Kumar Sharma (16050) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force on 15 Jun 1980. He is presently the Commanding officer of an AN-32 Squadron at Air Force Station Jorhat.During his 24 years of dedicated service, Gp Capt Sharma has flown 8200 accident/incident free hours on various aircraft, commanded two transport squadrons, and an Air NCC squadron. He has also held the important appointments of Flight Commander, Air Force Examiner and Qualified Flying Instructor on AN-32, HS-748. 1L-76 and DO-228 ac and is an alumnus of DSSC Wellington. He has the distinction of holding "A" Master Green Cat/lR concurrently on four different ac and the unique record of being the only pilot in the IAF to have operated to Leh and Thoise airfields in AN-32, 1L-76 and DO-228 ac.The officer has been a pioneer who carried out high altitude trials of DO-228 ac and became the first pilot to successfully land the ac at high altitude airfields of Leh, Thoise and Kargil. Landing the un-pressurised ac at such high altitude was achieved through the ingenuity, innovation and the sustained efforts of the officer in carrying out essential modifications on the ac, including enhancing ac oxygen system endurance.Gp Capt Sharma took over command of the squadron at a stage when the Sqn had been nominated for the Best Combat Sqn competition. Leading by personal example, he instilled confidence in his team and motivated them lo achieve high levels of performance. His dynamic leadership, dogged perseverance and untiring efforts resulted in the Sqn being adjudged the Best Combat Transport Sqn of IAF for the year 2004.Gp Capt Sharma has achieved commendable levels of task accomplishment in operational, maintenance and administrative aspects of the Sqn with sustained high efficiency. He has been the guiding force behind several innovations and modifications carried out by the Sqn namely, engine shock absorber extraction tool, empty fuel simulator for quantity gauge calibration, "Fasten Seat Belt" passenger warning, "Battery Failure" indication etc which will enhance operational capability, improve reliability/maintainability of the ac and-contribute significantly towards better Flight Safety of the Sqn and the IAF as a whole, besides saving substantial amount of money to the exchequer.For his exceptional devotion to duty, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal.' to Group Captain Ravinder Kumar Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Thotten Rajeevan 17168 F(P)Unit : No.28 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Thotten Rajeevan (17168) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 28 Mar 1983 in the Flying Branch of Ihe 1AF. In 22 years of distinguished service, he has held several important appointments that include Flight Commander of fighter Squadron (Sqn), Commanding Officer (CO) of Mig Operational Flying Training Unit (A), SFSO of fighter Base and CO of premier fighter Sqn. He was commended by AOC-in-C South Western Air Command(SWAC) in 1995.Wg Cdr Rajeevan was appointed the CO of premier fighter Sqn on 09 Jun 2003. A highly experienced fighter pilot Wg Cdr T Rajeevan has flown the Mig 21s (T-77 & T-75) and Mig 29 ac and has nearly 3100, accident/incident free, flying hours to his credit.Under Wg Cdr Rajeevan's command the Sqn saw a sea change in the operational attitude and outlook. Till recently the Sqn had its pilots Fully Ops since Dec 2003. had carried out the maximum number of parallel taxi track and DACT operations and had the maximum number of its pilots sea qualified and Pilot TRS trained. All this inspite of low aircraft availability on the flight line, an aspect, which was beyond unit's control.The Sqn under Wg Cdr Rajeevan's inspired and able command has been adjudged the best fighter Sqn of SWAC in 2003 and 2004, The Sqn apart from undertaking all its assigned flying and other tasks in a highly professional manner also represented SWAC in Ex-VAYUSPARDHA 2003 with Wing Commander Rajeevan at the helm of affairs.The Sqn under Wing Commander Rajeevan performed extremely well during the Director Air Staff Inspection (DASI) in Feb 2005 and Aircrew Examining Board standardization visit in Mar 2005. In DASI the Sqn was adjudged AVERAGE PLUS in all aspects except in Operations (Ground) where in it was adjudged ABOVE AVERAGE. In AEB visit the overall performance of the Sqn was AVERAGE PLUS to ABOVE AVERAGE.A very active team member and sports loving Officer, Wg Cdr Rajeevan with his personal involvement also saw his Sqn winning all the major inter-unit sports and the championship in 2004.For unflinching devotion to duty and n very high quality of military leadership on all fronts, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Thotten Rajeevan.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sandeep Singh 17312 F(P)Unit : No.30 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Sandeep Singh (17312) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot on 22 Dec 1983. A recipient of Sword of Honour for standing first in the overall order of merit in his course, the officer is a Qualified Flying Instructor with A2 category and an Exceptional Test Pilot.Wg Cdr Sandeep Singh has over 4150 hours of flying and he is qualified on Su-30 MkI, Mig-29 and Mig-21 aircraft. He has been an instructor at the Air Force Test Pilots School, a flight commander of a Mig-21 Squadron, the project test pilot with the 1AF Su-30 Project team in Russia and is presently the Commanding Officer of a Su-30 Mk-1 Squadron. He has been commended by the Chief of the Air Staff for his dedication to duty.As a test pilot with the Su-30 Project team in Russia, he has been instrumental in evolving the navigation, display and weapon employment logic of Su-30 Mk I aircraft. The Su 30 Mk 1 is being hailed as a 'first of its kind' project In which the best of Russian and western technologies have been synergized to produce one of the most potent fighter aircraft in the world. Utilising his operational flying experience, professional knowledge and analytical approach, Wg Cdr Sandeep Singh spearheaded the integration team of Indian, Russian and Western specialists to ensure success of the Su-30 Mk 1 project. In view of his unparalleled knowledge of Su-30 Mk-1 operations and systems, he has been frequently called upon for consultations and briefings at Air Headquarters and various Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) labs on all issues related to the Su-30 Mk 1 programme.Wg Cdr Sandeep Singh was appointed as the Commanding Officer of a newly resurrected Su-30 Mk I Squadron on 15 Apr 04 and entrusted with the task of inducting the latest variant of Su-30 Mk 1 aircraft. Starting with a severely limited number of experienced pilots, engineers and technicians, he has led his team with personal examples to operallonalise the new aircraft, Despite the attendant pressures of forming a new Squadron, he has flown over 400 hours in the last one year. He has shown immense courage, exceptional skill and determination to successfully undertake pioneering missions on the Su-30 Mk I aircraft, such as the record breaking long duration flight of over 9 hour 30 minutes, solo low level aerobatics, air to air refueling and first time firing of guided munitions.For exceptional devotion to duty, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sandeep Singh.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ranbir Singh Dagar 17844 F(P)Unit : No.3003 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Ranbir Singh Dagar (17844) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 14 Jun 1985 into the Fighter Stream. In 20 years of dedicated service, the officer has held important appointments like Flight Commander of MiG Operational Flying Training Unit (MOFTU) and of a MiG 23 BN squadron (Sqn). During Op Parakram he was Chief Operations Officer of Air Force Station Awantipur in the J & K sector. He is a Fighter Strike Leader and has graduated from the Flying Instructor School as a Qualified Flying Instructor where he had the distinction of being awarded the trophy for Best in Flying. The Officer is also a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He was commended by the CAS in 1998 and AOC- in - C, WAC in 2001.As Flight Commander at MOFTU for two years he prepared fighter pilots for induction into operational squadrons successfully without any accidents. In his tenure of three years as Flight Commander of a MiG 23 BN Sqn he contributed significantly in the unit achieving more than 7000 accident free sorties.On 01 Dec 2003 Wg Cdr Dagar was appointed as the Commanding Officer to raise an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Sqn. The challenging task of building up administrative infrastructure, maintenance apparatus and more importantly integrating the uninitiated members of the newly raised unit into a cohesive team was achieved by him in a short span of time. The operational capability of the unit was put to test for the first time since its inception when it participated in Exercise Gauntlet. Successful execution of all missions during the exercise and thereafter, bears testimony to the early operationalisation and professional capability of the unit. In order to improve flexibility of operational manning and employability, Wg Cdr Dagar multiskilled himself as an External Pilot in a record period of three and a half months as against 18 months stipulated by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).The UAVs being a new induction have been facing teething problems. Wg Cdr Dagar has been closely interacting with the OEM in resolving and giving solutions to various operational and maintenance issues like frequent unserviceability of Ground Control Stations, Special Paylond operations, (lying with Air Data Relay and Radiator problems In the Searcher UAVs, These valuable solutions have been accepted by the OHM for incorporation. The meticulous statistical records of unserviceabilities of the UAV subsystems documented by him helped to prevail upon the OEM to Increase the overall Warranty of IAF UAVs by three months and special payloads by nine months.For exceptional devotion to duty, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ranbir Singh Dagar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Radhakrishnan Radhish 17853 F(P)Unit : No.224 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Radhakrishnan Radhish (17853) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 14 Jun 1985 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. In 20 years of distinguished service, he has held several important appointments that include Flight Commander of lighter Squadron (Sqn), Fit Cdr of premier MiG 23 Sqn , Senior Flight Safety and Inspection Officer of a premier base and Commanding Officer of frontline fighter Sqn.Wg Cdr Radhish was appointed the Commanding Officer'of frontline fighter Sqn on 09 Jun 2003. The Sqn is, at present, equipped with Mig 23 MF, an aging fleet now on its last few years of service in the 1AF.An above Average professional flier and a good officer to the core, Wg Cdr Radhish has solely been instrumental in ensuring a positive, pro-active and professional growth amongst the Air Warriors of his Sqn. During his tenure the Sqn took part in Ex VAYU SPARDHA-2003, Ex-EKLAVYA 2003 & 04 and Ex VAYU SHAKT12004. The Sqn though severely handicapped in terms of aircraft availability and steadily reducing trained manpower took up the challenge for all such exercises and through dedicated, inspired and selfless leadership of Wg Cdr Radhish came out with flying colours In tasks assigned to it. The Sqn, which also has the role of Banner towing for air-to-air gunnery and flare drop for air-to-air missile firing by various fighter Sqns of the 1AF and the Indian Navy, always ensured that the task assigned was achieved. Under the command of Wg Cdr Radhish the Sqn, which is a pure Air Defence one, for the first time undertook practice bombing with 25 Ibs and 3 kg bombs using the CLBS on the Mig 23 MF wef Dec 2003. The Sqn has since mastered the art of bombing also.The tireless, dedicated, selfless and devoted professional leadership on part of Wg Cdr Radhish bore fruits during the recently held Director Air Staff Inspection (DASI) and Aircrew Examining Board (AEB) visit wherein the Sqn was adjudged AVERAGE PLUS overall and all pilots passed the ground and flying tests respectively. The AEB also upgraded three pilots who were given their initial Master Green ratings and the CO renewed his MGIR1E. During the DASI inspection the CO himself was given EXCEPTIONAL and AVERAGE PLUS grading in the missions led by him.The Sqn has also been entrusted with the running of the Station's open air cafeteria and to the satisfaction of one and all, the same is being done with finesse, total involvement and dedication resulting into a profit making venture.For unflinching devotion to duty and l very high quality of military leadership on all fronts, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Radhakrishnan Radhish.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Prashant Mukund Vithalkar 17855 F(P)Unit : No.112 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Prashant Mukund Vithalkar (17855) Flying (Pilot) has been posted to a Helicopter Unit, as Commanding Officer since 18 Aug 2003.The Unit conducts pilot conversion, ab-initio training of Flight Engineers, Flight Gunner's and Right Hand Seat Check Pilot courses on Mi-8 helicopter and undertakes operational requirements assigned hy Air HQ/ HQ TC, IAF To achieve these tasks, the quantum of flying besides being almost twice that of any other helicopter Unit in IAF, is extremely demanding. Under his dynamic leadership, Wg Cdr Vithalkar has consistently ensured timely completion of all the courses conducted in the Unit with high quality of training, which was endorsed by the Aircrew Examining Board. His proactive approach and outstanding management ability has ensured that the Unit was able to sustain accident/ Incident free flying for two consecutive years and was awarded the Flight and Maintenance Safety trophy for the year 2003-04.In Dec 2004, the Unit was tasked to provide succour for the Tsunami relief operations. Wg Cdr Vithalkar, as a commanding officer was able to muster six helicopters in less than 24 hours, fully equipped to undertake relief operations both in India and Srilanka. At the end of Op Sea Wave, the Unit had airlifted total of 82,800 kg of relief load, 213 casualties/passengers in 154 sorties amounting to 101 hours. The task undertaken by IAF helicopters was highly commended by the Sri Lankan Air Force,During Aero-India-2005, he was designated as the Chief Security Officer. The international airshow of this magnitude required enormous Involvement from planning till execution encompassing security arrangements, traffic circulation and parking arrangements. He successfully mobilised the resources to provide flawless security and uninterrupted traffic flow for safe conduct of the airshow, which was attended by over three lakh people and dignitaries from all walks of life. He was also the project manager to oversee the renovation of old HU building and construction of allied infrastructure for foreign aircrew coming to the airshow. The officer displayed utmost involvement and ensured timely completion of the work services and subsequent preparation of the venue befitting the foreign aircrew.For his exceptional devotion to duty, exemplary leadership and consistent endeavour to achieve excellence, The Hon'ble President Is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Prashant Mukund Vllhalkar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ravi Gopal Krishna Kapoor 18253 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Ravi Gopal Krishna Kapoor (18253) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer (CO) of MiG-21 Squadron since Jun 2003. He is an A2 Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He has served as a flying instructor at the Fighter Training Wing and Flying Instructors' School. The officer has earlier been commended by the Chief of Air Staff in 1996 and by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, in 1992.During his tenure as CO, he has led from the front, himself flying close to 450 hours in less than two years and getting high Individual grading by all inspection teams. The Aircrew Examining Board (AEB) has declared him Type Examiner, which Is a rare privilege. Being in charge of a Mig Operational Flying Training (MOFT) squadron, the officer has dedicated himself to the cause of aircrew training. His squadron was assessed 'Exceptional' in Ground Subjects during all visits by the AEB and the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection. Under his stewardship, the squadron has flown over 5000 sorties - the maximum during the period amongst all MOFT units in the East. The squadron's track record of accident free flying during his tenure, bears testimony to his untiring efforts. Under his supervision, his squadron achieved 100% serviceability and took on rectification of major snags that normally require third and fourth line activity. Many innovations, like fuel sample trolley, aircraft washing rig and tachogene tester, were successfully fabricated and put to use, saving precious resources.While according very high priority to quality training and to maintenance of operational readiness of the squadron, he never lost sight of morale and welfare of squadron personnel. This indefatigable officer demonstrated an exceptional capacity to work methodically under conditions of severe crises and stress. His managerial and inter-personal skills are of a very high order. He has been able to motivate all his officers and PBORs towards better work output by using a judicious mix of reward and example. He is highly professional, creative and service oriented. He exudes zeal for innovation and modernization. He has submitted valuable papers on 'Debrief tools for MiG-21 training' and 'Vision 2020' for an Air Force Station.For exceptional devotion to duty and leadership, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ravi Gopal Krishna Kapoor.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Shridhar Kishore Mohlah 18259 F(P)Unit : No.221 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Shridhar Kishore Mohlah (18259) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 07 Jun 1986 and has cumulative flying experience of 3500 Hrs on various types of aircraft. He has been a Commanding Officer of a frontline strike squadron from 30 Jun 2003 to 28 Mar 2005.As Commanding Officer, Wg Cdr Mohlah with his professionalism and perseverance ensured that all pilots in the Squadron were able to achieve operational role capabilities viz valley flying and attack as well as high altitude range qualifications. The Squadron Ops status improved drastically and seven pilots became operational by day and seven pilots by night also. 1 4 pilots of a total of 18 were able to achieve and maintain the valley and high altitude range qualifications. With his exemplary leadership, personal dedication and exceptional initiative he ensured that a very high serviceability state of aircraft, nearing the end of its service life and plagued with numerous maintenance related problems, was maintained. The Squadron was thus able to accomplish all the tasks throughout his tenure. Under his command the Squadron was nominated for the best Combat Unit selection and performed extremely well in the competition as well as the inspection by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team.During the inter Squadron Gunnery meet in Oct 2004, Wg Cdr Mohlah led by example by achieving exceptional results in the gunnery event and the efforts put in under his guidance enabled the Squadron to win the Bombing and Gunnery trophies. The Squadron was also adjudged first overall in WAC.For his exceptional devotion lo duly, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Shridhar Kishore Mohlah .
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Pankaj Dua 18266 F(P)Unit : No.11 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Pankaj Dua (18266) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an AN-32 Squadron since 25 Nov 2002. A check pilot and training officer, Wg Cdr Dua has functioned as Fit Cdr of Transport Squadron and GTO in the Services Selection Board, His sterling leadership was proven while leading the Sqn for Best Combat Sqn (T) competition earlier, where the Sqn won the trophy.On 26 Dec 2004 a Tsunami caused unprecedented devastation in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There was an urgency to muster, organise and press into action all resources of the Sqn to provide immediate assistance to calamity affected Carnicobar. The aircraft had to be launched in the absence of any reliable inputs on the availability of runway, communication, navigational aids or fuel at destination and diversion. It needed meticulous planning of missions and organising of aircraft and crew to ensure that operations could carry on efficiently and safely.As the Flight Commander of the Sqn, Wg Cdr Dua involved himself fully and co-ordinated with all sections to ensure that the aircraft took off, in less than an hour of the warning. His careful selection of the crew and meticulous planning of the mission maximised the efficiency within the safety envelope. This resulted in the Sqn flying over 230 missions, all incident free. His careful planning also facilitated periodic rotation of aircraft and aircrew, thereby yielding the prolonged operation a great success. The professionalism of the Sqn thereby was lauded at every level.After planning and setting the operation on course, Wg Cdr Dua, himself flew many missions to the devastated Islands. He also took with him other younger crew, trained and cleared them on the job to undertake independent missions to difficult airstrips like Campbell Bay and for operations by night. The success of the operations is a testimony of the exceptional calibre of the officer, his professionalism and deep sense of commitment to the service.For his exceptional devotion to duty in the face of adversities and challenges, The Hon'ble President Is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Pankaj Dua.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Balakrishnan Manikantan 18291 F(P)Unit : No.152 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Balakrishnan Manikantan (18291) Flying (Pilot) took over the command of Helicopter Unit, an operational Mi-17 IV unit on 16 Jun 2003. He was among the first helicopter Directing Staff at TACDE and was actively involved in formalizing helicopter combat tactics and assessment criteria. He has also been the Flight Commander of Helicopter Unit, a Mi-17 unit, operating in Op Meghdoot sector.Under his command, the unit has flown 5I20 hours without any accident. he ensured that unit aircrew achieved high standards of role based training and Hew over 650 hours himself during the period. From Sep-Dec 2003, the unit was tasked to carry out the novel task of offshore operations in Mumbai High. Despite lack of previous experience, the unit flew 130 hours to various ONGC rigs, a feat that was well appreciated. The unit has executed multifarious tasks such as GSh 231, gun trails, regular detachments In J&K, casualty evacuations and disaster relief operations with elan. Under his able leadership, the unit also earned accolades for the difficult task of operating and maintaining six additional new BSF helicopters from Nov 2003-Feb 2005, flying 640 hours.The unit was adjudged the 'Best Helicopter Unit' in Western Air Command in 2004 and also performed exceedingly well in Ex-Vayu Spardha. He always ensured that the unit maintained a very high level operational readiness, backed by a high level of efficiency In maintenance and a proactive administration, which followed a participative style. The officer had displayed dynamic leadership qualities combined with sound professionalism as the Commanding Officer of a premier operational Helicopter Unit.For his excellent performance and exceptional devotion of duty. The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander BalakrishnanManikantan.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ashuthosh Dixit 18558 F(P)Unit : No.9 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Ashutosh Dlxlt (18558) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force on 06 Dec 1986. He took over the Command of a fighter squadron on 15 Dec 2003 along with its rejuvenation and re-equipping with Mirage-2000 aircraft. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Test Pilot and has completed his staff course in Bangladesh.Re-equipping of the Sqn was smooth thanks to the meticulous planning and perfect execution under the guidance of Wg Cdr Dixit. The operational, maintenance and administrative activities were finely coordinated, all the requirements were worked out and the resources requisitioned with great care. It was due to his foresight, planning abilities and good leadership that as soon as the aircraft arrived in the Squadron, the Squadron commenced regular and full-fledged Hying operations. The Squadron has successfully completed 500 Flying hours during the period 15 Dec 2004 to 31 Mar 2005 under his able guidance.Wg Cdr Dixit was also given the onerous task of planning and conduct of the acceptance flights and ferry of the ten new Mirage-2000 aircraft from France to India. He conducted this In two batches and both times the ferry was completed flawlessly and as per the schedule. The superb efficiency of the ferry and the professional manner in which It was conducted was only possible due to the dedication and hard work of Wg Cdr Dixit.The officer carried out research into the functioning of Mirage Mission Preparation System (MIPSY) on his own initiative and his effort helped SDI to further refine the software. He also conceptualised and implemented a complete mission-planning package for the MIPSY. This system was used successfully during Ex Golden Eagle in South Africa and the ferry of M-2000 from France.A disciplined officer who unmindful of his personal comforts, willingly undertakes prolonged hours of work and has been instrumental in bringing about professionalism amongst his personnel.For exceptional devotion to duty. The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ashutosh Dixit.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Surat Singh 18563 F(P)Unit : No.223 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Surat Singh (18563) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned into the fighter stream of Flying Branch on 06 Dec 1986. In the last 18 years he has been actively involved in the fighter operations in various capacities. During this period, he has held the important assignments of a Directing Staff at TACDE, Flight Commander of an Air Superiority Fighter (ASF) Squadron, DASI inspector, and is presently commanding a Mig-29 Sqn. He Is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff Course. He has been commended by AOC-in-C twice.Wg Cdr Surat Singh took over the Command of frontline fighter Squadron on 29 Jan 2004. This being a Core Group Sqn, is always on higher state of readiness. On assuming command of the Sqn, his major task was to meet the Core Group requirements. This has been done exceedingly well, wherein all the requirements have been met both qualitatively and quantitatively. The meticulous planning and execution, on Operational and Maintenance front, has yielded rich dividends in the last year and a half. The Sqn participated in two International level 1AF exercises and performed exceedingly well. The detachment during Exercise 'SINDEX' was led by him personally. With his proactive approach and active involvement In all the Sqn activities, the Sqn achieved all assigned tasks with a clean Flight Safety record,The training programme conducted under his guidance ensured a high operational aircrew status. All the aircrew remained current in all the Operational roles. The major emphasis on Dissimilar Air Combat Training, Integrated training, Night Operations, and strengthening of the Air Defence team comprising the aircrew and the Fighter Controller has greatly increased the Operational potential of the Sqn as a Core Group Unit.With his leadership, foresight, professional planning, perseverance, and positive attitude, he was able to provide a new purpose and direction to the air warriors in the Sqn, who were motivated to achieve higher standards all the time. The Sqn was awarded the "Best Overall Operational Performance" trophy.For exceptional devotion to duty, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Surat Singh.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Jang Veer Singh Guron 19879 F(P)Unit : No.128 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Wing Commander Jang Veer Slngh Guron (19879) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit since 08 May 2001 and has been the Flight Commander since 03 Apr 2003.On 31 Dec 2004, in the aftermath of the devastating Tsunami disaster wherein the Andaman & Nicobar Islands were badly affected, the base was called upon to launch three helicopters for relief operations at Carnlcobar. Wg Cdr Guron, who was on leave, reported for duty on his own and volunteered to lead the helicopter detachment to Carnicobar. Wg Cdr Guron with his experience has worked out minute details of equipment necessary for safe and effective conduct of relief operations, operational requirements, staging, camping, messing, manpower, ration, accommodation was planned in a most professional manner. Exhaustive preparation ensured that the detachment was self-sufficient to undertake independent operations from any location in the Islands.Inspite of challenging living conditions, non-availability of infrastructure and adverse weather conditions, his enthusiasm ensured that relentless pace was maintained in carrying out the relief operations. His meticulous planning and exceptional leadership ensured smooth ferry of three helicopters through two foreign counlrles. On 06 Jan 2005, when Wg Cdr Guron was approached with an immediate requirement to airlift a group of doctors to a remote location on Carnicobar Island, he reacted to the situation in a most professional manner, airlifted the doctors and landed at a small clearing in the jungle. Five serious casualties, who were on their deathbeds, were rescued and airlifted to Carnicobar, thus saving their lives. His actions on that day not only earned respect and appreciation for the Indian Air Force from the doctors and civil administration but also the gratitude of the local population.His superior management skills and planning resulted in completion of the entire task at Carnicobar in a record time of 14 days, His dedication to the job was inspiring not only to the members of the detachment but also to the rest of the Air Force personnel at Carnicobar.For his exceptional devotion to duty and high airmanship during "Op Sea Wave" at Carnicobar, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Jang Veer Singh Guron.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Pankaj Kathpal 22955 ADMUnit : No.128 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Squadron Leader Pankaj Kathpal (22955) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit since 12 Jul 2004 and has been the unit supervisor since then.On 31 Dec 2004, in the aftermath of the devastating Tsunami disaster wherein the Andaman & Nicobar Islands were badly affected, the base was called upon to launch three helicopters for relief operations at Carnicobar. A Helicopter Combat Leader, Sqn Ldr Kathpal had flown more than 2500 hours and was a unit supervisor. Moreover, having served at a helicopter unit at Carnicobar earlier, he volunteered to take part in the operation. Sqn Ldr Kathpal with his professional acumen worked out the details of manpower, ration, accommodation and various operational requirements, including the requirements for staging, camping, messing as well as equipments necessary for safe and effective conduct of relief operations.Since he was the only air warrior familiar with the peculiarities of operating in Carnicobar area, he familiarised the complete detachment with the nuances of sea flying and inter-island operations and the detachment was fully operational in record time. Sqn Ldr Kathpal and his crew operated at the peak of human and aircraft limitations In marginal weather and inhospitable terrain. Under his able leadership, the officer conducted landings at restricted and unprepared areas, evacuating casualties and dropping relief material to bring maximum succour to the helpless locals. This was accomplished in such a professional manner as if it were a routine for the team. On 14 Jan 2005, he was tasked to airlift ration and fuel for around 250 people marooned at Katchal Island, The island being a vast jungle, there was hardly any place for the helicopter to land. Sqn Ldr Kathpal displayed utmost professionalism by selecting a restricted clearing in the jungle and successfully carried out the landing, after which the rescue team was able to provide relief material, which was extremely critical considering the fact that the island had been cut off for more than 20 days, and more Importantly, established communication facilities with the island. Moreover, the team, under Sqn Ldr Kathpal, was able to rescue three personnel who had miraculously survived the wrath of the Tsunami and shifted them to the rehabilitation camp,During the entire operations, Sqn Ldr Kathpal flew a total of 56 hours airlifting 72 metric tonnes of relief material and 125 marooned personnel, thus demonstrating true spirit in the midst of adversity and highlighting the professionalism of the Indian Air Force.For his selflessness, devotion to duty and upholding the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Pankaj Kathpal.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Satyendra Kumar 23499 F(P)Unit : 37 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Squadron Leader Salyendra Kuiiuir (23499) Administrative/Air Traffic Controller is on the posted strength of Air Force Station Carnicobar since 02 Feb 2004.On 26 Dec 2004, Air Force Station Carnicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake followed by Tsunami waves. Sqn Ldr Kumar reacted in the nick of time and managed to move his family to safety. Immediately thereafter, he assumed his responsibility as Senior Air Traffic Control Officer (SATCO) and took stock of the situation.Since the Air Traffic Control (ATC) structure had collapsed, he activated the ATC vehicle to act as a 'mobile ATC', On inspection of the runway he realised that only 7000 ft of runway length was available due to one end being submerged under seawaters and also the runway surface was degraded at various places. His quick assessment of the runway gave hope to everyone and evacuation was possible through fixed wing operation thus obviating a panic situation. He also was quick to realise that the working strength available to him was very minimum as many of his Air Field Safety Operators were either trapped in seawaters or were missing. Despite these constraints, he commenced providing Air Traffic Services immediately.The insecurity of the Jetties made the runway at Carnicobar the focal point for all evacuation and ingress of relief supplies. The perception amongst the civil population that the island was sinking, generated mass hysteria among them, thereby was causing a mass influx onto the airfield. The threat to safe air operations was further compounded by the rapidly deteriorating runway surface. He personally took charge of the vigil and kept the Air Traffic well regulated. A round the clock intense operation of various types of aircraft was sustained by a few personnel though most facilities were non-functional. This Herculean feat was possible by his exceptional leadership and professionalism.Sqn Ldr Satyendra Kumar while performing the duties nf Senior Air Traffic Control Officer has displayed a very high sense of responsibility, professionalism and leadership In the face of extreme adverse conditions without concern for his personal trauma or loss.For his exceptional sense of duty, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Satyendra Kumar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Oruganti Siva Narsimham 24296 ACCTUnit : 37 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : Flight Lieutenant Oruganti Siva Narsimham (24296) Accounts is on the posted strength of Air Force Station Carnicobar since 05 Apr 2004.On 26 Dec 2004, Air Force Station Cnrnicohar was devastated by a several earthquakes which was followed hy Tsunamis.Flt Lt Narslmham was himself swept away hy the tidal waves as he was on the way to the officers' married quarters after the first wave struck, to advise them to move away from the area. He survived the onslaught of the tidal waves by holding on to some flotsam. After extricating himself, with total disregard to his personal safety, he immediately helped others in similar predicament to survive.Thereafter, Fit Lt Narsimham displayed exemplary initiative and leadership qualities by forming a team of airmen to help in managing the survivors who were trickling in. As the numbers grew, he took over the responsibility of maintaining discipline and order, thereby obviating any untoward incident. He also went about providing solace and comfort to the surviving personnel and their families. His meticulous and vigilant approach helped in early identification of all missing personnel and their family members. After the departure of families, Fit Lt Narsimham played a key role in stabilisation of the Air Force Station in the aftermath of the devastation. He motivated a team of personnel to work tirelessly for three days under the scorching sun to set up tented accommodation for all the personnel who would stay on at Air Force Station Carnicobar. It was an extremely well planned camp complete with messes, cookhouses and stores. Flt Lt Narsimham took over as the 'camp adjutant' and ensured that the camp was well administered.For exemplary leadership qualities and total devotion to duty without concern to personal trauma or loss, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Oruganti Siva Narsimham.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
WO Ramachandran Soundara Rajan 622248 ORUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 06
Details : 622248 Warrant Officer Ramachandran Soundara Rajan Mechanical Transport Driver/Para Jump Instructor has been on the posted strength of Paratroopers Training School, AF since 22 Feb 1988 and has been performing the duties of Para Jump and Free Fall Instructor. He has the distinction of carrying out 1670 parachute jumps without any incident or injury, which is indeed a landmark in para safety. His jumps include 1390 free fall and 280 static line. He is a qualified combat free fall instructor and had undergone training with the US Army team during the Joint Exercises "Badge Iroquois" and "Cope India" held at PTS in Feb 1992 and Oct 2002.WO Rajan has won both the 'Individual Accuracy Championship' and also the Team Championship' award in the National Skydiving Competition 2003. He is the only official aerial photographer in the country who can fall at 120 miles per hour and can comfortably photograph any skydiving event. He is also the founder member of the IAF Skydiving team "Akash Ganga". WO Rajan has been assigned the task of training the team in both categories of Relative Work and Canopy Relative Work. His dexterity in providing assistance/guidance in the air is well known to all paratroopers in the country.He has been part of the pioneer team of four who for the first time in the history of Indian parachuting made RW and CRW during the night free fall. Due to his immense experience and skill he has been selected by the Indian Parachute Federation for training with world class Russian team.For his professional competence, outstanding achievements and devotion to duty, The Hon'ble President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal1 to Warrant Officer Ramachandran Soundara Rajan.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 18th March 2006 - No.30-Pres/2006 dated 26th January 2006 & AFD2006 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Gurjot Singh Bhullar 22901 F(P)Unit : 130 SU  Award Date 04 Aug 05 Announced 15 Aug 06
Details :

Squadron Leader Gurjot Singh Bhullar (22901) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an operational Mi-8 Helicopter Unit of the Air Force since 28 Oct 02.

Sqn Ldr Bhullar was deployed at Belgaum for undertaking flood relief operations in Karnataka. On 04 Aug 05, as the captain of a Mi-8 helicopter, he was tasked to rescue survivors from a village near Ankli town. The survivors were stranded on a slanting tiled rooftop, surrounded on all sides by tall trees and deep flood water. TV antennae and other obstructions of built up area restricted the available airspace to mere two square meters for winching operations that demanded error free precision flying. Analysing the gravity of the situation, he decided to winch the survivors one-by-one. While winching up the first survivor, portion of the roof collapsed and the survivor, on the winch cable slipped and hung precariously in the gap therein. Instead of abandoning the effort, Sqn Ldr Bhullar continued with rescue displaying steady composure and high professional skill. He maintained steady hover above the broken roof for a safe rescue from a height of about 35 meters. Similarly the remaining two survivors were also winched up to safety one-by-one. Pilot's courage was again put to test when the rescue volunteer slipped and the winch cable got entangled in the antennae. This was a potentially dangerous situation, but Sqn Ldr Bhullar, under extreme adversities of weather and fading light close to sunset, remained composed in controlling the helicopter while a crew member disentangled the cable to eventually accomplish a successful winching operation.

Sqn Ldr Bhullar displayed exceptional courage in effecting a successful rescue despite hazards and challenging conditions. Thereafter displaying indefatigable spirit, grit and determination, he continued with the flood relief operations and rescued 170 survivors in the next ten days that included 23 live winching operations.

For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Gurjot Singh Bhullar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th November 2006. - No.104-Pres/2006 dated 15th August 2006 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sgt Shivasharnappa Hanamant Patil 688505 ORUnit : 405 AFS  Award Date 31 Jul 05 Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

688505 Sergeant Shivasharnappa Hanamant Patil Electrical Fitter is on the posted strength of Air Force Station, Belgaum with effect from 23 Sep 02 and performing trade duties in MTR&S Flight. By dint of his sterling qualities as a professional with a sincere, dedicated approach, he has proved to be a role model for all others to emulate in his section.

On 31 Jul 05, Air Force Station Belgaum was tasked to coordinate relief operations in the flood-ravaged areas of Northern Karnataka and adjoining areas in Kolhapur and Sangli Districts of Maharashtra. The flood situation worsened and on 01 Aug 05 a call was received from the District Administration for rescuing marooned people whose lives were threatened in the village. A volunteer was required to undertake winching operations as there was no one available though not trained in winching operations amongst the helicopter crew members familiar with the local language. As a true air warrior, Sgt Patil rose to the occasion and accepted the challenge of rescuing marooned people. Sgt Patil showed exemplary courage, innovation and grit to undertake the challenging task of going down and helping people to safety on the winch. Through his whole-hearted involvement, he was able to rescue 23 people in two consecutive days' effort i.e. on 01 and 02 Aug 05. This rescue operation was performed in the life­threatening situation, in bad weather, by rains and gushing floodwaters. Any let up in this kind of rescue operation where the flow of floodwater is enormous would have resulted in a grave situation both for the rescuer as well as local population being rescued. During one such operation the winch got struck and an iron ladder was lowered in hanging position. Sgt Patil recovered from this dangerous situation, even though in the process he hurt his hand. He then continued with the onerous task, unmindful of his safety or discomfort, displaying exemplary courage to rescue people against all odds. His courageous effort deserves special recognition as he volunteered for winch operations without being trained for the same.

Sgt Patil has displayed exemplary courage and dedication for a noble cause in true tradition of the Indian Air Force, bringing honour to himself and glory to the Service.

For this act of exceptional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Sergeant Shivasharnappa Hanamant Patil.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Air Cmde Gurdarshan Singh Joneja 13958 MEDUnit : Army Hospital (R&R)  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Air Commodore Gurdarshan Singh Joneja (13958) Med was commissioned on 16 Jan 75. A graduate and a postgraduate from AFMC Pune, he is a Gynaecologist whose illustrious career has culminated in his appointment as the Consultant to the Armed Forces at the most prestigious Army Hospital (R&R).

He is an outstanding personality with a high degree of professionalism, clinical expertise and leadership qualities. Under his stewardship as Consultant to the Armed Forces, the field of Gynaecology has revolutionized to the most modern and high-tech speciality through provision of the latest medical equipments at the peripheral hospitals.

He has brought up the Dept of Gynaecology at Army Hospital (R&R) as the foremost tertiary care centre for Endoscopic Surgery, Gynaecologic Oncololgy and Infertility Management. A pioneer in the field of keyhole surgery, he has himself carried out a number of complicated endoscopic surgeries. Under his guidance, the Assisted Reproductive Centre, the only one of its kind in public sector, has attained National and International repute. His visionary approach has made Test-tube baby a reality for infertile couples thus realizing their dreams of parenthood.

His professional achievements have brought him laurels and recognition through appointments to various Expert Committees of Ministry of Health, visiting professorship and examinership of a number of Universities. His research work and various publications have been recognized in various National and International forums.

Air Commodore Gurdarshan Singh Joneja has shown foresight, perseverance and dedication of the highest order to his profession. He is a rare combination of clinician, academician and administrator.

For his extraordinary contribution to the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Air Commodore Gurdarshan Singh Joneja.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Kulkarni Raghavendra 17161 F(P)Unit : No.78 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Group Captain Kulkarni Raghavendra (17161) F (P) was commissioned as a pilot in the flying branch on 28 May 83. He has held several appointments as an Air Force Examiner, CO of the Communication Flight, HQ TC, Flight Commander and CO of IL-78 Squadron. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and is a qualified flying instructor having flown over 7000 hours of accident free flying. His sustained hard work and selfless commitment has earned him commendations by the AOC-in-C, TC in Jan 92, AOC-in-C, EAC in Aug 93 and CAS in Jan 03.

He was posted as the flight commander of the first Flight Refueller Sqn. He faced the daunting task of exacting diverse missions related to the new role of Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) operations, involving planning and coordination with a variety of agencies. His professional competence and planning abilities contributed immensely in a large number of operators of the unit gaining their operational status, and ensuring safe conduct of AAR operations in a variety of scenarios. He was instrumental in the planning and execution of two international exercises viz. Ex Cooperative Cope Thunder and Ex Golden Eagle in which the unit successfully participated earning accolades from all quarters.

The officer's contribution as flight commander of the fledgling unit was highly noteworthy. This laid a strong foundation for the unit to undertake multifarious tasks successfully, resulting in him assuming command of the Sqn. Under his stewardship, the unit has strengthened its operational capability as also other facets of operations, demonstrating its professionalism during international exercise Garuda, and also during the inspection by Directorate of Air Staff. His compassion and leadership qualities have seen all personnel of the unit trying to emulate him in the best interest of the service.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Kulkarni Raghavendra.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sunil Kumar Bhatia 17360 F(P)Unit : Helicopter Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Sunil Kumar Bhatia (17360) F (P) has been on the posted strength of Helicopter Training School since 21 Jul 04. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) and an IRIE, and is posted as Chief Flying Instructor at this School.

In his spotless career spanning 23 years, he has logged a total of 5550 hrs of accident/ incident free flying, including 780 hrs by night. He holds Cat/IR AMG on Chetak/ Cheetah and Mi-8/Mi-17. He has served as Flight Commander of Helicopter Flight, Chief Operations Officer at AF Stn Mohanbari, and as Commanding Officer of Helicopter Unit. He was commended by the Chief of Air Staff in 1998.

Being a QFI with rich and varied experience, he has always taken keen interest in the training aspects of the establishment. He has completed eight years in Training Command, spread over four tenures of active, accident/ incident free flying. Endorsed on HPT-32, Chetak/Cheetah and Mi-8/Mi-17 aircraft, he has accrued a total of 2355 hrs of instructional flying, including 456 hrs by night. He has been an IRIE since 1997.

In this School itself, he has been posted as a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI), Flight Commander, and now Chief Flying Instructor (CFI). In his current tenure, he has been the senior CFI for three terms, and at present is the only CFI for this term. He has worked consistently towards improvement of training standards. He has contributed immensely towards the standardization of procedures, phase briefs and instructional nuances. Having set high professional standards for all staff and trainees of this School, he spares no effort to ensure that these standards are met and maintained at all times. A true Air Warrior, he has always lead by personal examples, leaving a valuable imprint in the tender minds of all the trainees who have interacted with him.

For his high degree of professionalism, ability to consistently perform to the exacting standards of the Indian Air Force and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sunil Kumar Bhatia.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Eslin Paul D'Couto 17863 F(P)Unit : No.3001 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Eslin Paul D'Couto (17863) F (P) was commissioned on 14 Jun 85 as a Fighter Pilot in the IAF. In 21 years of distinguished service he has held several important field and staff appointments that include Flying Instructor at Air force Academy, Flight Commander of a Fighter Squadron, and as Directing Staff at Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. For his professionalism in recovering a crippled trainer aircraft, he was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff on 26 Jan 96. He took over command of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Squadron on 03 May 04. On induction of special payloads he displayed exemplary professional vision in conceptualizing the employment philosophy of these special payloads. The proposed employment has been accepted by the IAF for the entire UAV fleet. By his dedication, involvement and professional approach during every On Site Functional Acceptance Test (OSFAT) he was instrumental in identifying flaws and suggesting improvements which have been accepted by the OEM, thus preempting a subsequent upgrade. Under his guidance various innovations on the Data Acquisition System (DAS) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery interpretation station were carried out, resulting in large saving in foreign exchange. He was instrumental in formulating very exhaustive briefing guides, SOPs and syllabi for use of special payloads on UAVs which have been accepted by Air HQ (VB) for entire UAV fleet.

Under his leadership the air warriors of the Squadron are highly motivated and constantly upgrade their knowledge through interaction with the OEM and TETTRA. The OP crew of the Squadron, through a mix of many branches, always work as a cohesive team, comparable to the best of fighter Squadrons of IAF. In the last two years, the Squadron has achieved many distinctions and was judged the BEST UAV SQUADRON in WAC for 2005. It is the only UAV Squadron to be inspected by DASI with Average plus overall grading. In the last two years the squadron has flown a total of 1423 hours, the highest by any UAV squadron, without a single accident/incident on UAVs or Half Scales. It has the maximum cross trained operators, with all Fully Operational External Pilots (EP) trained as Internal Pilots (IP) and three IPs as EPs. All Internal Pilots of the Squadron have been declared as Mission Commanders and are all trained as Special Payload Operators.

For his personal involvement, dedication and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Eslin Paul D'Couto.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Shiv Ratan Singh 18083 F(P)Unit : Tactics and Combat Development Establishment  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Shiv Ratan Singh (18083) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 85. He is the Deputy Commandant of Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) since 09 Aug 04.

He is a Fighter Combat Leader (FCL) and a graduate of DSSC, Wellington. For his outstanding performance during the FCL course, he was awarded the Jam Satanic Sword of Honour and soon after the course, he was posted as Directing Staff at the Establishment from Aug 95 to Jun 2000. He was also awarded the CAS commendation in Aug 94 for his avidity and allegiance towards his duty. He has commanded a frontline fighter Squadron and under his leadership, the Squadron undertook four MOF training courses before re-equipping with Bison aircraft. He ensured incident free conversion in the shortest possible time. Under his guidance the Squadron performed exceptionally well in DASI and AEB inspections.

The officer became the Deputy Commandant at a crucial juncture where a lot of operational, developmental and training activity was being undertaken at TACDE. However, with his initiative, involvement and dedication all the assigned tasks were achieved well and in time. He undertook the induction of Bison aircraft at TACDE as a personal crusade. This involved extensive liaison with external agencies as there were many teething problems since the aircraft and allied equipment were not planned for the Establishment at that stage. He has been instrumental in the planning and conduct of the first major BVR vs BVR tactics development exercise, Ex Javelin-II. The lessons accrued from this exercise have caused a paradigm shift in the tactical doctrine of the IAF and in shaping the future of air warfare in the Air Force. He has displayed professional acumen of a very high order in the planning and conduct of international Air Force Exercise (Ex Cope India-05) with the USAF. His effort in steering the exercise towards the desired objectives has greatly enhanced the image of the IAF.

He is a perfectionist who has never allowed personal comfort to impede his work and has willingly worked beyond the normal call of duty. He has always led from the front and served as a role model to his subordinates with his tireless zeal, knowledge and maturity.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Shiv Ratan Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ajay Rathore 18258 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Ajay Rathore (18258) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a Fighter pilot on 07 Jun 86. He has close to 4000 hrs of flying to his credit and is qualified on the Su-30 MKI, Su30K, MiG-27ML and MiG-23BN aircraft. A recipient of the Scudder Medal for standing first in the overall order of merit in the 55th Defence Services Staff Course, the officer is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has been commended by the Chief of the Air Staff for his dedication to duty.

The officer has ensured smooth induction and operationalisation of the latest variant of Su-30MKI aircraft into the IAF and has contributed immensely to the enhancement of work culture in his Squadron. It is due to his sheer hard work and thorough professional approach that the squadron has consistently performed well in all spheres of activity. Notwithstanding the attendant pressures of new inductions, he has flown nearly 550 hrs in the last year and half. He has shown immense courage, exceptional skill and determination to successfully undertake pioneering missions on the Su-30MKI aircraft, such as the search and successful location of the crashed naval Kamov helicopter (19-24 Aug 05), using the onboard sensors of the Su-30MKI, which led to the recovery of a survivor.

The Su-30MKI is being hailed as a 'first of its kind' project in which the best of Russian and western technologies have been synergised to produce one of the most potent fighter aircraft in the world. Utilising his exceptional knowledge of the integration aspects of the Su30MKI aircraft and analytical approach, Wing Commander Ajay Rathore has successfully spearheaded the indigenisation of the SAPFIR Mission Planning and Debrief System hardware of the aircraft, resulting in significant cost saving to the Indian Air Force (original Russian system costs US $70,000/- vis-à-vis the proposed indigenised system cost of Rs. 3.5 lakhs). Additionally, using his unparalleled knowledge of Su-30MKI operations and systems, he has also been instrumental in the development of a desktop computer based Cockpit Procedure Trainer for the Su-30MKI aircraft, further development of which has now been handed over to Software Development Institute, IAF. The officer has also been actively involved in the User Evaluation Trials of the Su-30MKI aircraft, and through his analytical ability and foresight, has been able to resolve a number of development related issues pertaining to the aircraft.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ajay Rathore.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjeev Raj 18276 F(P)Unit : No.10 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Sanjeev Raj (18276) F (P) was commissioned on 07 Jun 86 in the Flying Branch of IAF as a Fighter Pilot. He has been the Flight Commander of a Mig-29 Squadron for three years and has commanded a MiG-21 Squadron at a forward Air Base. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a Fighter Combat Leader.

He took over command of a fighter squadron on 29 Dec 03. The role of unit is to train ab-initio pilots to become fighter pilots. Twenty five ab-initio pilots have been posted to the unit in this period and fifteen successfully graduated as fighter pilots. The Squadron flew 7984 sorties and 4818.50 hours during his command which is the maximum flying done by any MiG-21 squadron. A very keen flier, he himself has flown 961 sorties/578 hours during this tenure which reflects his active involvement and supervision. During his tenure, the Squadron did not have any CAT 1 accident.

Under his leadership, the unit maintained exceptionally high serviceability of aircraft and was able to achieve 100% serviceability on one occasion on 17 Mar 05. Inspite of significant manning and technical constraints of the MiG21 fleet, the overall output, quality of work, consistency and morale of the unit has been exceptional primarily because of his leadership and professionalism. Leading the team from the front, he delivered outstanding results across operational, maintenance and administrative fronts. The Squadron was adjudged as the 'Best Combat Squadron' of SWAC in the year 2005. The squadron's performance was well appreciated by DASI in the year 2005 with Average Plus to Above Average results.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjeev Raj.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Balkrishnan Balachandran 18561 F(P)Unit : No.108 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Balakrishnan Balachandran (18561) F (P) was commissioned on 06 Dec 86 in the Flying branch of the Indian Air Force. In 19 years of distinguished service, he has held several important appointments which include Flight Commander fighter Squadron, Chief Operations Officer (COO) AF Stn Suratgarh and Commanding Officer (CO) fighter Squadron. A Staff College Graduate, Qualified Flying Instructor, Fighter Combat Leader, Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner, he is a highly experienced fighter pilot with more than 3000 hours of accident/incident free flying which includes 1100 hours of instructional experience. He was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff, Indian Air Force, in 2001.

As CO of a Fighter Squadron the officer ensured high quality not only in the conduct of MiG Operational Flying Training (MOFT) in the Squadron, but also in Annual Squadron Training flying, averaging 215 hours of flying per month. During the visit by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection in February 2005, apart from displaying exceptional performance in the mission led by him, the Squadron was assessed 'Average Plus' overall. The Commanding Officer single handedly progressed all the staff pilots of the Squadron in night strike syllabus which is nearing completion. He has also improved the Squadron Instrument Rating status of all eight eligible staff pilots. He ensured timely completion of MOFT of 170, 171, 172 and 173 Pilots Courses.

The officer has built an effective team with all the Squadron personnel, and with his personal involvement, maintained a high morale and motivation amongst them. He has also vastly improved the ambience of his unit's surroundings and the quality of working conditions.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Balakrishnan Balachandran.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Kothapalli Venkata Rama Raju 18573 F(P)Unit : No.24 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Kothapalli Venkata Rama Raju (18573) F (P) was commissioned on 06 December 86. The officer is a Fighter Combat Leader who was awarded the Sword of Honour in the course. He is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College and a Qualified Flying Instructor, fully operational on MiG-21 FL, MiG-21 Bis, MiG-29, Su-30 K and Su-30 MKI ac with over 3000 hrs of flying experience. Presently, he is the Commanding Officer of 24 Squadron, Air Force since 05 July 2004.

The officer was part of the core team to be trained in Russia for induction of Su-30K aircraft in the IAF in 1997. Subsequently, he became the Flt Cdr of the first ever Su-30 MKI Sqn. With his vast experience as O i/c Air Combat Tactics Development at TACDE he was instrumental in developing the air combat tactics for the Su-30 K and Su-30 MKI. After assuming command, he operationalised the Sqn at its new location and formulated the concepts towards exploiting the op potential of the SU-30 aircraft. He upgraded the op status of 16 pilots to F/Op and 04 pilots to Op day status and trained 24 pilots in air-to-air refueling. Further, he contributed effectively in several international exercises like ExSindex with the F-16's of Singapore Air Force, Ex-Garuda-Il with the French Air Force in France and Ex-Cope India-05 with the USAF at Kalaikunda. The high mark of the officer's leadership was the unblemished induction and de-induction of the unit to France involving an inter-continental deployment of six Sukhoi30K aircraft for the first time by the IAF. In all these high level exercises with foreign air forces, the unit under his dynamic leadership truly epitomised the spirit and professional competence of the IAF. The Sqn, throughout maintained its fighting edge with 100% serviceability. In essence, the officer tested and validated the IAF's doctrinal viability of safely undertaking such strategic operations. The initiative, involvement, meticulous planning, coordination and importantly the successful execution of these exercises can singularly be attributed to the dynamism, foresight and leadership of the officer.

For his exceptional leadership, professional acumen and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Kothapalli Venkata Rama Raju.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 17th March 2007. No.90-Pres/2007 dated 26th January 2007 

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.