Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1329 Awards are listed.
Vayu Sena Medal : 1329 |
Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ashutosh Lal 18785 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Ashutosh Lal (18785) F (P) was commissioned on 13 Jun 87 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. An A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and an Experimental Test Pilot, he has held several important operational and instructional appointments.

He was appointed as Commanding Officer of Attack Helicopter (AH) Squadron on 09 Aug 04. With astounding involvement and relentless drive he propelled the Squadron towards safe maximisation of its operational potential. Leading with innovative vision, he established the off base night operations as the core competence of the Squadron. He induced a vibrant team spirit amongst his subordinates and instituted a proactive, excellence seeking work ethos as Squadron's identity. Consequently, on several occasions the squadron simultaneously excelled in more than one important commitments. These included inter-service command level exercises, national tasks of Republic/ Independence day parades and other Air Force commitments of sensitive nature.

On the jointmanship front, the officer with his perseverance succeeded in building a new synergised understanding of AH employment by the supported Army formations. Under his leadership the Squadron has drawn accolades from several formations for its professionalism and operational approach especially while undertaking night missions.

The officer has also rallied intensely for optimisation through proactive management of resources, innovations and Information Technology applications. Some of the acclaimed innovations of the Squadron include the Night Vision Goggles, compatible helipad and tarmac lights, the Operational Risk Management matrix exclusive for helicopters and Radio Relay link for streaming the attack videos from remote locations. The Squadron has pioneered an IAF intranet based software solution automating the returns pertaining operations, flight safety, maintenance and administrative fields.

During the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection, the Squadron under his command has been adjudged 'Above Average' in Operations and 'Average Plus' in Maintenance and Administration. The Squadron was adjudged 'Best Helicopter Unit' in Western Air Command for the year 2004-05.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Tejinder Singh 18806 F(P)Unit : No.5 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Tejinder Singh (18806) F (P) was commissioned on 13 Jun 87 in the Fighter Stream of the Flying Branch of the 1AF. He is an A-2 category Flying Instructor, Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner and is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He stood first during Hunter Operational Flying training and was also awarded the trophy for Best in Armament. While undergoing the Qualified Flying Instructors Course, he was awarded the trophy for Best in Flying and while undergoing the Air Staff Course at Defence Services Staff College he was awarded the Scudder Medal for standing first in M Sc Studies. He has over 4300 hours of Accident/Incident free flying, including 2000 hrs on Jaguars and has been awarded a commendation by the CAS. He has been a Directing Staff at the Flying Instructors School, Flight Commander of a fighter squadron and an Air Force Examiner at Aircrew Examining Board.

He was appointed as Commanding Officer of a Jaguar Squadron on 26 May 04 in difficult circumstances, after a tragic Double-Fatal accident and he faced the challenge of raising the morale of the Squadron and re-building the team. During the last 21 months, the Squadron carried out the maximum flying amongst fighter Squadron of Western Air Command and the same was achieved without any accident, while operating vintage Navigation Weapon Aiming Sub System Jaguars. Flying by junior pilots has almost doubled and has led to up-gradations and fast progress of syllabus. Innovations like setting up of a Test Equipment Laboratory and devising simple software at Sqn level are indicative of the high level of involvement of all personnel and have resulted in enhanced efficiency and savings in cost to the exchequer. The squadron put up a commendable performance during inspection by Directorate of Air Staff Inspections and the mission led by him was assessed as Exceptional. The Sqn won the Rocketry trophy in Exercise Ekalavya 04 and during Eklavya 05, the squadron put up a record performance winning four out of five team events and the Overall Championship. He was a member of three winning teams in these exercises. He led the fighter fly past on AF Day 04, 05 and Republic Day 06, putting up an immaculate display every time. He was also the Team Leader for induction of DARIN II Twin-Seater aircraft at base and has made an invaluable contribution to ensure a smooth transition to a new variant.

The officer, with his personal professional example, pro-active approach and leadership has provided the personnel placed below him with a new purpose and direction. This has enabled the squadron to tide over the crisis and attain exceptional standards of professionalism in all facets of its tasking.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Tejinder 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 Viswajit Vasudev Dedgaonkar 18813 F(P)Unit : No.6 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Vishwajit Vasudev Dedgaonkar (18813) F (P) was commissioned on 13 Jun 1987 in the flying branch of the Indian Air Force and has been the Commanding Officer of a Jaguar Squadron since 01 Jun 04, which is the only maritime squadron of the Indian Air Force.

The Officer has 3300 hrs accident free flying, of which nearly 2600 hrs are on operational aircraft. He took over the reins of the squadron after the sad and untimely demise of the previous Commanding Officer in an aircraft accident. In spite of the grief and loss suffered by the squadron, he raised the morale of all air warriors in the greater interest of service. Leading by personal example, Wing Commander Dedgaonkar instilled confidence, enthusiasm and a sense of professional pride in the squadron, thus binding it into a strong and potent fighting force.

The level of motivation instilled came to the fore within a month of his taking over command, when the squadron won the prestigious "Eklavya" trophy in SWAC for the best overall squadron in Air-to-Ground armament delivery. This trophy was again retained in 2005, thus ensuring that the squadron is adjudged the best in armament delivery for three consecutive years. During the DASI visit, the squadron was adjudged Average Plus in all aspects and was selected for Vayu Spardha. He was entrusted the task of inducting the latest variant of DARIN II Twin seater aircraft and converting the squadron from half squadron strength to full squadron strength. Starting with a limited number of experienced pilots, engineers and technicians, he has led his team with personal examples to operationalise the new aircraft. Despite the attendant pressures pertaining to new inductions and increase in squadron strength, he has ensured that the squadron did 4200 hrs of accident free hours during his tenure.

The officer has motivated his air warriors to a very high level of achievements. Despite constraints, he has shown immense courage, exceptional skill and determination to successfully undertake pioneering missions, which includes operating from Carnic Post Tsunami, participation in frequent inter service exercises and launch of Two Sea eagle Missiles in various modes. For exceptional devotion to duty, the

Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vishwajit Vasudev Dedgaonkar.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Praveen Keshav Vohra 19162 F(P)Unit : No.47 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Praveen Keshav Vohra (19162) F (P) was commissioned in Indian Air Force on 19 Dec 87 as a pilot in the fighter stream. He has completed 18 years of service having flown 3350 hours on various aircraft without a single accident or incident. He has flown over 1000 hours on the MiG29 aircraft. During this time he has served as an operational pilot in frontline fighter Squadrons of the IAF flying the MiG-21 and MiG-29 aircraft, been a founder member of the elite 'SURYAKIRAN' Formation Aerobatic Team of the Indian Air Force, held the appointment of Flight Commander of a MiG-29 fighter Sqn and of the prestigious Flying Instructors' School. He is an A-2 flying instructor and a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.

During his tenure with the Suryakiran acrobatic team his excellent performance as a professional earned him a Commendation by the Chief of Air Staff in 1998. As a Flight Commander of a MiG-29 Sqn in 2002 he was once again commended by the Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Air Command IAF.

The officer was the Commanding Officer of a MiG- 29 Sqn from 19 Jul 04 to 15 May 06. He has led his Squadron from the front having set a perfect example of discipline, competence and professional standard for the rest of the air warriors to emulate. During the period of his command the Unit trained for and achieved a very high state of preparedness to undertake its operational tasks. He has raised the threshold of flying training to new levels having himself led the most demanding of the training missions. He has marshalled all the human and material resources placed under his command deftly and economically ensuring that the Squadron achieved its operational and training commitments in an exemplary and safe manner during the last two years.

He as a commander has worked relentlessly, always placing the interest of the service and air warriors above all else. This has resulted in exceptionally high morale and motivation level amongst all personnel of the squadron.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Harpreet Singh Basra 19174 F(P)Unit : No.7 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Wing Commander Harpreet Singh Basra (19174) F (P) was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 19 Dec 87. Presently he is the Commanding Officer of a M-2000 Squadron. The officer has almost 4000 hrs of accident/incident free flying with almost 1500 hrs on the versatile M-2000 aircraft. The Officer has performed exceptionally well during his flying career and is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor, a graduate of Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment and Defence Services Staff College and has secured first position in both courses.

On taking over the Sqn, he laid special emphasis on improving the operational status of the Sqn. The Sqn has flown 2352 hrs in the last one year with the officer himself flying over 300 hrs, despite all the responsibilities of a Commanding Officer. The Sqn Ops Status has improved considerably with the junior most pilot averaging over 150 hrs in the last one year. He has been instrumental in inducting the first batch of Ex-Hawk pilots to the Mirage fleet, an event which warranted not only creating a new syllabus, but also tailoring the training pattern and learning environment to suit the requirements of the young inexperienced pilots.

The officer has consistently proved his mettle in various tasks. Under his command, his Sqn was declared the "Best Fighter Squadron of Central Air Command". Earlier, as the Flight Commander, he was instrumental in his Sqn winning the "Best Fighter Squadron of IAF 0304". The Sqn's performance during CASI, AEB and DASI inspections has been very good. Innovative and enterprising, he is constantly finding solutions and meeting the highest standards in all spheres for others to emulate. His innate ability to interact with the airmen and NCs(E) at the lowest rung has earned him the respect of his subordinates, both officers and men alike, and inculcated the spirit of unflinching loyalty towards the Sqn and kept the morale of his Sqn very high. This has manifested itself in high aircraft serviceability state of the Sqn, resulting in excellent performances of the Sqn in various exercises.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, innovation, foresight, planning abilities and professional excellence of the highest order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Harpreet Singh Basra.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Jasbir Singh 22702 F(P)Unit : AFS Hakimpet  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 07
Details :

Squadron Leader Jasbir Singh (22702) F (P) is on the posted strength of AF Station Hakimpet since 06 Dec 04 and is the Senior Flight Commander of Kiran MK I Flt.

On 23 Aug 05, he was authorised as chase for a trainee's syllabus sortie, which was uneventful till peel off for a landing. While Sqn Ldr Jasbir was turning cross at a height of approximately 1800' to 2000' AGL, he had a bird hit followed by rpm stagnation at 20-25%, which is below the idle value. He appreciated the situation in its entirety and announced his intention to force land the ac on reciprocal to the runway in use. He held his throttle in the idle position, continued his left turn maintaining glide parameters, managed the R/T with ATC and ensured landing configuration before reversing the turn in time to align and force land the ac safely. A reconstruction of the whole profile confirms the fact that the pilot barely had 10 seconds to appreciate the emergency inside his aircraft, correlate his relative to the runway and monitor the traffic situation before arriving at his decision. If that window of time was lost either due to delayed appreciation or error of judgment, such a recovery would have been impossible. Post flight inspection revealed a near intact full-grown dead eagle lodged before first stage of compressor, confirming no possibility of relight. The pilot was within his rights to eject as per all existing SOPs. But since he successfully seized the timely opportunity to factor in all relevant aspects to arrive at the decision that he did, it saved an invaluable asset for the Service.

The extreme professionalism shown by the officer in face of deteriorated air situation ensured safe recovery of the aircraft. For his professionalism and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Jasbir Singh.

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

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

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

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

Reference:  

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

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

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

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

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

Reference:  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Sartaj Bedi 21024 F(P)Unit : No.107 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 09 Aug 06 Announced 15 Aug 07
Details :

Wing Commander Sartaj Bedi (21024) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 unit since 05 Jun 06, where he is functioning as the unit Flight Commander.

In Aug 06, the state of Gujarat experienced incessant rainfall leading to a deluge that left countless people marooned and bereft of any food or water. Consequently, the unit was tasked to provide four helicopters to provide succour to those affected, with Wing Commander Bedi as the Detachment Commander. The officer led his team from the front by carrying out relief operations from Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. Braving incessant inclement weather he flew 33 hours, rescued 156 people and dropped 56 tonnes of relief material. All these survivors were rescued from their low-lying perches that were perilously surrounded by fast flowing and rising flood waters leaving them with no other means of escape. Displaying an acute sense of empathy, coupled with astute professionalism, which required hovering over the swirling flood waters, he winched up 139 persons, including 79 in a single day, on 09 Aug 06. Most of these rescues were executed in spite of the close proximity of tall obstructions and were carried out from as varied locations as vehicle tops, roof tops as well as from a collapsed building in Surat.

On 10 Aug 06, upon receiving information about the collapsed building, the officer reached the spot with all alacrity and found it to be amidst high rise buildings and other obstructions like tall trees and poles which were very close to the site. Knowing the importance of rescuing the survivors, but not being in visual contact with the survivors, Wing Commander Bedi instructed the crew of his helicopter to guide him over the spot and proceeded to winch up as many as 22 injured persons from the rubble. In spite of close obstacles and gusting wind conditions, he very ably used the crew's verbal inputs to maintain his hover position for a safe winching of the survivors. Given the marginal conditions, there was no scope of error and Wg Cdr Bedi had executed the task with unwaveri ng determination and professionalism. He further flew the survivors, some of them with serious injuries to a city hospital, a fact also commended by the local media. These singular acts of valour by the officer in the face of all possible odds, helped in the saving of more than 150 lives while also projecting a humane face of the service to the nation.

For his acts of exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Sartaj Bedi.

Reference:  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Rajesh Ranwan 21812 F(P)Unit : No.107 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 23 Aug 06 Announced 15 Aug 07
Details :

Wing Commander Rajesh Ranwan (21812) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit since 27 Feb 06.

Barmer district of Rajasthan experienced unprecedented rainfall in the month of Aug 06. Very heavy rainfall on 21 Aug 06 resulted in flooding of Kawas, Malwa and Barkha. Wg Cdr Ranwan was the Det Cdr of the helicopter detachment that undertook the arduous task of providing succor, rescue and relief to the affected areas. Wg Cdr Ranwan, being the most qualified and experienced pilot in the detachment, flew missions in the face of the very trying weather conditions, ensuring that the marooned people were rescued and the stranded persons received food and water. On 22 Aug 06, he skillfully rescued 80 persons from Kawas and adjoining villages.

On 23 Aug 06, he was again tasked for rescuing the people marooned on roof tops of submerged huts in Malwa village. The weather, continued to pose severe limitations on the aircrew undertaking the relief operations. Flooding conditions was such that marooned people could only be rescued by a hover. Surrounding obstacles and heavy weather conditions had put severe limitations on rescue by hover. However, displaying courage, determination and professionalism, Wg Cdr Ranwan persisted with the rescue operations. Undeterred by the risks involved, he rescued 107 people, 80 of them, by low hover and 27 by winching, who, but for his brave, daring and professional flying, would have lost their lives. In similar fashion he had saved another 22 people from surrounding areas. Additionally, he also carried relief material for stranded villages in the affected areas, dropping more than 15 tonnes of food and relief material, thereby providing food and shelter to innumerable helpless citizens. The rescue missions carried out by the officer speak volumes of his courageous efforts displayed during the adverse weather and trying flying conditions, which resulted in rescuing stranded people from dangerous flood waters.

Before carrying out relief work at Barmer, Wg Cdr Ranwan was involved in relief operation in Gujarat sector wherein he rescued 63 persons and dropped over 33 tonnes of relief material. His efforts during these flood relief operations helped in rescuing 272 people who otherwise would have lost their lives. The Chief Minister of Rajasthan, during her visit to Air Force Station, Uttarlai, personally commended and thanked Wg Cdr Ranwan for his bravery and valour.

For displaying exceptional courage and professionalism under adverse circumstances, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Rajesh Ranwan.

Reference:  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Bhupender Singh Sehrawat 24203 F(P)Unit : No.105 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 15 Aug 06 Announced 15 Aug 07
Details :

Squadron Leader Bhupender Singh Sehrawat (24203) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 Helicopter Unit since 30 Apr 03. He is a very keen and competent flier having 2604 hours of accident/ incident free flying.

On 15 Aug 06, Sqn Ldr Sehrawat, while airborne for flood relief operations, received a distress message from Nagpur ATC that a rescue boat carrying seven persons had capsized in 'Wainganga' river. Realising the gravity of the situation he immediately turned the helicopter towards the mishap area. Enroute, he carried out a meticulous in-flight planning and briefing. The weather was extremely bad with heavy downpour, strong gusty winds, low clouds and poor visibility, but he continued undeterred. After an extensive search the survivors were located, clinging onto tall trees in the swirling waters of 'Wainganga' river. Though situation was precarious, he kept his cool and decided to winch up the survivors from a high hover in between the tall trees.

Sqn Ldr Sehrawat, after coming to a high hover, descended his helicopter in between the trees with rotor tips barely clear of the branches and winched down one of his crew. Persisting on with his courageous effort he carried out a prolonged hover in an extremely restricted space, adverse weather and extreme regimes of performance. Through out he displayed selfless courage, exceptional skills, leadership and dedicated pursuance. By his timely and co-ordinated act of gallantry, he safely rescued all the seven survivors whose lives would otherwise have surely been lost.

For this act of exceptional courage, exemplary leadership and professional acumen in executing this complex mission leading to saving seven human lives, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Squadron Leader Bhupender Singh Sehrawat.

Reference:  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Cpl Prashanta Kumar Pati 768541 ORUnit : No.105 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 15 Aug 06 Announced 15 Aug 07
Details :

768541 Corporal Prasanta Kumar Pati Engine Fitter is on the posted strength of a Mi-8 Helicopter Unit since 14 Jun 04. The state of Maharashtra was lashed with incessant rains in the month of Aug 06 resulting in floods. This led to a critical situation with lot of people stranded. He was part of the rescue operations at Nagpur.

On 15 Aug 06, Cpl Pati, an engine tradesmen was carried on a helicopter as part of crew for relief operations. While on relief Ops, the Captain of the helicopter received a distress message from Nagpur ATC that a boat carrying seven persons had capsized in 'Wainganga' river. Captain diverted the aircraft to rescue people from capsized boat. The survivors were located clinging onto tall trees in the swirling waters. The Captain then decided to winch them up from a height of 35 mtrs. Survivors were in a precarious situation and were not be able to harness themselves onto the winch. Someone from helicopter had to go down to the trees and help the survivors. Cpl Pati volunteered for this dangerous and challenging task.

In spite of the dangers and complexities associated with this task, Cpl Pati displayed courage and composure of the highest order and immediately got down into the swirling waters of the flooded 'Wainganga' river in which the survivors were holding onto their lives by clinging to the trees. He strapped up the survivors one by one from the flooded waters. By agreeing to go down in the swirling fast currents of a flooded river he displayed grit and determination of a true Air Warrior and in spite of no previous experience, handled the task professionally. By his timely act of courage he helped in saving seven lives which would have surely been lost.

For this act of exceptional courage in face of adversity while undertaking a life threatening task beyond his call of duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Corporal Prasanta Kumar Pati.

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Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Nilanjan Biswas 18081 F(P)Unit : 1 Base Repair Depot  Award Date 28 Mar 07 Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Nilanjan Biswas (18081) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Base Repair Depot (BRD) since 27 Sep 04 as Chief Test Pilot.

On 28 Mar 07, Wg Cdr Biswas undertook the first post production sortie on AN-32 aircraft after major overhaul. On completion of air test profile, during rejoin when the undercarriage was lowered, the port and nose wheel undercarriage locked down, however, the starboard undercarriage was stuck in the up position. All emergency actions failed to lower the starboard undercarriage. Additional actions including landing the aircraft on port wheel only and a go around were not effective.

This emergency was unprecedented in the history of AN-32 operation with the IAF. Wg Cdr Biswas did not get perturbed by such a grave emergency and decided to carry out an emergency landing on port wheel and nose wheel only. Under such a condition the aircraft could easily get out of control and crash, leading to catastrophic consequences for both the occupants as well as the aircraft. He landed the aircraft with minimal fuel and on touch down switched off the engines. On the landing roll, he controlled the aircraft in such a way that it remained on the runway for most part of the landing roll and the right wing was lowered to touch the ground only at very low speeds. Thus, the aircraft suffered minimal damage only on the starboard wing tip and rear fuselage with no damage to the engines. The damages to aircraft are repairable at site. No damages were suffered by the aero engine and the propeller of the aircraft. Throughout the flying Wg Cdr Biswas was in control of the situation and his cockpit resource management was immaculate. His professionalism and courage in handling of the emergency saved the airmen from loss of life as well as extensive damage to the aircraft.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Ajay Shukla 18793 F(P)Unit : MONUC  Award Date 25 Nov 06 Announced 26 Jan 08
Details : Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Personnel Holding Section, on deputation to the UN Mission in Congo since 27 Feb 06. He is working as a squadron pilot in the Mi-35 Attack Helicopter Squadron at Goma.

On 25 Nov 06, a renegade warlord made deep advances towards Goma town, with the town coming under an imminent threat of being taken over. The Mi-35 attack helicopters were immediately pressed into action to prevent the fall of Goma. Leading from the front, Wg Cdr Ajay Shukla got airborne for fire support and reconnaissance in support of the Indian Brigade. In face of repeated hostile fire from the rebels on his helicopter, including that by Rocket Propelled Grenades, he remained undeterred and continued with the mission. Soon he detected heavy militia activity inside a well camouflaged camp and targeted it successfully with 57 mm rockets, leading to destruction of a key rebel command centre. This action by Wg Cdr Shukla delivered a crippling blow to the rebels and precipitated a severe disruption in their co­ordinated offensive. He flew a total of 10 crucial operational sorties, both by day and night. The sorties were carried out in very demanding conditions of hazardous terrain, inclement weather and enemy action. An experienced pilot on Night Vision Goggles, Wg Cdr Shukla was also at the forefront of all night operations. He took calculated risks and displayed exceptional skills in handling the night targeting devices to effectively scan for movement of rebels on the critical nights of 26 and 27 Nov 06. Crucial inputs provided by him exposed the game plan of the advancing rebels and enabled immediate friendly reinforcements to be sent. Throughout the operations, his accurate weapon delivery had a devastating effect on the vanguard rebel elements threatening Goma and on their camps being used for reinforcements, thereby, preventing Goma town from falling into the hands of the rebels and helping recover Sake town.

Wg Cdr Shukla is a very qualified and extremely professional Air Warrior. During this crisis, his gallant contribution towards keeping Goma town secure from the rebels has been exceptional. His actions have won accolades from all quarters for the IAF and have contributed immensely towards UN efforts at peace enforcement in this troubled region.

For this act of exceptional courage and steadfast resolve in face of adversity during the operations, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Ajay Shukla.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Amit Sharma 26715 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 11 Apr 07 Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Amit Sharma (26715) Flying (Pilot) was on the posted strength of a Cheetah Helicopter Unit at Air Force Station Leh since 17 Jul 06.

On 11 Apr 07, Flt Lt Sharma was detailed for an air logistics support sortie to Amar helipad located on the Siachen Glacier, as the co­pilot in the No.l of a two aircraft formation. The Siachen Glacier is the highest battlefield in the world. Flying over this vast frozen ice mass entails flying in the extremes of climatic conditions over exceedingly inhospitable terrain. The margin for error in this environment, while flying the single engine Cheetah aircraft, is practically nonexistent. Amar post has the highest helipad in the world with density altitude exceeding twenty thousand feet and is located on the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL). The sortie was uneventful till final approach. On short finals, an overshoot had to be initiated as tail winds were encountered. The helicopter experienced a sudden loss of power and height after crossing the helipad. The engine jet pipe temperature (JPT) also shot up. In spite of the best efforts of the pilots, the aircraft crashed about 300 meters ahead of Amar helipad, in direct line of sight of the Pakistani post.

Flt Lt Sharma maintained his cool in this unusual emergency and handled the situation in a competent manner displaying a high degree of professionalism. He kept a close check on the engine parameters and assisted the captain in attempting to recover the aircraft. He also cautioned the captain about the unusually high JPT. Unfortunately, the JPT failed to respond to the emergency actions by the pilots and the aircraft continued to lose height. The pilots therefore took the highly courageous decision of attempting to force land across the AGPL. However due to the absence of a suitable force landing field in the harsh, snow bound and sloping terrain, the helicopter crashed, giving no chance of survival to the crew. Flt Lt Sharma, a true air warrior, made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the country, displaying exceptional courage beyond the call of duty in the best traditions of the IAF.

For this act of exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Flight Lieutenant Amit Sharma (Posthumously).

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Gurinder Pal Singh 15417 F(P)Unit : AFS Yelahanka  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Group Captain Gurinder Pal Singh (15417) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 07 July 1978. In 29 years of distinguished service, he has held several prestigious appointments that include Air Force Examiner on AN-32, Avro and Kiran aircraft at Aircrew Examining Board, CO HQ Central Air Command Communication Flight, Directing Staff at DSSC, DDPO (Transports) at Air HQ, Chief Operation Officer (COO) at AF Station Agra and CO of an AN-32 Squadron prior to his present appointment as the Chief Instructor at Fixed Wing Training Faculty (FWTF), AF Station Yelahanka.

He is an A-2 flying instructor. His leadership by example and management style were inspirational in stimulating his subordinates towards achieving higher goals and objectives. This is evident from the fact that a small unit like HQ CAC Comn Flt, under his command produced ten Qualified Flying and Navigation instructors. While in command of an AN32 Squadron, he simultaneously performed duties of COO at AF Stn Agra for almost a year. He once again exhibited the same zeal and professionalism in building up the ops status of the unit and achieved higher than the stated goals in the special role and formation flying.

He took over as Chief Instructor FWTF on 19 July 2004. His unflinching passion for excellence and professionalism was evident from the fact that in Jan 05, amidst hectic preparations for the Aero India, he wrote a service paper on review of transport pilot training at Yelahanka that effected in reduction in training duration by six months, despite an increase in solo content. The reviewed syllabi led to improvement in operational status and manning levels of the transport fleet due to early availability of transport pilots. This also facilitated increase in intake of transport pilot trainees, thereby complementing the long term induction plan of the IAF.

Under his leadership, the FWTF flew a mammoth 13,160 hrs in the year 2005, the highest ever by the faculty at Yelahanka. However, this record was surpassed in 2006 by flying 13,765 hrs, another remarkable feat. He is a systematic and meticulous individual himself, demanded high standards and exactitude in all spheres of flying activity, which resulted in award of the 'Training Command Flight Safety Trophy' to FWTF for the year 2004-05 and 2005-06, in succession. This was accomplished despite ongoing runway, tarmac and associated works services for Aero India 2005 and 2007. He was also instrumental in ensuring a sound Tarmac Management and a methodical Static Display during Aero India 2005 and 2007. His proactive participation in almost all spheres contributed significantly in smooth conduct of both the Air Shows.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, consummate leadership and exemplary professionalism, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Gurinder Pal Singh.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Rajat Sharma 17008 F(P)Unit : No.44 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Group Captain Rajat Sharma (17008) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 29 Dec 82. During his 25 years of distinguished service he has held the challenging appointments of Flight Commander (Flt Cdr) of a premier Transport Sqn and Chief Operations Officer (COO) of two major airbases. He is presently commanding a Strategic Airlift Sqn and has 7400 h of accident free flying.

An accomplished professional, the officer was commended by the CAS in 1999 for professional competence. In 2001, as Flt Cdr, he carried out the path breaking night landings at high altitude airfields in Leh and Thoise on IL-76 thereby upgrading operational potential. As COO at Nagpur, despite manpower/infrastructure constraints, he displayed immense resourcefulness and ensured timely and safe induction of an IL-76 Sqn. At Agra, he was instrumental in enhancing operational effectiveness by resurrecting operations from blast pens and the Station was adjudged the "Pride of CAC".

On assuming command of an IL-76 Sqn, he resolved to improve the operational status of aircrew and aircraft serviceability, which had suffered after relocation of the Sqn and achieved laudable success on both fronts. The operational and categorization status of Sqn aircrew improved substantially in a short span of time as also the availability of aircraft facilitating achievement of all assigned tasks. A believer in leading from the front, he flawlessly executed the post hurricane relief operation to USA ordered at very short notice. During exercise 'Gagan Shakti' he ensured timely execution of all assigned missions despite resource constraints. With his innovative ideas and untiring effort, he started the Station Officers Mess and rapidly brought it up. It is his motivation, leadership and faith in subordinates that makes such demanding achievements possible. He has served the Air Force with dedication and outstanding professional integrity.

For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Rajat Sharma.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Narmdeshwar Tiwari 18270 F(P)Unit : No.1 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Narmdeshwar Tiwari (18270) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 07 Jun 86. In the past he had held important appointments which include Directing Staff at DSSC, Test Pilot's School and Flt Cdr of Fighter Sqn. Presently he is the Commanding Officer of a Mirage-2000 Squadron since 13 Dec 04.

The officer has ensured a high degree of supervision in flying activities that has significantly contributed to an improvement in the quality of training. His hands on management style has been responsible for a perceptible improvement in the morale of the Sqn. A record number of upgradations of operational status of aircrew have been achieved in his tenure. The Sqn has also flown a record 4650 h, a perceptible increase over the past years thus resulting in 11 pilots achieving fully ops status during his tenure. More importantly, the task was achieved without a single accident. During his tenure, he also led numerous important detachments, involving foreign air forces like the USAF for Cope-India 05. The Sqn was one of the very few units that took part in all the three phases of the Air Force exercise where they performed very well in a variety of roles by both day and night. The task was achieved in a very professional manner.

On the maintenance side, he has used his expertise as a test pilot to study complex snags and suggest methods for effective technical management. This has resulted in a positive change that is visible on the tarmac as well as the maintenance line. He has taken active interest in pursuing administrative requirement for the Sqn, which has resulted in a vast improvement on the working environment of all the sections. The overall command and control exercised by him has produced a well knit and professionally potent unit.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Nagesh Kapoor 18557 F(P)Unit : No.35 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Nagesh Kapoor (18557) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 06 Dec 86. He has held the appointments of Flt Cdr (Flt Cdr) of a MiG-29 Sqn and Senior Flight Safety and Inspection Officer (SFS&IO) of Air Force Station Adampur. Presently he is the CO of a MiG-21 Sqn. During his tenure as the Flt Cdr he was deployed at a forward air base for six months during 'Op Parakram'. During his tenure as the SFS&IO, the base had nil accidents/incidents attributable to human error. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Fighter Combat Leader and also a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, having topped the course in 2003. He has over 2700 h of accident / incident free flying. He has been awarded twice with the 'Commendation by the CAS' and once with the 'Commendation by the AOC-in-C Western Air Command'.

During his present tenure as CO of a MiG21 Sqn, Wg Cdr N Kapoor has harnessed his resources in an exceptional manner. This has ensured that the Sqn flew almost twice as many hours in the last one year as compared to the previous year. His immaculate planning and foresight has ensured that the operational status of the Sqn has always been very high. There has been a period of almost one year in between wherein all pilots of the Sqn were operational and had current Instrument Rating. While achieving all of the above Wg Cdr Kapoor ensured a healthy and safe flying environment resulting in a nil accident rate.

During the recently concluded Command Gunnery Meet, Wg Cdr Kapoor's Sqn competed with the technologically superior Mirage and Jaguar Sqns. It is to the credit of his leadership and motivational capabilities that the Sqn emerged victorious in both the team events that it took part in. The Sqn also performed exceptionally well in the biannual inspection by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection. During all detachments, exercises and inspections he has led from the front. During his tenure, the Sqn merged with another MiG-21 Sqn. His painstaking and tireless efforts ensured that the merger was smooth and the operational capability of the unit did not diminish even during the days of transition.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Awadesh Kumar Bharti 18781 F(P)Unit : No.30 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Awadesh Kumar Bharti (18781) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 13 Jun 87. In 20 years of distinguished service, the officer has crossed several important milestones. He is a Fighter Combat Leader and a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He was the Flight Commander of a Sukhoi-30MK Sqn. He has also held a staff appointment as the Joint Director of Air Defence operations at Air HQ. The officer has been awarded 'Three Stars' for accident free flying (superlative performance). He was also commended by the CAS in 1997 for dedication to duty.

Wg Cdr AK Bharti was appointed as the CO of a Sukhoi-30 MKI Sqn on 16 Aug 05. The Sukhoi-30 MKI Phase III aircraft have been inducted recently and he had the onerous responsibility of making the various weapon systems operational and evolving tactics for the same. In spite of numerous teething troubles that are bound to engulf a nascent fleet, by his effective leadership and innovative approach, he made the weapon systems operational in the shortest possible time frame. Tactics were also evolved to extract the maximum from this very versatile aircraft. Under his leadership, the Sqn successfully participated in an Air Force level exercise called Gagan Shakti and helped prove the evolving concept of 'Air Dominance Force'. The Sqn also won accolades after exercising with the Royal Air Force of United Kingdom during ExerciseIndradhanush 2006 and, with the French Air Force during Exercise-Garuda 2007.

The Sqn was inspected by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection in Nov 06. The Sqn was assessed in a multitude of missions that the aircraft was capable of. In many of the crucial missions, the Sqn was assessed 'Above Average' and also 'Exceptional'. The Sqn achieved an overall grading of 'Average Plus'. All this was possible because of Wg Cdr Bharati's very high standards of professionalism and his able and dynamic leadership.

For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Awadesh Kumar Bharti.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Aman Nautiyal 18789 F(P)Unit : No.28 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Aman Nautiyal (18789) F (P) was commissioned on 13 Jun 87 in the Flying Branch. In 19 years of distinguished service, he has been a Directing Staff at Tactical and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) for a period of seven years, during which he instructed 25 courses, and was instrumental in the initial spade-work for conduct of Helicopter Combat Leaders Courses. Additionally, his work for the smooth induction of the MiG21 up-graded Bison aircraft into TACDE has ensured that this aircraft is performing to the best of its abilities at this establishment. He was also part of the team that ensured great success for the IAF during Exercise Cope India-I (2005) with the USAF, wherein he was head of the White Force.

He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College where he stood overall second. He also underwent Fighter Combat Leader course where he stood first and won all the trophies at the end of the course. A highly experienced fighter pilot, he has more than 2350 h of accident/incident free flying to his credit. He was commended by the CAS in 2002.

Wg Cdr Aman Nautiyal was appointed the CO of a Frontline Fighter Sqn on 01 Jul 05. Till date, in spite of depleting seniority levels in the MiG-29 fleet, in terms of pilots, engineering officer and airmen, he has ensured good operational orientation of his squadron through comprehensive, meaningful and focused flying and ground training, while maintaining the highest standards of flight safety. By providing good leadership and harmonious functioning, he has ensured high morale and motivation and a positive vibe which bodes well for the future of his Sqn personnel. During the inspection by Directorate of Air Staff Inspections from Air HQs in April 2006, apart from displaying exceptional performance in the missions led by him, the Sqn was assessed 'Above Average' on the ground, and 'Average Plus' overall. Also he was assessed as exceptional by the Aircrew Examination Board (AEB) of Air HQs during Apr 06.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Rajiva Ranjan 18810 F(P)Unit : MiG Operational Flying Training Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Rajiva Ranjan (18810) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 13 Jun 87. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Fighter Combat Leader and a graduate of the DSSC. He has flown various variants of MiG21 and Mirage 2000 aircraft amassing a grand total of 3600 h of flying, which very few in his seniority bracket achieve. The officer has been commended by CAS in 1998 & 2003. He took over as CO of MOFTU 'A' on 06 Jun 05.

Wg Cdr Ranjan is a dynamic officer with exceptional professional knowledge and skills which he has achieved through hard work and perseverance. During his tenure as CO, he has led the unit from the front, individually flying more than 1050 sorties in less than two years. During the same period, the Sqn has flown a total of 6500 sorties, a feat very few fighter Sqns can be proud of. To achieve this feat, the Sqn maintained an average serviceability close to 85% on the ageing MiG-21 fleet and put a feather in its cap by achieving 100% serviceability for 26 days. He was also instrumental in carrying out the highest number of innovations by any Sqn in EAC. In addition to completing all the training tasks ahead of time, the Sqn also took part in a number of exercises at the Command level and played a vital role in the Jorhat and Guwahati fly pasts, as a part of the IAF awareness campaign. While achieving all this, the Sqn's track record of quality training and accident free flying stood testimony to his excellent supervision and management.

While according very high priority to quality training and operational preparedness of the Sqn, he never lost sight of the morale and welfare of his personnel. His concern, zeal and enthusiasm served as a great motivator to all air warriors. His regular involvement with all ranks also resulted in the Sqn reaching a very high degree of satisfaction level, in turn, leading to the Sqn being declared as the best fighter Sqn in EAC in 2005-06. Thus, this indefatigable and self-motivated officer has demonstrated an exceptional capacity to lead his men to better productivity under demanding and stressful conditions.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Kanthalloor Saraswathy Suresh Kumar 18822 F(P)Unit : No.9 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Kanthalloor Saraswathy Suresh Kumar (18822) F (P) was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot in the Flying Branch on 13 Jun 87.

He is presently the CO of a frontline Mirage Sqn. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with more than 3500 h of accident free flying. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and has held various important appointments prior to the present appointment. In 2004, he was commended by CAS for devotion to duty. He is one of the very few pilots to achieve more than 1000 h of accident free flying on Mirage-2000.

Under his command, he has been able to motivate the unit to a very high level of performance. The operational capabilities of the Sqn kept on improving along with the training of under trainee (U/T) pilots of the Sqn. The Sqn was appreciated by Air HQ and HQ CAC for involvement of Sqn in various out station commitments and progress of U/T pilots training. In the year 2006, he was given the responsibility of leading a combined Mirage -2000 detachment to Singapore for Exercise Sindex-06/ OS. The exceptional result achieved during the exercise is a result of his meticulous planning and thorough professionalism. Leading by example, Wing Commander Suresh has been able to instill confidence, enthusiasm and a sense of pride in his men, binding the unit into a strong and potent team of professionals. The Sqn being adjudged the best fighter Sqn in the Command bears testimony to this fact.

For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Kanthalloor Saraswathy Suresh Kumar.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sunil Kashinath Vidhate 18825 F(P)Unit : No.29 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Sunil Kashinath Vidhate (18825) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 13 Jun 87. Presently, he is the Commanding Officer of a frontl ine Fighter Sqn since Mar 05.

Wg Cdr SK Vidhate has been a Joint Director in the Directorate of Personnel at Air HQ and a directing staff at the prestigious Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment. He is a 'Pilot Attack Instructor', 'Fighter Strike Leader' and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College with Instructor grading. He was commended by AOC-in-C in 2001 for his immense contribution towards enhancement of squadron's war fighting ability. As 'Second in Command' of a MiG27 Sqn he was instrumental in earning his unit a rare distinction of 'Above the Average' grading in operational competence during the inspection by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team in 2003.

This is the first MiG-27 Sqn selected to undergo indigenous avionics upgrade. Wg Cdr Vidhate, with his meticulous planning and resolute commitment, left no stone unturned in ensuring exemplary quality of upgraded aircraft and their efficient induction into Air Force while operating from Ozar, with stretched out resources. Successful induction of MiG-27 upgrade aircraft marks substantial increase in the war waging potential of IAF. Within two months of new induction he through his diligent efforts trained the Sqn pilots on upgrade aircraft and participated in the 'Air armament firing Competition' held in January 2007. In its first ever field trials, the Sqn achieved exceptional results in air to ground firing and was adjudged the best overall squadron in marksmanship while competing with other modern fleets of IAF. This remarkable achievement which boosts the offensive punch of IAF, would not have been possible without the outstanding leadership and professionalism of Wg Cdr Vidhate.

For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sunil Kashinath Vidhate.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Shailendra Sharma 19189 F(P)Unit : No.51 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Shailendra Sharma (19189) F (P) is the Commanding Officer of a MiG-21 BISON Sqn since 25 Jul 05. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, an Instrument Rating Examiner and has a total of 3325 hours of accident free flying. Earlier he was Flight Commander of a Mirage-2000 Squadron, and has led a large number of Air to Air refuelling fly-past demonstrations. Also as Joint Director Air Defence at Air Headquarters, he was in-charge of planning an international ferry of Mirage-2000 aircraft with AAR and he participated in an exercise with the South African Air Force. On assuming Command of the present Squadron, it had only one flying supervisor and one trainer captain. At the end of completion of the first year in Command of the Squadron, it had nine supervisors, eight trainer captains by day and five trainer captains by night. All this was achieved in spite of the BISON fleet having low aircraft serviceability. Under the officer's able command and proactive approach towards flight safety the Squadron has achieved an accident free record in the last two years. During his tenure, numerous service papers on innovations were forwarded by the squadron. In the last DASI inspection, he led from the front and the squadron did exceedingly well. This has been possible only due to the officer's tireless involvement, sincerity, selfless dedication to his duty and the willingness to put in long hours of work.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Deep Raj Sirohi 19517 F(P)Unit : 125 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Deep Raj Sirohi (19517) F (P) has been the CO of a Mi-25/35 Sqn since 08 May 06. This is a frontline Attack Helicopter Squadron located in a border base and tasked with a very important operational role in support of the Army.

As the CO of the Sqn, he brought about significant changes in the employment philosophy of Attack Helicopter operations in support of the Army. The endeavour was to exploit the operational flexibility and enhanced capabilities of the upgraded Mi35 towards maximization of its operational potential for off base night operations. His deep involvement and dogged pursuit of the revised employment philosophy ensured quick implementation of the concept and improved understanding of the employment of Attack Helicopter in support of Army, which has been well appreciated by HQ Western Command, Army.

Presently, the Sqn he commands is the only Attack Helicopter Sqn and therefore, it has to shoulder the training and operational requirements of both the Army and the Air Force. With clever management of resources and manpower, Wg Cdr Sirohi ensured that all the assigned tasks were met - this included inter service command level exercises, national tasks like Republic Day/ Independence Day celebrations, Presidential Fleet Review and other Air Force and Army commitments. Despite shortage of aircraft and numerous Sqn commitments, he ensured unstinted support for HCL course at Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) thereby enabling completion of course on schedule. TACDE has deeply appreciated his commitment. Under his leadership, the Sqn has drawn accolades from diverse quarters for a professional approach to all operational commitments.

As CO, Wg Cdr Sirohi has led from the front and induced a vibrant team spirit amongst his subordinates. He has ensured that all Sqn personnel remain highly motivated and instituted a proactive, excellence seeking work ethos as the Sqn's identity. During the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection, the Sqn under his command has been adjudged 'Average Plus' in operations, maintenance and administration.

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Inderpal Singh Walia 19518 F(P)Unit : No.222 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Inderpal Singh Walia (19518) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 11 Jun 88. He is the CO of a MiG-27 ML Sqn since 25 Apr 05.

He has more than justified the faith placed in him by his superiors by exhibiting exemplary competence, professionalism and dedication. The officer has worked tirelessly and volunteered to accept any additional jobs and is highly motivated for upholding the standards of service. He underwent the prestigious Fighter Strike Leader course. His subsequent absorption as a Directing Staff in Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) is a testimony of his industriousness and ability. At TACDE as OIC Training, he was not only responsible for the conduct of various courses, but also to develop combat and strike concepts and tactics for the IAF with the ever changing threat scenario. Further, he was chosen to undergo the staff course at UK in Aug 02. With his determination and perseverance, he achieved a very high grading in the course thereby projecting the high standard of IAF's professionalism abroad.

He took over the command of the Sqn and achieved exceptional standards with his display of professionalism through personal example. Under his leadership, he guided the Sqn in achieving better operational and rating status. He ensured timely completion of jobs entrusted to him by thorough planning and excellent coordination with very high standards in quality output. Wg Cdr Walia, with conscientious, painstaking and thorough hard work, has contributed immensely to the IAF. During the DASI visit, his unit was graded Average Plus under his able guidance.

In Oct 06, he was entrusted with the planning and directing a bilateral defence exercise Sindex 06/2 at Air Force Station Kalaikunda, involving fighter Sqns from both the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the IAF. His knowledge, coupled with professionalism and active participation at each stage, resulted in the safe and fruitful conduct of the exercise from which both the Air Forces gained the maximum.

For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Inderpal Singh Walia.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Lalit Kumar Chawla 19871 F(P)Unit : No.223 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Lalit Kumar Chawla (19871) F (P) was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 17 Dec 1988 as a Pilot in the Fighter stream. He has flown 3670 hours on various Fighter and Trainer aircraft without an accident or incident. He has held important assignments including Directing Staff at prestigious Flying Instructor's School and Flight Commander of a Fighter Squadron in Srinagar during "Op Parakram". He is an A-2 flying instructor, graduate of the DSSC and is presently commanding a Fighter Squadron since 13 Feb 2006. He was commended by AOC-in-C in Jan 2001.

His Squadron forms the Core Group of air defence aircraft of the Western Sector, which is always on higher state of readiness. On assuming command of the Squadron his major task was to meet the core group requirements. The training programme conducted under his guidance has ensured a high operational aircrew status. All the eligible aircrew have remained current in all the operational roles. The major emphasis has been on Dissimilar Air Combat Training, Integrated Training, Night Operations and strengthening of the Air Defence Team, comprising of the Aircrew and the Fighter Controllers. This has greatly increased the operational potential of the Squadron as a Core Group.

The Squadron has excelled in Air Force Fly-pasts and various Command and Air Force level exercises conducted during his tenure. The Squadron also carried out successful operations from Leh airfield in the month of Dec 06 in severe winter conditions and two detachments from Awantipur last year; which were personally led by him. With his dynamic leadership, foresight, professional planning and positive attitude, he has marshaled all the human and material resources placed under his command deftly and economically ensuring that the Sqn achieved its peace time commitments having flown 2915 sorties in an exemplary manner during the last one year. In Mar 2007 under his able guidance, the Squadron celebrated the Silver Jubilee Anniversary in an exceptional manner. The Squadron, entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the Officers' Mess in the airbase, has made substantial improvements in a very short period under his able leadership.

For exceptional devotion to duty Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Lalit Kumar Chawla.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Amitabh Raja Shendye 19904 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Amitabh Raja Shendye (19904) F (P) was commissioned as a Pilot in the Helicopter stream on 17 Dec 88. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander in two operational Helicopter Units and has also commanded a Helicopter Unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) and a Unit Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner (UIRIE) with over 5100 h of accident free flying to his credit. He is also a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. For his operational achievements, he has received commendation by the CAS and by AOCin-C, Eastern Air Command.

In his long and distinguished flying career, Wg Cdr AR Shendye has flown almost all the helicopters in the inventory of the IAF and has participated in numerous operations and rescue missions. He was actively involved in Op Bajrang and Op Rhino against ULFA activists from 1990-92. From 1993-95, he took part in Op Meghdoot on the Siachen Glacier. During, Op Parakram, as Flt Cdr, he coordinated the deployment of his helicopter unit along the border in five different detachments. In the aftermath of the Tsunami, he was the Flt Cdr of the IAF contingent which was deployed in Sri Lanka for relief operations as part of Op Sea Wave. He carried out the maximum flying in the inhospitable LTTE infested areas, for which he received Certificate of Appreciation from the Government of Sri Lanka and letter of appreciation from AOC-in-C Southern Air Command.

During his tenure as the CO, his helicopter unit has been tasked with a number of rescue and relief missions. He has displayed sterling leadership qualities by ensuring a high operational and maintenance status and successfully executing each assigned task. He has also led from the front, by choosing to undertake the most difficult mission himself. He carried out casualty evacuation and flood relief operations near Kolhapur from 0513 Aug 05 displaying professional skills of a very high order amidst adverse weather conditions. During the operation, a total of 28475 kgs of relief supplies were airlifted and 42 people were rescued from the flooded area, flying a total of 64 sorties in 24 hours. He was responsible for effective planning in carrying out casualty evacuation and relief operations near Rajahmundhry from 21-26 Sep 05, near Mettur dam on 24 Oct 05, near PondicherryCuddalore from 25 Nov 05-01 Dec 05 and from river Amaravati on 11 Dec 05.

For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Amitabh Raja Shendye.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sandeep Bansal 20438 F(P)Unit : Suryakiran  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 08
Details :

Wing Commander Sandeep Bansal (20438) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 16 Dec 89. He is a fully operational Mirage2000 Pilot who flew missions during Kargil operations and commanded a Mirage-2000 detachment in western sector during Op Parakram. He is a cat A Qualified Flying Instructor who stood first during Instrument Rating and Instruction Examiner course. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, where he was adjudged as the Most Spirited Officer and was awarded Thimmayya Medal for standing first in the Overall Order of Merit. For his dedication to service, he was commended by the CAS in 2002.

Because of his professional competence of a very high order, Wg Cdr S Bansal was appointed as a CO and Team Leader of Suryakiran Formation Aerobatic Team on 06 Jun 05. Since then, he has performed creditably and led the Suryakiran team with distinction and ensured very high display standards winning laurels for IAF and making Indians proud of the IAF. Leading the nine aircraft team for more than 85 displays in two years, he has always displayed with maturity, confidence, precision and flying skills of the highest order.

With his foresight, immaculate planning and close supervision, the team was able to successfully accomplish highest ever display tasking during the IAF's Platinum Jubilee year of 2006-07. Additionally, he has also completed significant tasks of compiling Briefing Guide for the team, revision of the Suryakiran training syllabus and procured better training aids. All these measures have resulted in more effective and safer training capabilities.

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

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

Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Amitabh Sharma 21015 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Amitabh Sharma VM (21015) Flying (Pilot) is Commanding a MI-17 IV unit in the South Western sector since 03 Mar 2008. On 26 Nov 2008, a series of ten coordinated terrorist attacks across Mumbai city exposed India to the first ever urban war like situation. By midnight the terrorist captured many places including "Narirnan House". On 27 Nov 2008 at 2130 h, he was informed of an early take off the next day for slithering operation over Nariman House. The mission involved slithering down 30 NSG commandos on the terrace of Nariman House inside which terrorists were holding Israeli nationals as hostages. He immediately got in touch with leader of NSG commandos and there after meticulously planned the mission for early morning drop on 28 Nov 2008. On reaching the launch pad at the ship, fresh inputs on the situation were taken from NSG commandos on the spot. With helicopter in start-up condition he quickly carried out mission briefing clearly spelling out each crew duties and contingencies. He along with NSG team leader then climbed up on top of ATC to identify the exact location of Nariman House. After identifying the same, he quickly took off for the mission and followed tactical routing to mislead the terrorist as well as media. On reaching Nariman house a quick air assessment was made. The roof top was a small area of 15 feet x 15 feet and was surrounded by obstructions like high voltage cables, water tanks, dish antenna, tin shades etc. Continuous firing and explosions of grenades could be heard amidst the helicopter noise. The hover was required to be done in such a way that the nose of the helicopter was outside the rooftop to ensure safe slithering. A total of 30 troops were slithered down in three quick sorties. The mission displayed highest level of synergy between air and ground forces. The route and hover direction were varied each time to maintain element of surprise. Wg Cdr Sharma displayed highest standards of bravery, professionalism and exceptional leadership in air in the face of serious and extreme threat. This daring operation projects the jointmanship of our service and enhanced the image of IAF yet again to touch the sky with glory. For this act of exceptional courage in the face of hostile environment, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Amitabh Sharma VM.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Prashant Mohan 20160 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Prashant Mohan (20160) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a MiG-21 M Squadron of the Indian Air Force with effect from 03 Jul 2006 and is performing the duties of Commanding Officer since then. On 05 Feb 2008, the officer was authorized to fly a Low Flying chase sortie on a Mig-21 (Type-96). During a turn at low level he heard a thud. He found his aircraft pitching up viciously and rolling to the right at rates exceeding 50 - 60 degrees per second. Correctly analyzing the situation at that very instant, as a bird hit, most probably on his starboard aileron, his actions of controlling the aircraft were extremely prompt. Realising that he was losing control of the aircraft, as he had reached the limits of the stabiliser and aileron deflection and an ejection was imminent but he took a deliberate decision and throttled back during the climb. With this action he reduced the speed to 400 Kmph. At this speed he found that the situation had improved but it required a great deal of physical strength to pilot the aircraft. On putting the Aileron Booster off, the situation worsened. He looked right and found that the right aileron was totally ineffective which restricted him to execute only left-hand turn. With this restriction, and that of the right-hand circuit pattern operational at the base, due to the close proximity of the town he skillfully maneuvered the aircraft to carry out a left-hand circuit pattern but stayed clear of the populated area. Though the aircraft was grievously damaged and the situation warranted him to eject, but the officer displaying will power, tenacity and professional courage of the highest order elected not to eject and decided to bring back the aircraft so that vital clues regarding the incident could be available after landing. Pilot's dexterous maneuvering of the aircraft with onboard limitations even at the cost of endangering his own life which ensured that the aircraft was kept clear of populated area is in the highest traditions of the service. Post flight inspection revealed a dent of size 20" x 5" on the leading edge of the starboard wing root. Inside the damaged area, the aileron control rod was found broken into two parts causing the starboard aileron to become totally ineffective. The superior flying skills, vast experience and grit exhibited by the officer in recovering the aircraft are extremely commendable. For displaying exceptional courage in handling an aircraft emergency, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Prashant Mohan.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Deepak Kumar Vats 22545 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Deepak Kumar Vats (22545) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a MI 17-IV Helicopter unit since 07 Jul 2008 and is performing the duties of unit Pilot. On 26 Nov 2008 Mumbai was shaken by the worst terror attack the country had ever witnessed. The situation was nothing less than an all-out urban war. On 28 Nov 2008 the unit was tasked to slither down a team of NSG commandos on the terrace of Nariman house where Israeli nationals were taken hostages by the terrorists. Wg Cdr Vats was detailed as co-pilot for the mission. He displayed exemplary courage and leadership while flying into the line of fire as the co-pilot of the mission. The slithering spot was surrounded by obstructions like wires, water tanks of adjoining buildings, dish antennas and tin shades on the adjacent roof. It was an extremely challenging task for the co-pilot to monitor the clearance from the obstructions on the approach and the slithering site. The role of co-pilot in such high risk and high-profile mission was handled in the most professional manner. The sound of continuous firing and explosions of grenades was clearly heard inside the helicopter. This however did not deter him from keeping a sharp lookout for obstructions and retaliatory fire from the terrorists. Maintaining his composure, he provided invaluable inputs and assistance to his Captain during the successful slithering of 30 NSG commandos in three quick sorties over Nariman house. The courage and determination displayed by Wg Cdr Vats in handling an unprecedented and unfamiliar situation made the crucial difference between disaster and glory for the IAF. The professionalism displayed by Wg Cdr Vats in preparation, planning and execution of the mission is worthy of emulation by all air warriors. His effort has gone a long way in the intoning and protecting the highest traditions and glory of the Indian Air Force. For this act of exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Deepak Kumar Vats.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
WO Prem Singh Rajput 658793 ORUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : 658793 Warrant Officer Prem Singh Rajput, Flight Gunner has been on the posted strength of a MI17-IV Helicopter unit since 05 Sep 2006. On 28 Nov 2008 the unit was tasked to slither down a team of NSG commandos on the terrace of Nariman house where the terrorists had taken some Israeli nationals as hostages. WO Rajput personally supervised the preparation of the helicopter. His professional acumen, maturity and situational awareness were abundantly displayed when the helicopter was configured with slithering frames and armour plating in a record minimum time. He rightly advised the Captain on sortie configuration and limitations of hover at such a height. His professional briefing and the importance to slither in shortest possible time for NSG commandos added to the success of the mission. It was an extremely challenging task for the Flight Gunner to guide the helicopter to the centre of the roof keeping clear of the obstructions around. He appreciated the gravity of situation and accordingly ensured 30 NSG commandos slithered in the shortest possible time in three sorties. In spite of the heavy background noise of rotors and engines, the sound of continuous firing and explosions of grenades was being heard by all the crew members. This however did not deter him and disregarding his personal safety, continued his task in an utmost professional manner. WO Rajput's professionalism in the preparation, planning and execution of the mission is worthy of emulation by all air warriors. His effort has certainly gone a long way in maintaining the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force. For this act of exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Warrant Officer Prem Singh Rajput.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
JWO Jawed Hussain Siddiqi 729086 ORUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : 729086 Junior Warrant Officer Jawed Hussain Siddiqi, Flight Engineer is on the posted strength of a MI17-1V Helicopter unit since 28 Nov 2005 and has been performing the duties of Flight Engineer supervisor. On 26 Nov 2008 Mumbai city was struck by the worst terror attack the country had ever witnessed. The situation was nothing less than an all-out urban war. The terrorists captured many places including 'Nariman House' building with Israeli Nationals as hostages. On 27 Nov 2008 at 2200 h, he was informed of an early take off the next day for slithering operation over Nariman house. From that moment onwards till mission completion he undertook. host of activities restlessly to ensure helicopter is fully serviceable and prepared for the Mission. His zeal, enthusiasm and determination towards task achievement were praise worthy. JWO Siddiqi used his invaluable expertise and experience by helping the Captain in planning the mission. The roof of the building had a very small area and there were high rise buildings, wires, cables, dish Antenna etc. all around the building. The experienced JWO Siddiqi assisted captain by continuously calling out height, monitoring engine and transmission parameters meticulously. He also cautioned the Captain about all obstructions around the slithering site. In spite of the sound of bullets and grenades being heard, JWO Siddiqi maintained composure and concentrated on completing the assigned mission. He performed his duty exceptionally well in the face of heavy firing by terrorists and displayed total crew co-ordination in the cockpit for mission accomplishment. For this act of exceptional courage in the face of serious threat and challenging situation, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Junior Warrant Officer Jawed Hussain Siddiqi.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Shishir Yashwant Koshe 16400 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Group Captain Shishir Yashwant Koshe (16400) Flying (Pilot)was commissioned in Indian Air Force as a Pilot in the Transport stream on 11 Jun 1981. He has been Directing Staff at the College of Air Warfare and has undergone Higher Defence Management Course at College of Defence Management. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with over 7000 hours of flying. Since 28 Apr 2006, Gp Capt Koshe has been Commanding an An-32 Squadron (Sqn). In order to manage the ageing An-32s which were affected by shortage of spares, he applied technical knowledge and data analysis capability to improve the serviceability. He identified key parameters related to critical components (Starter Generators, Hydraulic Pumps and Radio Sets) that were prone to failing. Having identified those parameters, he devised and implemented the methods to monitor, record, analyse and forecast an impending failure. By this method the reliability of Andaman and Nicobar Courier flights increased from 85 to 96 percent, reducing the losses due to cancellation of such flights. Gp Capt Koshe ensured training to the aircrew for complex missions enhancing the operational status of the Sqn. As a direct offshoot of such a measure, the Sqn could get accurate results in Tri-Services exercise 'DHOOM-3' that involved Paratroopers Drop by night. Aircrew are now achieving initial category within six months after the ab-initio training as against twelve months earlier. With optimum utilisation of available resources and accurate planning, Sqn now is achieving over 400 hours of flying every month. Gp Capt Koshe promotes sportsmanship and fitness amongst all the personnel of this Sqn. Despite undertaking operational commitments round the clock, the Sqn won the Sports Trophy at Station level. Weekly interactions between the personnel regardless of the rank structure have contributed to camaraderie and synergy at work place. Due to his immense interest in the upkeep of the Sqn premises, newly developed garden and well-maintained buildings are sources of attraction to all the visitors at Air Force Station Sulur. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Shishir Yashwant Koshe.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sanjeev Kapoor 18089 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Group Captain Sanjeev Kapoor (18089) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1985. In 23 years of distinguished service he has held several important appointments as Flight Commander (Fit Cdr) of a Training Squadron at Air Force Academy and at Yelahanka, Fit Cdr and CO of IL-78 MKI aircraft Squadron (Sqn). He is a graduate of DSSC and is a qualified flying instructor having flown over 7300 hours of accident /incident free flying. He has been commended for his sustained hard work and selfless devotion to duty by the CAS in 2004. He was posted as the second Fit Cdr of the first flight refueling Sqn. He faced the daunting task of streamlining and executing task of mission accomplishment of relatively new role of Air to Air Refueling (AAR) operations. His professional competence and planning abilities contributed immensely in large number of aircrew of the unit gaining and improving on operational status. He had been involved in planning, coordination and execution of various long-range strike missions, Andaman Islands operations by fighters, AAR compatibility and trials of Sea Harriers of Indian Navy. He was the first pilot who was inducted during Tsunami relief operations during Dec 2004 in which the Sqn's contribution was immensely appreciated both by the service and national media. He was instrumental in planning and execution of two international exercises with Su 30s, Jaguars and Mirage 2000 aircraft viz Ex Gauda II at France and Ex Sindex 06 at Singapore. Ex Garuda 1I holds two records for the IAF, namely longest single haul by any fighter or transport aircraft of nearly 5000 Kms and for the first aerial refueling of a NATO fighter aircraft by any non-NATO country refueller. In both the above-mentioned feats he was the leader of the formation. He has also led the Republic Day flypast with Su 30s with utmost precision over Rajpath, New Delhi for three consecutive years from 2005-2007. The officer's contribution as Fit Cdr of this fledgling unit was highly noteworthy. The strong foundation he laid helped the unit to undertake multifarious tasks successfully, resulting in him assuming command of this strategic force multiplier Sqn. His operational capabilities and professionalism have been highly appreciated by Directorate of Air Staff Inspections, Command Air Staff Inspections and by Aircrew Examining Board. Under his stewardship, the unit has shifted and set up the state of art Sqn complex with hydrant refuelling, which is only one of its kind in the IAF. The sprawling Sqn premises thus created in a span of less than a year is extremely praise worthy and worth emulating. As President Mess Committee Officers Mess at Agra, he brought about noticeable and admirable changes. The Mess is fully geared to host any large event. The infrastructure added in the Offrs' Mess now caters to large number of dignitaries both national and international, visiting the airbase. His compassion and leadership qualities have led personnel of the unit trying to emulate him in the interest of the service. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Sanjeev Kapoor.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Alok Sharma 18811 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Alok Sharma (18811) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a Transport Pilot on 13 Jun 1987. Since then he has flown HPT-32, AN-32, DO-228 and Embraer-135 BJ. He is an able Qualified Flying Instructor with more than 2500 hours of instructional flying to his credit. Wg Cdr Alok Sharma has flown over 8700 accident free hours in his career. These include Air Maintenance in Eastern and Northern sector, Para Trooping formation, Battalion level drops and WIP communication duties. He achieved the exceptional category of A 'Master Green' on two different types of aircraft. He underwent the Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner course conducted at Aircrew Examining Board and is presently the Type Examiner on Embraer aircraft. Embraer aircraft were inducted into the unit in Sep 2005. Wg Cdr Sharma was totally involved in the preliminary planning and technical procurement stages of this aircraft. His boundless enthusiasm, self-drive and futuristic vision was instrumental in effective liaison with Air HQ to iron out grey areas and strike a worthwhile deal with manufacturers. On confirmation of the induction, he once again took initiative and volunteered to ferry-in the aircraft from Brazil, ensuring that the equipment and VIP fitments met the befitting WIP standards. Upon arrival of the aircraft he took on the responsibility to fly extensively and categories the pilots at the earliest. With Embraer tasking increasing exponentially, his astute management skills and thorough planning came to fore and ensured that all commitments were met with commendable standards. This has been appreciated time and again by the dignitaries. He has brilliantly dovetailed his administrative and flying duties to achieve all tasks assigned to him and the Embraer flight. Wg Cdr Sharma has always led by example in every sphere and has been a source of inspiration both to his colleagues and subordinates. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Alok Sharma.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Rohit Mahajan 19187 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Rohit Mahajan (19187) Flying (pilot) was commissioned as a Helicopter Pilot on 19 Dec 1987. He is a Helicopter Combat Leader and Right-Hand Seat Check Pilot. A Graduate of Defence Services Staff College, he had been in Command of an Operational Mi-17 unit from 10 Oct 2005 to 17 Feb 2008. He had also been a part of UN Peace Keeping Contingent to Congo. In his tenure as CO, the officer has brought to bear his vast and valuable operational experience in honing as well as enhancing the operational capability of his unit. This has singularly contributed 10 the unit achieving a record of 4300 hours of accident/incident (human error) free flying with he himself flying 1100 hours during his tenure. A dedicated and committed supervisor, he was instrumental in the unit's substantial jump in the operational and combat orientation. Starting with two aircraft and 80 hours / month, the unit averaged 175 hours / month with a quantum rise in operational role training by six times, night effort four times and Night Vision Goggles (NVG) training tenfold during his tenure. He always led from the front in all the diverse Operational roles as well as important operations, be it Air Maintenance or NVG, his involvement in planning and executing these missions had been exemplary and noteworthy. High altitude operations Ex-Tawang including Small Team Insertion and Exertion Operations undertaken by him were first of their kind. In spite of the unit being tasked heavily with numerous operational commitments in one of the most crucial. sectors, his ability to marshal his men and resources under challenging circumstances led to the best aircraft serviceability of MI-17 fleet in Eastern Air Command (EAC). The unit was also adjudged the best helicopter unit in EAC during Ex-Vajra Spardha. All this wouldn't have been possible but for foresight of a high order and exceptional leadership displayed by Wg Cdr Mahajan. Sensitive and considerate to welfare of his subordinates, he had always worked hard towards all round improvement in the working environment. Despite his involvement in other activities of the station, he always ensured that the unit maintained a very high level of operational readiness, backed by efficient maintenance and proactive administration. His dynamic leadership, personal example and lively enthusiasm ensured a well-knit fighting team for undertaking any commitment. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Rohit Mahajan.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sameer Mehra 19524 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Sameer Mehra (19524) Flying (pilot) was commissioned as a Pilot in the Flying Branch on 11 Jun 1988. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander of a Mig-27 squadron and guided the Squadron (Sqn) at various International and Air Force exercises. As Senior Flight Safety and Inspection Officer of Air Force Station Halwara he introduced a number of innovations which significantly reduced the accidents I incidents. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. He has a grand total of 3197 hrs of flying. Wg Cdr Mehra is a dynamic officer with exceptional professional knowledge achieved "through hard work and perseverance. He has exhibited exemplary competence and dedication in leading the Sqn from the front. When tasked for the Maritime Strike Role the Sqn achieved Maritime Strike status expeditiously with exceptional armament scores and has since carried out productive interaction with the Indian Navy. He guided the Sqn in achieving high standards and better Operational and Instrument Rating status. He ensured a very high standard of training for the conversion of three Sri Lankan Air Force pilots on to Mig-27 aircraft. Under his leadership, the Sqn maintained an average serviceability of more than 75% in the last one year and achieved 100% serviceability on three occasions, a rare feat by any Mig-27 Sqn. His excellent supervision and management have ensured accident free flying. While officiating as Chief Operations Officer in Jul 2007, Wg Cdr Mehra displayed foresight and worked tirelessly to ensure timely relief to the flood "affected areas in West Bengal and Orrisa. He was felicitated for his concern and speedy response by the Chief Minister of Orrisa, Mr. Naveen Patnaik, at a state level function in Bhubaneshwar. He is a keen sportsman and has motivated the Sqn personnel to perform well in the intra wing and inter wing sports meet. Wg Cdr Mehra was appointed the Joint Director for a bilateral defence exercise SINDEX III at Air Force Station Kalaikunda in Dec 07, involving fighter aircraft from both the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the IAF. He was entrusted with the planning and safe execution of the exercise. His professionalism coupled with active participation at each stage ensured safe and fruitful conduct of the exercise and immense learning value for both the Air Forces. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sameer Mehra.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjay Dhankhar 19865 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Sanjay Dhankhar (19865) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot on 17 Dec 1988. Presently, he is the CO of a Bison Squadron (Sqn). The officer has more than 3500 hours of accident free flying with more than 2000 hours on MiG-29 aircraft (ac). He has completed Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) and is a Qualified Flying Instructor. At Flying Instructors' School, he was awarded the best in aerobatics trophy and passed out from DSSC with Directing Staff grading. As the flight commander of a MiG-21 Sqn, he had ensured conversion of the unit on the Bison ac in an efficient and praiseworthy manner and was corn mended by the CAS in 2005 for his professional competence and exemplary conduct. As the CO, he has led the Sqn from the front by ensuring sagacious planning, foresight and the enviable status of best ac serviceability state in the entire Bison Fleet. The Sqn has flown more than 4500 sorties / 3000 hours of accident free flying during his tenure and achieved Above Average standards in the Aircrew Examining Board inspection. In the Annual Gunnery Meet the Sqn won three team event trophies and also the best in maintenance trophy. The Sqn put up a record performance of achieving Direct Hits by all the four formation members in the multimode bombing mission flown for the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection. During the entire inspection, the Sqn had 11 fighters available and flew 56 sorties with not a single ac unserviceable. The Sqn also achieved Direct Hits in the Fire Power Demonstration held in Dec 2007 as well as in Mar 2008 and was corn mended for the same by Command and Air HQ. Besides his primary duty as CO, his coordinating and control capabilities were evident in the floods of 2006, wherein he took on the additional responsibility of Chief Operations Officer of the base and also Task Force Commander for Flood rescue and Relief Operations. He accomplished this task by working relentlessly on all holidays thereby devoting his time beyond the call of duty for the safety of ac, equipment and welfare of the station as well as the civilian populace. During this period, 33 Missions were flown, in which 256 lives were saved and 34,600 Kg of relief material and food was delivered. He has worked long hours in a selfless manner with true dedication and perseverance of an exemplary standards. The officer with his professionalism, pro-active approach, dynamic leadership has provided his personnel a renewed sense of direction and enthused them towards impeccable performance. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjay Dhankhar.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Venigalla Srinivas Choudary 19869 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Venigalla Srinivas Choudary (19869) Flying (pilot) was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot on 17 Dec 1988. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, a Combat Strike Leader and a graduate of DSSC. He was awarded commendation by the AOC-in-C, South Western Air Command for devotion to duty and exemplary service in the year 1995. He has held the appointment of directing staff in Tactics and Combat Development Establishment during which he published a "Handbook on UAVs" for reference by the staff at Command and Air HQs. He is presently the CO of a MiG-27 Squadron (Sqn) since May 2006. With his exceptional instructional ability and professional involvement, he successfully undertook the training of seven pilots of 'Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). The effort put in by him was appreciated and favourably commented upon by the leader of the SLAF contingent. With his innovativeness and initiative, he was instrumental in development of a cover for the lights in the blast pens, modification of the 'Bheema Trolley', inhibition/de-inhibition of drop tanks made easier, parking shed for aircraft, a carrier bomb light stores trolley and laser sight for INSAS rifle. Under his inspiring leadership and guidance, the Sqn participated in numerous domestic and international exercises in which the Sqn performance was par excellence. This was amply demonstrated by the record time in which the photograph of the Hon'ble Raksha Mantri was presented to him during Fire Power Demonstration - 07 which was highly appreciated by the RM himself. He used his experience and expertise to improve the training standards of the Sqn. He laid greater emphasis on up-gradations and safety consciousness. He increased the quantum of training for fighter reconnaissance, which is the primary role of the Sqn to 25%. He ensured nearly 3600 hours of accident free flying without sacrificing the quality of training. His professional attitude, exceptional standards in weapon delivery and air combat skills have motivated the Sqn pilots to maximize their potential. He has taken keen interest in all maintenance related activities, maintaining the cohesiveness so essential in a combat unit. This resulted in improvement in the serviceability state of the squadron to above 70% in 2007, which was instrumental in the increment of the average flying task achieved per month from 98 hours in 2005-2006 to 148 hours in 2007-08. With his meticulous planning and resolute commitment, he ensured exemplary quality of upgraded aircraft and their efficient induction. He initiated various welfare schemes and work services to the tune of Rs. 20 lakhs for improvement of quality of life of all air warriors and modernization of operational assets. This has significantly improved the work environment and the moral of the Sqn personnel. For his exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Venigalla Srinivas Choudary.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Pawan Kumar 20111 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Pawan Kumar (20111) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a Pilot in the Flying Branch on 14 Jun 1989. He has been the Commanding Officer of a Jaguar Squadron (Sqn) since 19 Jun 06 which is the only maritime strike Sqn of the Indian Air Force. The Officer has 2955 hours of accident free flying of which nearly 2700 hours are on operational aircraft. On assuming the command, he was entrusted with the task of conducting international exercise 'Exercise SINDEX' in Singapore in Dec 2006. Starting. with a limited number of experienced pilots, engineers and technicians, he led his team with personal example and the Sqn performed exceptionally well, in the said exercise winning appreciations from the Republic of Singapore Air Force. He was also entrusted the task of operationalisation of Airborne Fire Control Radar on Maritime Jaguars. Successful completion of this task enabled the Sqn to take part in another international exercise 'Exercise Malabar' in September 2007 again winning praise and honours for the Indian Air Force. The officer with his clear and objective thought process as well as meticulous planning ensured that the Sqn builds up on its operational status. This enabled the Sqn to win appreciation from all quarters. The Sqn was adjudged the 'Best Fighter Sqn of HQ South Western Air Command (SWAC)for 2007 -2008'. Also, due to his thorough involvement, Sqn was adjudged the 'Best Fighter Sqn in Exercise Eklavaya in SWAC for 2007-2008'. The Sqn was tasked to move, permanently from Air Force Station Pune to Air Force Station Jamnagar. Under his able guidance, the Sqn having operated continuously for 56 years at Pune, this move was completed successfully and the Sqn became operational at its new location within a month. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Pawan Kumar.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Nirmalendu Nath Sinha 20157 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Nirmalendu Nath Sinha (20157) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 14 Jun 1989. He is a Pilot Attack Instructor and an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College and is fully operational on MiG-21 Bis, M-2000, Su-30K and Su-30MKI aircraft with over 3000 hrs of flying experience. He is a display supervisor having enthralled spectators with innumerable low-level aerobatics display on the Su-30MKI aircraft since 2004. Presently, he is the CO of a Su-30 MKI Squadron (Sqn) since 03 Jul 2006. On assuming command, he was tasked to convert the Sqn from Su-30K to Su-30MKI aircraft. After induction of the aircraft, he with his foresight and meticulous planning ensured smooth and speedy operationalisation of the squadron at Bareilly. During the process, the entire exploitation of warranty on HAL aircraft was achieved with each aircraft flying more than 240 hrs during the warranty period of one year, which had never been achieved before. His timely intervention on critical issues ensured the serviceability state was maintained at more than 70%. The flying done was gainfully utilized with effective planning that resulted in 23 aircrew achieving 'fully operational' status, 15 becoming 2/4 aircraft leaders, 19 being qualified to undertake air-to-air refueling, and 15 trained for specialist weapon delivery, all in a span of only one and a half years with an average strength of only 10 aircraft. The professional competence of the Sqn was put to test during various Air Force exercises and commitments. He was also instrumental in ensuring that a large number of new technicians who were posted to the squadron after undergoing just-in-time (JIT) training, were effectively brought up to a minimum acceptable standard in a short period of time. This was achieved through dedicated classroom lectures and practical training. This paid rich dividends and was evident during the recent Directorate of Air Staff Inspection when the Sqn was graded 'Average- Plus' in maintenance and administration despite having more than 80% technicians with less than one-year work experience on the aircraft, of which, 60% were JIT trained technicians. All efforts put in by the Sqn under his dynamic and able leadership resulted in the Sqn being adjudged the 'Best Fighter Squadron' in Central Air Command for the year 2007. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Nirmalendu Nath Sinha.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Pushpendra Singh Nara 20478 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Pushpendra Singh Nara (20478) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a Pilot in the Flying Branch on 16 Dec 1989. Presently he is the Commanding Officer of a Bison Squadron (Sqn) at frontline Air Base since 24 Jul 2006. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander of the Bison Flight along with Su-30 aircraft (ac) and done tenure as Directing Staff at Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment. He has participated in various national and international exercises and has been instrumental in developing Beyond Visual Range Combat tactics for the Bison ac. Wg Cdr Nara is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a Fighter Combat Leader (FCL+) and stood first in the FCL course. He did Sqn Officers' Course in Malaysia where he was awarded with first position in academics. He was selected to judge the suitability of Algerian fighter pilots for FCL course. He is a highly experienced pilot with more than 2500 hours of accident! incident free flying on MiG-29, MiG-21 BIS, Bison and Trainer ac. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Defence Services Staff College. As the CO, he has ensured that all pilots of the unit hold qualifications and ratings commensurate' with their experience and seniority. With his exemplary leadership qualities, he is able to strike a perfect balance between task accomplishment, flight safety and welfare. The unit was inspected by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection and his perseverance, ardor and exceptional leadership helped achieve the 'Average Plus' assessment for the Sqn in every field. The unit's above average performance in Aircrew Examining Board is also a testimony of his professional attitude. His achievements as a CO can be summed up by the fact that under his guidance the unit won the most coveted trophy of the 'Best Fighter Sqn in Western Air Command' for the year 2007. Wg Cdr Nara's decision-making abilities, level of staff work, command and control are of exceptional order. Despite his demanding appointment as a CO of a Fighter Sqn, he is ever willing to take on any additional service commitment and accomplish it with enthusiasm. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Pushpendra Singh Nara.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Jasvir Singh Mann 20491 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Jasvir Singh Mann (20491) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 16 Dec 1989 into the fighter stream and is a Pilot Attack Instructor (PAl)with OS grading. In 18 years of dedicated service, the officer has held many important field appointments like Unit PAl, Flight Commander (FIt Cdr) of an Amphibious Special Forces Squadron (ASF Sqn) and CO of a MiG-21 Bis Sqn. He is also a graduate of the OSSC from where he passed out with an outstanding Grading. He was commended by the AOC-in-C, Western Air Command (WAC) in 2003. As FIt Cdr of an ASF Sqn, he exercised minute control over the Sqn operations, which was visible in the professional prowess of the squadron in all areas. This was possible only because of his dedication to Service, excellent leadership and talents in man-management, based on sound and thorough professional ability. As a result, the Sqn was adjudged the best fighter Sqn in WAC twice (consecutively) during his tenure as the Senior FIt Cdr. He took over Command of a MiG-21 Bis T-75 Sqn on 12 Jun 2006. As the CO, he exercised complete command and control over every aspect of Sqn activity, whether it was leading an eight aircraft mission, or playing evening games with the Air Warriors or conducting a social event at the Officers Mess, he was always seen leading from the front. Through his tireless efforts backed by years of experience as a Fit Cdr, he ensured that the level of training in his Sqn remained optimally high at all times and insisted on a high level of professionalism in all areas of work. He was tireless in his quest for perfection in his subordinates and succeeded in instilling the same enthusiasm for operations into the officers and airmen under his command. Despite the aging MiG-21 Bis fleet with the inevitable adverse effect on aircraft serviceability, he was able to motivate his officers and men to very high levels of effort that resulted in optimum utilisation of scarce resources against a backdrop of stepped up accident-free operations during his tenure. This motivation resulted in enhanced flying due to which all pilots of the unit achieved fully Ops status. The degree of professionalism Wg Cdr Mann managed to instill in his personnel went beyond mere flying operations, it underscored the best traditions of Service values and ethos, resulting in all-round development of the personnel under him. His Sqn consistently achieved all tasks given to it, even though the circumstances were often trying. His unit was graded Average Plus' during the last major operational inspection. In addition, his unit has done very well in Aircrew Examining Board inspections. The unit has consistently won awards during the Command level Exercise Eklavya in the last two years. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Jasvir Singh Mann.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Vikram Pathak 20971 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Wing Commander Vikram Pathak (20971) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Dec 1990 and presently is the CO of a Mirage -2000 Squadron (Sqn). The officer has more than 4150 hrs of accident/incident free flying with more than 1500 hrs on the multi-role Mirage-2000 aircraft. The officer has performed exceptionally well throughout his flying career. He is Category A2 Qualified Flying Instructor, an Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner, and a DSSC graduate. He has secured first position in all the professional courses that he has undergone till date. He bagged two out of the three medals while in Staff College, including the Lentaigne Medal for standing first in ·the overall order of merit during the DSSC course in 2007. He has also been a Directing Staff at Flying Instructors School for more than four years. Wg Cdr Pathak has consistently proved his mettle in various tasks assigned to him. On taking over the Sqn, he laid special emphasis on improving the Ops Status of the Sqn. The Sqn has flown 2350 hrs in the last one year, without any accident, with the officer himself flying over 300 hrs, despite all the responsibilities of a CO. The Sqn's Ops Status has improved considerably with the junior most pilot averaging over 170 hrs in the last one year. Under his command, the Sqn performed exceptionally well during the DASI Inspection and various exercises. He also led his Sqn to win the Eklavya Trophy for Best in Bombing in Central Air Command. Earlier, as the Fit Cdr, he was the driving force behind his Sqn winning the "Best Fighter Squadron of IAF 2003-04". Wg Cdr Pathak has also been instrumental in training the Low-Level Aerobatics team on the Mirage-2000, as the Display Supervisor. The Sqn's performance in Directorate of Air Staff Inspection, Command Air Staff Inspection and Aircrew Examining Board have been commendable. Innovative and enterprising, he is constantly finding solutions and meeting the highest standard in all spheres for others to emulate. His innate ability to interact with the Airmen and NCs (E) at the lowest rung has earned him the respect of his subordinates, both officers and men alike, inculcated the spirit of unflinching loyalty towards the Sqn and kept the morale of his Sqn very high. This has manifested itself in high aircraft serviceability state of the Sqn thereby resulting in excellent performances of the Sqn in various exercises. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vikram Pathak.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Nitin Khanna 25617 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Squadron Leader Nitin Khanna (25617) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)Squadron (Sqn) since 03 Sep 2007. On 14 May 2008, Sqn Ldr Khanna was authorised to fly as External Pilot on Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). After an uneventful launch at a distance of 42 Kms from base, at the height of 12,000 feet, the UAV developed an emergency with engine oil system. Realizing the gravity of the emergency and engine seizure being an imminent possibility, he discussed with the crew all the possible height-distance combination and hence it's positioning on finals or that phase of circuit which would provide the best force landing scenario. While rejoining the UAV's engine seized, at a distance of 5 km from base at an altitude of 3800 feet. Sqn Ldr Khanna promptly guided the Internal Pilot for appropriate positioning of the UAV for quick visual sighting. On sighting the UAV, he promptly took over control of the UAV, after quickly resolving the situation he maneuvered the UAV dexterously and executed a safe recovery. Sqn Ldr Khanna displayed exemplary professionalism in an unprecedented emergency. It was because of his calm composure, exceptional flying skills, flawless appreciation in resolving the situation, above par situational awareness and executing the most important phase of the emergency (force landing) with utmost finesse that an UAV with a dead engine was recovered safely which is first of its kind in the IAF For exceptional devotion to duty and displaying professionalism of the highest order in handling an emergency, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Nitin Khanna.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Samrath Dhankhar 26513 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 09 Announced 26 Jan 09
Details : Squadron Leader Samrath Dhankhar (26513) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a MiG 21 Bis Squadron (Sqn) since 01 Jan 2007 and has been performing the primary duties of a Sqn Pilot. A smart officer with an impressive military demeanor, he possesses excellent professional knowledge and a contagious 'can do' attitude. On 24 Mar 2008, Sqn Ldr Dhankhar, was authorised for a bomb dummy sortie. After an uneventful sortie while coming for landing he experienced a bird hit followed by engine flame out at short finals and the hitherto routine sortie converted to a very critical phase of flight. The pilot exhibited extraordinary presence of mind and exemplary situational awareness in analyzing this critical emergency and co-relating it with the current phase of flight and the aircraft energy state. He showed tremendous decision-making ability by taking timely and correct actions against all odds to execute a dead stick landing. He handled the aircraft with a dead engine with a high degree of competence and successfully force landed the aircraft just short of the runway. Needless to mention that an incorrect and incompetent aircraft handling at this stage could have resulted in fatal injuries to the pilot and also loss of the aircraft. Sqn Ldr Dhankhar displayed exemplary courage and a high degree of professionalism in successfully handling the grave emergency thereby recovering the aircraft which otherwise could have resulted in immense monetary loss to the state. His timely response and corrective action have been recorded and verified from Radio transcription recorded by aircraft Video Recording System. The officer exhibited tremendous professional acumen coupled with distinctive decision-making ability and commendable situational awareness, a hallmark of a pilot. He not only endeavored to save the aircraft but also ensured that the civilian population is saved from a potential fatality. For exceptional devotion to duty and displaying professionalism in handling an aircraft emergency, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Samrath Dhankhar.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

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.