Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1329 Awards are listed.
Vayu Sena Medal : 1329 |
Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Balakrishnan Saju 18300 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Group Captain Balakrishnan Saju (18300) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a pilot into the fighter stream of Indian Air Force on 07 Jun 86. He is a Fighter Combat Leader with more than2800 hours of accident free flying on many variants of MiG 21 fighter aircraft (ac) and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. He has been the Commanding Officer (CO) of a Bison Sqn, a directing staff at College of Air Warfare and the first CO of the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Sqn of IAF for last two years. He now stands posted as the Director Airborne Sensors and Networking at Air Headquarters. Gp Capt Saju was entrusted with the arduous task of raising one of the largest units and inducting the most complex equipment of IAF. Under his leadership, more than 70 officers and 450 air warriors from varying backgrounds amalgamated into a cohesive and operational unit, successfully inducting and operationalising the AWACS. He had the unique distinction of leading all the three acceptance teams for the AWACS and ensured compliance of all operational requirements of the contract by the vendor. Through proactive negotiations with the management, a large number of testers and spares over and above the contract were procured. Additionally, by methodical recording of all the defects, the warranty of the three AWACS has been extended for significant period, resulting in significant financial savings. The formulation of Standard Operating Procedures for different types of missions, planning and execution of more than twenty command level exercises in the area of all the operational commands of IAF, innumerable Signal Intelligence gathering missions, and drafting of Concept of Operations of this complex force multiplier have all been achieved during this period. As President of the Officers Institute, he was instrumental in upgrading the holiday home, modernizing the health club and sports facilities to befitting standards. The strong foundation laid by him, helped the Sqn undertake its multifaceted operational role efficiently, integrate into the Con ops of IAF and develop as a cohesive and professional unit. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Group Captain Saju Balakrishnan.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Shekher Chauhan 18550 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Group Captain Shekher Chauhan (18550) flying (Pilot)was commissioned as a pilot in the flying branch on 06 Dec 86. He was awarded the Nawanagar Sword of Honour for his exceptional performance in flying training. He has held the appointments of an Instructor Class 'C' at National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune, Flight Commander of an An-32 Squadron (Sqn), Directing Staff at Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, prior to assuming his current Command assignment. His outstanding performances as a Right Commander and as a Directing Staff have been commended by Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Integrated Staff Committee, HQ IDS respectively. As a Flight Commander, he was instrumental in accomplishing a ten ac, close formation by dark night, at low level, for a Bn Gp Drop during Ex-Sangh Shakti 2006. The unit accomplished incident free 5000 flying hours in the calendar year 2005. He led a ten aircraft formation comprising all unit aircraft, which demonstrated his leadership and professionalism. On assuming Command of the An-32 Sqn , he ensured significant up-gradation of the Sqn categorisation and air maintenance qualification states of his aircrew. The Sqn has, since, accomplished all tasks assigned to it, maintaining the highest professional standards. The unit's performance and op preparedness was appreciated during the CASI visit in Aug 2010. He was the Task Force Commander for An-32 ac missions during Ex-Pralay in Sep 2010. The planning and execution of all missions demonstrated highest professional standards. The first ever, dark night, Air Landed Mission, comprising two ac, was executed with flawless precision. His personal involvement is reflected in increased availability of ac for operations, low rectification percentage, commendable safety environment, high levels of professionalism, motivation, discipline and cohesion in the Unit. As a professional, he has a vast experience in air maintenance operations, both in the Northern and Eastern sectors. He is qualified for all roles of An-32 ac. The officer exploits his multidimensional service experience to accomplish all operational and administrative tasks to enviable standards. His exemplary zeal, professionalism, and leadership have been inspirational for all personnel of the Station. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble president is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Group Captain Shekher Chauhan .
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Calambur Krishna Kumar 18812 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Group Captain Calambur Krishna Kumar (18812) Flying(Pilot)was commissioned as a transport Pilot in the IAF on 13 Jun 87. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor on Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), B737-200, An-32 and HPT-32 with more than 7000hrs. of flying which includes 1800 instructional hours. He holds' A/Master Green' on BBJ aircraft and is fully operational on all roles. He is Type Examiner on BBJ aircraft (ac). An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, he took over Command of one of the most prestigious Transport Squadron (Sqn) on 22 Feb 10. As a Wing Commander, he has commanded a strategic Elint gathering flying Unit. With limited resources, he inspired his subordinates to deliver exceptional results. His contribution to safe conduct of operations as a Commanding Officer was exemplary. As the Commanding Officer of a Sqn equipped with three different types of ac and over 500 personnel, he has ensured that all tasks entrusted to the Unit are accomplished in a time bound and most professional manner. During this tenure, the unit achieved an enviable Cat/IR state with 80% aircrew holding a supervisory category who were cleared to operate independently as Captains on VIP / WIP commitments within and outside the country. The espirit-de- corps and cohesiveness within the unit personnel is seen in every activity be it on tarmac or on the social front. Under his command, the Sqn has set impeccable standards in achievements of tasks, be it communication duties or short notice launch of aircraft on Casualty Evacuation missions. During his tenure, the Sqn achieved very high levels of serviceability of all three types of ac. He has made visible improvement in the quality of life in the Sqn with operationalisation of modern Flight Complex, numerous Works services are under way towards induction of new helicopters and various welfare measures in place to ensure high morale. Through a responsive administration, he has ensured excellent working environment to bring out best in each unit air warrior. Gp Capt CK Kumar has always led by example in every sphere and has been a source of inspiration to his both colleagues and subordinates. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)" Group Captain Calambur Krishna Kumar.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Amit Vij 21211 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Group Captain Amit Vij (21211) flying (Pilot)was commissioned in the flying Branch of the Indian Air Force on 15 Jun 91. The Officer is a Pilot Attack Instructor, Qualified Flying Instructor, Command Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner and an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College. He is fully operational on MiG-23BN, MiG-27ML, SU-30K and SU-30MKI aircraft with over 3300 hours of flying experience. His meritorious service is marked by distinguished performance in all service assignments and courses. He stood first in the order of merit in the Flying Instructor's Course bagging all the trophies as also in Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner's Course. He is the holder of 'Thammaiya Medal' from Defence Services Staff College. The officer is Commanding Officer of a premier SU-30 MKI Squadron (Sqn) since 09 Nov 09. On assuming command, the officer led the Sqn in Dec 2009, for the longest operational fighter mission ever planned in the history of Indian Air Force where in four aircraft flew 09:55 hours each over a distance of 6500 kms. The first of its kind mission was a resounding success and remains unsurpassed till date in the history of Indian Air Force. The officer gave a sterling account of leadership and motivated his team to perform in an exemplary manner in an International Exercise GARUDA-IV at France. With assiduity and perseverance, he showcased the professionalism and prowess of Indian Air Force, thus bringing rich laurels to it in an international forum. His indomitable spirit, unflinching determination and grit have resulted in an outstanding performance by the Squadron in all endeavours. His keen sense of involvement and exceptional organising ability has resulted in creation of operational infrastructure thus immensely enhancing the capability of the Sqn. Displaying tenacity to overcome odds, his able leadership has resulted in a record number of aircrew achieving 'fully operational' status, with qualifications and upgradations in all the SU-30 MKI specialist operational roles, all in a span of 17 months. The Squadron performance was assessed as exceptional during the Aircrew Examination Board visit to the unit in November 2010. The Squadron has won the Individual Conventional Dive Attack Trophy of the Year 2009-10 and the Team Bombing Trophy of the Year 2010-11 in Exercise Eklavya in Central Air Command. His sustained efforts and foresight has resulted in the Sqn having the best aircraft serviceability in the entire SU-30 MKI fleet for the last two years. His dynamic leadership was recognised when the Sqn was declared the Best Fighter Squadron for the Year 2009-10. For distinguished service of exceptional order and devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Group Captain Amit Vij.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Rajdeep Singh Gill 21212 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Group Captain Rajdeep Singh Gill (21212) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the IAF on 15 Jun 91. Presently, he is commanding a Pechora Squadron (Sqn) at a frontline IAF Station. During his career, he has held various key appointments including that of a Qualified Flying Instructor, Flight Commander of a Mirage-2000 Squadron and a team pilot of the 'Suryakiran' aerobatic team. He has over 2000 hours on different fighter/trainer aircraft of the IAF. He took over the command of the Sqn in Aug 2009. In a systematic manner, he has pioneered the operational and maintenance activities to build a robust and extremely reliable Air Defence (AD)weapon platform out of this vintage equipment. This was displayed in the exceptional performance during the two command level exercises last year, which were highly appreciated by HQ WAC. Leading from the front, the officer has motivated his team to aim high and reach the pinnacle of operational preparedness that any AD unit can achieve. The squadron was adjudged 'Average Plus' by DASI in Sep 10, a feat unheard of in the fleet. This transformation of the unit from being 'Non-Ops' in 2006 and just 'Average' in 2008 shows their strong' resolve and grit. Under his able guidance, the squadron has been performing exceptionally and has been adjudged the "Best SAGW unit-2010' in WAC. A cheerful leader, Gp Capt Gill has performed the role of a Commanding Officer to the hilt. With his stress on building a positive attitude and his personal involvement towards the welfare of his personnel, the morale of the Squadron is at an all time high. This has been borne out by the unit winning almost all the interunit competitions at the Station continuously for two years in running. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Group Captain Rajdeep Singh Gill.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt K Prem Kumar 21241 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Group Captain K Prem Kumar (21241) Flying (Pilot)was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a Pilot in the Flying branch on 15 June 91. He is a 'Qualified Flying Instructor', 'Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner' and alumni of the Defence Services Staff College. The officer took over command of a MiG-27 DASH 2 Squadron (Sqn) on 15 Sep 08. The Sqn, under his command, completed its upgradation to the MiG-27 Dash 2 aircraft in Dec 08. It was due to his foresight, methodical approach and documentation that many issues related to the 'Final Operation Clearance Implementation' (FOCD) of the MiG-27 Upgrade came to the fore. As a result, three phases of FOC implementation trials were instituted to resolve those issues. Based on the recommendations in the service paper written by the officer, certain modifications and changes were also incorporated to improve the features on the Upgrade aircraft thus enhancing its ergonomics and operational employability. He was also instrumental in operationalising the Laser Designation Pod on the MiG-27 Upgrade and formulating various briefing guides and SOPs for the fleet. His immense contribution towards making the Upgrade fleet fully operational is indeed praiseworthy. It was under his able leadership that the Sqn was recommended by Command HQ for Unit Citation. The officer's administrative skills were commended by dignitaries during various visits to the Sqn and the Station. Despite various limitations, he had, with his characteristic initiative and drive, marshaled his Sqn resources effectively to win the maximum number of trophies in the Gunnery Meet 2009-10. He also led from the front during the unit's inspection by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASl) achieving exceptional scores in all range strikes. The Sqn was adjudged 'Average Plus' by DASI with no observations to be actioned by the unit. The Squadron's performance in AEB was also commendable. It goes to his credit that the operational performance of the Sqn remained unaffected despite frequent turnover of the aircrew during his tenure. He also achieved the commendable feat of 4000 hrs of total flying during his tenure as the Commanding Officer. A committed Air Warrior, Gp Capt K Prem Kumar displayed total dedication and a very high degree of professionalism and believed in leading by personal example. Despite the change in aircraft type and numerous commitments, the unit has maintained an excellent flight safety record by avoiding any accident or incident attributable to human error. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Group Captain K Prem Kumar.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sivaraman Sajan 21807 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Wing Commander Sivaraman Sajan (21807) Flying (Pilot)was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on 13 Jun 92 and is currently the Commanding Officer of a SU- 30 MKI Squadron (Sqn). A recipient of the Sword of Honour and the President's Plaque for standing first in his course, the officer is a Qualified Flying Instructor and holds a Masters in Defence Studies from National University, Dhaka. The officer also bagged trophies at the Flying Instructors' School for standing first in overall order of merit, being best in flying, aerobatics and instructional technique. He has also been awarded commendations by the Chief of Air Staff as well as the AOC-in-C Eastern Air Command for his professional acumen. Wg Cdr Sajan has over 3500 hours of flying and is qualified on frontline fighters like the SU- 30 MKI and MiG-21 aircraft. The officer was the first in the IAF to have successfully fired the Anti Shipping Missile as well as the Anti Radiation Missile on realistic targets, thereby validating the missile envelope as well as employment philosophy. The firing of the Anti Radiation Missile involved detailed coordination and in-depth study since it was undertaken for the first time ever in the IAF, that too without any involvement from the missile manufacturer. His expertise on the various munitions helped him spearhead the Special Weapon Camp for all SU-30 operators, imparting training to a vast number of aircrew. Wg Cdr Sajan is a qualified low level aerobatics display pilot and has performed breathtaking displays at various venues. Prior to his present appointment, he functioned as the Flight Commander of the same squadron and ensured high professional standards amongst the squadron aircrew. During visits conducted by external agencies like the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection.(DASl), he was graded 'Exceptional' in all the three armament missions that he undertook in Nov 2006 and all four missions in April 2009. Under his command, the squadron took part in various exercises and came out with flying colours. The surgically precise armament employment showcased by the squadron aircrew during Ex-Maha Vayu Shakti- 2010 is a testimony of the same. As the only SU-30 MKI maritime squadron in the IAF, the unit undertook a multitude of missions over high seas with the Indian Navy, spanning from the Eastern to the Western seaboard. Wg Cdr Sajan was instrumental in training a large number of aircrew in the maritime role to meet the challenges over sea. In November 2009, the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil undertook the historic flight on the SU-30 MKI with Wg Cdr Sajan. The event which was showcased by national as well as international media was conducted flawlessly and in a befitting manner by the squadron under his guidance. For his high degree of professionalism, consistent endeavour to achieve excellence and exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Wing Commander Sivaraman Sajan.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Prajual Singh 21809 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Wing Commander Prajual Singh (21809) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the Flying branch on 13 Jun 92. He has previously been Joint Director Air Defence at Air Headquarters, as also been the Flight Commander of the acclaimed Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT). Wing Commander Prajual has been Commanding Officer of the SKAT since 28 June 2010. Under his leadership, the team has successfully demonstrated its capabilities across the country and has been instrumental in showcasing the prowess of the IAF to audiences all over. He has continuously innovated to introduce new manoeuvres and profiles into the team's displays while simultaneously ensuring flight and demonstration safety alongside adequate training of its members. He has put his administrative abilities, keen observation and foresight into ensuring that the team has achieved high serviceability of its aging aircraft. Despite working under severe constraints of resources, the team has continuously achieved exceptional performance in its displays which have been thorough in planning and flawless in execution. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Wing Commander Prajual Singh.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Harsh Vardhan Thakur 22105 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Wing Commander (Now Group Captain) Harsh Vardhan Thakur (22105) Flying (Pilot) As the Commanding Officer of the unit since 29 Mar 10, he has led his recently resurrected unit with great passion and gusto. These have clearly been reflected in the numerous achievements of the unit and the high level of morale and motivation of all personnel of the squadron. The Sqn, under his command has aggressively transformed itself from a regular Jaguar fighter Sqn to take on the additional role of type training for the Jaguar fleet. The flying task of the Sqn was increased from 170 hrs per month to 300 hrs per month from Apr 10 onwards without any additional resources. The Sqn has sustained this flying over the past seven months and has flown an unprecedented 3400 hrs of accident free flying over the last one year. All this was only possible due to the untiring effort of the Officer and his highly motivated team. Through this effort, the Sqn has graduated seven U/T pilots to Day Ops qualification and an additional seven pilots are on the threshold of graduation, thus adding 14 more Ops pilots to the Jaguar fleet, which is the equivalent of one additional Sqn's aircrew resource. Meanwhile, all Ops pilots in the Sqn have also graduated to achieve all possible higher qualifications such as 4 ac leader, Trainer Captain, Supervisor, Night Strike Qualified, LDP Qualified, AAR Qualified etc. The Officer has also employed his skills as a test pilot to innovate and provided many value additions to the Jaguar DARIN II suite. One of these praiseworthy innovations was the incorporation of Full-Color, Moving Satellite Imagery into the Multi-Function Display, to aid in navigation, target acquisition, and target designation, at no additional cost to the IAF. For his exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Wing Commander Harsh Vardhan Thakur
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Aditya Kumar Wahi 22111 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Wing Commander Aditya Kumar Wahi (22111) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot on 19 Dec 92. Presently he is the Commanding Officer of a Mirage-2000 Squadron (Sqn). The officer has more than 3600 hrs of accident free flying with more than 1700 hrs on Mirage-2000 aircraft. He is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College and is a Qualified Flying Instructor and an Instrument Rating Instructor & Examiner. He has earlier held the key appointment of Flight Commander of a Mirage-2000 Sqn, where he has been instrumental in creating and implementing a computer application which has enhanced the supervisory capability of the flying units at base. Wg Cdr AK Wahi has consistently proved his mettle in various tasks assigned to him. In a short span of time his unrelenting drive and efforts have ensured complete operationalisation of a Precision Guided Munitions. This pilot project has given tremendous impetus to the strike capability of the Indian Air Force. On taking over the Sqn, he laid special emphasis on improving the Ops status of the Sqn. The Sqn has flown 2600 hrs in the last one year & two months without any accident, with the officer himself flying over 360 hrs and 450 sorties, despite all the responsibilities of a Commanding Officer. The Sqn's Ops status has improved considerably with the junior most pilot averaging over 150-160 hrs in the last one year and one of them having bagged an Eklavya trophy. Under his command, the Sqn performed exceptionally well during various inter and intra command level exercises and also during the Aircrew Examination Board. Wg Cdr AK Wahi has also been instrumental in training the low level aerobatic team on the M-2000, as the display supervisor. 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 (El at the lowest level 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 ac availability of the Sqn thereby resulting on excellent performance of the Sqn in various inspections and exercises. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Wing Commander Aditya Kumar Wahi.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Dharmendra Singh Dangi 22115 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Wing Commander Dharmendra Singh Dangi (22115) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in the Flying branch on 19 Dec 92. He is currently commanding a SU- 30MKI squadron since 01 Sep 09. His earlier appointments were as Flight Commander of a SU-30 MKI squadron and as a senior project test pilot for MiG-27 aircraft upgrade. His deep involvement and contribution in the MiG-27 upgrade project ensured timely achievement of initial operational clearance leading to early ac induction in the field. For his f1yiI1g experience and earlier involvement as a test pilot in the operational evaluation of the SU-30MKI aircraft, he has often been called by the Air HQ to analyse and resolve issues related to the operational employment or maintenance of this technologically advanced flying machine. He is a qualified Pilot Attack Instructor, Qualified Flying Instructor and an Experimental Test Pilot, a rare combination which has been achieved by only a handful of pilots till date. He also has an impeccable Flight Safety record in his 2800 hrs of flying. The officer has earlier been commended by the Chief of the Air Staff twice in 1999 and 2009. In Sep 2009, the officer was entrusted with the responsibility of raising the first SU-30MKI Sqn in Eastern Air Command. The resurrection of a new unit at a new base was a gigantic task. It involved putting in place the unit's operational, maintenance and administrative setup right from the grass roots level with extremely limited manpower and resources. His foresight, deep involvement, focus towards the task, ability to find pragmatic solutions and managerial skills ensured that the flying operations commenced in time and the monthly flying task has steadily grown to more than 225 hours within a short span of less than a year. The squadron achieved fully operational status within six months and has successfully participated in Exercise Indra Dhanush-03 with a foreign Air Force. His Squadron has also participated in the Republic Day Flypast and various other Command level exercises. The unit has also employed Laser Guided Bombs and operationalised the Flight Refueling Pod within this short span. The unit's progress towards achieving operational status and its performance in various exercises has been highly appreciated by all the dignitaries who visited the squadron. In spite of limited maintenance support and facilities, especially in the first year, the unit has been able to maintain a comparatively higher serviceability vis-a-vis other SU-30MKI squadrons of the IAF. Currently, the unit is fully geared towards taking on any task and is being gainfully employed in the Eastern sector which bears testimony to his untiring efforts and leadership. While according very high priority to the task at hand, he has never lost sight of morale and welfare of Squadron personnel. He exudes zeal for modernisation and innovation and has been able to motivate all the air warriors towards better work output. In short, he has led from the front and led by example. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Wing Commander Dharmendra Singh Dangi.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Manish Vasantkumar Patel 22152 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Wing Commander Manish Vasantkumar Patel (22152) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 19 Dec 92 as a pilot in the IAF. He has operated in various operational helicopter units all over the country. He is a Category A Qualified Flying Instructor, a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, he has been the Flight Commander of a Mi-17 IV unit in the northern sector and is presently posted as Commanding Officer of a Cheetah helicopter unit at one of the front line bases of the IAF since 29 Jun 09. The officer has displayed commendable initiative, dedication and dynamism in commanding his unit in the most operational and challenging environments of the Siachen Glacier. He has flown more than 5000 hrs of accident free flying, of which over 1500 hrs are in high altitudes and over 1000 hrs are in 'Op Meghdoot' in the Siachen Glacier. He has executed more than 800 landings at helipads which are amongst the highest operational helipads in the world. Under his command the unit has flown more than 6500 hrs undertaking tasks in treacherous mountain terrain and unpredictable weather. With his meticulous planning and judicious use of resources, the unit has exceeded the allotted air maintenance task for sustaining the troops deployed along the border areas consecutively for last two years. The heroic efforts of the unit during the flash floods at Leh in Aug 2010 earned high praise for him and the unit in the national and international media. His leadership has been inspirational in stimulating his subordinates towards achieving very high operational standards which has now become a hallmark of his unit. The induction of Cheetah helicopters in the unit and its successful utilisation in the Siachen Glacier took place under his leadership. He worked tirelessly to solve all teething problems related to this new induction including training of air warriors, formulating Standard Operating Procedures and instituting safe flight and maintenance practices. The concern and motivation that he has displayed for his men operating in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees centigrade and in the most difficult of circumstances has kept the morale of his unit very high. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Wing Commander Manish Vasantkumar Patel
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Yashpal Singh Dhariwal 22171 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 12 Announced 26 Jan 12
Details : Wing Commander Yashpal Singh Dhariwal (22171) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 19 Dec 92. He has 1300 hours of flying experience on fighters and 1650 hours of Remotely Piloted Aircraft. He is Qualified Internal Pilot Instructor and also the command examiner for Mission Commander / Internal Pilot in SWAC. Presently he is commanding a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Squadron at frontline airbase since 20 Apr 09. On 23 Feb 11, he was authorised to fly a circuit and landing sortie as Mission Commander and Internal Pilot Instructor on Heron RPA. The take off was uneventful, during the first circuit while turning from downwind to base leg, he noticed engine RPM reducing below flight idle limits along with engine oil pressure reducing at a faster rate. This was followed by engine cut warning coming on, sensing the gravity of the situation he took charge of the situation, maintaining cool and calm composure, he announced the emergency on intercom to External Pilot and continued to provide all necessary flight parameters towards safe recovery of the aircraft. His pro-activeness, concise transmission and assertiveness helped in safe recovery of Heron RPA with a failed engine. Wg Cdr Dhariwal is a dynamic officer with exceptional professional knowledge achieved through hard work and perseverance. As the Commanding Officer he has led the squadron from the front by ensuring sagacious planning, foresight and achieved enviable status of best RPA serviceability state in the entire RPA fleet, the squadron was commended for 100 % serviceability state twice by HQ SWAC. Under his leadership, the squadron has trained maximum number of External Pilots to facilitate smooth operations of RPA in IAF. His decision making abilities, level of staff work, command and control are of exceptional order. Despite his demanding appointment, he is ever willing to take on any additional service commitment and accomplish it with enthusiasm. For exceptional devotion to duty, quick and correct decision making while handling a complex emergency in air in saving the valuable aircraft, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)' to Wing Commander Yashpal Singh Dhariwal.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Subramaniam Srinivasan 23773 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 15 Aug 12 Announced 15 Aug 12
Details : Wing Commander Subramaniam Srinivasan (23773) Flying Pilot is on the posted strength of a Cheetah! Chetak Helicopter Unit as Flight Commander, at Air force Station Leh since 07 Feb 11. On 26 Aug 11, Wg Cdr S Srinivasan , was authorised to lead a two helicopter formation to rescue a critically ill American member of an Indo-American team of mountaineers which was climbing down from Saser Kangri-II peak. The expedition team requested for an air rescue through their organising agency and the embassy in India. Despite very limited time and information available to him, he along with his crewmembers displayed extreme swiftness and professionalism in planning the mission, which included the route and fuel planning, power requirement and a plan to execute the search and rescue. After carrying out the detailed analysis and assessment of the situation, he ensured that the formation was airborne in a matter of minutes. He reached the area, started a search pattern, and quickly spotted the casualty. He found that the landing site was at the density altitude of 23000 ft, which is at the absolute limits of aircraft operating envelope Also, the site was located on a treacherous' glacier amidst wide crevasses. The inhospitable terrain coupled with negligible reserve of power and turbulence in the area, left him with no margins at all in case of an eventuality. However, he remained undeterred, used his experience, and well calculated judgment to execute an extremely difficult approach to land on loose snow in a very restricted space. The casualty was taken on board without wasting any time and the rescue team landed back at Leh within two hours. This act of valour by Wg Cdr S Srinivasan, wherein he lead the mission efficiently in the face of inhospitable terrain and extremely demanding conditions, showcases the highest level of leadership, professionalism and exceptional courage. This daring rescue from the dizzying heights of Saser Kangri has enhanced the glory of Indian Air Force well beyond national boundaries. For act of exceptional courage, professional competence and successful execution of the rescue mission, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Subramaniam Srinivasan.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Gurkirat Singh Sohal 24181 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Wing Commander Gurkirat Singh Sohal (24181) Flying (pilot) is on the posted strength of a Su-30 MKI squadron since 22 Jun 09. On 13 Dec 11, Wg Cdr Sohal was detailed to fly an Airframe and Engine Check sortie in Su- 30 MKI aircraft. The sortie was uneventful until the aircraft got airborne. Just after getting airborne, the aircraft yawed and rolled viciously to the right and this was noticed by the Air Traffic Controller as well. Wg Cdr Sohal immediately initiated the recovery action and continued to climb to safer heights. The oscillations continued to be violent and dangerous. However, Wg Cdr Sohal quickly decided to ascertain the cause and dared to fly the misbehaving aircraft. He overlooked his personal safety in a desperate attempt to try and get the aircraft under control to effect a safe recovery. Since there were no system failure indications, he applied his logic and knowledge to systematically isolate the systems, which could have caused such a condition of flight. A visual inspection by another aircraft revealed that the aircraft was oscillating viciously and the rudders were fluttering from end to end. During this whole process, Wg Cdr Sohal managed to somehow keep the aircraft pointing away from a populated village, so as to reduce the risk of damage to life and property on ground in case of an ejection . When Wg Cdr Sohal reduced speed to lower the undercarriage, the oscillations increased and the aircraft went out of control. As the aircraft was no longer controllable, ejection was the only option available with the pilots, and after a 22 minutes long ordeal, Wg Cdr Sohal initiated ejection, but not before he had ensured that the aircraft was directed away from the populated village. His presence of mind, when faced with a life threatening situation, helped in preventing loss of many innocent lives on ground. During the post accident analysis, the OEM's mathematical model for such an emergency had indicated loss of controllability of the aircraft beyond first few minutes. The sheer courage displayed by Wg Cdr Sohal for the attempted recovery from such an unprecedented emergency was unparalleled and earned praises from the OEM. The courageous actions of Wg Cdr Sohal to explore all possibilities of recovering the crippled aircraft and to prevent any loss of lives on the ground in spite of an imminent threat to his life were most commendable and exemplary. For his exceptional courage and flying skills in the face of a life threatening situation, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Gurkirat Singh Sohal.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Chickmandya Girish Deepak 24487 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Wing Commander Chickmandya Girish Deepak (24487) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of flying Instructors School at Air Force Station Tambaram as a Directing Staff since 10 Nov 08. On 31 Jan 2012, he was tasked to fly an instructional sortie on Kiran Mk II aircraft with Squadron Leader K P Singh as the trainee pilot. While coming in to land, he experienced an engine flame out below the minimum height for attempting an engine relight. After an unsuccessful attempt to jettison the canopy, he ordered his co-pilot to eject through the canopy. As the co-pilot ejected, he noticed that the aircraft was approaching over a populated area. Even as the speed of the ac was reducing rapidly, endangering his own safety, he steered the aircraft clear of the populated area below. Once sure that the trajectory of the ac was in a safe direction, he carried out an ejection. His extremely prompt re-action resulted in successful ejection by both pilots as well as the aircraft crashing into a safe area. Post ejection, Wg Cdr CG Deepak maneuvered his parachute skillfully to avoid obstructions and landed safely. Unperturbed by his own injuries, he located the co-pilot, ensured his safety and initiated measures to contact' Air Force officials at the base. In the meanwhile, a large number of people had started gathering around, he controlled the crowd to prevent any further damage to the accident site. With his ingenuity, by taking help from the crowd he facilitated the spotting of the accident site for the search and rescue operation by a helicopter. Knowing fully well about the risks of ejecting through an aircraft canopy and availability of critical time, Wg Cdr Deepak went well beyond the call of duty to ensure that the crippled aircraft was turned away from populated area, which prevented any collateral loss of life and damage to civil property. He displayed exceptional nerve and professional courage in the face of imminent danger to his life. For this act of exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Chickmandya Girish Deepak.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Siddharth Chopra 29487 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Flight Lieutenant Siddharth Chopra (29487) flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a An-32 Squadron in Eastern Sector since 09 Jan 12. He is holding CAT(IR 'C/Green' with 630 hours as captain on type. Fit Lt S Chopra was tasked with a Free-fall Para drop sortie for the Akash Ganga Skydiving Team over Royal Calcutta Turf Club on 24 & 25 Feb 2012, with several dignitaries in attendance including Chief of the Air Staff and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command and extensive media coverage. While he was on downwind for a dummy circuit at 8000 feet on 24 Feb 12, one pressure door bracket was found broken after opening the ramp. With the ramp already open, he decided to complete the Para drop and thereafter recover the aircraft with the ramp open to prevent any further damage. Keeping in mind the next day's final mission and aircraft servicing requirement Fit Lt S Chopra decided to carry out a landing with the cargo door in the opened position at Air Force Station Barrackpore. While approaching Air Force Station Barrackpore for a landing, the prevalent strong wind and turbulent conditions added to the control difficulties faced by the pilot. Any harsh manoeuvres would have severely endangered the safety of the aircraft and the lives of the personnel on board. Giving utmost priority to the safety of the aircraft and the personnel on board, Fit Lt S Chopra maintained precise flying parameters to prevent any further damage to the delicate ramp suspension. Before the landing was carried out, he executed a precautionary overshoot to assess the winds and turbulence conditions. Due to the delicate condition of the aircraft and the necessity to land with the ramp in the opened position, which was further compounded by existence of tall trees on short finals and the shorter runway, Flt Lt S Chopra was compelled to land the aircraft with a steeper approach perspective with 38 degree flaps which is not normally practiced. Using all his piloting skills, professionalism and courage, he executed a flawless approach and carried out the stipulated three-pointer landing without any further damage to the ramp. His act of safe recovery of the aircraft ensured that the aircraft snag was rectified and the aircraft was available for the next day's successful drop that was well appreciated and may not have happened otherwise. Flt Lt S Chopra displayed exemplary courage and decision making ability by recovering the aircraft safely from a critical emergency situation and also by saving the precious lives of all its occupants with his commendable flying skills at the time of need. For this act of exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Siddharth Chopra.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Air Cmde Mulpuru Venkat Rama Rao 18115 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Air Commodore Mulpuru Venkat Rama Rao (18115) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 06 Dec 85. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and College of Air Warfare. He has more than 8150 hrs of accident free flying including 2900 hrs of instructional flying to his credit. His past assignments include Chief Flying Instructor at Fixed Wing Training Faculty, Station Flight Safety & Inspection Officer and Chief Operations Officer of premier transport bases. Gp Capt MV Rama Rao took over command. of a Transport Squadron on 26 Apr 10. In his relatively short period as CO the Squadron has flown a total of over 6500 hrs including 2000 hrs on HS- 748 aircraft. Under his professional leadership, able guidance and supervision, the squadron attained very high standards of professionalism and operational excellence. The squadron achieved an enviable target of 100% categorization of pilots in Sep 11. A bold and dynamic leader who leads from the front, he personally undertook the challenging task of the first ever para drop at Haa Valley (Bhutan) from a height of 15000 feet by a Dornier-228 aircraft. His leadership synergised the entire squadron as a team and many initiatives emerged to optimize the available resources. Drawing upon his experience of functioning in important operational appointments and through demand of exacting standards from all, Gp Capt MV Rama Rao has been instrumental in planning and execution of infrastructure development in the squadron. It is largely because of his vision and initiative that the squadron is today equipped with state of the 'art briefing hall with modern training aids, a Tarmac Monitoring Section, an AirWarrior Cafeteria, a parking shed for Aircraft Support Vehicles, PU flooring for the hangar and a new Flight Line Mechanic (FLM) training section. The new FLM training section was declared a 'Centre of Excellence' for FLM training by Western Air Command (WAC). Significant infrastructure development in a very short period with critical attention to detail has led to enhancing the quality of life of the personnel and actively contributing towards raising their morale. A true professional who constantly strives for progress, he has led the squadron to achieve excellence in Operational, Maintenance and Administrative spheres. This has resulted in achieving a very high degree of motivation and professional pride amongst the personnel of the squadron. As a result of his sustained and dedicated efforts, the squadron was adjudged the 'Best Transport Squadron' of WAC for the year 2010-11. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Air Commodore Mulpuru Venkat Rama Rao.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Air Cmde Bakul Vaikunthrai Upadhyay 18281 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Air Commodore Bakul Vaikunthrai Upadhyay (18281) Flying (Pilot) Air Commodore Bakul Vaikunthrai Upadhyay (18281) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 07 Jun 86. A Right Hand Seat Check Pilot he has flown An-32 and IL-76 aircraft and has logged 6,900 hrs of incident free flying. He was held numerous important appointments like Flight Commander of a transport squadron, Chief Operation Officer of a transport base, Command Flight Safety and Inspection Officer at HQ Maintenance Command and Operations 11 A at HQ WAC. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College from France and was commended by Chief of the Air Staff in 1998. He assumed the command of Paratroopers Training School (PTS) on 21 Jun 10. Under his command the unit flew 5961 hrs against the allotted task of 5670 hrs and participated in all the major exercises of Central Air Command, Western Air Command and South Western Air Command. His nurturing of younger aircrew operationally resulted in 35 aircrew upgrading their Category / Instrument Rating. During his tenure, the unit had maintained one of the highest average serviceability in the in An-32 fleet. Laying special emphasis on improving the working conditions of airmen he created a ground crew rest room, provided coffee making machine, recreational facilities including dish TV and provided many other amenities. PTS has one of the oldest infrastructures, which was in urgent need of repair/replacement. He pushed for and got approved a new Parachute Packing Repair and an aircraft Servicing hangar, a new Daily Servicing Section, renovation of Ground Training Faculty hangar, frequented by foreign military dignitaries, and a servicing hangar. Due to this a positive environment was generated in the unit reflected by the unit being adjudged as 'Average Plus' by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection in 2010 and winning the 'Best Transport and Helicopter Unit' of CAC in 2010-11. He encouraged conceptual thinking for Special Operations by Transport Combat leader course. Combat Free Fall operations in mountainous terrain as part of Exercise Shock Effect were planned and executed for the first time ever. The long pending affiliation of PTS with Para Regiment to commemorate the famous Tangail Drop' materialised primarily due to his initiative. As President Mess Committee Officers' Mess he led his team to transform the environment and ambience of the Officers' Mess. The same was acknowledged by all senior officers who attended Aerospace Safety Meet and Air Defence Seminar of HQ CAC. Setting a fine example and leading from the front in Nov 2011 he successfully completed a highly challenging and physically demanding Para Basic Course on the eve of Silver Jubilee celebration of IAF Sky diving team 'Akashganga' which is placed under him. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to duty) to Air Commodore Bakul Vaikunthrai Upadhyay.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Dhananjay Vasant Khot 19516 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Group Captain Dhananjay Vasant Khot (19516) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 11 Jun 88. A Cat '1 Qualified Flying Instructor, he is fully operational on three different fighters and has flown over 3000 accident free hours. Graduating from flying training with the Sword of Honour, Group Captain Khot performed at exceptional level in all inspections, Exercises and Gunnery Meets in squadron service. Completing Instructor Training in the US with the top grading, he was the first lAF pilot selected as a flying instructor with the United States Air Force. As flight Commander of a MiG-23 BN and a MiG-27 MLsquadron, his initiatives resulted in high operational preparedness during 'Op Parakram', and exceptional performance in Ex-Vayu Spardha 2004. He commanded a special role MiG-23 BN squadron which won three Gunnery Meet trophies and participated in two Air Force Day Fly-Pests, He was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff in 1995, and the AOC-in-C Training Command in 1998. As the Joint Director Personnel Officers (Courses) at Air HQ handling professional general courses for more than 9000 officers, he revamped the process to make it participative and responsive to field units. As Director of Personnel (Policy), he was responsible for initiating many Human Resource Policies which were appreciated for farsighted policy development, and path breaking initiatives enabling higher promotion rates to Group Captain rank and evolving a model for re-employment of retired officers. He conceptualised and published the 'Blue Baatcheet' journal in three months, and provided policy support to many landmark legal cases. As Commanding Officer of the Aircrew Examination Board (AEB), he undertook multiple initiatives on the operational and administrative fronts. His review of the testing philosophy and pattern resulted in, comprehensive Orders bringing unprecedented clarity and operational focus in the testing process. Combined with 72 additional/unscheduled visits undertaken by AEB in this period, this rapidly improved the qualification state of lAF aircrew. The observations! recommendations of AEB after three special visits launched in the aftermath of accidents were implemented in full by Air HQ, resulting in a steep drop in accidents. He redesigned the curriculum for the Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiners (IRIE) Course and implemented it through personal effort and participation. During his tenure, the AEB's lAF-wide audit on Simulators fructified into guidelines for Air HQ to issue relevant orders. He has led the unit with strong military orientation and by personal example, instituting a culture of sports, physical fitness and discipline. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Group Captain Dhananjay Vasant Khot.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Milind Kumar 20479 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Group Captain Milind Kumar (20479) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 16 Dec 89. He is a Cat '1'Qualified Flying Instructor (QR) with 8300 brs of accident free flying on various transport and training aircraft (with 4000 hrs on IL-761IL-78ac). He has been an Air Force examiner, Flying Instructors School alumni and has had a tenure abroad as an Instructor and Team Leader of the IAF training team at Botswana. He was part of the pioneering team of professionals involved in initial Right Refueling Aircraft(FRA) induction from Tashkent He was commended by C/>S in 2004, has been the Right Commander and is now commanding the only aerial refueling squadron of the IAE As the Commanding Officer, his synergetic coordination with fighter squadrons innovative dovetailing of multiple missions has led to improved tanker utilisation, with significant improvement of receiver rate/hour from 4.16 to 5.006, leading to a 20% and 25% increase in the number of contacts and fuel transferred. He has operationalised the international concept of 'Connect/disconnect during a turn' with receivers & consolidated the multi tanker concept, thereby paving the way for maximizing the tanker utilisation in a restricted geographical area enhancing sub-conventional capability of IAE Under his aegis, the third centerline pod on the FRA has being revived after many years, which enhances refueling redundancy in critical missions. The squadron performed admirably during the last visit of Directorate of Air Staff Inspection and was adjudged a rare 'Above Average' in operations. He led the prestigious' Big Boy' Republic Day formation 2012 with immaculate precision. His close liaisoning with Software Development Institute completed the Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) planning software which was operationalised and validated in exercise Tropex-12. With his constant perusal of issues the fourth FRA was brought online. The AAR pod serviceability went up from 8 to 13 and flightline serviceability a very impressive 93.31% despite a six month detachment. Under his dynamic leadership, the full squadron successfully completed a first ever six month long detachment in the IL-761IL-78fleet. With his constant vigil, over two hundred personnel, four FRAs and many specialist vehicles flawlessly conducted 850 hrs of accident free IAF operations sharing operational area with fighters. His long tireless involvement at detachment location assisted in overcoming the administrative and mammoth maintenance challenges like Engine changes, Oleo change, pod changes etc. which needed meticulous coordination with the parent base. The squadron successfully anchored many exercises like Ex-Gauntlet, Ex-Dakshin Prahar, Ex-Tropex etc. including Omani Air Force, from multiple bases. His professional encouragement and guidance to juniors resulted in innovation of an indigenous Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS), at fraction of its cost in civil. Its installation at Air Force Station Agra is the first in Central Air Command and IAE Cross flying of FRA crew in fighter and vice-versa was envisaged and accomplished. He encouraged and facilitated the first ever Test Pilot from transport fleet for ASTE. He also planned and enabled the first in-land ferry of Sea Harriers of Indian Navy and completed the AWACS refuelling ground trial His compassion and concern for subordinates resulted in expeditious settlement of welfare issues of the families of the air warriors. His participative leadership displayed by personnel example inspired the squadron personnel and their families to actively participate in various sports and cultural activities. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Group Captain Milind Kumar.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Neeraj Kumar 21257 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Group Captain Neeraj Kumar (21257) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 15 Jun 91. He was the Commanding Officer of a frontline Helicopter Unit from 15 Dec 08 to 28 Nov 10. Gp Capt Neeraj Kumar has been the key person behind successful conduct of 'Op Triveni' the anti-naxal missions in the 'Red-Corridor'. He has been the pioneer in formulating and streamlining the tactics, techniques and procedures in the mission area which extends across eight states including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Gp Capt Neeraj Kumar through his professional knowledge and competence has led the way by example. He undertook extensive reconnaissance and surveillance missions to study the terrain and select area for landing zones. He was instrumental in formulation of flying tactics, techniques and procedures for safe operations in an extremely hostile terrain. He carried out in-depth analysis of various challenges in setting up detachments at non-IAF bases in Chhattisgarh, maintained a good liaison with his civil and paramilitary counterparts and despite numerous constraints he established two detachments at Raipur and Jagadalpur in a record time. In fact he undertook this task to such a perfection that the unit today boasts of over 2024 sorties, clocking more than 1500 flying hours, airlifting more than 230 tonnes of load, 15,120 troops and 126 martyrs. Additionally, the unit has conducted training in slithering operations for 763 personnel of the Para-military forces. Based on his threat analysis and analysis area of operation he formulated SOPs for anti-naxal ops. These SOPs are non-conventional in nature but has achieved a very high level of success despite numerous difficulties, which is evident from the fact that under his command unit flew more than 1500 accident free hours towards 'Op Triveni'. At the same time performance of the unit at base was highly praiseworthy. Unit took numerous tasks in its AOR including J&K sector. Also Directorate of Air Staff Inspection and Aircrew Examination Board reviews of the unit were extremely good and unit was declared best in gunnery. He always led from front and undertook calculated risk and displayed exceptional awareness and courage. He led many crucial and difficult missions including the operations post Dantewada massacre in which 76 CRPF personnel were killed by naxals on 16 Apr 10 and extraction/insertion of troops for numerous operations undertaken by the Chhattisgarh police and Para-military forces. Under his leadership, the detachments responded aptly. He has been a major motivating force for all aircrew of the unit to fly fearlessly in one of the most hostile and difficult terrains as on date. The very fact the unit personnel have manned four helicopter detachments for more than 15 months without any break most willingly and professionally, proves the leadership displayed by Group Captain Neeraj Kumar. During his tenure as Commanding Officer, the unit has excelled each day. This would not have been possible without an exceptional leadership, outstanding professional competence and self-belief. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Group Captain Neeraj Kumar.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sampuran Singh Gahlaut 21503 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Wing Commander Sampuran Singh Gahlaut (21503) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 14 Dec 91. He is a Cat A 'Qualified Flying Instructor' (QFI), and an alumni of the Defence Services Staff College. He has 3500 hrs of accident / incident free flying, including 2000 hrs of instructional flying experience on numerous aircraft. His instructional flying experience includes two years tenure as a member of Indian Air Force Training Team at Botswana in addition to two tenures at the prestigious Flying Instructors' School (F[S) The officer has held the appointment of the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), F1S since 26 Apr 10. The last two years have been a phase of uncertainty and transformation for flying training in IAF in general and FIS in particular. The stoppage of flying on HPT-32 aircraft resulted in the transfer of Kiran Mk [ aircraft and other assets from Air Force Station Tambaram to Air Force Academy (AFA).This had a cascading effect and consequently, QFI training had to be conducted simultaneously on different aircraft at two geographically dispersed locations, namely Tambaram and AFA. During this time, the officer displayed exceptional leadership skills and supervision of the highest order to ensure efficiency and safety of operations. This demanded speedy implementation of plans with dynamic decision-making ability. Subsequently, Kiran Mk II aircraft and the Cheetah helicopter were inducted at FIS for QFI training. This transition of training on to a new type of aircraft demanded revision and restructuring of entire' training syllabi, Standard Operating Procedures, Airborne Instructional Techniques and Briefing Guides. Using exceptional professional acumen, vision and vast instructional experience, Wg Cdr Gahlaut led his team of carefully chosen officers and accomplished this transition seamlessly. Addressing the specific causes of landing accidents in the [AF, the officer has played a pivotal role in devising effective changes in the QFI training. The FIS is presently conducting the largest QFI course ever in its history. Despite limited availability of critical resources, the officer with his characteristic initiative and drive has marshalled his resources effectively and harmonised Operational, Maintenance and Administrative activities to ensure smooth progress of training. The office is an epitome of personal integrity and moral uprightness. His immense contribution in steering the operations of Flying Instructors School efficiently and safely through an extremely turbulent phase is indeed exemplary. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Wing Commander Sampuran Singh Gahlaut.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sanjeev Vashishth 21818 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Group Captain Sanjeev Vashishth (21818) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 13 Jun 92. He is commanding a Mi-17 I V unit since 29 Nov 10. A Helicopter Combat Leader, he has more than 3000 hours of accident and incident free flying to this credit. Gp Capt Vashishth with his vast operational experience and astute leadership led the unit to unprecedented heights in 'Operation Triveni' during 2010-2011. The unit operated four helicopters, 1000 kilometers away from the parent base against the naxal threat in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and six other states. His relentless pursuit of objectives resulted in 2566 sorties and 1746 hours of flying in support of Para-military forces. He adapted intelligently to each emerging threat scenario and brought about continuous and ingenious changes in flying tactics to muster an accident free record in one of the most hostile peace time terrains. As a result, 'Op Triveni' brought a drastic reduction in the attrition rate of the ground forces and boosted their morale. The contribution was of national significance and was appreciated by one and all. Gp Capt Vashishth was nominated as Commander for conducting a first ever Special Heliborne Operations (SHBO) Training camp in Sep 2011 for aircrew of all Mi-17 I V units in Western Air Command (WAC). He rose to the expectations and conceptualised and executed a brilliant operational plan employing multiple assets in near realistic scenario. Within a fortnight, 15 pilots achieved fully operational status, thus enhancing the operational potential of Mi-17 I V fleet of HQ WAC significantly. Gp Capt Vashishth has several accomplishments to his credit during his command. The unit has been put up for Chief of Air Staff citation for its role in 'Operation Triveni'. It has undertaken more than ten successful joint exercises with Indian Army and friendly foreign forces of Seychelles, France and USA. Weapon delivery results have improved significantly and the unit has won 'Best in Rocketry' and 'Runners up in Gunnery' awards during Exercise Chakravyuh 2011. The unit has won six CAS commendations and seven AOC-in-C commendations. It has reversed the trend of accidents and incidents in the fleet, achieving 3400 sorties and 2200 hours of accident free flying. HQ WAC has recognised the facts and chosen it as the 'Best Helicopter Unit' of WAC in 2011. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Group Captain Sanjeev Vashishth.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Ran Singh 22110 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Group Captain Ran Singh (22110) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 19 Dec 92. The officer is a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) with total flying experience of close to 3000 hours. He has vast experience in ab-initio and MiG Operational Flying Training (MOFT). He has held several key appointments including that of a QFI, Station Aerospace Safety and Investigation Officer (SASIO) of an operational base and Flight Commander of a MiG- 21 squadron. As a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College he holds an MSc degree from Madras University. Presently he is commanding a MiG-21(Type -96) squadron. As a Qualified Flying Instructor the officer displayed exceptional instructional abilities and good understanding of ab-initio flying requirements. Towards this he was commended by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the 2003. As the SASIO of a front line fighter base his initiatives in controlling vegetation and bird menace within the airfield and its periphery were highly effective, thus ensuring a safe flying environment. His proactive contribution was appreciated and commended by the Chief of the Air Staff in 2008. Whilst being the flight commander of a fighter squadron he performed creditably and ensured high operational capability of the squadron while attaining the objectives set in a qualitative manner, without any accident or major incident. He assumed the command of a MiG-21(Type-96) squadron in May 2010. The unit has been entrusted with the onerous responsibility of undertaking MOFT of young pilots, graduating from various flying training institutions. Through his dynamic and effective leadership, the officer has ensured timely completion of various courses, while ensuring a very high quality of training. The unit also performed well all inspection visits by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection and Aircrew Inspection Board. The instructional video presentation prepared by the squadron on the approach and landing of MiG-21 ac was of a very high order and has been disseminated to other units undertaking MOFT, as a model to follow in training the young aircrew. Under his command, the squadron has flown over 6300 sorties in nearly two years, despite the vintage of the aircraft and stringent requirements of MOFT flying. The officer's zeal, meticulous planning, effective supervision and leadership directly contributed in maintaining a high degree of professionalism and operational preparedness in the unit. For its outstanding achievements, the unit was also was adjudged as the 'Best Fighter Squadron' in Western Air Command in the year 2010. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Group Captain Ran Singh.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sucharu Rai 22119 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Group Captain Sucharu Rai (22119) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 19 Dec 92. He is a Pilot Attack Instructor (PAl) and Qualified Flying Instructor. He had earlier held the key appointment of flight commander of a MiG Operational Flying Training (MOFT) squadron, which was adjudged the best fighter squadron in Western Air Command. . Gp Capt Sucharu Rai took over the command of a MOFT squadron on 26 Apr 10. He has led his unit from the front as by flying nearly 500 sorties during his tenure. He led special emphasis on improving the overall operational capability of the unit, be it in its war or peacetime role. As a result, he clearly spelt out his key result areas and went about his primary task with utmost diligence and dedication. Towards this, when there was shortage of supervisors, he even elected to stay in the unit when he was specially selected for a trip abroad, disregarding his personal gains. This commitment ensured that during his tenure, the unit achieved 6000 sorties, with an average of 800 sorties every quarter. This quantum of flying was among highest (sortie-wise) than any other fighter squadron in the IAF He also ensured that the severe backlog in training was not only cleared but the unit came in synchrony with the intake schedule of the trainees of IAF Apart from the increased quantum of flying, he also ensured that the quality of training and safety were paramount. This was evident when most courses passed out without a single accident or incident. Gp Capt Sucharu Rai has displayed total dedication and professionalism of a high order. He has led the squadron by his personal example. The officer consistently adopts a very systematic, fair and humane approach, which has improved manifold the working culture, environment and morale of the unit. In keeping with the highest tradition of the Indian Air Force, humble and enterprising, he is constantly finding solutions and achieving high standard in all sphere for others to emulate. His innate ability to interact with all officers of all branches, airmen and Non-Combatants (Enrolled) has earned him respect across the board, which has helped his squadron earn a very healthy reputation and appreciation from all levels. For his exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Group Captain Sucharu Rai.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Hirendra Assudani 22137 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Group Captain Hirendra Assudani (22137) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in flying branch on 19 Dec 92. The officer is a Qualified Flying Instructor and Pilot Attack Instructor. He is fully operational on MiG-21 Bis, Su-30 K and Su-30 MKI aircraft with more than 3500 hrs of flying experience. The officer is presently commanding a premier Su-30 MKI squadron since 28 Jun 10. As the Commanding Officer, the officer has led from the front and optimised the resources to achieve multiple tasks that include Strategic Photo Reconnaissance and special roles. He led the squadron to execute the longest ever Reconnaissance mission undertaken by the IAF, covering over 6500 kms. The squadron has achieved hundred percent of assigned task and exceptional results from all the reconnaissance missions undertaken have been of immense operational value for the Indian Air Force. The squadron was tasked to suggest a template for the Establishment Review for the entire Su-30 MKI fleet. The officer took on this additional responsibility upon him and assiduously made a convincing case for review of Su-30 MKI squadron establishment before the Air Force Standing Establishment Committee, formulating a template for all Su-30 MKIsquadrons. Gp Capt Assudani is a qualified low level aerobatics display pilot. He has participated in the Air Force Day and Republic Day Fly-pests of 2010, 2011 and 2012 wherein the exceptional standards displayed by him won many accolades for the Indian Air Force. As a display supervisor of low level aerobatics on Su-30 MKI ac, he has trained & supervised many aircrew. In Mar 2012, his squadron was awarded the coveted Presidential Standard. His flawless planning, efficient execution and ability to motivate fellow air warriors to work as a team resulted in immaculate conduct of the event. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to duty) to Group Captain Hirendra Assudani.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ashish Srivastava 22523 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Wing Commander Ashish Srivastava (22523) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 21 Jun 93. The officer is a Cat 'Pi Qualified Flying Instructor and an Experimental Test Pilot. He has over 4700 hours of accident free flying on 13 different aircraft and has flown 2700 hours on all the version of the Jaguar aircraft. Wg Cdr A Srivastava was the Commanding Officer of a premier maritime strike Jaguar squadron from 24 May 10 to 18 Mar 12. As Commanding Officer, Wg Cdr A Srivastava with his professionalism and perseverance ensured that all the pilots in the squadron were able to achieve operational role qualifications in record time. In a short time frame of six months he ensured that the maritime dark night qualification in the squadron was enhanced from two to eight. The maritime !asking of the squadron has been done exceptionally well, wherein all the operational requirements were met both qualitatively and quantitatively. During his tenure the squadron planned and conducted International Level exercise 'Eastern Bridge-ll' with Royal Air Force of Oman at Jamnagar and performed exceedingly well. Under his able guidance the squadron did 21 exercises and 4300 hours of quality flying with a clean Aerospace Safety Record. For the operational preparedness of the squadron and the effective achievement of given task in most professional manner, the squadron was adjudged the Best Fighter Squadron of South Western Air Command for 2010. With the same professional vision, the squadron also won the coveted inter squadron Gunnery Meet, 'Ex Eklavya 2010' winning four out of eight events and he personally led two events. The all excellence of the squadron under his command was endorsed by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection wherein the squadron was assessed as 'Average Plus' in all the attributes of Operations, Maintenance and Administration. He also planned and executed the first ever Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) release on the maritime target by W ai/craft both in 2010 and 2011. The squadron under his guidance released 14 LGBs and all on targets. Under his command, the squadron also planned and executed the nonstop direct ferry of six fighters from Carnicobar to Jamnagar. 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 resulted in enhanced serviceability of the aircraft, Fire Control Radar and other operational system. With his all-round leadership, foresight, professional planning and positive attitude, he was able to provide a new purpose and direction to the air warriors in the squadron, who were motivated to achieve higher standards all the time. On the administration front also, he provided healthy and user-friendly environment to all the air warriors under his command and upgraded the squadron infrastructure as one of the best in the IAF.A disciplined officer who in unmindful of his personal comforts, he willingly undertakes prolonged hours of work and has been instrumental in bringing about professionalism amongst his squadron and his vision has made the squadron an epitome of hard work and harmony. The overall command and control exercised by his has produced a cohesive and professional squadron. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Wing Commander Ashish Srivastava.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sundaramani Krishnan 22933 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Wing Commander Sundaramani Krishnan (22933) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 18 Jun 94. The Officer is a Category 'Pi Qualified Flying Instructor. He is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College with "Directing Staff" grading and an Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner. He has held important assignments which include Directing Staff at the prestigious Flying Instructor School and Flight Commander of a fighter squadron. He is fully operational on MiG-21 BIS, Su-30 K and Su-30 MKI aircraft with over 3800 hours of accident free flying to his credit. The officer is presently commanding a SU-30 MKI squadron. Wg Cdr Sundaramani Krishnan, on assuming command, was tasked to resurrect the squadron with Su-30 MKI aircraft. He, with all honesty of purpose and sincerity of effort, operationalised the Su-30 MKI Squadron and formulated the concepts towards exploiting the operational potential of the aircraft. His timely intervention on critical issues ensured that the serviceability state was maintained as per operational requirement. The effective planning in flying effort resulted in all the under training aircrew posted to the squadron achieving 'fully operational' status. The squadron was also ready to undertake any operational commitment within a short period of resurrection. The first successful armament detachment was conducted within a period of six months of induction of the aircraft. The working ethos and a conducive atmosphere in the unit has enabled exceptional performance by the squadron in all exercises it had been tasked during the period. The squadron performed with flying colours during the recently concluded Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) and Aircrew Examination Board visits. The overall squadron performance was adjudged as "Average Plus" during the DASI visit and his effort in setting up of a model Su-30 MKI squadron was appreciated by all. He took active interest in ensuring that a large number of new technicians posted in squadron after Just-in-Time' training pattern, were effectively brought up to acceptable standards in a short period of time. The various welfare measures adopted by the officer ensured cohesiveness and a sense of belongingness among the personnel in the squadron. The initiative, involvement, meticulous planning, coordination and the successful execution of all tasks assigned can singularly be attributed to the dynamism, foresight and leadership of the officer. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Wing Commander Sundaramani Krishnan.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sagar Madhukar Paranjpe 22945 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Wing Commander Sagar Madhukar Paranjpe (22945) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 18 Jun 94. He has been staff at the Flying Instructor School and Hight Commander of a MiG Operational Flying Training Unit (MOFTU). He has flown 2700 hours on various types of aircraft and is a Category 'PI. Qualified flying Instructor, UAV External Pilot trained in Israel and a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. Wg Cdr Sagar Madhukar Paranjpe is the Commanding 'Officer of a MOFT Unit since 31 May 11. Under his leadership, the unit has flown 1683 sorties/865 hrs of accident free MOFT under training flying in nine months. He is a dynamic officer with exceptional professional knowledge and extremely analytical approach to all problems. He has implemented a unique model of time audit for officers as well as the airmen to instill a sense of time management, which was commended by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command and the inspection team from Directorate of Aerospace Safety. He is instrumental in innovating a unique audio-visual alarm system on a tractor that prevents accidents while towing aircraft, a unique and user friendly ground layout plan for role equipment and Ground Servicing Equipment, a towing line to help the tractor driver tow without turning his head back, and a camera-based flight debrief tool for under training pilots for solo sorties. He has implemented a procedure called 'Lakshman Rekha', for 100% tool check before signing of the aircraft servicing form by technicians. This is meant to prevent accidents/incidents due to missing tools. This procedure has been emulated by various other squadrons. With a view to enhancing knowledge on aircraft performance characteristics and prevent accidents, he has authored a booklet on the aerodynamics of MiG-21 aircraft which has been distributed by Air HQ to all the MiG-21 operating units. He has created a working environment in the unit that encourages professionalism and innovation. This has proven itself in five instances of safe recovery of aircraft by under training pilots with critical emergencies on MiG-21 aircraft, and no accidents or incidents. He has implemented a number of innovative computer based training tools to enhance the efficiency and quality of flying training. Mid-phase review of training implemented by him to help refine instructional techniques was appreciated by Aircrew Examination Board during their inspection. The confidence of under training pilots in the ageing MiG-21 T 77 ac has increased significantly due to his close supervision, high safety standards and exemplary instructional techniques. This has resulted in pilots opting to stay back in the squadron rather than get posted out after MOH For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Wing Commander Sagar Madhukar Paranjpe.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Kuntal Brata Bandhyopadhyay 22952 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 13 Announced 26 Jan 13
Details : Wing Commander Kuntal Brata Bandhyopadhyay (22952) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the flying branch on 18 Jun 94. He has been posted as a Commanding Officer of MiG-21 T-96 squadron since 13 Jun 11. The officer is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Fighter Strike Leader, Pilot Attack Instructor and Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner. As a Commanding Officer, he has displayed exceptional professionalism, ensured very high degree of operational preparedness and enhanced the combat potential of the squadron significantly. The squadron achieved a distinction of having all pilots upgraded to either 'Day Ops' or 'Fully Ops' status. With his exemplary forethought, meticulous planning and flawless execution, the squadron has not only been able to achieve all its assigned roles and tasks but also has been adjudged as the 'Best Fighter Squadron' of Central Air Command (CAC) for the year 2011-12. The officer has enhanced the knowledge level and flying skills of squadron aircrew to a very high level. The performance of the squadron in last Aircrew Examination Board visit was 'Above Average' in both Flying and Ground subjects. Due to bad weather and other constraints, the squadron undertook Heavy Armament detachment after a gap of ten months. In spite of the long break in armament training, the performance of all the aircrew in the Heavy Armament detachment was 'Above Average' to 'Exceptional' because of his able guidance and supervision. The squadron was also adjudged as 'Best in Armament' in CAC and won a total of eight Trophies in Individual and Team Events which is a testimony of his capability. Various initiatives and innovations have been undertaken under his guidance. Integrated Carrier Bomb Light Stores Tester developed and fabricated at unit level was adjudged as the 'Best Innovation' in CAC and received a Cash Award in the Chief Engineering Officer / Senior Logistics Officer Conference of CAC. Other initiatives undertaken by him namely, thorough implementation of Right Line Mechanic concept with 90 to 100 % achievement of training status, Quality Circle/Quality Inspection Concept, Tool Crib Management Study and development of e-library Software have been highly appreciated by Air Officer Commanding-in- Chief, CAC and Senior Maintenance Staff Officer, HQ CAC. His administrative acumen has resulted in exceptional administrative practices, face lift of the entire squadron complex and initiation of Work Services for improvement of squadron infrastructure. Apart from being an exemplary professional, he is an epitome of organisational capability. He possesses excellent leadership qualities and has been a good motivator to all air warriors. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Wing Commander Kuntal Brata Bandyopadhyay.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Umesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria 22906 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 19 Aug 12 Announced 15 Aug 13
Details : Wing Commander Umesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria (22906) Flying (Pilot) is commanding a Cheetah Cheetal Helicopter Unit at one of the Northern most bases of the Indian Air Force since 04 Jul 11. On 19 Aug 12, Wg Cdr UKS Bhadauria was authorised to lead a two helicopter formation to search and rescue a critically injured German national, who was part of a joint German-Italian team of mountaineers which was climbing up Nun peak. The team was hit by an avalanche in which one German national sustained severe injury while two porters were missing. The expedition requested for an air rescue through their organising agency and the embassy in India. Despite the very limited time and sketchy information available. Wg Cdr UKS Bhadauria along with his crew members displayed extreme swiftness and professionalism in planning the mission which included the route and fuel planning. power margins and a plan to execute the search and rescue. After carrying out a detailed analysis and assessment of the situation, he ensured that the formation was airborne in the shortest possible time. Using his judgment and navigation skills, he reached the avalanche site just a few hundred feet below the Nun peak even though the co-ordinates provided were way out. He started a search pattern at 23000 feet which is the service ceiling of the helicopter. He quickly spotted the foot tracks coming down from the avalanche site and followed it to spot the casualty. He found that the camp site was at 19000 feet. Also. the site was located in a place with very little manoeuvring space. Despite the deteriorating weather. he reattempted a landing to pick up the critically injured casualty. The inhospitable terrain coupled with negligible reserve of power and turbulence in the area made the task extremely challenging. However, he remained undeterred and used his experience and well calculated judgment to execute an extremely difficult approach to land on an unprepared surface in a very restricted space. The casualty was taken on board without wasting any time and the rescue team landed back at Leh within three hours. This act of valour by Wg Cdr UKS Bhadauria, wherein he led the mission efficiently in the face of inhospitable terrain and extremely demanding conditions, showcases the highest level of leadership. professionalism and exceptional courage. This daring rescue from the dizzying heights of the Himalayas was widely reported by media and has enhanced the glory of the Indian Air Force well beyond national boundaries. For the act of exceptional courage, professional competence and successful execution of the rescue mission in the face of the inhospitable terrain and extremely demanding conditions, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Umesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Alok Kumar Yadav 22976 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 28 May 12 Announced 15 Aug 13
Details : Wing Commander Alok Kumar Yadav (22976) Flying (Pilot) is posted as the Commanding Officer of a frontline operational Mi-17 helicopter unit in the North-Eastern sector since 19 Mar 12. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Helicopter Combat Leader and has been a Directing Staff at the Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment. He has flown over 4000 hours on various helicopters. On 28 May 12. Wg Cdr Alok Kumar Yadav was authorised to fly an NVG (Night Vision Goggle) conversion instructional sortie. On take off leg his trainee pilot experienced a yaw to the starboard side and the crew monitored 'Engine High Vibration' light on. At the same moment Wg Cdr Alok Kumar Yadav saw a ball of fire erupting from the starboard engine. He immediately took over controls. appreciated the situation and announced his decision to force land the helicopter on a clear field in the reciprocal direction of take off. During the reciprocal turn he ordered his Flight Engineer to switch of the enflamed engine and operate the fire extinguishers, but the fire continued to blaze. Considering there were already other helicopters on NVG in the circuit, he promptly gave an RT call informing the other helicopters. He carried out a safe landing on the selected field in a truly professional manner. After landing he immediately. along with his crew, vacated the helicopter and directed the fire fighters to the spot. A reconstruction of the entire profile confirms that he had barely 10 seconds to appreciate the emergency. correlate his position relative to the runway and monitor the traffic before taking a decision. If that window of time was lost either due to delayed appreciation or lack of judgment, it would have proved catastrophic as it would have caused a major fire related explosion in the air and recovery would have been impossible. Added to the difficulty level was the fact that he was on NVGs with limited field of view and vision. He quickly assessed that if he continued on the take off leg he would not be able to clear the habited surroundings, which would have proven catastrophic, hence he decided to land in the reciprocal direction on a clear field despite being low in height. In doing so he displayed, exemplary courage. thereby living up to the gallant tradition of the Indian Air Force. Post flight inspection revealed that the starboard engine of the helicopter had caught fire and parts of the engine had melted due to its raging intensity. Wg Cdr Alok Kumar Yadav, thus, displayed extreme professionalism and bravery in the face of a deteriorating air situation and an impending danger to the life of personnel on board. His gallant act ensured safe recovery of the entire crew and the helicopter. For his act of courage in the face of a grave emergency and display of absolute resolve to handle the regressing situation which resulted in saving service assets, lives on ground and on board the helicopter, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Alok Kumar Yadav.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Gaurav Bikram Singh Chauhan 26106 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 19 Feb 13 Announced 15 Aug 13
Details : Squadron Leader Gaurav Bikram Singh Chauhan (26106) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Su-30 MKI squadron since 10 Oct 11. On 19 Feb 13. Sqn Ldr Chauhan was tasked to fly an Air to Ground strike mission over Pokhran range. He was authorised to fly as a Weapon System Operator (WSO) onboard a Su-30 MKI aircraft laden with 18 x100 kg bombs. The objective of the mission was to showcase the immense fire power and accuracy in weapon delivery of the Su-30 MKI in 'Ex Iron Fist'. The mission which was undertaken by night from Air Force Station Jodhpur was a part of the full dress rehearsal for the final event. The mission was executed by Sqn Ldr Chauhan. wherein he as the WSO, assisted his pilot in carrying out a flawless strike and made good the Time on Target' to employ his formidable weapon load. Subsequent to the trigger press by the front pilot. a sortie that was uneventful, rapidly unfolded into one of the most dramatic chain of events witnessed in recent aviation history. The release of bombs from the aircraft was almost instantaneously accompanied with a loud explosion in the vicinity of the right wing. This was followed by the aircraft being engulfed in a large ball of fire and breaking up into several parts in mid-air. The explosion on the right wing caused it to be ripped off at the root and the aircraft viciously spiraled downwards in an uncontrolled trajectory with a very high rate of descent. Sqn Ldr Chauhan was hit in the face by shards of the canopy that shattered with the first explosion. This caused him to sustain several lacerations and wind blast injuries. The spiraling and tumbling motion of the cockpit caused him to be subjected to severe lateral and negative gravitational forces causing an uncontrollable flailing of his limbs thus preventing him from reaching the ejection handle. Despite negligible vision in the darkness of the desert sky which was further obscured by facial bleeding caused by his injuries, he made a superhuman effort to push himself against the burning railing of the cockpit, accessed the ejection handle and successfully operated it. This resulted in both the pilots ejecting safely. Eye witness accounts and video footage of the incident indicate the undeniable presence of a large explosion near the wing. This resulted in a bomb exploding in the proximity of the aircraft followed by sympathetic explosion of several bombs whilst still under slung on the aircraft. The situation thus presented before Sqn Ldr Chauhan undoubtedly qualifies as one of the rarest occasions in which an aircrew's honed instincts as a professional are put to the ultimate test. In the face of such an unprecedented situation wherein the aircraft burst into flames with no warning of an impending failure, Sqn Ldr Chauhan displayed exceptional courage, situational awareness and uncommon reflexes in extricating himself and his crew member from a distressed aircraft. His act of bravery truly exemplifies the heroic and camaraderie that exists amongst the aircrew that operate in such a fragile and unforgiving environment. For his act of exceptional courage and presence of mind in the face of a potentially catastrophic and life threatening situation. Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Gaurav Bikram Singh Chauhan.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Omar Browne 29006 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 25 Sep 12 Announced 15 Aug 13
Details : Squadron Leader Omar Browne (29006) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Su-30 MKI squadron since 04 Jun 12. On 25 Sep 12. Squadron Leader Omar Browne was authorized to fly a 2 Vs 1 training mission as the Captain on Su-30 MKI aircraft along with a Under Training Operations Weapon System Operator. Flying Officer Shobhit Mishra (31485) Flying (Pilot). Thirty minutes after takeoff, while engaged in the second air combat situation at an altitude of 4.2 km and speed 790 KMPH, the pilot experienced severe restriction in the forward movement of the control stick in his cockpit. This prevented the aircraft from achieving normal rate descent to lower altitudes. Retaining his composure during this unusual emergency, the pilot called off the combat and analysed the situation with remarkable professionalism. He checked all cockpit indications meticulously, cross checked controllability of the aircraft from the rear cockpit and assessed the feasibility of executing a landing with limited Rate of Descend (ROD) using full nose down longitudinal trim and maximum forward pressure on the control column. This was further aggravated when on lowering the undercarriage the aircraft nose started pitching up and control stick jammed in the neutral position with no forward movement at all. As a result the longitudinal control was possible only with limited longitudinal trim available. Demonstrating exceptional skill and composure under high stress. the pilot could achieve a max ROD of 3-5 m's only with trimmers at a speed of 430-410 KMPH in landing configuration. Without any panic the pilot took a calculated risk and decided to attempt a landing after deliberation on the possibility to climb up and abandon the aircraft in case unable to land. Squadron Leader Omar Browne regulated fuel to make the aircraft light and executed a long and shallow approach with 2-3 m, s ROD using only the trimmer till flare out. Even after touchdown the pilot could not lower the aircraft nose wheel with stick force and had to resort to the use of forward trim. Finally the pilot was able to execute a safe landing from this grave situation. Post flight analysis by the court of inquiry revealed that the control stick was not moving ahead of the neutral position due to mechanical blockage of the control run by a loose metallic strip getting stuck at the lower portion of control column. The pilot has demonstrated immense courage, highest level of professionalism, superlative decision making backed by knowledge and exceptional flying skills to recover the aircraft from an otherwise inevitable accident. For his exceptional display of courage and flying skills in the face of a life threatening situation, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Omar Brown.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Shivkumar Nilkanthrao Pohare 29184 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 23 Aug 12 Announced 15 Aug 13
Details : Flight Lieutenant Shivkumar Nilkanthrao Pohare (29184) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a MiG-29 Squadron since 15 Jun 09 and has been performing the duties of Squadron pilot. On 23 Aug 12. Flt Lt SN Pohare was authorized to lead a two aircraft Combat Air Patrol (CAP) versus Strike plus Escorts mission as CAP leader in a MiG-29 aircraft. After getting airborne, while proceeding to the exercise area, at a distance of 38 km from base. altitude of 5.1 km and speed of 600 KMPH, the canopy perspex of the aircraft shattered. This resulted in explosive decompression and perspex shards hitting the pilot on his left shoulder. The helmet visor also broke due to the effect of wind blast. He immediately realised the gravity of the situation and initiated recovery maintaining control of the aircraft which had nearly full fuel in a calm and composed manner. He also realised that the aircraft compass had become unserviceable and the Hand Held Global Positioning System had stopped indicating as its antenna had been damaged due to the perspex flying off. At this stage, the weather in exercise area was overcast with cloud base at 1.2 KM and thick layer of clouds up to 3.3 KM. There were also several rain patches in the area, making it even more challenging to recover the aircraft, Flt Lt SN Pohare, with exceptional presence of mind and courage. skirted the oil installations and populated area in vicinity of the airfield and positioned north of base for a slow speed check. Braving personal discomfort due to injuries and deteriorating weather situation. the pilot carried out a slow speed check to ascertain the handling characteristics whilst being monitored by another formation member who had joined up with him for providing assistance. Notwithstanding the reduced frontal visibility, very high cockpit noise level and high aircraft weight. he skillfully positioned himself for an emergency landing with radar assistance and executed the same in a flawless manner, without any further damage to the aircraft. Throughout the emergency handling. Flt Lt SN Pohare maintained utmost calm and composure, displayed exceptional courage and presence of mind and thorough professionalism in keeping with the highest traditions of Indian Air Force. His actions in handling such an unforeseen critical emergency, which is not documented for MiG-29 aircraft, not only saved him and the aircraft, but also prevented possible catastrophic damage to neighboring strategically important and vital Petro-chemical installations and populated areas. For this act of exceptional courage, very high standards of professionalism and contribution to aerospace safety Flight. Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Lieutenant Shivkumar Nilkanthrao Pohare.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Ravi Chandrashekhar Pathak 23746 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Wing Commander Ravi Chandrashekhar Pathak, VM (23746) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 16 Dec 95 and is Commanding the Sarang Display Team at Air Force Station Sulur with effect from 07 May 12. He is an Experimental Test Pilot and a Qualified Flying Instructor. He has flown over 4100 h on 21 different types of aircraft. On 20 Jun 2013. Wg Cdr RC Pathak was tasked to undertake Disaster Relief Operations (Op Rahat) in Uttarakhand as the Detachment Commander at Gauchar. He carried out an aerial reconnaissance to assess the unique requirements to undertake this complicated task and realized that there were thousands of sick and injured people stranded in the valley and only quick air evacuation could save their lives. Moreover these missions had to be undertaken in hostile weather conditions, from makeshift landing areas at high altitudes, requiring the helicopter to be flown on the fringes of its flight envelope. Realizing the enormity of the task in hand. Wg Cdr RC Pathak volunteered for the first mission and landed at Gaurikund, Junglechatti. Garudchatti and Kedarnath. These evacuations were carried out in a short time frame from highly restricted areas bounded by obstructions which included trees, wires and rocky outcrops with no ground assistance. Despite being involved in planning and supervision of both flying and ground activities and coordination of rescue effort, Wg Cdr RC Pathak flew 41 critical missions. including winching down of Garud commandoes at 9000 feet and evacuated 111 personnel. Wg Cdr RC Pathak had the challenging task of planning and executing Disaster Relief Operations in the backdrop of a huge natural calamity, from a makeshift base at a short notice with severe constraints in terms of fuel, administrative and logistics support. Through sustained intense operations under his command, the detachment airlifted 2700 personnel and inducted 20 tons of relief material. By leading from the front, in the service of the nation, Wg Cdr RC Pathak has displayed exceptional valour, professionalism and operational leadership. For the act of exceptional courage displayed in evacuating stranded personnel from Kedarnath valley during 'Op Rahat' Hon'ble President is pleased to award Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Ravi Chandrashekhar Pathak, VM.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Gp Capt Mukesh Kumar Yadav 22920 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Group Captain Mukesh Kumar Yadav (22920) Flying (Pilot) is the First Commanding Officer of a newly inducted Mi-17 V5 helicopter unit since 23 Jan 2012 and has over 5300 hours of flying experience. Gp Capt Yadav was detailed as Detachment Commander at Dharasu during Op Rahat. On reaching there. he immediately took stock of the situation and correctly ascertained that the operations would be hampered due to shortage of fuel. Based on his analysis, he along with his team worked relentlessly through the night on 21 Jun 13 to prepare the unused Advanced Landing Ground to enable the C-130J to land. His herculean efforts resulted in the ALG being declared safe for the landing of C-130J and ensured fuel supplies for helicopters without which the entire rescue operation ex-Dharasu could have come to a halt. On the night of 22 Jun 13, he was informed that there were approximately 3000 civilians at Harsil. some of whom were critically injured and required immediate evacuation. On 23 Jun 13. the weather in the Harsil sector was not conducive for any helicopter operations. Displaying exceptional innovativeness, the officer decided to utilize overflying weather recce aircraft to guide him in negotiating weather in the valley and relay radio communication to the following helicopters. In an unprecedented move. not caring for his own safety. he quickly briefed his entire team and got airborne. In an extremely courageous and calculated manner. he maneuvered the helicopter through inclement weather and in an unfamiliar narrow valley up to Harsil. This bold and considered decision of the officer allowed the rescue operations in the Harsil sector to go on inspite of the extreme limitations imposed due to the inclement weather, unfamiliarity with the terrain and extremely limited maneuvering space. His innovative approach led to the formation of a Hell-bridge between Harsil and Dharasu and resulted in 108 sorties being flown, 982 critically injured ill civilians being rescued and 11050 kgs of food and medicine being dropped for the remaining people. A total. 533 sorties were undertaken under his dynamic leadership, of which 97 sorties were piloted by him. evacuating 5488 people and airlifting 74000kgs of relief material in just six days. Despite physical hardships as a result of non-stop work round the clock for all these days, he continued to inspire all with his extraordinary courage. spirit of selfless sacrifice and exceptional flying skills. For his exceptional courage to fly the mission in extremely inclement weather conditions and innovative technique adopted to reach inaccessible areas. Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Group Captain Mukesh Kumar Yadav.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Vijay Yadav 22909 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Wing Commander Vijay Yadav (22909) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 05 Mar 94. He took over command of an Advanced Light Helicopter unit on 01 Aug 11. At a time when the unit was undergoing induction of ALH MK-III and with shortage of experienced aircrew for the new aircraft, he led by example and was one of the first to fly the new machine in the treacherous operating conditions of Operation Rahat. He flew extensively in the flood hit area in Kedarnath valley and rescued numerous stranded pilgrims while operating from Gauchar, Guptkashi and Joshimath helipads. On 01 July 2013, he was tasked with the mission of evacuating casualties from the Badrinath. He successfully negotiated the inclement weather and carried out shuttles to rescue stranded and sick pilgrims. All of these missions were carried out in marginal weather where the aircraft was operating at the limits of its capabilities. With inclement weather hampering operations also in Kedarnath valley for almost a week, he displayed highest standards of courage, leadership and maturity and planned and executed missions in the limited window of clear weather to drop relief materials, Doctors and NDRF personnel. As Detachment Commander at Gaucher, he exhibited exemplary maturity and skills in ensuring mission accomplishment in the most professional manner. During the entire operation he was inspiration for the unit pilots to emulate and evacuated more than 200 stranded pilgrims himself. It was only due to his meticulous planning that availability of ALH MK-1 and ALH MK-III helicopters was ensured for uninterrupted relief operations. Under his exemplary command and guidance, the unit flew more than 260 hrs, 600 sorties, evacuated more than 1900 stranded pilgrims, tourists and foreign national and dropped more than 60 tons of relief materials in the inhospitable terrain of the flood affected areas of Uttarakhand. For this act of exceptional courage. Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Vijay Yadav.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Abhay Satish Parandekar 23567 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Wing Commander Abhay Satish Parandekar (23567) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Helicopter Stream of the Indian Air Force on 17 June 1995. He is a Category 'A Qualified Flying Instructor and a Helicopter Combat Leader. He is presently posted as Commanding Officer of a Mi-17 V5 helicopter unit at Air Force Station Phalodi. On 23 Jun 13, he was informed about a group of foreign nationals stranded in the middle of gushing Bhagirathi river near Harsil, which had already crossed the danger mark. The river was swelling by the hour and any delay could have cost precious lives. On receipt of this information, he took on the onerous job of rescuing these people. On arrival at the spot, he saw that the river was in full spate and there was no place except a small patch of land surrounded by water left for landing the helicopter. Additionally, there were high tension wires running along the river valley. Further, the weather was deteriorating. Correctly analysing the situation, he decided to attempt a landing on a small patch of land which was slowly getting submerged with rising water level. With utmost precision and dexterity, he manoeuvred the helicopter so as to affect hover with one wheel in light contact with ground. All 17 foreign nationals and three Indians stranded were rescued safely. Wg Cdr AS Parandekar displayed exceptional courage in effecting a successful rescue despite extremely challenging conditions. Thereafter, as the Detachment Commander at Joshimath and Pithoragarh, he continued the flood relief operations for next one month during which he flew 255 sorties which in effect saved 2344 lives and led to the induction of 78.6 tonnes of relief load. This was the most by any pilot operating in the area of operations. Under his guidance, 158 HU flew a total of 287:05 hrs while rescuing 4443 people for Op Rahat which is the highest among all the participating units. For his act of exceptional courage, dedication to duty, unflinching determination beyond call of duty and display of valour to save people and give them succour, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Abhay Satish Parandekar .
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Felix Patrick Pinto 23569 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Wing Commander Felix Patrick Pinto, SC (23569) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mil7 helicopter Unit and in command of the unit since 15 Apr 13. On 18 Jun 13, in the aftermath of the disastrous floods at Uttarakhand, the entire nation witnessed a turmoil in which thousands were swept away. The civil administration was desperate to have the correct evaluation of the damage. Wg Cdr FP Pinto with three helicopters of his unit was tasked to undertake the rescue mission. He being the most experienced and senior-most pilot of the detachment immediately took charge of the situation and after detailed planning and coordination with civil administration, led the first IAF mission into the Kedarnath valley. Despite the inclement weather in the treacherous valley, he flew the first recce sortie carrying the representatives of state administration. On seeing the stranded people in the Kedarnath bowl, he took a quick decision to land on the unprepared surface at an altitude of 11000 ft. closest to the temple and established that ground for IAF operations. He thereafter took off with several stranded survivors and carried out numerous shuttles for a safe evacuation of 76 survivors on the first day. He continued with the gallant act thereafter and was instrumental in saving 892 survivors in the subsequent sorties. His exceptional professional acumen and meticulous planning led to valiant execution of challenging missions for evacuation of pilgrims at Kedarnath. Regardless of personal comfort and safety. he flew tirelessly throughout the Op Rahat in the challenging environment under hostile weather conditions and landed at hazardous sites. He also carried out drops of 24 tons of ration and medicines. To exploit the limited window of weather and to increase the load carrying capability, he modified his helicopter to carry out a free drop of wood for the mass cremation at Kedarnath bowl. His gallant and selfless efforts during the initial phase of Op-Rahat paved the way for launch of one of the greatest rescue operations by helicopter in history. For this display of extraordinary leadership and exceptional courage under adverse operational circumstances, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Felix Patrick Pinto. SC.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Syed Muzaffar Yunus 23781 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Wing Commander Syed Muzaffer Yunus (23781) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of a Mi-17 V5 Helicopter Unit at Air Force Station Sarsawa with effect from 11 Jun 12. On 17 Jun 2013, the unit was tasked for 'Operation Rahat' in Uttarakhand. He was the captain of first rescue mission by a Mi-17 V5 helicopter to rescue distressed and injured pilgrims from an unprepared and restricted landing site adjacent to Kedarnath temple at an elevation of approximately 11200 feet. The inclement weather and hilly terrain, made flying the mission an extremely challenging and daunting task. He displayed unparallel professionalism and courage by landing at an unprepared and restricted site close to the standard pilgrims. He was quick enough to pick up the distressed pilgrims including 15 old women and exhausted men, in shortest possible time. catering for inclement weather. Throughout that day, he braved and battled against the weather and executed daring landings at untried and unprepared sites rescuing more than 100 persons. On 21 Jun 2013, once again, Wing Commander Yunus was part of the first Rescue mission at Badrinath, where thousands of pilgrims were standard, at an elevation of 10,300 feet. He displayed fearless determination and evacuated more than 350 pilgrims in one single day to Joshimath involving eighteen sorties. Wing Commander Yunus, with an irrepressible enthusiasm to save the distressed people, used his professional skill, knowledge and determination for successful evacuation for precious lives. During these operations, he flew a total of 96 sorties in 46:00 hours and rescued more than one thousand stranded pilgrims. For this act of exceptional courage and fearless determination, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Syed Muzaffar Yunus.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Kondam Munisubrayachetty Raghuraman 24038 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Wing Commander Kondam Munisubrayachetty Raghuraman (24038) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an ALH Mk III Helicopter Unit and has been performing the duties of the Flight Commander since 01 Aug 11. A Qualified Flying Instructor with vast instructional experience, he has been involved in training and bringing up the operational status of the Unit right from the induction of ALH Mk III. On 17 Jun 13. the Unit was tasked to position three helicopters at Dehradun to undertake relief operations towards Op Rahat. The dedicated officer, although being on leave at this stage. willingly surrendered his leave and rejoined to perform the duties of the Detachment Commander of ALH Mk III at Dehradun. Meticulous planning for crew combination, selection of helicopters and requirements for establishing a three heptr detachment was carried out overnight and all helicopters were launched at first light on 18 Jun 13. Wg Cdr KM Raghuraman. after deploying at Dehradun and assessing the criticality of the calamity, immediately swung into action with his team. For maximising rescue effort, in consultation with the Task Force Commander, he repositioned the detachment at Gauchar ALG. Leading by example and utilising his entire experience of the hills, he carried out a recce of the affected area and nominated the rescue zones. The nominated areas, Gaurikund and Jungle Chatti had restricted space for landing due to heavy landslides and very little margin for any error. A detailed coordination meeting was held with the Civil Administration at Gauchar and the entire rescue team was thoroughly briefed by Wg Cdr Raghuraman. During the ensuing days, negotiating unpredictable weather and the treacherous terrain, Wg Cdr Raghuraman, along with his team carried out numerous landings at unprepared surfaces in the affected areas to rescue the stranded populace. With a dedicated aim in mind, he and his team flew vigorously in the flood hit areas, averaging 15 sorties per day and rescued 490 stranded pilgrims/locals in addition to dropping over 50 tons of relief material in the Kedarnath Valley without an accident/incident. For his meticulous planning and execution of rescue and relief operations and exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Kondam Munisubrayachetty Raghuraman.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Vinod Negi 24938 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Wing Commander Vinod Negi (24938) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Sarang Helicopter Display Team at Air Force Station Sulur with effect from 19 Jul 10 and performing the duty of Unit Flight Commander. On 21 Jun 2013, Wg Cdr Vinod Negi was tasked to evacuate stranded pilgrims from Kedarnath valley. Having flown several rescue missions over the previous day, he realized that thousands of people were stranded at Jungle Chatti which is at an elevation of 7500 feet and their only hope of survival was through air evacuation. He assessed that unlike other makeshift helipads. Jungle Chatti was extremely restricted owing to presence of trees, wires and other vertical obstructions such as cliff face. He volunteered for the mission and was one of the first pilots to identify and land on a ledge which was extremely tricky and challenging. even for an Alouette class of helicopter. This landing served as a reference for others and based on his invaluable inputs, subsequent landings were carried out by other operators. During entire Op Rahat. he displayed exceptional courage, flew 102 sorties, rescued 584 personnel and inducted eight tons of relief material. He was a positive influence on the unit personnel and guided relatively inexperienced crew in extracting performance beyond expectations. As the Flt Cdr. he ensured effective Crew Resources Management and displayed effective Operational Resources Management towards safe accomplishment of critical missions in challenging environment. Under his guidance. the unit flew a total of 177 sorties, evacuated 917 personnel and inducted twelve tons of load during 'Op Rahat'. With his meticulous planning and leadership, Wg Cdr Vinod Negi ensured time critical mission accomplishment against all odds and proved to be a role model for both his peers and juniors to emulate. For his act of exceptional courage in evacuating stranded personnel from Jungle Chatti during 'Op Rahat', Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Vinod Negi.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Sachin Gupta 25854 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Wing Commander Sachin Gupta (25854) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an Advanced Light Helicopter unit since 28 Jan 13. On 18 Jun 13, at 0530h, he was tasked to proceed to Phata helipad in Kedarnath valley for evacuation of stranded pilgrims. Assessing the weather, he took off immediately and reached Phata. Without switching off. he picked up relief packets and got airborne for Kedarnath valley. He was the first one to commence relief operation in the Kedarnath valley. Within the valley. due to the marginal weather, tall trees and narrow width of the valley, the maneuvering space was extremely limited posing a danger to the helicopter and its occupants. Despite these restrictions. the officer displaying courage and utilizing his exceptional piloting skill carried out safe drop of ration and supplies at various places. Spotting a clear patch near Rambada, with just enough space for rotor clearance and with only adequate space for one skid on ground. he boldly carried out a low hover to pick up old and injured pilgrims. He ensured quick turnaround and carried out continuous shuttles to rescue 45 civilians and drop 900 Kgs of ration on the first day. Subsequently. he rescued pilgrims in treacherous areas like Gaurikund, Kedarnath and Garud Chatti. He was also instrumental in spotting the crash site of the ill fated Mi-17 V5 helicopter in the Kedarnath valley. Having located the crash site and selecting the most appropriate site for winching down Garud commandos. he took adequate precautions and carried out the winching down of the Commandos. Considering the hostile nature of the operating area, and difficulty of carrying out winch operations at the elevation of 2.9 Km, even a small error could have had disastrous consequences. During Op Rahat, he flew 200 sorties 70 hrs and rescued 237 casualties. All of these missions required exceptional courage and professionalism for safe execution. For his exceptional courage, focused and dedicated service, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Sachin Gupta.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Vipin Takawale 26320 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Squadron Leader Vipin Vilas Takawale (26320) Flying (Pilot) is a Chetak, Cheetah type instructor and is posted in an operational helicopter unit since May 2012. The flash floods in Uttarakhand had taken the entire nation by surprise and rescue of stranded civilians was of paramount importance. Sqn Ldr Takawale was detailed as Detachment Commander of a two helicopter Cheetah detachment at Gauchar. On 21 Jun 13. the detachment was tasked to drop food packets in the Kedarnath valley. Sqn Ldr Takawale got airborne within minutes of getting SOS call and commenced his food dropping mission. While dropping relief material, he heard a distress call from a civil helicopter which had crashed and was on fire in the treacherous terrain of Jungle Chatti. Despite not being prepared for a casualty evacuation mission, the officer on receiving a SOS call displayed good leadership qualities and took a courageous decision to proceed to crash site. Though this was his first sortie in the area, he was quick to correlate the map and displayed exceptional navigations skills in locating the crash site within 10 minutes of the crash. He noticed that the crashed helicopter was at a site which posed many dangers like dense HT and LT cables, electrical poles, narrow valley, thick vegetation and absolutely no place to land. The inhospitable terrain coupled with adverse wind conditions left him with no margins for error: however, he remained undeterred and after a quick in-flight briefing decided to winch up the casualty. He used all his experience and skill to manoeuvre the helicopter in and extremely restricted area to position it over the crash site while at the same time keeping adequate safe distance from the HT and LT cables. Since the length of winch cable was not enough, he decided to take a well calculated risk of lowering the hover height with further reduced his margin of error and demanded that the helicopter be flown with precision. This herculean courageous effort of the officer resulted in the casualty being rescued safely. The devastation caused during the Uttarakhand disaster was extremely unnerving, however Sqn Ldr Takawale maintained his composure and displayed qualities of courage. decision making and ability to react to a situation. He did all this with extreme confidence and without compromising flight safety. This mission definitely enhanced IAF s image as being ever ready to provide succour to the affected. For his exceptional courage, in the face of adverse conditions, and unparalleled dedication to duty. Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Vipin Vilas Takawale.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Anupam Dey 26325 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Squadron Leader Anupam Dey (26325) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Chetak Helicopter unit since 04 Jun 12 and has been performing the duties of a Fully Operational Pilot. On 26 Mar 13, he was authorized to ferry a Chetak Helicopter Z-422 from Pune to Jamnagar. During hover for take off, at a height of approximately 5-6 feet above ground level, due to failure of the rudder control linkages, total directional control over the helicopter was lost. Due to the loss of directional control, the aircraft started yawing viciously to the left with increasing amplitude and at such a low altitude above ground level spun for four 360 degree rotations. Displaying exemplary presence of mind, nerves of steel and exceptionally high situational awareness. Sqn Ldr Dey correctly analysed the situation and initially controlled the helicopter to prevent it from crashing. Maintaining his orientation in the spinning helicopter and utilizing all his professional experience, he took a took a courageous and bold decision to initiate forward flight of the helicopter. This action of his resulted in the helicopter regaining extremely limited directional stability. He then managed to land the helicopter safely with a forward speed of 30 Knots as compared to the normal landing speed of 3-5 knots without any rudder control being available to him. After landing by judicious use of brakes and lowering of collective, he successfully managed to stop the helicopter without any damage. His prompt decision making and correct analysis of the emergency coupled with ability to maintain his composure in such an uncontrolled state of flight of the helicopter led to the safe recovery of the helicopter, passengers and service equipment. For this act of exceptional courage and professional handling of aircraft under difficult circumstances, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Anupam Dey.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Vinay Bhal 28789 ACCTSUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Squadron Leader Vinay Bhal (28789) Accounts/ Garud is the Commanding Officer of an Indian Air Force Garud Unit since 04 Jun 2012. The IAF was called to the aid of civil power to undertake rescue and evacuation operations during OP RAHAT after a massive cloud burst resulted in extensive flooding accompanied by landslides in the state of Uttarakhand. One squad of IAF Special Force Garuds, led by Sqn Ldr Vinay Bhal were inducted to undertake search and rescue operation in the affected area. On 25 Jun 13, while on deployment a Gauchar, Uttarakhand he led a team of IAF Special Forces Garuds to locate the crash site of a MI-17 V5 helicopter. While on board the search and rescue aircraft he assisted in sighting the crash site in densely forested hilly terrain. With no landing ground. he led from the front and lowered himself close to the crash site using a cable wire. The team was then lowered after him. On reaching the crash site, he led the team to extricate the mortal remains of personnel on board the ill fated helicopter from the still smoldering site and recovered 18 bodies. Once retrieved, he supervised packing the mortal remains and transported them to winching area, using innovative methods. The entire operation lasted for three days and two nights during the course of which he operated in inhospitable terrain. inclement weather and on top of a forested hill with at a steep gradient. He led the team in an exemplary manner and maintained the team's morale and accomplished the extremely demanding mission with peril to his life. He displayed astute professionalism, dedication and bravery. For his professional competency, excellent leadership qualities, exceptional courage and selfless devotion to duty. Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Vinay Bhal.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Tapan Kapoor 31602 AE(M)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : Flight Lieutenant Tapan Kapoor (31602) Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) was on the posted strength of a Mi-17 V5 Helicopter unit since 07 Jan 2013. On 25 Jun 2013. Flight Lieutenant Tapan Kapoor volunteered to proceed on Relief Rescue Operations towards Kedarnath to rescue stranded civilians from Kedarnath as a part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Missions that were undertaken in the aftermath of the disaster which occurred in Uttarakhand. The task involved moving Relief Teams of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) from Guptkashi to Kedarnath. The presence of inclement weather and poor light conditions in the tricky hill terrain of the valley made the task extremely demanding and was delaying the operations. He knew fully well that the helicopter would be operating at the limits of its capabilities. Rather than abandoning the mission. Flight Lieutenant Tapan motivated all the team members and kept them primed for the task at hand. He realized that the small window of opportunity provided by the adverse weather would keep the crew tied to the helicopter which would require a close coordination with the Relief Teams. Rising to the occasion, he ensured that the required close coordination between the crew members and Relief Teams was effectively maintained, which in turn synergized the relief efforts. The Relief Teams were then safely transported to Kedarnath. The helicopter took off from Kedarnath with the Relief Teams. ready to make another shuttle at the earliest. However, the weather conditions on the return leg deteriorated at a rapid rate and the aircraft crashed killing all its occupants. With an indomitable spirit and disregard for personal safety, Flight Lieutenant Tapan displayed grit and determination of a true Air Warrior. In spite of no previous experience. he handled the task with utmost professionalism and courage. In carrying out these high risk missions in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force of leading from the front, Flight Lieutenant Tapan displayed exceptional courage and valour. For this act of exceptional bravery and valour which finally lead to the supreme sacrifice. lion'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry), posthumously to Flight Lieutenant Tapan Kapoor.
Reference: Air Force Day Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
JWO Akhilesh Kumar Singh  771580 ORUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 14 Announced 26 Jan 14
Details : 775180 Junior Warrant Officer Akhilesh Kumar Singh Flight Engineer was on the posted strength of a Mi-17 V5 Helicopter unit since 23 Jul 12. On 25 Jun 2013. Junior Warrant Officer Akhilesh Kumar Singh was tasked to move essential supplies and rescue stranded civilians from Kedarnath as a part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Missions that were undertaken in the aftermath of the disaster which occurred recently in Uttarakhand. As a motivated aircrew who had been extensively involved in Relief Operations in the sector since 21 Jun 13, he carefully went about planning for the Mission. The task involved moving relief Teams of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) from Guptkashi to Kedarnath. The presence of inclement weather and poor light conditions in the tricky hill terrain of the valley made the task extremely demanding and was delaying the operations. Knowing fully well that the helicopter would be operating at the limits of its capabilities. rather than abandoning the mission, he assessed the degree of difficulty of landing at high altitude and evacuation from inhospitable terrain and accepted the challenges of the Mission. He gainfully utilized the delay caused by bad weather conditions to carefully plan the Mission. Having assessed all the factors and the restrictions imposed by the adverse weather, he provided all possible assistance as a team member. With his timely assistance the crew was able to take off at the first available opportunity and land at Guptkashi displaying high degree of determination and skill. The Relief Teams were then safely transported to Kedarnath. The helicopter took off from Kedarnath with the Relief Teams. ready to make another shuttle at the earliest. However, the weather conditions on the return leg deteriorated at a rapid rate and the aircraft crashed killing all its occupants. This selfless act of courage of flying the helicopter through extremely hostile terrain in marginal weather conditions provided much awaited succour to the affected civilians at Kedarnath. Flying these high risk missions in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force, Junior Warrant Officer AK Singh supported the decisions of his captain, displaying exceptional courage. professionalism and unwavering devotion to duty. For this act of exceptional bravery and pre-eminent valour which finally led to the supreme sacrifice. Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry), posthumously to Junior Warrant Officer Akhilesh Kumar Singh.
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.