Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1329 Awards are listed.
Vayu Sena Medal : 1329 |
Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Inder Jit Singh Boparai 7691 F(P)Unit : No.223 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Inder Jit Singh Boparai (7691) F (P) has been on operational fighter flying assignments throughout his service career of 21½ years in the Air Force. He has attained 'Fully Operational' status on all the MiG-21 variants and has to his credit over 2000 hrs flying on those types. An Instrument Rating Instructor and Fighter Combat Leader on type, he was a member of MiG-21 formation aerobatic team. It was due to his contribution in no small measure as a Flt Cdr that the Sqn was adjudged the Best Fighter Squadron of the year by Director of Air Staff Inspection for 4 consecutive years. It was also his timely report of K-5 missiles evaluation and flt trials highlighting its limitations that prevented an ineffective weapon being contracted for thereby saving valuable foreign exchange.

With his vast experience and background, ha was selected to Command the first Rakshak Squadron. He was assigned the dual task of raising a new fighter squadron and simultaneously inducting a new fighter aircraft into the Air Force. With tremendous enthusiasm and personal involvement, with extremely limited trained manpower, he not only overcame the initial teething troubles but took on additional task of taking over the group sets for the Base Repair Depot. It was his meticulous planning and foresight in utilising the aircraft that flying effort was built up in a phased manner with proper stagger. The Squadron has flown a total of over 4500 hrs in less than 3 years and considering the heavy constraints of lack of spares and high Aircraft On Ground state - this is a vary creditable achievement indeed.

In May 04, Wg Cdr IJS Boparai became the first pilot to land Rakshak aircraft at Leh, the highest operational airfield in the world, and again it was his personal involvement and guidance which helped in overcoming starting problems at this height. His suggestions have now been incorporated as a standard for all MiG-21s.

With over 500 hrs on type to his credit, in every phase of flying, Wg Cdr Boparai undertook the initial sorties himself, and utilising the aircraft potential to the full has today established the Rakshak as an effective weapon system capable of countering even F-16 type of threat with suitable tactics. Besides the progress of the Squadron, he has put up suggestions which have effectively enhanced operational effectiveness.

For his very high degree of professional competence and dedicated hard work which has resulted in the Rakshak fleet becoming a viable operational weapon system, for his total devotion to duty and his sustained contribution towards betterment of the service, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Inderjit Singh Boparai.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Shashindra Pal Tyagi 8130 F(P)Unit : No.14 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Shashindra Pal Tyagi (8130) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Air Force on 31st December, 1963. A Fighter Pilot of proven merit, he is both a qualified Pilot Attack Instructor and Fighter Combat Leader. He has participated in 1965 Indo-Pak Operations flying Hunter aircraft and in the 1971 Indo-Pak Operations flying MiG aircraft. To date, he has to his credit 2800 hours of jut fighter flying.

Since December, 1982, Wg Cdr Tyagi has been commanding a frontline Strike Fighter Squadron. The Operational role of the Sqn is very demanding and accordingly the training has had to be optimised for its operational tasks. During his tenure, the Sqn has achieved a very high level of operational preparedness and has come out with distinction in flying exercises and commitments entrusted to it. It was recently under his leadership and planning that for the first time ever, a detach ment of Fighter aircraft was able to operate from a far flung Indian island territory. During his tenure, he has displayed unending enthusiasm, dynamism and professional competence in managing both his material and manpower resources. It is a direct reflection on his leadership and the performance of the Sqn that has resulted in the Sqn being adjudged the best Fighter Sqn in Western Air Command for two years running. On the welfare front, he has introduced many novel facilities to ensure that concurrent with the high professional output, the welfare of his personnel is equally covered. Throughout his tenure, Wing Commander Shashindra Pal Tyagi has displayed a very high level of professionalism, dedication and qualities of leadership in true traditions of the Air Force.

For his devotion to duty, high professional skill and exceptional qualities of leadership, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Command Shashindra Pal Tyagi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Surendra Sawhney 8141 F(P)Unit : DG NCC  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Surinder Sawhney was commissioned on 31 Dec 63 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. He has been posted to the Directorate General National Cadet Corps as Deputy Director (Air) since Dec 81. His duties include supervision of gliding, flying, Aero­adventure activities, other training activities and coordination of maintenance, repair and provisioning of new gliders and other aviation equipment in the 54 NCC Air Wing Squadrons throughout the country. During his tenure in the NCC, Wg Cdr Sawhney with his high level of initiative, consistent application and dedicated hard work has been able to achieve many noteworthy milestones of which the main ones are firstly; revision and updating of gliding Standard Operating Procedures and admin instructions for National Cadet Corps/National Defence Academy issued 10 years earlier; secondly, achievement of 75% serviceability state on gliders which are more than 20 years old through excellent planning of repair programme and effective monitoring; thirdly 64,300 launches of gliders in one year, the highest in the history of the NCC; fourthly, reducing the accident rate from 7 to 3, the lowest accident rate in 10 year; fifthly has personally planned and safely executed four Air Shows on gliders in Delhi including for the first time formation of aerobatics display during the IAF Golden Jubilee and sixthly working out modernization plan of gliders and winches into the NCC Air Sqns which includes induction of new gliders at present and planning the future induction upto 1990.

Among the gliders planned for induction into the NCC is the, new Microlight aircraft. During a demonstration flight of Microlight aircraft on 27 Jan 84 in the PM's NCC Rally over the Army Parade Ground, the propeller of the aircraft bloke at a height of 50 feet resulting in severe vibrations and the machine getting almost out of control. In this situation of grave emergency, Wg Cdr Sawhney fully aware of the presence of distinguished audience consisting of PM, RM, RRM, Services Chiefs and many other Foreign dignitaries displayed exceptional professionalism and landed the aircraft safely. The emergency and the landing was handled and executed with such professional coolness that the grave emergency, which could have resulted in a grave disaster, came to light much later and was specifically appreciated by the distinguished members of the audience. This act of Wg Cdr Sawhney not only saved a valuable aircraft and a near disaster but was a great morale booster for the young cadets from throughout India who were watching the display.

Wg Cdr Sawhney, through his personal contribution and single minded dedication, has done yeoman services in pioneering this aero-sport into India, which has motivated a lot of young students to enter the aviation wing of the NCC and the IAF. The sustained hard work put in by Wg Cdr Sawhney and his exceptional handling of the emergency in the air have been in the highest traditions of the NCCC and the IAF.

For Wg Cdr Sawhney's exceptional initiative, devotion, professional skill, leadership and airmanship qualities displayed in the air wing of to NCC, the President is pleased to award him the Vayu Sena Model

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Krishna Balakrishna Menon 9028 F(P)Unit : No.10 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Krishna Balakrishna Menon has been posted to a fighter squadron as Commanding Officer since 02 May 83.

Wg Cdr Menon took over the Squadron at a stage when not even a single pilot was fully ops on type. He took the challenge ad through his exceptional organizing ability, dedication and professional skill, brought the Squadron to fully operational state. Presently, all the pilots are fully operational and are 100% rated and as a consequence the Squadron was adjudged the best instrument rated Squadron in the Air Force for 1984. His unit has been given the additional role of Type Training Squadron. He undauntedly took the additional responsibility and accomplished the demanding task of completing conversion of 28 pilots during his tenure as CO.

Wg Cdr Menon is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has 4100 hours of flying to his credit. During exercise "Yudh Abhiyas" his Squadron operated from two locations with limited resources and achieved the task without an incident. Because of his analytical approach, keenness for imparting knowledge and able guidance, this unit has a very good Flight Safety record. He has always displayed exemplary behavior, exceptional resourcefulness and ensured effective utilization of major sources of men and material. He has kept the Squadron as a cohesive unit with extremely high morale because of his personal example, correct guidance, perception of subordinates problems and unusual gift of putting people at ease.

Under the capable leadership of Wg Cdr KB Menon the Squadron was the first Vijay Squadron to become operational in the use of Instrument Runway rating system and to undertake offensive air support by night. Having achieved this capability, his was the only unit to take part in exercise "GLOW WORM I & II" where full capability of IRLS equipment was exploited both by day and night. This went a long way in enhancing the operational image of the Air Force.

For his qualities of leadership, accomplishment of objectives, exceptional professional skill and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Krishna Balakrishna Menon.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Gurdip Singh 9395 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Gurdip Singh has commanded three Helicopter Units since Dec 77. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with current A/Master Green category and has logged over 5400 hours of accident free flying on single engine aircraft which includes approximately 3000 hours of instructional on HT-2, Mi-4 and Chetak. He is also experienced on Anti-Tank Guided Missile and qualified gliding instructor having approximately 700 launches. His high altitude helicopter flying experience includes flying in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Bhutan, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. He has also undertaken extensive flying in the Rajasthan desert. During his present tenure as Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit, the unit has flown a total of 6,500 hours giving a high monthly utilisation rate of over 55 hours per helicopter. During the past 21 months in this unit he has been the only Qualified Flying Instructor available and has flown approximately1000 hours and has been responsible for training to fully operational stage and categorisation of 25 pilots.

Wg Cdr Gurdip Singh also has to his credit a number of mercy missions which required skill of a high order. Some of these are:• Search followed by Evacuation of two members of Kamet expedition from 16,000 feet altitude on 10th October 1983.• Extensive search of Hungarian expedition given up as lost and dropping of vital supplies at an altitude of over 19,000 feet on 29th October 1983.• Immediate food supply drop to train passengers stranded after flash floods near Tikona on 12 Sep 83. • Recovery of MiG-21 pilot after ejection 20 Kilometers from the airfield in a record time of 25 minutes.

An example of the officer's administrative and professional skill is given by the fact that under his Command two Helicopter Units - one has been adjudged the best Helicopter Unit in WAC in 1979-80 and the other in Central Air Command in 1983-84.

The achievements which the officer has to his credit have resulted from a high sense of maturity, dedication to duty and sustained long hours of work under trying conditions. For his overall performance, in particular his achievements as Commanding Officer, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Gurdip Singh.

Reference:  

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Narendra Minochia 9513 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Narender Minocha commanded a fighter squadron from 30 Dec 82 to 11 Nov 84.

During the tenure of Wg Cdr N Minocha, the Squadron ran seventeen very productive detachments for flying commitments and coped with all maintenance problems associated with the second line servicing. He guided and encouraged relatively inexperienced officers of his unit to greater professionalism.

The Squadron won the overall Arjuna 83 Armament Trophy for the first time in its history after bagging both the straffing and bombing trophies. The officer personally flew about 300 hrs comprising of 600 sorties and coped very professionally with one incident of booster hydraulic failure at night.

The Squadron, under his guidance and directions flew an average of over 300 sorties per month inspite of operating frequently as a split squadron and in unusually restrictive and hostile local flying environment created by blue bull and small bird menace. Although there were many small bird-hit incidents in his unit due to the local environment, in each case, his aircrew showed a high degree of professionalism in coping with the occurrence and two aircrew were given green endorsement in their Flying Log Books.

It can be confidently stated that under the able Command of Wg Cdr N Minocha, the squadron achieved many Operational improvements and the unit continuously bettered its performance in all spheres and at the same time maintained espirit­de­corps which was an example to the rest of the station.

For his exceptional qualities of leadership, management and for his tireless striving towards perfection of his Squadron, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Narendra Minocha.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Dilip Kamalakar Dighe 9745 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Dilip Kamalakar Dighe is in the Command of "Thunderbolts" since Nov 82 and has ably performed the aerobatic display task in a most splendid manner.

He has very competently lead the intricate, thrilling and breathtaking formation displays on various occasions all over the country, and even abroad, in a most praiseworthy manner. His efforts and performance have been applauded and appreciated not only by the Chiefs of air Staff themselves but has won many accolades from many National and International dignitaries. Wg Cdr Dighe is an outstanding professional who combines skill with knowledge and comes out with innovative ideas. It was under his guidance and leadership that 'Thunderbolts' emitted red trails for the first time while executing 'Thunderbolts' aerobatic manoeuvres over Vijay Chowk during the 'Beating The Retreat' Ceremony in Jan 05. This remarkable feat literally added colour to the fine performance so skillfully executed. The success of the display mainly rested on his dynamic drive and flawless execution.

In addition, when the Squadron was assigned the dual roles of display as wall as operation, Wg Cdr Dighe set the ball rolling by providing the right guidance and setting right priorities. He ensured that pilots became fully Ops at the fastest pace even while training for the displays. With his foresight, calm approach and meticulous planning, he moved the Squadron to new location in a very smooth manner which was only possible with hits utmost devotion and dedication.

In recognition of his skilful flying, outstanding leadership both in the air and on ground, devotion to duty and exemplary supervision, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wg Cdr DK Dighe.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Krishna Kumar Vasant Bopardikar 10091 F(P)Unit : CAC Comm Flt  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Wing Commander Krishnakumar Vasant Bodaradikar (10091) F (P) has been in Command of Central Air Command Communication Flight since 17 Jan 83. He is a qualified A-2 Instructor on type and holding A/Master Green Category/Rating on Avro aircraft since 1977. He was also an Air Force examiner on Avro aircraft and was a member of Aircrew Examining Board. He has over 5446 hours of flying of flying experience and during his stay he had flown 455 hours. He was instrumental, with his vast experience and professional skill and knowledge, for the unit's ability to achieve 100% categorization. His instructional experience helped in consolidating the flying skill and professional knowledge of ab-initio pilots posted in from Transport Training Wing, AF and thus obtaining initial categorisation of such pilots within a short period of 6 months. His involvement with the maintenance staff and professional inquisitiveness helped solving major problems in Avro's windscreen heating and imparting the solutions to other Avro operating units, thus avoiding unwanted expenditure involving foreign exchange/colossal repair charges at HAL Kanpur. His innovativeness in handling maintenance problems helped in keeping the aircraft 100% serviceable except during periodical servicing. His keenness and self reliance also enabled the unit to carry out Check servicing on the aircraft at Allahabad itself.

A keen sportsman Wing Commander Bopardikar took active part in Unit/Station/ Command sports activities. Due to his zeal there was a sudden spurt of sports activities of the unit. His contribution towards the bringing up of a Golf course at Air Force Station Allahabad itself speaks volumes of his interest and dedication towards sports.

Wing Commander KV Bopardikar took personal interest in the problems of his men facing accommodation/schooling problems etc and helped in alleviating them. Always lending a helping hand to personnel of the unit and others, he endeared himself to all.

For his devotion to duty, dedication and professional competence in the best traditions of the Fair Force, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Krishnakumar Vasant Bopardikar. Authority: Notification No. 36-Pres/86 dated 26th January, 1986 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 19th April, 1986.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Suhas Clement Solomon 10987 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

During Oct 84, there was an urgent requirement of air maintenance at GYONG LA 3 post, situated at 4750 meters in the SIACHEN GLACIER. The post has constantly remained under the surveillance of opposing forces. Prevailing severe winter conditions made it imperative that air drops of fibre Glass Huts and Kerosene be carried out on utmost priority. Mi-8 helicopter, while operating in this area is not only fraught with danger of operating beyond its flight envelope, but each mission at Gyong La 3 post, came under heavy machine gun fire from opposing forces. Squadron Leader Suhas Clement Solomon (10987) Flying (Pilot) was specially chosen for this High Risk task. Unmindful of his personal safety, he displayed unflinching courage, determination, dedication and successfully flew 45 missions in 4 days, and carried out precision drops inspite of marginal weather conditions. To avoid coming under machine gun fire from opposing forces, he had perforce to fly at height as low as 10 meters. His actions not only alleviated the sufferings of the troops and raised their morale but were highly appreciated by Senior Army and Air Force Officers.

Sqn Ldr SC Solomon has so far flown 211 High Risk missions over the SIACHIN GLACIER area since Apr 84, inclusive of 60 missions at Gyoug La 3 post. He has airlifted 90.225 tons of vital combat loads and essential supplies. In an outstanding feat in those operations, he created history in helicopter aviation by landing Mi-8 helicopter at a height of 4700 meters with the purpose of evaluating the helipad for landing of expensive and short supplied Fibre Glass Huts, which were suffering damage in spite of low drops.

Sqn Ldr Solomon has flown a total of 4257 operational sorties to date, of which 4000 sorties are from helipads in Eastern and Northern hills. For exhibiting total dedication, devotion to duty, exemplary professional competence and dauntless courage while operating in hazardous terrain, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Suhas Clement Solomon.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Harbans Singh Bath 12008 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Squadron Leader Harbans Singh Bath is an experienced helicopter pilot and very competent Qualified Flying Instructor currently holding A/Master Green CAT/ Instrument rating on Mi-8 Helicopter. He is at the moment one of the most experienced helicopter pilot in the Indian Air Force and has over 5000 hours to his credit.

Sqn Ldr HS Bath was inducted into Operation Meghdoot in the month of March 84. He has been actively operating in the Siachen Glacier area and has flown as many as 170 sorties. On many occasions, Sqn Ldr Bath has undertaken flawlessly much needed air maintenance sorties under inclement weather conditions and within enemy fire to C-3 and BILLA FONDLA dropping zones and has successfully dropped the delicate and cumbersome loads like pre-fabricated huts without any damage, displaying daunt less courage and precision. Sqn Ldr Bath is one of the pilots to have undertaken trial landing at Forward Logistic Base at the height of 4.7 Kms to explore the possibilities of causality evacuations and landing supplies in extreme emergency, thus creating a world record by landing a Mi-8 helicopter at such an altitude. All these tasks involved using the helicopter at its peak performance under adverse conditions which demands a very high degree of competence and professional skill of the pilot.

Sqn Ldr HS Bath being a QFI has been responsible for the operational training of the unit pilots. It is due to his single handed effort and selfless dedication that the unit pilots could be trained in the Siachen glacier area to undertake demanding and herculean task. Throughout his stay in the unit, Sqn Ldr HS Bath has been a living example of courage, dedication and devotion to duty. He has always been a source of inspiration to the others. Putting service before self and unmindful of his personal safety he has always come out with flying colours whenever entrusted with any challenging task, no matter what the odds were.

For displaying dauntless courage, initiative, professional skill and devotion to duty of a very high order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Harbans Singh Bath.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Rajiv Kumar Lakhwara 12418 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 14 Jun 84 Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Squadron Leader Rajiv Kumar Lakhwara is an experienced pilot with over 900hours on Badal aircraft and is also an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor.

On 14 Jun 84 he was authorised to fly an air combat sortie as No 2. Just as the aircraft got airborne, the Senior Flying Supervisor in Air Traffic Control noticed that the Starboard main wheel had separated from the undercarriage, leaving only the ceramic disc attached to the undercarriage oleo leg. This was communicated to the pilot who took stock of the situation and decided that he would, as is permitted, land with the main undercarriage selected up and the nose wheel down.VM (G) 1986-87

Throughout this critical emergency, made all the more trying because considerable time had perforce to be spent in the air, Sqn Ldr Lakhwara remained, cool, calm and collected. Though there must have been considerable anxiety in his mind, Sqn Ldr Lakhwara patiently awaited the laying of foam along the runway, orbitting overhead and burning fuel. Once he was cleared to land, he set about doing so in a highly professional manner. Fuel was consumed to reduce the fire risk on landing after which he carried out an approach and overshoot. Thereafter he came into land, touching down precisely at a point just after where the foam had been spread. The aircraft landed on the nose­wheel and airbrake, travelled some 900 meters and came to a stop on the shoulder of the runway. The damage sustained was negligible.

Sqn Ldr R Lakhwara has displayed profes sionalism of the highest order. His calm demeanour, totally unfazed by the situation is worthy of emulation and is in the best traditions of the Air Force.

For exceptional manner in which Squadron Leader Rajiv Kumar Lakhwara has handled this serious emergency by which minimal damage was caused to a valuable aircraft, the President is pleased to award him the Vayu Seva Medal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Anup Rajkumar Nigam 13240 F(P)Unit : No.20 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

Squadron Leader Anup Rajkumar Nigam (13240) F (P) is on the posted strength of "the Thundorbolts" since Sep 81. He was attached for three months before this on selection of formation aerobatic team. His effective association with Thunderbolts is from May 81. He is the pioneer member of nine aircraft team. During the Golden Jubilee year the Thundorbolts performed extremely well for which he has been commended by the Chief of the Air Staff.

Today, Sqn Ldr Nigam is a Senior Flight Commander of the Squadron. He has a very large share in excellent performance of the Squadron all along. The formation Aerobatic Team was undergoing changes and rotation of pilots began after Golden Jubilee year. The task was heavy on the unit and he has been instrumental in training new members of this Thunderbolt team. His supervision, guidance and constant effort that has given the unit safe and eventful flying. He has always put service before self and on every field he has produced wonders. As a Unit Flight Safety Officer, he has worked hard in promoting safety and in conducting safe flying. As a Mess secretary he judged the weak areas of the Mess and put in lot of work to improve it.

During the Republic Day celebration of 1985, the "Thunderbolts" performed over Vijay Chowk. He was the Deputy leader of the formation. The performance was excellent and appreciated by one and all. This was the first time Thunderbolts had displayed with red colour. The success of detachment was mainly because of his meticulous planning and execution.

Sqn Ldr Nigam is only member who has taken part in each and every display of Thunderbolts in last 3 years and nine months. The first member to gain operational status when unit was given operational role, today he is Senior Flight Commander handling dual role of the unit successfully.

For his constant hard work, devotion to duty and exemplary supervision, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Anup Rajkumar Nigam.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Bhupinder Paul Singh Cheema 15494 AE(M)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

A Cheetah helicopter had force landed in the SIACHIN GLACIER in Ladakh sector at an altitude of 18,100 ft during Operation Meghdoot. It was found that helicopter damage warranted disassembly and retrieval of the helicopter to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for structural repairs. Flight Lieutenant Bhupinder Pal Singh Cheema volunteered to lead a team of men detailed for the task despite first hand knowledge of the hazards of high altitude, lack of oxygen and sub-zero temperature survival in the glacier. Unavoidable delay in retrieval operations due to nonavailability of air support caused tremendous stress on the man management capability of this officer. He displayed exemplary man management skills in keeping up the morale of the men placed under him against trying circumstances of living for indefinite duration in the glacier.

When the retrieval operation was finally launched Flt Lt BPS Cheema was called upon to undertake one of the most hazardous tasks of retrieval of the helicopter sub­assemblies by under slinging from 18100 ft. This involved meticulous and imaginative planning of camping, disassembly of helicopter, and load preparation for underslinging. The task of underslinging operation from such a high altitude was alien to both the ground crew and the aircrew. Flt Lt Cheema undaunted by the odds set upon this task most professionally. He meticulously planned each operation and briefed his men thoroughly. He drilled his men in the waiting period so thoroughly that a planned six days operation was carried out in three days. The load planning, preparation and the underslinging were personally carried out by this officer. He physically marshalled the aircrew over the loads and directed the hooking operations. Thus he managed to take out all six underslung loads in one day with clock-work accuracy and precision. This was a rare feat achieved by this officer's total professional approach.

For display of exceptional leadership, professional skill of a high order, outstanding devotion to duty and untiring zeal, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Flight Lieutenant Bhupinder Pal Singh Cheema.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
WO Syed Qutubuddin 253819 ORUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 86
Details :

253819 Warrant Officer Syed Qutubuddin Ground Training Instructor/Parachute Jumping Instructor is on the posted strength of Paratroopers' Training School, AF since June 67 and performing the duties of Parachute Jumping Instructor. He has been closely associated with all facets of para training during his tenure. He has to his crdit a total of 815 parachute descents including 605 free fall descents, which is the highest number of free fall descents carried out by an individual in the country at present.

In September 1984, four indigenously manufactured free fall parachutes were offered by Research and Development Establishment for live trials. Warrant Officer Syed Qutubuddin was amongst the first lot of Parachute Jumping Instructors who undertook this courageous task. This trial enabled ADR&DE to proceed with the free fall users trials. This act of WO Syed Qutubuddin has contributed to further the Research and Development activity in this field in the country. He has set an example of absolute devotion to duty, outstanding standard of professional skill and exemplary courage by undertaking this assignment.

For his outstanding acheivments in the field of parachuting and his selfless devotion to duty, the Presidnet is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Warramt Officer Syed Qutubuddin.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th April 1986 - No.36-Pres/86 dated 26th January 1986 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Shrikant Prabhakar Puranik 8434 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Shrikant Prabhakar Puranik has been commanding one of the operational helicopter units in the northern sector since 09 Jan 84.

Throughout his present tenure as Commanding Officer, he has displayed leadership, organizing ability, dedication and devotion to duty of a very high order. Under his able leadership and guidance the unit has won many laurels. The unit under his command has accomplished more than 8600 hours of operational flying, most of it in the treacherous region of the Siachen Glacier. During the very first year of his Command, the unit won the Best Performance Helicopter Unit Trophy. Then again in the subsequent year the unit won the Best Operational Helicopter Unit Trophy. These achievements together with the enormous task of maintenance of the Army at the Siachen Glacier by the Helicopter Unit were, to a great extent, due to the ingenuity, hard work and exemplary leadership of Wg Cdr SP Puranik.

Wg Cdr Puranik has to his credit 4600 hours of accident/incident-free flying, including 920 hours during the present tenure. Of these, 540 hours have been flown in the Siachen Glacier alone, where he has not only operated with skill and confidence but has also trained his junior pilots to undertake the exacting operations. This has helped in meeting all the demands placed on the unit for the Glacier operations.

For his outstanding leadership, devotion to duty and professional skill, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wg Cdr SP Puranik.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Manpreet Singh Brar 8715 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Manpreet Singh Brar was the Commanding Officer of an Air Defence Fighter Squadron from Dec 83 to Dec 85. He took over the unit at a time when the unit had just overcome the after effects of a fatal accident. During this initial period he strove very hard and used every bit of his vast experience to get his squadron in the air again. With his relentless efforts and true personal example, he was able to motivate his personnel and guide them to achieve the stipulated task.

With limited resources both in terms of trained pilots and ground crew, the Squadron has been able to achieve a record number of hours in day and night flying for the year 1984-85. To achieve this gigantic flying task he has had to do extensive early morning and late evening flying. This exacting job demanded constant attention. Being an Air Defence squadron, the unit had to regularly do outstation Operational Readiness Platform commitments which were accomplished time and again to the entire satisfaction of all.

The Squadron carried out this extensive flying with absolute safety. This achievement is even more creditable in view of the fact that many of the young pilots were under conversion or operational training. This was recognized through the award of Western Air Command Flight Safety Trophy to the unit for the year 1984-85.

Wg Cdr Brar's operational orientation is remarkable. He has always displayed excellent professional skill, initiative combined with cheerfulness willingness to accept additional responsibilities at all times.

For his professional skill, devotion to duty and commendable contribution made to the operational efficiency of the Squadron, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Manpreet Singh Brar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Nirmal Thusu 9033 F(P)Unit : Aircrew Examination Board  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Nirmal Thusu was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in December, 1964. To date, he has accumulated 4700 hours of total flying as well as 2700 glider launches, all of them accident­free. He has 2411 hours of operational flying on the Canberra, both in the Eastern and the Western sectors. He has been and outstanding A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor with over 1900 hours of instructional flying in India and abroad on such varied aircraft types as Canberra, Kiran, HT-2, HPT-32, and L-29. He has held the Master Green Instrument Rating on Canberra and Kiran aircraft since 1974.

Wg Cdr N Thusu has done two eminently successful tenures of duty as Air Force Examiner with the Aircrew Examining Board. As a 'C' Flight Air Force Examiner during these tenures, he has made remarkably significant contribution to the maintenance of a very demanding and high standard of Qualified Flying Instructors. A very keen, perceptive and analytical flier, this officer is endowed with a very rate sense of commitment to flying standards in the IAF in general and to standards within the Aircrew Examining Board, in particular.

For his exceptional qualities as a flierinstructor­examiner, he has been commended by AOsC-in-C on four different occasions and was also commended by the Air Chief of a friendly country for his performance while on deputation to that country as a Qualified Flying Instructor.

For his outstanding professional acumen and his exceptionally outstanding contribution to the maintenance of high standards of flying training, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Nirmal Thusu.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Mohinderjit Singh Singha 9711 F(P)Unit : No.44 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Mohinderjit Singh Singha was commissioned in the flying branch in Oct 65. An officer with exceptional professional competence, he has been 'A-2' flying instructor since Oct 75. He has 5800 hours of accident-free flying to his credit.

Wing Commander Singha has always displayed exceptional leadership, organsiational ability, ingenuity, dedication and devotion to duty. As a Flight Commander at a Training Air Base and later as Flight Commander and Command Examiner at Paratroopers' Training School, he made significant contributions to the improvement of professional standards. His cheerful acceptance of responsibilities, willingness to work long hours and ability to train and motivate his subordinates, coupled with professional acumen, have been a source of inspiration for every one.

As a Flight Commander of the newly inducted Gajraj Squadron, he took upon himself the arduous task of standardizing the operating procedures of the aircraft in the new environment and varied roles in which very little practical experience was available. His diligence and intimate personal involvement have made subsequent operations both productive and safe.

For his outstanding professionalism, leadership, devotion to duty and dedication, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Mohinderjit Singh Singha.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Satish Kumar Jain 9716 F(P)Unit : No.30 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Satish Kumar Jain was commissioned in Oct 65. He has flown as many as 3760 hours accident-free on eighteen different types of aircraft.

He was assigned the command of a fighter squadron in Sep 84. This operational squadron also imparts flying training to freshly commissioned pilots. With superior organizational skill and total involvement, Wg Cdr Jain has reorganized and fine-tuned his squadron into a highly efficient and potent organistaion. He has been able to motivate his officers and men and has thus stepped up flying effort by 50%. Wg Cdr Jain has ensured a consistently high standard of training both for staff pilots and the trainees. With exceptional control and organization of maintenance activities, his Squadron established a record of high aircraft serviceability. In 1985-86 the Squadron recorded 100% serviceability on four occasions. No humanerror accident in 5600 hours of flying is the indicator of his direct involvement in all spheres of activities.

For his commendable organistational acumen, operational achievements and exceptional leadership qualities, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Satish Kumar Jain.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Puzhankara Ambalavattam Harimohan 9723 F(P)Unit : No.43 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Puzhandara Ambalavattam Hari Mohan was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 16 Oct 65 and has been on the posted strength of a heavy transport squadron since Oct 84. He has distinguished himself with 5700 hours of accident-free flying on Packet, Chitra and Sutluj aircraft with an 'A' category on Chitra.

In Jan 83, Wg Cdr Hari Mohan was selected to undergo a conversion course on Sutluj aircraft in the USSR and formed the nucleus of Sutluj expertise in the IAF. He was subsequently posted to a transport squadron in the Eastern region, the first to be equipped with Sutluj aircraft. His laudable contribution and exceptional level of flying skill and competence earned him 'Check Pilot' status in Feb 85. Thereafter, he was asked to train other pilots of the unit both in basic and operational roles, especially in the new-profile Transport Support Role involving supply dropping/ landing at the Dropping Zones/Advanced Landing Grounds by the Sutluj in the Eastern Sector and formation of a new Standard Operating Procedure to cater for the characteristics of the newly inducted Sutluj. Though he had no previous experience in the area, which is notorious for its flying hazards. Wg Cdr Harimohan adopted himself very quickly and achieved the goals for him a very short time, through personal example, total dedication to duty, selfless and his ability to put in long hours of work by day and night over a sustained period. During his tenure, the squadron has achieved fully operational status in all roles.

For his exceptional flying capabilities, superb organizational skill and outstanding contribution to his squadron, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Puzhandara Ambalavattam Harimohan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Ajit Bhavnani 10440 F(P)Unit : No.7 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Ajit Bhavnani has been posted as Commanding Officer of a premier frontline squadron since 28 Jan 85. As Commanding Officer of the first Vajra squadron of the IAF, his performance has been truly outstanding. Having successfully led the team of Vajra pilots trained in France, he achieved the rare distinction of planning and successfully leading the first ferry of seven Vajra aircraft from France to India. Subsequently, he was involved in the successful ferry of three more batches of Vajra aircraft flown in by his squadron. Having assumed command of his squadron, he shou ldered the major responsibility of forming the squadron and inducting a very modern and sophisticated aircraft into the IAF. With his outstanding professional ability, he performed the arduous task in the most methodical and distinctive manner.

Overcoming all the initial hurdles, he organized the available resources to build his unit into a highly operational and efficient outfit within a very short period of time. Despite severe handicaps of shortage of manpower and equipment, he motivated his squadron personnel exceptionally well which resulted in heavy flying activity. Working relentlessly, he ushered in a new era of concepts and tactics related to fighter operations. His selfless devotion to work has been an exemplary source of inspiration and motivation for his personnel. Due to his deep personal involvement and exceptionally high level of professional competence, the entire Vajra force has reached a distinctively high level of operational efficiency.

As Commanding Officer, he has displayed an exceptional high level of professional skill.

For his outstanding achievements as Commanding Officer of the first Vajra Squadron, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva medal to Wing Commander Ajit Bhavnani.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Mahtab Rai Handa 11276 F(P)Unit : Indian Scientific Expedit  Award Date 24 Feb 85 Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Mahtab Rai Handa was specially selected as a helicopter pilot for the Fourth Antarctica Expedition. In Antarctica, Wg Cdr Handa showed tremendous zeal and contributed substantially to the flying effort and achievement of the expedition goals against tremendous odds.

On 24 Feb 85, as soon as it was learnt that a naval Chetak had force landed on a floating iceberg and could not be rescued by any available means within the capability of the ship, he took the decision in coordination with the Expedition leader to rescue the naval aircrew and recover their aircraft by the Pratap helicopter. He flew two sorties for rescue of the crew from a floating ice berg which had undulating surface and several cracks. He also helped Wg Cdr Simeos in flying the repaired Pratap helicopter which had suffered heavy damage. This helicopter was flown onto a small ramp on board the ship, after it was exposed to a number of blizzards for 42 days. With his dedicated participation in the flying effort with only serviceable Pratap helicopter, all men and material for the Expedition were airlifted to the new station at Dakshin Gangotri Hills.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, professional skill and competence, coupled with outstanding courage shown during the crisis, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wing Commander Mahtab Rai Handa.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Padamjit Singh Ahluwalia 11631 F(P)Unit : No.1 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Padamjit Singh Ahluwalia was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 02 Jun 68. After his short tenure of operating on high performance aircraft, Wg Cdr Ahluwalia was selected to undergo the Flying Instructors' Course. He excelled as a flying instructor and was awarded Category A-2 in recognition of his superior professional knowledge and instructional ability.

In 1976, Wg Cdr Ahluwalia was sent on an instructional tenure abroad. During this tenure, he successfully executed a forced landing of an L-29 aircraft. For his cool and competent handling of such a grave emergency and saving the aircraft and also the life of his pupil, he was specially commended by the Commander­in­Chief of the Air Force to which he was attached for instructional duties. He then did a tenure as Assistant Director Operations at Air Headquarters.

In 1984, Wg Cdr Ahluwalia was specially selected to undergo training in France for converting onto the Vajra aircraft. As Senior Flight Commander of the new raising, with his characteristic enthusiasm and total devotion to duty, he undertook the lion's share of the difficult process of starting the new squadron.

In recognition of the past performance in service, he was given the prestigious and onerous task of re-equipping the oldest squadron of the Air Force with the latest and most sophisticated weapon system (Vajra). Although he had just completed the trying process of setting up the previous squadron, he took on the new responsibility without any regard to his own comfort or leisure.

For his hard work, loyalty to service, devotion to duty, exemplary qualities of leadership and intelligent management techniques, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wg Cdr Padamjit Singh Ahluwalia.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Ivor Mario Simoes 11433 F(P)Unit : Indian Scientific Expedit  Award Date 11 Feb 85 Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Wing Commander Ivor Mario Simoes was one of the four Pratap helicopter pilots specially chosen for the Fourth Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica, 198485. Wg Cdr Simoes undertook 145 sorties in hazardous flying conditions and wind velocity exceeding 70 KMPH and was instrumental in ensuring the transportation of all the material required from the ship to construct three huts at Dakshin Gangotri and a garage at the Base Camp.

A Pratap helicopter, having suffered heavy damage, force landed on the shelf ice. This helicopter was patch­repaired over a period of 42 days under extreme cold conditions and frequent blizzards. However, there were no means of ascertaining its airworthiness other than by actually flying the repaired helicopter. Fully alive to the risks involved, this officer courageously flew out the repaired helicopter on 11 Feb 85 from the sea-shelf to the mother ship. But for his initiative, this helicopter might have been a total loss to the country.

Again, on 24 Feb 85, a naval Chetak helicopter force landed on a floating iceberg. The prompt rescue of the crew and recovery of the helicopter was once again effected once again by Wg Cdr Simoes, who flew six sorties for the purpose. It was brave action and professional skill that saved the situation. A short while after the Chetak was recovered, the iceberg began breaking up when it collided with two other floating icebergs. The landing of a Pratap helicopter on a floating iceberg is the only such record in the history of the Air Force.

For his extraordinary courage, superb flying skill and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Wg Cdr Simoes.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Kanwar Bhartendra Singh 12197 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Squadron Leader Kanwar Bharatendra Singh was posted to a fighter squadron as a Senior Flight Commander on 23 Mar 85. At that time this Squadron was the first unit to be fully equipped with Badal aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. As a Flight Commander, he had the arduous job of converting the squadron pilots onto a new type and to raise the operational status of the squadron.

It was primarily due to his initiative, farsightedness and organizational capabilities that the squadron was able to fly more than 3700 sorties without any accident. This incredible task has been achieved despite a low trained manning state, and the low serviceability state, with an average not more than 5 aircraft available daily. Notwithstanding the low manning and serviceability state, ten pilots were trained to fully operational status. Proper planning and correct staggering sequence enabled the squadron to fly the number of sorties already mentioned and also meet the additional requirements of frequently manning Operational Readiness Platform.

The squadron has an excellent record of flight safety and operational status till date. This record is attributable mainly to the high professional competence and close supervision exercised by Sqn Ldr KB Singh. He neglected his personal comforts and worked for very long hours to achieve this difficult task.

For his sincere work and exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Kanwar Bharatendra Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Jatinder Pal Singh Talwar 12386 F(P)Unit : No.35 Squadron  Award Date 15 Feb 85 Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Squadron Leader Jatinder Pal Singh Talwar has been on the posted strength of a bomber squadron since 13 Feb 84. He has to his credit 1300 hours of accident-free flying on Canberra aircraft. Currently, he is a righthand seat qualified trainer captain and holds Master Green Rating.

On 15 Feb 85, after completing a hill flying exercise, Squadron Leader Talwar joined circuit. Even after the undercarriage was lowered by him on downwind, the red light of the starboard main wheel remained on. The ATC confirmed that the starboard main wheel was partially down. Despite every effort the starboard wheel could not be brought down. It was finally decided to land the aircraft in the existing condition. The demand and the responsibility on him increased further as damage to the delicate and expensive equipment housed in the radome (on the belly of the aircraft) seemed inevitable. Notwithstanding the pressure, the pilot, unperturbed and in full control for his faculties made a perfect touch down on two extended wheels and controlled the landing run with dexterity and ensured that while minimum damage was caused to the Airframe, the radome sustained no damage to all.

On another occasion, on 15 Oct 85, while carrying out A&E check at 40,000', Sqn Ldr Talwar displayed an exceptional degree of flying skill and professional competence in handling the emergencies and landing the aircraft safely.

In recognition of his exceptionally high degree of professional skill and outstanding airmanship, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Jatinder Pal Singh Talwar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Rajib Kumar Chakravorty 12503 F(P)Unit : Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Squadron Leader Rajib Kumar Chakravorty has been on the posted strength of Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment with effect from 09 Jan 82.

From Dec 82 to Feb 84, he was involved in the successful and safe completion of numerous high priority trials allotted to the Flight Test Squadron of this establishment. He was on the Shamsher Darin project while, simultaneously, he was responsible for the singlehanded completion of five separate trials on Vajra aircraft. The latter had to be carried out from the home base. Their timely completion involved long hours of work on the tarmac in severe climatic conditions. During a reject take-off trial on Vijay aircraft, the brake parachute sheared off when deployed at limit speed. However, Sqn Ldr Chakravorty reacted in a cool and professional manner and averted what otherwise could have been a major accident. He also participated in trials on Vikram and Badal aircraft. By his application and industry, he set an example for younger test pilots to emulate. During his tenure with the FTS; Sqn Ldr Chakravorty displayed professionalism of a very high standard.

He was inducted into the Test Pilots School as the Senior Test Flying Instructor in Jan 85. During 1985-86, he was instrumental in the planning and completion of No. 8 Test Pilots' Course and the first half of No. 9 ETPC in spite of an acute shortage of test flying instructors. During this period, he discharged his duties as the Senior Test Flying Instructor and, for three months, as Officer Commanding, TPS, displaying instructional ability and flying skills of an exceptional order.

For his exceptional multifaceted professionalism, extreme devotion to duty and constant dedication to the task for test flying and training of test pilots, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Sqn Ldr Rajib Kumar Chakravorty.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Deepak Balachandra Ajgaonkar 13413 LOGSUnit : ADRDE  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Squadron Leader Deepak Balachandra Ajgaonkar, Parachute Jumping Instructor, has been posted to Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment, Agra as a Free Fall Qualified Parachute Jump Instructor with effect from 9 Jan 85. He has to his credit a total of 841 parachute descents inclusive of 285 free falls.

In Apr 85, he was assigned the task of completing an on­going Research and Development project in which Aircrew Parachute Chest Type was to be modified for fitment of an automatic opening device and also to carry out a first ever live trial of an emergency Aircrew Chest Type Parachute. He pursued the aim with extreme dedication and ingenuity. He was instrumental in redesigning the harness to incorporate a back type reserve and also in designing a jettisonable helmet mounted face guard for carrying out the liver trial for this very purpose.

On 29 Apr 86, he successfully carried out the first ever live trial of a chest type aircrew emergency parachute. This trial was the first in the world as per the literature available with the R&D organization. Due to the inherent risk involved, live trials of emergency parachutes are not recommended to be carried out anywhere in the world. Air Headquarters desired that at least one live trial jump should be conducted to instill confidence amongst future potential users, such as different types of aircrew of various types of transport aircraft. Sqn Ldr DB Ajgaonkar volunteered to undertake this pioneering feat which could have caused grave danger to his life.

For this first ever successful courageous attempt, dedication to duty and fruitful utilization of professional skill, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader Deepak Balachandra Ajgaonkar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Rajdeep Singh Mann 13612 F(P)Unit : AFS Bidar  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Squadron Leader Rajdeep Singh Mann was commissioned in December, 1973. He was posted to airbase imparting flying training with effect from 15 Dec 83 and remained there for two years. A keen and above-average flier, he did over 600 hours of flying during this tenure. Thereafter, he was selected on merit for conversion to Rakshak aircraft. He did his Qualified Flying Instructors' Course in December, 1983 and during his two year instructional tenure at this Academy he did over 700 hours and trained 17 cadets. As a supervisor and as a Qualified Flying Instructor his performance has been exemplary. He has worked extremely hard and has always kept the interest of the service before his own. He was the driving force in completing the training of two Pilots' Courses on schedule.

On 17 Sept 85, while on an instructional sortie with a pupil, he experienced an engine flame out 50 feet off the ground during a roller take-off. Exercising exceptional skill and using split second judgment, he landed the aircraft back safely without any damage, thus saving a valuable aircraft.

For his exemplary professional ability and for his dedication to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Squadron Leader RS Mann.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Anshu Kumar Matta 15875 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 13 Aug 85 Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Anshu Kumar Matta was located at the Base Camp on Siachen Glacier as Captain of a helicopter detachment.

On 13 Aug 85 at 0815 hrs, a company commander, located at an extremely difficult forward post, passed a message to the Officerin-Charge Cheetah Helicopter Operation that due to heavy hostile shelling, one person was seriously wounded and could be saved only if he was speedily evacuated. Flt Lt AK Matta was close by and heard the message being conveyed. He, without wasting a moment for obtaining clearance, immediately took off leaving the clearance for the sortie to be obtained by the Task Force Commander. Not knowing the exact location of the casualty and to avoid delay in reaching the wounded soldier, he landed in the area of Company Headquarters which he was familiar with and picked up the Company Commander in his helicopter.

With utter disregard to his personal safety, he reached the area where hostile shelling was still continuing. The place where the wounded NCO lay was at an altitude of 19,200 feet above mean sea level. Due to heavy snow, no helipad could be constructed at such a short notice. Flt Lt AK Matta maneuvered and landed his aircraft at that altitude under bad weather and poor visibility conditions.

Against all odds and fully award of the risks, Flt Lt AK Matta lifted the casualty and brought the wounded person to the Base Camp for first aid. He only waited till the helicopter was refuelled and immediately too off and brought the casualty to a General Hospital at the rear.

For his exemplary courage, selfless devotion to duty and matchless initiative, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Flight Lieutenant Anshu Kumar Matta.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
JWO Balwinder Singh 263186 ORUnit : Indian Scientific Expedit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 87
Details :

Junior Warrant Officer Balwinder Singh, Flight Gunner, was selected for the Fourth Scientific Expedition to Antarctica since he had 2100 hours of flying experience on Pratap helicopter.

During the expedition he was assigned the important task of loading and offloading operations of all bulky and unwieldy construction material on Pratap for airlift from the ship to the Indian Station in Antarctica. Being the only Flight Gunner in the team, he had to fly all the sorties which demanded long working hours. His meticulous and most efficient approach to the task saved a lot of turn­around time, resulting in more sorties on any one clear day of flying. He carried out 192 sorties and flew a total of 72 hours, thus airlifting 132 tons of construction material and essential stores within the limited available time in sub­zero temperature conditions. Though JWO Singh was not a part of the technical team, he actively participated in all the maintenance activities of the expedition, right from the packing of the helicopter stores, its loading and the maintenance activities during the voyage. Even while in Antarctica he participated in the task required for servicing.

In an accident during the expedition, the undersurface of a Pratap helicopter was damaged. As a member of the aircrew on board, JWO B Singh displayed commendable initiative. Having ascertained the extent of the damage physically, he advised the Captain to attempt a precautionary landing. On reaching the base camp, he jumped out even while the helicopter hovered, and arranged a safe landing of the helicopter.

For his exemplary courage, high degree of professionalism and selfless devotion to service, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to JWO Balwinder Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 25th April 1987 - No.37-Pres/87 dated 26th January 1987 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Prakash Sadashivrao Pingale 6755 F(P)Unit : Operational Conversion Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Group Captain Prakash Sadashiv Pingale took over the Command of Operational Conversion Unit in June, 1986. The unit conducts flying training of ex-Air Force Academy pilots on to an advanced fighter aircraft. This training is required to be completed in one year and at any one time two courses undergo training simultaneously. When Group Captain Pingale took over the Command, he had three courses to train. Keeping the low serviceability of over thirty year old Hunter aircraft in view, this was a stupendous task. Group Captain Pingale got down to tackle this problem with exemplary earnestness.

He exhorted the technical personnel to bring up the serviceability of the Hunter fleet. With his personal liaison with Command Headquarters and the repair agency for Hunter aircraft, he was able to ensure regular supply of rotables and clearance of long outstanding AOGs. These efforts resulted in the serviceability of the Hunter fleet from 25% to 55% in a short period of six months. Using his managerial skills, Group captain Pingale spaced out the training schedule of the three courses undergoing training at Operational Conversion Unit. With his own efforts and personal example, he not only cleared the backlog of flying training but also ensured completion of the two courses of pilots 15 days and three months ahead of schedule.

Group Captain Pinagle displayed an extremely high level of skill and devotion to duty of an exceptional order. His efforts went a long way in maintaining the regular flow of pilots to our front line Fighter Squadrons and in enhancing the operational capability of the Indian Air Force.

For his tremendous zeal and devotion to duty of an exceptional order, in the best tradition of the Air Force, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain PS Pingale.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Ashok Kumar Goel 8151 F(P)Unit : No.44 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Group Captain Ashok Kumar Goel was commissioned in the flying Branch in Dec 1963. An officer with exceptional professional competence, he has 6700 hrs of accident free flying, mainly on operational tasks both in the Western and Eastern Sectors.

Group Captain Goel has always displayed a very high order of leadership, organizing ability, ingenuity and dedication under the most strenuous and trying conditions whether at home or abroad. Under his dynamic leadership, able guidance and close monitoring and supervision the entire team of aircrew achieved excellent grading while under going training on IL-76 aircraft in the Soviet Military Academy. Back home as the first commanding officer of the IL-76 Squadron, he accomplished the stupendous tasks involving the simultaneous equipment and change of location of the Squadron through his meticulous planning administrative acumen and astute management. Undeterred by the multiplicity and the complexities of the myriad problems in the fields of operation, maintenance and administration, Group Captain Goel, with his singular drive, extraordinary capacity for hard work and outstanding ability to train and motivate his subordinates, forged ahead to establish the Mighty Jet Squadron in a remarkably short period since its induction, as the most reliable and dependable workhorse in the country air transport operations. His cheerful acceptance of responsibilities, exceptional initiative and extraordinary diligence have been source of inspiration of everyone.

For his outstanding professionalism, selfless devotion, exemplary dedication to duty and leadership qualities of an exceptional order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Ashok Kumar Goel.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Jagdish Singh Grewal 10866 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander Jagdish Singh Gerwal has been in continuous active flying since commissioning and has flown more than 2500 hrs on fighter aircraft. He has maintained an accident-free record during his flying career spanning 20 years. During the Indo-Pak conflict in 1971, he flew 22 operational missions.

The officer won the Sword of Honour Standing first in the overall order of merit and also at Air Combat Trophy during his FCL course in Mar 79. Subsequently, he was a member of the directing staff at the Tactical Combat Development Establishment.

He was specially selected and posted as a flying inspector in the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection from Sep 79 to Jan 81. Thereafter, the officer was chosen to fly the most modern fighter aircraft, the MiG-25.

He was appointed Commanding Officer of a frontline fighter Squadron on 24 Jun 85. Under his Command not only was the quantum of flying high, the quality was also of the highest order. The efficiency of the Squadron was well brought out during the DASI inspection of the unit in Aug 86 achieving "Average Plus" in air combat exercises. Setting a personal example of a high standard of flying, flight safety, sincerity of purpose, productive initiative and single minded devotion to duty, he motivated his colleagues and turned the Squadron into a potent and cohesive fighting force. During his Command the Squadron maintained zero human error accident incident record.

For his high standard of professionalism, leadership, devotion to duty, sincerity of purpose and productive initiative, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Jagdish Singh Grewal.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Avinash Deodata Joshi 10886 F(P)Unit : No.221 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander Avinash Deodatta Joshi assumed command of a frontline fighter Squadron on 15 Apr 85. Throughout the period of his command, Wing Commander Joshi stressed the primacy of operational capability. He trained his Squadron to a very high level of efficiency in its primary and secondary roles. The fully operational and instrument rating status of his pilots was raised to 100%. In addition, his Squadron came to be recognized as highly specialized in undertaking tasks involving extended periods of valley flying.

In acknowledgement of his professional capabilities and achievement of exceptional standards, Headquarters Western Air Command assigned to his Squadron a number of special missions designed to optimize the Vijay's operational utilization. Wing Commander Joshi led almost all of these missions himself. As a result of the trains he conducted and as a result of the success of these special missions, the operational capability of the centre Vijay fleet increased substantially.

Wing Commander Joshi had to sacrifice much of his personal convenience and comfort, and his time, in order to train his Squadron to the peak of operational efficiency. At the same time, he made a noteworthy contribution to the optimization of the Vijay aircraft's operational envelope. He approached these takes and accepted his success with admirable humility. Through his action and attitude, he roved himself a true leader.

For his initiative, professional zeal and out standing competence and for his exemplary leadership qualities, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Avinash Deodatta Joshi.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Peter Douglas Woodman 10934 F(P)Unit : AFS Bidar  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander Peter Douglas Woodman has been on the posted strength of Air Force Station, Bidar since 03 Dec 84. Presently, he is holding the appointment of Chief Flying Instructor No. 2 Squadron.

During his tenure at the Station, he has flown more than 700 hrs of flying on Kiran aircraft of which nearly 500 hrs have been devoted to instructional flying. As the Chief Flying Instructor he has closely supervised daily flying activity, monitored performance of the trainees and the staff. He has ensured correct interpretation and strict implementation of training syllabi. Maintenance of high standards and adherence to orders and instructions under his supervision have brought about remarkable improvement in the quantity of flying training.

The officer has devoted long working hours to ensuring the implementation of training tasks. It is to his credit that he has flown an average of 4 to 5 sorties per day besides his supervisory duties. He has also carried out other operational and administrative tasks efficiently, cheerfully and unmindful of personal discomfort. His devotion to duty, maintenance of high flying standards and creation of a safe environment for flying have contributed in a great measure to the achievement of the aims of his Station.

For his tireless efforts, dedication to duty and exemplary professional acumen, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr Peter Douglas Woodman.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr James Arun Benjamin 11296 F(P)Unit : No.108 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander James Arun Benjamin sustained serious burn injuries on this back, neck and face in 1971 in a Gnat flying accident. Undeterred by this and other serious emergencies that he encountered, he continued his flying career with courage, determination and thorough professionalism. He has flown 700 hrs on the Gnat and has to his credit 500 hrs of instructional flying as a Qualified Flying Instructor. He completed a successful tenure as a senior Flt Cdr in a MiG-21 Squadron before being chosen to command a prestigious fighter Squadron on 25 Feb 85.

With the distinction of being a Qualified Flying Instructor, Fighter Combat Leader and Defence Services Staff College graduate, he applied his full professional knowledge and ability to hone the Squadron to fine operational pitch during his tenure of two years and two months. The squadron carried out 5838 sorties in 3850 hrs of accident-free flying during this period.

His meticulous planning and guidance to his Flt Cdr assured a high Fully Operational, Instrument Flying rating status throughout, including rights strikes capability.

As a Commanding officer, he was quick on the uptake, totally reliable, positive minded, and a sound leader both in the air and on the ground. His reputation in the Squadron was of an exceptionally high order as was his standing with his peers and superiors. His ability in flying is evident from his flying qualifications, types of aircraft flown and apportionments held. On the present type MiG-21 variants, he has 1200 hours of accident free flying.

For his dedication to service beyond the call of duty, exceptional ability as a fighter pilot and supervisor, and man management, operational planning and training of a high order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander James Arun Benjamin.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Jaspal Singh Gujral 11300 F(P)Unit : No.29 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander Jaspal Singh Gujral was commissioned on 31 Dec 1967. He has to his credit 3100 hrs accident-free flying in single engined aircraft. He is a qualified flying instructor with an A-2 category.

During his long and meritorious service, he has held a number of important appointments. He was on the staff of Flying Instructors' School and was Flight Commander of frontline operational Squadron equipped with Trishul aircraft. He has also functioned as Assistant Director Offensive Ops at Air Headquarters. During 1971, the officer was engaged in strikes against the enemy in South Western Sector. During all these assignment, he acquitted himself creditably, displaying a high degree of skill and professionalism. The officer is a graduate, of Defence Service Staff College and Institute of Defence Management. He has now been selected to undergo Higher Air Command Course.

Wg Cdr Gujral has been commanding one of the premier operational Squadrons since June 1985. On taking over command of the Squadron, he wholeheartedly devoted himself to the task of activating his team into a well-knit cohesive force Displaying high organizing ability, dedication and zeal, he brought about a distinct all­round improvement. He not only set a personal example for others, but also ensured that operational and training commitments of the Squadron were fully and successfully met. Under his inspiring leadership, the squadron achieved 100% serviceability aircrew operational status.

For his professional acumen, devotion to duty, ingenuity and zeal, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr JS Gujral.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Balakrishna Menon 11307 F(P)Unit : No.15 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander Balakrishna Menon has been in command of a frontline fighter Squadron since 08 July 85. He has been an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor for the last 10 years and he has over 2700 hours of accident free flying experience of which nearly 1300 ours are on jet fighters. During his tenure as Squadron Commander, his Squadron has flown over 4600 hours amounting to approximately 7100 sorties on both fighter and trainer aircraft. This gigantic task was achieved without a single accident. In the same period, as many as 16 young fledgling pilots were brought to fully operational status on the MiG-21 aircraft.

Accident free flying and a high rate of training achieved under his command have distinguished his Squadron in the Air Force. This was achieved manly due to his dynamic leadership and total dedication to the task entrusted to him. His deep involvement in every activity of his Squadron and his methodical approach have contributed a great deal towards this achievement. His ability to analysis critically and his probing mind have ensured a high degree of professionalism amongst both the aircrew and the ground crew of his Squadron. His personal example and outstanding leadership have been a source of inspiration to those placed below him.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, leadership of a very high order and professional skill, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Balakrishna Menon.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Ajit Keshav Agtey 12188 F(P)Unit : Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander Ajit Keshav Agtey was on the posted strength of Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment as a test pilot from Dec 82 to Nov 85 and was again posted as a Senior Test Flying Instructor in the Test Pilot School (TPS) with effect from 27 Oct 86.

During the initial three years he made valuable and vital contribution towards the development and safe clearance of aircraft avionics and weapon systems to meet Air Force requirements and also those of various Research & Development establishments. In particular, Wing Commander Agtey was the Project Pilot for a key development programme that aimed at a significant improvement in the operational potential of our frontline combat aircraft. Wing Commander Agtey's personal contribution has been extremely significant in achieving the target at minimum cost and time. He has flown over 50% of all development sorties in this programme and has been the main source of vital pilot inputs so necessary to tune the system to meet operational requirements.

Wing Commander Agtey was again posted to ASTE on promotion in Oct 86 as a Senior Test Flying instructor in the Test Pilots School. He carried out his duties in the above appointment with total dedication.

Besides due to his earlier involvement in development flight trials on the Jaguar, he was once again involved in various trials for the Flight Test Squadron which he performed with the same commitment as he had done during his earlier tenure.

For his exceptional professional knowledge and total commitment to task entrusted to him, perseverance, diligence and outstanding devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander AK Agtey.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Biroja Shankar Singh Deo 12189 F(P)Unit : Direcrorate General Civil Aviation  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Wing Commander Biroja Shankar Singh Deo was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 20 December 1969. He was awarded the Chief of the Air Staff Medal for being the best all­round helicopter pilot in addition to bagging the Jamsaheb Trophy for being first in the order of merit in flying in the Helicopter Training School.

The officer has flown over 4900 accident free hours in various roles operational, instructional and test flying as an Air Force Examiner. Wg Cdr BS Singh Deo holds the highest category/instrument rating of A/Master Green on four different types of helicopters i.e., Mi-8, Mi-17, Chetak and Cheetah. The officer is the only helicopter pilot to date in the IAF to have achieved a Master Green rating when still in the junior rank of Flying Officer. Wg Cdr BS Singh Deo is also a qualified Production Test Pilot. He was awarded the Group Captain Suranjan Das Trophy for standing first in the Overall Order of Merit in the course at Aircraft System Testing Establishment in addition to the Chief of the Air Staff Trophy for standing first in Flight Evaluation. He was a staff test pilot at ASTE for nearly two years.

He was sent abroad for conversion on to the Westland helicopter. A mature officer with sound professional knowledge, he has been appointed as a Directorate General of Civil Aviation examiner on the Westland helicopter.

For his exceptional flying competence, consistent first-rate performance all through, instructional ability of the highest order and above all, two full and eminently successful tenures as an Air Force Examiner with the AEB at such a young age, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wg Cdr Biroja Shankar Singh Deo.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Sunil Ramnath Laud 12372 F(P)Unit : No.14 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Squadron Leader Sunil Ramnath Laud was commissioned on 13 Jun 70. He successfully graduated from Defence Services Staff College in Dec 84 and was posted as Flight Commander to a Squadron to oversee the conversion of the Squadron from Hunters to Jaguar aircraft in view of his experience and specialist flying qualifications.

In the preceding two years 1985 and 1986 as the Flight Commander, he has with his exceptional devotion to duty imparted his experience, qualification and skill to all the members of the squadron. The squadron has thus achieved an Operational Training status of which the IAF can be proud. The manner in which he has linked the maintenance and operational requirements to ensure an optimum utilization of aircraft and personnel has been exemplary.

The induction of the Jaguar aircraft into the Sqn was of added significance in view of the fact that the aircraft were retrofitted with the indigenous Navigation Attack System (DARIN). In the absence of DARIN training aircraft, the under training pilots has to be taught the working of the Navigation Attack Systems in a clear-cut, unambiguous fashion. He addressed himself to this task ensuring that the under training pilots appreciate the system theoretically and were competent at the same time to imbibe the essentials to be able to utilize the system tactically and operationally. This involved a degree of personal involvement and effort that included long working hours.

For his exemplary effort and devotion to duty involving the successful operational induction of the Indian Air Force first indigenously Navigation Attack Platform in the Jaguar, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Squadron Leader Laud.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Mukul Ekka 16081 F(P)Unit : No.41 Squadron  Award Date 29 Jan 87 Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Mukul Ekka was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in June 180. He was posted to 41 Squadron in December 1980 and has been flying the Otter since then.

On 21 Nov 86 Flt Lt Mukul Ekka experienced an engine failure while flying over inhospitable desert terrain full of sand dunes. With his professional judgment and skills he glided the aircraft to the only available stretch of land beside a village and executed a flawless landing saving the life of a passenger on board and civilian property. The aircraft, too, was absolutely undamaged.

On 29 Jan 87, he again had an engine failure while on a cross country flight. One of the cylinders of the engine has burst and the cockpit was filled with dense white smoke. In spite of the adverse conditions, with commendable competence and judgment he executed a perfect force landing besides a river bed, saving the aircraft from any further damage. On both occasions the selection of force landing sites was praiseworthy as it facilitated work on the aircraft and the aircraft were successfully flown back to base after engine changes at the sites. The officer has thus exhibited his tenacity, courage and exemplary self- discipline both in the air and on the ground.

For his continued exceptional of performance of duties and remarkable professional skill, the president is pleased to sward Vayu Sena Medal to Flt Lt Mukul Ekka.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Vivek 16560 F(P)Unit : No.15 Squadron  Award Date 26 Mar 87 Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

On 26 Mar 87, Flight Lieutenant Vivek, flying a fighter aircraft, was carrying out a low level bombing attack over the Sarmat air to ground weapons range. During the attack at a high speed and very low height a large bird struck the front of the aircraft causing extensive damage to the air intake. The bird and aircraft debris entered the engine, damaging it severely and leading to an engine flameout. The aircraft was at a very low level, approaching the sea at this time.

Displaying exemplary presence of mind and courage of the highest order in the face of a very critical emergency, the pilot maintained control of the aircraft, turned it away from the sea and subsequently cleared it off the installations on the ground. He carried out all actions flawlessly and in the shortest possible time and informed the range safety officer and the airfield of his flight condition. He then restarted the engine ensuring that his flight path would keep him clear of the built up areas and vital installations near the airfield. Thereafter he carried out a flawless emergency landing at the airfield without any delay or damage to the aircraft.

Flt Lt Vivek displayed courage and presence of mind of a very high standard in handling this grave emergency. He not only saved a valuable aircraft, but also prevented damage to vital installations and injuries to civil and service personnel on the ground. His handling of the emergency was in keeping with the highest traditions of the service and is all the more remarkable in that he had returned to active flying after a relatively long break just a few days prior to this accident.

For courage and presence of mind of the highest order in the face of a very grave emergency, the president is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Flt Lt Vivek.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
MWO Anokh Singh Sandhu 224541 ORUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 88
Details :

1224541 Master Warrant officer Anokha Singh Sandhu has been on the posted strength of Paratroopers Training School since Feb 80, and has been performing the duties of a Parachute Jump Instructor. He has to his credit a total of 1043 parachute descents including 460 free­fall descents. The free­fall descents constitute a record not matched by any other individual in the country at present.

He is among the first PJIs is who undertook the daring task of conducting live trials of the Free-Fall Parachute indigenously developed by the Aircraft Research & Development Establishment. For his outstanding ability and professional expertise he was the first to be chosen to undergo the Advance Free­Fall Course at Aviation Research Centre in 1978. During the course, he pioneered freefall descents during night. In the successful integration of advanced high performance strato cloud parachute at PTS, he has played an outstanding role. He has successfully trained the first batch of Army paratroopers on the recently high standard of professional skill, absolute devotion to duty and outstanding courage, have set an example for his junction to follow. His seniors are proud of him for his attributes as a PJI.

For his outstanding achievement in the field of free all parachuting and selfless devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Master Warrant Officer Anokh Singh Sandhu.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Suresh Chandra Malhan 11579 F(P)Unit : No.125 Helicopter Squadron  Award Date Announced 14 Apr 88
Details :

Wing Commander Suresh Chander Malhan has been the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Squadron since 14 Apr 86. His Squadron currently forms part of the Indian Peace keeping Force in Sri Lanka.

Wing Commander SC Malhan drew first blood for the Squadron on 25 Oct 87 when be under took the first mission on over a causeway south east o Jaffna against LTTE vehicles and an ammunition dump. He spotted the ammunition dump and dived into attack. With his accurate rocket attacks the ammunition dump was destroyed in a single pass. That was the beginning of a series of offensive air support missions by his unit. On 27 Oct 87 he led a major attack on the LTTE strongholds at Chavakacheri. He displayed remarkable marksmanship while attacking in a built up area, destroying LTTE strongholds that has been holding back the advance of the Army. This attack enabled the Indian Army to take over the township with negligible casualties and link up with a Regiment which had been isolated for seven days.

On 03 Nov 87 a Para Commando Battalion was pinned down by deadly enemy fire in the area of Mulai. This was at a time when there were strict restrictions imposed on the use of rockets and bombs. Not a person to be deterred, he struck the enemy position with front guns. Displaying complete disregard to himself, he made repeated attacks on enemy positions against heavy hostile fire even though his aircraft sustained bulled hits. He withdrew only when the heavy automatic weapons were all silenced.

For his exemplary leadership, undaunting courage and complete disregard of personal safety in the face of the enemy, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Suresh Chander Malhan.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th August 1988 - No.78-Pres/88 dated 15th April 1988 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Raj Singh Kataria 13946 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 14 Apr 88
Details :

Squadron Leader Raj Singh Kataria has carried out 11 missions in Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa Sectors of the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka with unique dedication.

The terrain in these Sectors is full of jungles, small hill features and water islets which cannot be observed from the air. In one of the missions he flew his gunship at the lowest possible height and within the lowest safety limit and destroyed the militant hideous in the built-up area. He thus displayed magnificent professionalism. The commendable completion of mission with his gunship dealt a crushing blow to the militants, crippling them both psychologically and materially. What he achieved facilitated the ground action of the Army speedily to a logical conclusion.

For displaying laudable courage and valour in the face of the militants, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Squadron Leader Raj Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th August 1988 - No.78-Pres/88 dated 15th April 1988 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Venkatesa Swaminatha Nagendra Nath 13165 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 11 Oct 87 Announced 14 Apr 88
Details :

Squadron Leader Venkatesa Swaminatha Nagnendra Nath is posted to a Helicopter unit. He has been carrying out helicopter operations in Jaffna from the beginning of the current operations.

On the night of 11/12 Oct 87, he was on co­pilot duties with Wing Commander VKN Sapre in a helicopter wherein three urgent missions had to be conducted for induction of the Indian Army troops in an area known to be surrounded by LTTE elements. During these three night missions the aircraft came under adverse enemy fire and was extensively damaged. He displayed courage and valour and gave full support to his Captain while operating in such environments and made a valuable contribution in retrieving the helicopter safely back to base. He has flown 40 missions in the area.

For displaying extraordinary dedication to duty and commendable professional competence, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Squadron Leader N Nath.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th August 1988 - No.78-Pres/88 dated 15th April 1988 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Arun Dharamdas Sonpar 13398 F(P)Unit : No.107 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 11 Oct 87 Announced 14 Apr 88
Details : Squadron Leader Arun Dharam Das Sonpar is posted to a helicopter unit. He was detailed as co-pilot with Fg Offr V Prakash on special Heliborne Operation on the night of 11/12 Oct 87. He was made responsible for successfully landing the troops for three missions at a helipad under heavy fire. The helicopter received heavy damage. Sqn Ldr Sonpar gave valuable support to his Captain and thereby ensured that the helicopter was flown back to base successfully.

For his exceptional dedication to duty and professional competence of a higher order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Sqn Ldr Sonpar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 13th August 1988 - No.78-Pres/88 dated 15th April 1988 

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.