Vayu Sena Medal Awardee List


A total of 1329 Awards are listed.
Vayu Sena Medal : 1329 |
Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Shankar Mani 13596 F(P)Unit : No.4 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Group Captain S Mani, VSM was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot on 22 Dec 73. An experienced Qualified Flying Instructor, he has over 3600 hours of accident free flying. He was awarded VSM in Jan 1993 and was appointed Commanding Officer of a MiG 21 Squadron in Sep 94.

He led his team from up front and motivated the Squadron personnel to excel in their duties. He personally led the Squadron in a Fire Power Demonstration at Pokhran, a 6 Aircraft Fly Past for President's Standard Presentation at Jodhpur and all the exercises and numerous detachments to other stations. Inspite of extreme climatic conditions at Uttarlai and the Squadron Maintenance Flight being located at Jodhpur, he not only sustained the tempo of fighter flying training but also enhanced it. The Squadron flew over 6000 sorties amounting to 3750 hours during his tenure, which was far higher than ever flown before. Eight pilots were declared fully operational and many others were trained for both day and night flying so as to enhance the operational status of the Squadron. The Unit was inspected by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection and assessed as high average. Considering that the Squadron had to operate from different bases these achievements are noteworthy.

Gp Capt S Mani showed unique determination, steadfastness, physical and mental endurance and flew over 400 hours while in command of the Sqn.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Shankar Mani.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Rakesh Kumar Jolly 14083 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Jolly was commissioned on 11 Jul 75 in the Fighter Stream of the Indian Air Force. Since then he has flown over 3700 hours of accident free flying. He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College.

Wg Cdr Jolly assumed command of a front-line MiG-21 Bis Squadron in March 1995. With his professional attitude and attention to detail, Wg Cdr Jolly's leadership was instrumental in significant and tangible achievements of the Squadron.

The Squadron performed well in all fields and was assessed as Average Plus by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection. In the 1996-97 Inter Squadron Gunnery Meet, Wg Cdr Jolly steered his unit to the first position in rocketry, and to the second position overall. Despite constraints of weather, and frequent detachments, the Squadron was able to achieve 100% operational and instrument rating status and an enviable flight safety record. The Squadron bagged the inter-unit sports trophy for 1995-96 and also achieved one of the best aircraft serviceability status in the MiG-21 Bis Fleet.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Jolly.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Ravi Kant Sharma 14088 F(P)Unit : No.6 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Ravi Kant Sharma has been commanding the Maritime Strike Jaguar Squadron. He is a Test Pilot and a Qualified Flying Instructor with more than 2900 hours of accident free flying, of which nearly 1400 hours are on Jaguar aircraft. An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College he has held various important appointments like Flight Commander of a Jaguar Squadron and Deputy Director at Air Headquarters.

During his tenure as Commanding Officer, the Squadron had consistently completed the command task. In every exercise that the Squadron had taken part, it had performed extremely well. In Command Gunnery Meet, the Squadron was overall runner up. The Directorate of Maintenance and Inspection team, which carried out Quality Audit of the Jaguar fleet in Oct 95, had a special word of appreciation for the Squadron with respect to its maintenance practices. To cap all the achievements, the Squadron was assessed Average Plus in all three disciplines of Operations, Maintenance and Administration by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection in Nov 95. The achievements were a direct result of the able leadership provided by Wg Cdr RK Sharma.

Wg Cdr RK Sharma is a thorough professional, with a keen eye for details. It was due to his total involvement that the operational status of the Squadron has remained very high. He ensured that the serviceability state of the aircraft in the Squadron remained consistently high to meet its various operational and training commitments.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Ravi Kant Sharma.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Muthumanickam Matheswaran 14104 F(P)Unit : No.5 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Muthumanickam Matheswaran was commissioned on 11 Jul 75 as a Fighter Pilot. He is an Experimental Test Pilot and a Fighter Combat Leader. He was actively involved in the formulation and dissemination of tactics at Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment. He has 2800 hours of flying experience with over 2000 hours on MiG-21 and Jaguar aircraft.

Wg Cdr M Matheswaran took over Command of a Jaguar Squadron (Sqn) in Jan 95. At that time the Sqn faced very poor serviceability. The aircrew state and the supervisory status was very low. In the next one year Wg Cdr Matheswaran set out to mould the officers and men of the Sqn into an effective and powerful team. The Sqn flew over 2500 accident free hours during the next one year despite severe constraints of low aircraft availability and large number of under-training pilots. He guided his technical officers and airmen to ensure that effective serviceability was maintained at a very high level and air crew training had the cutting edge of professionalism. Within one year and five months the Sqn achieved 100 per cent operational status and over 90% instrument rating. The Sqn has flown the maximum hours for a fighter Sqn in Western Air Command.

By this sound administration, professional competence, personal example and excellent leadership, he has moulded the Sqn into an effective combat unit.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Muthumanickam Matheswaran.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Rahul Dhar 14561 F(P)Unit : No.14 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Rahul Dhar, SC was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot on 13 Jun 76. An A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot, he has 3700 hours of accident free flying. He was awarded Shaurya Chakra in 1980.

He assumed command of a Jaguar Squadron in Apr 95. During his tenure of one year, the Squadron flew 2632 sorties amounting to 2413 hours. Of this, he flew 320 hours himself. He displayed boundless enthusiasm to ensure that his Squadron carried out realistic role oriented training. All operational pilots became qualified on the specialist equipment of the squadron in record time. The officer was also instrumental in evolving and implementing specialised tactics for the Squadron. A considerable improvement in the overall operational status of the Squadron emerged as a result of his efforts.

At Wg Cdr Dhar's initiative, a new take off and departure technique was formulated, tested and implemented. This ensured the maximum possible protection from bird hits.

He flew the lead aircraft for the Air Force and Republic Day flypasts; both of which earned the appreciation of one and all.

Due to his non stop effort, a noticeable improvement in the Avionics serviceability and an appreciable change in the Squadron work culture was achieved. Many innovative welfare measures were instituted which helped greatly in raising morale.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Rahul Dhar, SC.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Satnam Singh 14676 F(P)Unit : No.29 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Satnam Singh was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot on 26 Dec 76. A Fighter Combat Leader and an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, he has been in command of a MiG-21 Squadron since Jun 95. He has 2300 hours of accident free flying. By his personal example, he has been able to motivate the Squadron to achieve very high standards of professionalism both on the ground and the air.

During the Fire Power Demonstration at Pokharan Range in Oct 95, he successfully led the Squadron team and carried out precision Napalm bombing which was widely acclaimed by the press and foreign dignitaries. During the Command Gunnery Meet, the Squadron won three team events, the individual bombing event and the overall championship. During the Aircrew Examining Board visit in Mar 96, all aircrew obtained exceptional grading in the ground subjects test. He ensured upgradation of operational status of 8 pilots in a record time.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Satnam Singh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Pochana Prasad Reddy 15008 F(P)Unit : 1 Base Repair Depot  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Pochana Prasad Reddy was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot on 10 Jun 77. A Qualified Flying Instructor and a Test Pilot, he has 2800 hours of accident free flying. He is on the posted strength of a Base Repair Depot at Kanpur since 17 May 93 as the Chief Test Pilot.

As Chief Test Pilot, he air tested and supervised air testing and ferrying of MiG-21 variants, Mirage 2000 and AN 32 aircraft. He carried out a total of 253 air tests on MiG-21 variants handling several system malfunctions with utmost professionalism and aplomb. His contribution in the preparation of schedules and conduct of the flight test programme for first AN-32 aircraft overhauled at the BRD was praise worthy.

Being the only Test Pilot available at Kanpur, he was also assigned the task of air testing of HAL (Kanpur) manufactured aircraft such as Avro, HPT-32 and Dornier, which helped HAL Kanpur Division to achieve their production task in time. All this task was achieved without any incidents/accidents.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Pochana Prasad Reddy.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Kuldeep Singh Bharadwaj 15207 F(P)Unit : Basic Flying Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Kuldeep Singh Bhardwaj was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot on 28 Dec 77. He has held the appointment of Deputy Flight Commander of a MiG 27 Squadron. A Pilot Attack Instructor and a Qualified Flying Instructor, he is also a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. He is on the posted strength of Basic Flying Training School, Allahabad since 01 May 94, as Chief Flying Instructor. He has 2800 hours of accident free flying of which 711 hours have been flown during his present tenure. He has been instrumental in formation of Standard Operational Procedures, Phase Briefs, Briefing Guides and a large number of presentations towards improving the quality of flying training. For a period of nine months he discharged duties and responsibilities of two Chief Flying Instructors all by himself. Additionally, he was assigned the duties of Chief Operations Officer of the AF base for a period of two months.

As a senior supervisor, he did not confine his responsibility to flying training alone. He closely monitored the overall quality of training to ensure that good future officers join the Indian Air Force for its growth. With his attitude of leading from the front, he has effectively spread a mixture of professional efficiency and enthusiasm among instructional staff and trainees. The quality of flying and ground training at the Institute has shown a definite and positive improvement.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Kuldeep Singh Bhardwaj.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Janakiram Balasubramanian 15558 F(P)Unit : AirHQ Communications Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Wing Commander Janakiram Balasubramanian, SC was commissioned as a Transport Pilot on 30 Dec 78. A Qualified Flying Instructor, he is on the posted strength of Air HQ Communication Squadron since May 93. An experienced flier, with over 7200 flours of accident free flying, he was earlier a Command Examiner in the Eastern Air Command on the AN-32 aircraft. He was awarded Shaurya Chakra as a Flying Officer in 1982.

Despite a long gap in flying the Avro aircraft, Wg Cdr Balasubramanian attained the highest category of A/MG and was cleared for VVIP flying within a short period. He took over as 'A' Flight Commander in Oct 94 and worked in a very systematic and professional manner which resulted in an exceptionally high VVIP clearance state of the Flight. The Flight, under his leadership, undertook the onerous task of flying VVIPs safely to short and difficult airfields where only the Avro can operate.

Wg Cdr Balasubramanian was additionally tasked with the responsibility of in-flight catering services and the maintenance of the ground equipment, a twin responsibility never undertaken by any officer before. He ensured a very high and commendable standard in a cost effective manner without any audit observations.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Janakiram Balasubramanian, SC.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Rohit Verma 16029 F(P)Unit : No.7 Squadron  Award Date 19 Oct 95 Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Squadron Leader R Varma is on the posted strength of a Mirage-2000 Squadron since 30 Apr 95. On 19 Oct 95, he was authorised to lead a 3 aircraft (ac) versus 2 air combat sortie in Mirage-2000 ac.

After two combat situations when the formation was regrouping, a nut on the engine front mounting of his aircraft came off. This caused the engine front part to come down and the drive shaft from the engine to the gear box got damaged and stopped rotating. As a result, the alternators and hydraulic pumps stopped running.

In the air, the pilot was faced with a total electrical and hydraulic failure. A series of warning lights including the failure of the fly by wire control system came on. The pilot reacted to the grave emergency situation with thorough professionalism and commenced the recovery of the crippled aircraft, which had to land within 30 minutes failing which an ejection was mandatory. All displays, having failed, the recovery was to be carried out with only the stand by systems. With sheer grit and determination and in keeping with the highest traditions of IAF, he brought the aircraft down to a safe landing thus saving an extremely precious national asset from being lost.

For this act of exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Rohit Varma.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Prabhamohan Mohandas Baliga 16817 F(P)Unit : Flying Instructors School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Squadron Leader Prabhamohan Mohandas Baliga was commissioned as a Transport Pilot on 04 Jun 82. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor holding A-2 instructional category and has been on the Flying Staff of Flying Instructors School at Tambaram since 05 Jan 95.

On 01 Nov 95, while carrying out an instructional sortie on Kiran aircraft, at a height of 14000 feet, he experienced engine vibrations followed by a flame out. He took over control immediately, turned towards base and attempted relights. After three unsuccessful attempts, he decided to force land the aircraft. At this stage, his height was barely sufficient to land on the runway in use. Thereafter, he took a prompt decision to land on secondary runway after ascertaining the winds. This decision ensured safe recovery of the aircraft resulting in a perfect dead stick landing at Tambaram airfield. Throughout the emergency, the pilot remained calm and composed and monitored all parameters vital for the investigation of the cause of the incident. Recovery of the aircraft ensured investigation of mechanical failure that occurred which would not have been possible if the aircraft had been abandoned.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Prabhamohan Mohandas Baliga.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Sanjay Thapar 16871 F(P)Unit : Aerial Delivery Research   Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Squadron Leader Sanjay Thapar is on the posted strength of Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment, Agra since 15 May 96. He is the most qualified Sky Diving Instructor in the country.

This enthusiastic and dynamic officer holds many records. He has 1806 accident free jumps from 21 types of aircraft and helicopters, the highest number carried out by any Indian so far. He is the reigning "National Champion" in various disciplines of sport since 1991. On 11 Mar 91 he set a world record by carrying out 46 skydiving jumps in a short span of three hours using two Mi-17 helicopters simultaneously. Another record was set on 26 Jun 1992 by jumping with an IAF flag measuring 1000 sq ft almost four times the size of his parachute. All these feats are duly recorded in "Limca Book of Records".

On 21 Apr 96, he earned yet another distinction when he carried out a Sky Diving jump at the North Pole. He jumped from the height of 10,000 feet in toughest weather conditions where the wind speed was above 40 kms per hour and the temperature was as low as - 26 degree C on the ground and - 68 degree C in the air. He became the first Indian to perform this daring act and hoist the Indian National Flag at North Pole. A pioneer in the field, he has brought laurels to the IAF and the country.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Sanjay Thapar.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Rajeev Sharma 17004 F(P)Unit : No.142 SSS Flight  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Squadron Leader Rajeev Sharma has been on the posted strength of 142 Survival Security and Support Flight (SSS Fit) since 27 Jun 95 and has been performing the duties of Flight Commander.

On 11 Oct 95, one Cheetah Helicopter carried out a heavy landing at Green lake area near Kanchanjunga Base Camp at an altitude of 16,000 feet due to a technical defect. The engine and under-carriage system suffered damage and repairs were necessary to recover the helicopter. Sqn Ldr Sharma flew 26 sorties in six days despite marginal weather to transport the repair team upto Base Camp and also to keep them supplied with necessary spares. He stayed with the repair team at Kanchanjunga Base Camp at 16,000 feet for a period of six days, braving snow fall and extreme cold temperature of upto -22 degrees C to motivate and provide moral support to the personnel working on the helicopter. He successfully controlled and co-ordinated all operational and maintenance activities. After the repairs were completed, he flew the helicopter back to base. His contribution to the entire recovery operation was invaluable.

In Nov 95, 142 SSS Flt was tasked to rescue and evacuate 16 tourists trapped due to heavy snowfall and bad weather from Lingshi and Gasa in Bhutan. Exhibiting professional skill of a very high order and at great personal risks, Sqn Ldr Sharma carried out these rescue operations in inclement weather and difficult terrain. This was highly appreciated by Government of Bhutan.

For exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Rajeev Sharma.

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

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Samir Jay Pendse 20495 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 25 Aug 95 Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Samir Jay Pendse was on the posted strength of 114 Helicopter Unit from 06 Sep 93 to 09 Oct 95. He has carried out more than 425 accident and incident free landings at the world's highest helipads in the 'Op Meghdoot' area.

On 28 Aug 95 he was tasked to go to the rescue of a BSF expedition to Saser Kangri. Flt Lt Pendse got airborne as the leader of a two helicopter formation with 20 minutes of the SOS call. Aerial reconnaissance revealed that the only way to rescue the team was to land at an uneven ledge at 18,500 ft. Braving strong and turbulent winds and in fading light conditions, with exemplary courage he landed his helicopter on the small 4M x 4M ledge and rescued the stranded personnel of the BSF expedition. Following another SOS he again lead his formation and once again braving inclement weather and extremely strong and gusty winds air dropped vital supplies to the search party. In carrying out these two missions, Flt Lt Pendse, in keeping with the highest traditions of the IAF, displayed exceptional courage and professionalism.

For exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Samir Jay Pendse.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Sunil Kumar Kashyap 20991 F(P)Unit : No.49 Squadron  Award Date 02 Aug 95 Announced 26 Jan 97
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar Kashyap is on the posted strength of an AN-32 Sqn in the Eastern Sector since 08 Dec 91.

On 02 Aug 95, Flt Lt Kashyap was authorised to fly an air maintenance supply drop sortie to a forward Dropping Zone (DZ). This DZ is small in size and is situated in a narrow valley. Due to this only part load can be dropped on one circuit. Further, topography of DZ necessitates an immediate climb after the drop as there are steep hills in the direction of drop and on the down wind side. Flt Lt Kashyap decided to drop three skid boards during the first circuit. As the skid boards were being released from the aircraft, the star-board engine failed. Flt Lt Kashyap remained calm and put on additional bank which brought the aircraft to the limits of its flight envelop. He skillfully turned the aircraft in the narrow valley clearing the high hills around the DZ. After clearing the immediate hills he tried to climb to route safety height but could not do so as the aircraft refused to respond due to prevailing high temperature and humidity. He then decided to follow the escape route by following the valley and crossing over high ridges with very little safety margin. Throughout the emergency he remained calm, continued to fly skillfully and safely landed the aircraft at Chabua. He displayed unflinching determination and professionalism of a very high order, in keeping with the highest traditions of the Air Force, in handling of the emergency and safe recovery of the aircraft.

For exceptional courage, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar Kashyap.

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

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Vivek Chaturvedi 20788 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 16 Aug 96 Announced 15 Aug 97
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Vivek Chaturvedi (20788) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of 114 HU, AF from 15 May 95. He has flown 380 hours in the inhospitable terrain of Siachen Glacier without any accident/incident, under constant threat of enemy fire.

On 16 Aug 96, Flight Lieutenant Vivek Chaturvedi was detailed as captain to carry out a routine air maintenance sortie to Amar, a helipad at 20,000 ft. in the Op. Meghdoot area. After landing, while the aircraft was being unloaded, heavy enemy shelling began. Shells landed close to the aircraft damaging the canopy and showering the aircraft with debris. Flt Lt Chaturvedi maintained his composure and analysed the circumstances in a cool and calculated manner. Realising the gravity of the situation and the threat to the safety of the aircraft he quickly ordered the stopping of the unloading and executed a safe take off. Finding that the vital parameters of the aircraft were normal, he skillfully flew the damaged aircraft to Base Camp, and carried out a safe landing. Post flight inspection revealed damage to two main rotor blades, resulting in their being withdrawn from service, and to the engine mounting.

Flight Lieutenant Vivek Chaturvedi, displaying exemplary professionalism, ability to think calmly under stress and react quickly under enemy fire, and flying skills of a very high order saved a valuable aircraft.

For his bravery in the face of the enemy and exemplary professionalism, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Flight Lieutenant Vivek Chaturvedi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 1st November 1997 - No.88-Pres/97 dated 15th August 1997 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Air Cmde Charanjit Singh Gill 11645 F(P)Unit : 14 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Group Captain Charanjit Singh Gill VSM (11645) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 2nd June, 1968. During his long and meritorious service, he gained high operational status on Hunter, MiG-21M and MiG-23BN aircraft. He commanded a MiG23BN Squadron and was Chief Operations Officer of a major fighter base. Group Captain Charanjit Singh Gill is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, USA. He was appointed Station Commander, Air Force Station, Chabua in August 1995. This base was descaled in 1992 and had been denuded of aircraft, equipment and manpower. He was entrusted with the task of reactivating the base for fighter aircraft operations. He had an extremely difficult task considering that the buildings and other infrastructure had deteriorated considerably due to lack of maintenance. The extreme weather conditions, high humidity and excessive rainfall added to the decay of assets at Chabua. He took little time to understand the ground realities and swung into action to make the base operational within the scheduled time frame. With his managerial and professional acumen he had recovered almost all the assets with minimum financial drain. This resulted in smooth induction of two fighter squadrons and a GCA unit in a very short time. Under his able guidance and dynamic leadership, the flying units at his station were able to achieve their tasks well ahead of laid down time schedules. His foresight resulted in creating maintenance infrastructure capable of providing high quality output. This had a direct bearing on flight safety and achievements by both the flying units.

An astute administrator, he was instrumental in initiating many new projects at the Station to improve the quality of life. His drive and involvement was always evident in all areas of station activities.

For his leadership, zeal, professionalism and distinguished services of an exceptional order, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Charanjit Singh Gill.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Nirdosh Vatsayan Tyagi 12765 F(P)Unit : MiG Operational Flying Training Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Group Captain Nirdosh Vatsyayan Tyagi VSM (12765) Flying (Pilot) has been commanding MiG Operational Flying Training Unit since 19 Jun 95. He was commissioned on 12th Jun 71. While serving in Operational Conversion Unit, he performed creditably and was awarded VSM in 1987.

He has held various important command and staff appointments during his distinguished service career. He is a Category A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor. He has also served as a Directing Staff at Defence Service Staff College, Wellington. Earlier, he successfully commanded a MiG-21 BIS Squadron. This is his second tenure in command of a fighter unit.

MOFTU AF is a premier establishment, which is equivalent to two squadrons in terms of resources and task.

Group Captain NV Tyagi's performance in command of this unit for the last two years, has been noteworthy. At the time of his assuming command, the operational training task was behind schedule by over a month. Despite resource constraints and various setbacks, such as grounding of the fleet for a month, he ensured that all subsequent courses have passed out on schedule.

The unit has flown over 10,000 hours during the last two years under his stewardship. During this period, there were four accidents in the unit due to technical malfunction on the aircraft of old vintage and relative inexperience of the junior pilots. During such moments of crisis, he ensured that normalcy of operations was restored in the shortest possible time and the morale of the personnel was kept high. The unit has continued to perform well in all spheres of activity, including sports. Aircraft serviceability has been kept high and the unit has been very well administered.

For distinguished service of exceptional order, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain N V Tyagi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Rakesh Kacker 12951 F(P)Unit : 503 Signal Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Group Captain Rakesh Kacker (12951) Flying (Pilot) was the Chief Operations Officer at No 7 Wing AF from Feb 95 to Oct 96 and since then is the Station Commander of 503 SU, AF.

In view of the high attrition of IAF fighter aircraft due to bird strike, it was directed that undergrowth and unnecessary vegetation from Ambala airfield was to be eradicated at the earliest. At Ambala, this would prove a daunting task since two loop areas north of the airfield were thick jungles.

By virtue of his primary duty, this seemingly insurmountable task was given to Group Captain Kacker. The Officer was unperturbed by the very magnitude of the task and methodically began by examining all options. The Officer, aware that several crores of valuable Public Fund had recently been wasted as a result of the loss of two aircraft, was determined that he could work within the existing framework. The Defence Estate Officer was persuaded to provide manpower for this task. Primarily the contractor needed constant close supervision to ensure that legitimacy was maintained. Having cleared the area, the officer then interacted laterally with his Army counterparts for provision of heavy machinery to ensure control of vegetation and was quick to put these areas under cultivation. Work under his direction, continued unabated in order to deny birds the sanctuary to roost or nest on the airfield. This also resulted in noticeable decline in small bird activity.

In addition to above, the officer was simultaneously monitoring the installation and operation of Semi Automated Base Air Defence Centre in Base Ops (the first of its kind installed in IAF). As Stn Cdr, 503 SU, AF the officer has been instrumental in overall improvement of quality of life of personnel with his innovative ideas and also achieving high operational preparedness of the Station.

For successfully directing the task of improving flying environment and for his innovativeness in circumventing problem areas, for his moral courage and for rendering distinguished service of high order, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Group Captain Rakesh Kacker.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Krishan Kumar Nohwar 13132 F(P)Unit : 33 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Group Captain Krishan Kumar Nohwar (13132) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in IAF on 24 Jun 72. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Fighter Combat Leader and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. He has been on staff of TACDE and has also done a tenure as Joint Director Air Staff Inspections. He has to his credit over 3000 hrs of accident free flying.

Group Captain Nohwar was posted to AF Station, Jamnagar as Chief Operations Officer wef 03 Sep 95. During his one year and nine months tenure, a total of 36346 sorties were carried out by the local units and 61 detachments of flying units which operated from this base. Planning, controlling and co-ordinating of such large amount of flying which varied from training flying by helicopters to advance fighter exercises carried out by TACDE was a Herculean task. With his professional acumen, intense personal involvement and boundless capacity for hard work, Gp Capt Nohwar ensured that this massive amount of flying activity was carried out in a safe environment maintaining high operational standards. He ensured that the Air Traffic Services and the other operational facilities were maintained at peak efficiency at all times.

On 04 Jan 96, a rescue operation by helicopters was launched by him to search and pick up crew sailing boat lost in high seas. Again on 19 Jun 96 a helicopter was launched in marginal weather to rescue 3 marooned seamen. Both these operations were meticulously planned and supervised by him which saved many lives.

During the Flight acceptance trials of Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation equipment, a number of shortcomings in the system came to light due to his deep involvement. In some cases the designers of the system were thankful for identifying these shortcomings so that they could improve upon the system. As Chief Operations Officer he has not limited himself to operational aspects only but also fully involved himself in all activities and aspects of the station.

For his professional competence, excellent performance, exceptional devotion to duty and distinguished service of high order, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Group Captain KK Nohwar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Swapan Kumar Karmaker 13379 F(P)Unit : Basic Flying Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Group Captain Sapan Kumar Karmaker (13379) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of BFTS, AF as Commanding Officer wef 08 Jan 96. He has over 4050 hrs of flying to his credit.

He is an A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate from 'College of Defence Management' with a 'Directing Staff' grading. He has held the appointment of Commanding Officer of No 8 Sqn, AF from Jul 93 to Jul 95. Under his command, No 8 Sqn was adjudged as the 'Best Fighter Squadron' in Eastern Air Command during 94-95. He is also commended by Chief of Air Staff in Aug 90 for dedicated service while serving as Flight Commander of No 23 Sqn, AF.

He took initiative to bring up the quality of training imparted to flight cadets. He dedicated himself in formulating the new Stage-I flying training syllabus on HPT-32 ac which is currently being followed for flying training of ab-initio pilots. Under his command, the unit achieved the task to clockwork precision despite various difficulties faced. The HPT-32 fleet was grounded due to many engine cut incidents during Nov 95 to Jan 96. After taking over the unit, he involved himself with the problem and put his best efforts to contain the problems and ensured a high serviceability of HPT-32 fleet.

After taking over as the Commanding Officer of BFTS, AF, he guided the unit to new heights. The quality of both flying and ground training at the FTE has shown a definite and positive improvement under his command. He set his standards to such high level that every individual of the unit saw him as a role model. His exceptional command and guidance was underscored by the fact that the unit was adjudged as the 'Best FTE' under Training Command in year 1996.

For his exceptional dedication, devotion and overall outstanding contribution in all spheres of activities, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Sapan Kumar Karmaker.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Ashok Balkrishna Rahane 14096 F(P)Unit : No.24 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Group Captain Ashok Balakrishna Rahane (14096) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 07 Jun 75. He is a Fighter Combat Leader and during the course, he won all the three important trophies; best pilot in Air Combat, best pilot in Ground Attack and best overall Fighter Combat Leader. During his career, Group Captain Rahane has flown over 2500 hours, out of which more than 2250 hours are on the MiG-21 and MiG-23 MF aircraft.

Group Captain Rahane assumed Command of 24 Squadron on 24 Apr 95. At the time of taking over, non availability of adequate number of supervisors, serviceability was 52% and large number of Ex MOFTU U/T pilots had been posted in. He set out to improve the supervisory and operational status of the pilots. During his tenure, eight pilots gained operational status, three pilots were made two aircraft leaders, five pilots became four aircraft leaders and six were made trainer captains; all eligible pilots acquired instrument ratings. Today, out of 20 pilots on strength, 16 are operational.

Group Captain Rahane also ensured very high operational status of the Squadron. He carried out extensive role oriented training flying and integrated training with Jaguars and Mirages. The Squadron was awarded Best Overall in Western Air Command Gunnery Meet in 1995-96.

In the year 1996, the Squadron undertook major detachments. Despite restraints of detachment, large number of U/T pilots and poor serviceability, the Sqn flew 4684 sorties (3060 hours) accident free. This was a remarkable achievement.

Group Captain Rahane's professional competence, sound leadership, devotion to duty and sustained hard work has substantially contributed towards enhancement of Flight Safety and operational status in the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

For setting an example worthy of emulation, zeal and distinguished services of high order, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group CaptainA B Rahane.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Gp Capt Pramjit Singh Gill 14097 F(P)Unit : No.31 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Group Captain Paramjit Singh Gill (14097) F (P) assumed command of No. 31 Sqn (MiG23 BN), AF on 12 Jun 95. In the 22 months of his command tenure the officer brought in remarkable changes in every field of endeavour of a frontline ground attack squadron.

In terms of training he achieved 100% operational status of all his aircrew by 06 May 96 by according his priority of U/T ops training. At the same time he ensured that the fully ops pilots consolidated in varying modes of weapon delivery, the role of the squadron. He also successfully undertook four flight trials on the MiG-23 which inter alia also included blind LDA using the GPS. There were no accidents during his tenure.

In the field of maintenance his unit achieved 100% serviceability on all ac on three separate occasions and sustained this serviceability for long periods on each occasion. This was largely possible due to his involvement and demand for excellence. Significant achievements of the officer in this field included a superbly crafted tool crib which was appreciated by the AOC-in-C during his recent inspection. Also remarkable was the achievement of the Sqn in ops TRS of loading 4 x 500 Kgs bombs in an impressive time of less than five minutes. In addition to all this, the officer paid a lot of attention to administration and welfare of his men by providing amenities from the Sqn resources.

For his significant contribution in managing an efficient frontline fighter squadron by his leadership, devotion to duty and thirst for change, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Group Captain Paramjit Singh Gill.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Daljit Singh 14553 F(P)Unit : No.1 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Wing Commander Daljit Singh (14553) F (P) was commissioned on 16 Jun 76 in the flying Branch of the IAF. He was amongst the first batch of officers selected to undergo Electronic Warfare (EW) course in France and was instrumental in smooth induction and formulation of operational guidelines on the use of EW equipment on Mirage 2000 aircraft. He was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff in 1993 for devotion to duty.

With his in-depth knowledge and ingenuity, Wg Cdr Daljit Singh was able to resolve major electromagnetic problem that existed in operation of Mirage-2000 and Jaguar aircraft. Without this solution, the operational potential of both types of aircraft would have been severely constrained. He reviewed operational procedures and carried out in depth review of the functioning of the electronic warfare organization. His ideas and innovations have resulted in optimum operational capability of Mirage-2000 aircraft. Wing Commander Daljit Singh has flown 1460 accident free hours, on Mirage-2000, the maximum by any Mirage-2000 pilot in the IAF. Under his leadership the sqn has done 3200 hrs of accident free flying. With his professionalism, planning and perserverance the sqn operated detachments from several different locations and met the operational tasks allotted without any incident.

For his exceptional professional acumen and sincere devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Seva Medal" to Wing Commander Daljit Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Anil Kumar Jain 14565 F(P)Unit : No.45 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Wg Cdr A K Jain (14565) F (P) has been on the posted strength of No. 45 squadron, AF since 25 Sep 95 and has been performing the duties of Commanding Officer since then. Besides being a FCL he is a highly accomplished fighter pilot who has flown over 2,700 hrs on various types of ac of which over 1700 hrs are on MiG-21 Bis. As a CO and in a short time frame of one year and five months he has flown 385 hrs on MiG-Bis ac which is commendable.

His Sqn has achieved many laurels during his able command. DASI in their surprise visit in Nov 95 assessed the Sqn performance as 'Average Plus'. AEB in Mar 96 also gave 'Average Plus' grading to the Sqn in both flying and ground subjects, 'Above Average' grading in technical subjects. During the intersquadron meet, the Sqn stood first amongst all Sqns of the fleet of the command. All this was possible mainly because of his untiring efforts, high degree of professionalism and top quality guidance given by him to his Sqn pilots.

His planning and control over the maintenance activities of the Sqn and management of the meagre resources is also noteworthy. He has ensured a very good stagger plan which has ultimately resulted in over 70% ac serviceability making it possible for the Sqn to fly more than 230 hrs every month. Though located in a remote base with many inherent problems, he with his effective leadership qualities has ensured a very high standard of morale amongst all his unit personnel.

For his exceptional professionalism, vision and foresight, superb managerial skills, sustained hard work and for an excellent and very successful command of a fighter squadron located in a remote base, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Wing Commander A K Jain.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Manmohan Bahadur 14665 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Wing Commander Manmohan Bahadur (14665) Flying (Pilot) has been the Commanding Officer of 114 HU, Air Force since 14 Nov 94. The 114 HU AF has the distinction of being the only Helicopter Unit of the Indian Air Force to be actively engaged in Op Meghdoot for the past 13 years.

Wing Commander Bahadur, an experimental Test Pilot (France) has to his credit more than 4300 hrs on 21 different types of aircrafts of which more than 700 hrs have been in the inhospitable terrain of Siachen Glacier. A sterling example of "Leading from the front".

Under Wing Commander Bahadur's stewardship 114 HU was bestowed with the prestigious Presidents Standard for its distinguished performance in actual war like situation. It was due to his motivation and personal example that the units contingent exhibited a commendably high standard of parade in front of the Supreme Commander. His drive for excellence had been imbibed by one and all of the unit.

During his tenure, DASI visited the unit twice, in Oct 95 and Jul 96 for a regular and surprise visit respectively. The unit was graded Av+ in Operations, Maintenance and Administrative aspects.

Wing Commander Bahadur has inspired the men under him in all aspects of the units functions. His leadership qualities, humane approach to problems of men under him and effective management is worthy of emulation by any leader of men.

For his devotion to duty, professionalism of a very high order and excellent leadership qualities, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Wing Commander M Bahadur.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Wg Cdr Govindan Ajit Kumar Nair 14677 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Wing Commander Govindan Ajith Kumar Nair (14677) F (P) is on the posted strength of 153 HU, AF since 21 Jun 94. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and an A-2 Flying Instructor. He is an experienced helicopter pilot and has amassed over 4930 hrs of operational flying. A pioneer of Mi-26 helicopter fleet he has also been a member of the Antarctica Expedition team on two occasions.

During his present tenure, he has flown 510 hrs in Siachen Glacier towards "OP Meghdoot". Displaying exceptional courage in this inhospitable terrain and low intensity conflict environment, he has not only been instrumental in delivering vital supplies to our troops but also training all aircrew in the highest helipads/ threatened DZs in the sector. He has also carried out ArmyAir Force joint appreciation and formulated SOPs for safe operations in this sector.

Under his able leadership, the unit has logged over 7500 hrs of accident free flying and achieved all allotted tasks. He has simultaneously ensured a high state of operational preparedness of the unit. This was evident during the DASI inspection, wherein the unit was assessed as "Average Plus". Wing Commander Ajith Kumar has been instrumental as Deputy Task Force Commander in Ex-Chakravyuh in flawless planning and execution, evacuation of a large number of causalities of Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in Aug 96 and night operation between Leh, Thoise and Base Camp has been praise worthy and in the highest traditions of our service.

For his exceptional courage, professional excellence and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Wing Commander G A K Nair.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Nuthalapati Koteswara Rao 15413 F(P)Unit : MiG Operational Flying Training Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details : Wing Commander NK Rao (15413) F(P) was on posted strength of MOFTU AF from 12 June 1995 till his demise on 4 April 1996. He functioned as the Flight Commander of 'B' Squadron. During this period, Wg Cdr NK Rao flew 235 sorties / 126.15 hrs. He was an above average pilot, who was willing to undertake any mission with whole hearted enthusiasm. His personal involvement in the flying training contributed directly to the timely completion of the flying task of the squadron. Wg Cdr NK Rao was fatally injured in an air accident on 4 April 1996. He experienced engine failure oin a low level mission on MiG-21FL aircraft. He attempted relight, which was unsucessful. Subsequently, the ejection seat also malfunctioned, fatally injuring the pilot. Wg Cdr Rao made all attempts to save the aircraft. Despite his correct and prompt actions, his life was lost. For his distinguished service, devotion to duty and professional competance, the President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wg Cdr Rao Posthumously.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Sqn Ldr Sunil Kaura 18598 F(P)Unit : No.129 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Squadron Leader Kaura (18598) F (P) is on the posted strength of 129 Helicopter Unit with effect from 01 May 95. He is holding current CAT/IR 'B' Green on Mi-17 helicopter. His flying experience includes operations in Srinagar, North East, SHBO, air to ground rocketry and bombing, air maintenance and VVIP flying. His total service flying is 2731 hours.

In Aug 96, incessant rains and continuous bad weather resulted in a large number of serious casualties amongst the stranded pilgrims of Amarnath Yatra. Squadron Leader Kaura, was made the Task Force Commander of relief operations and four Mi-17s were placed under his command.

On 25 Aug 96, Squadron Leader S Kaura got airborne in marginal weather for Panchtarni, situated at a height of 12,000', and rescued the first batch of 14 serious causalities, for whom this sortie made all the difference between life and death. Flying in marginal weather conditions and inhospitable terrain, Sqn Ldr S Kaura got airborne immediately for another rescue mission. In a short period of two days he flew a total of 10 missions, rescuing 97 casualties besides air lifting 46 stranded pilgrims and 13 dead bodies.

Undaunted by the vagaries of weather and magnitude of the task, he displayed extreme professionalism, maturity and leadership qualities in planning, co-ordinating and conducting the massive relief operation which went, beyond the normal call of duty. With the attention of the whole nation focused on the Amarnath Yatra tragedy, Sqn Ldr S Kaura led his team of officers and men from the front, in successfully accomplishing the challenging and uphill task of rescuing the pilgrims winning unqualified praise for the IAF from one and all.

For this display of exceptional professional skill and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Squadron Leader Sunil Kaura.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal
Flt Lt Somesh Kumar Saini 21021 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 98
Details :

Flight Lieutenant S K Saini (21021) F (P) has been on the posted strength of 153 Helicopter Unit since 26 Jul 93.

During the recent Amarnath Yatra tragedy, the IAF was called upon to undertake the necessary relief operations. Flight Lieutenant Saini who participated in the operations, indeed did a very commendable job by evacuating 136 causalities, 28 bodies and 07 passengers. This was the maximum number of causalities that were airlifted by any individual during these operations. It is noteworthy that these operations were carried out in marginal weather, from unprepared surface and in hostile environment.

Flight Lieutenant S K Saini has been operating in OP Meghdoot area for the past three years and has successfully completed over 810 hours on the glacier. He has also flown extensively all over Jammu and Kashmir sector.

The unit was given the task, to carry out a night cross country from Thoise to Leh and back and subsequently lay down SOP for causality evacuation. Flight Lieutenant Saini a selected aircrew was detailed to carry out this task. Flight Lieutenant Saini, a thorough professional got into the minutest of the details and left no stone unturned to carry out the assigned task safely and successfully. For his exceptional courage and professionalism of highest order, excellent team work and exceptional devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award "Vayu Sena Medal" to Flight Lieutenant S K Saini.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 14th March 1998 - No.29-Pres/98 dated 26th January 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Amulaya Chandra Bharali 15049 F(P)Unit : Tactics and Combat Development Establishment  Award Date 22 Jun 98 Announced 15 Aug 98
Details :

Wing Commander Amulaya Chandra Bharali (15049) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of TACDE, AF wef 16 June 97.

On the evening of 22 June 98, at about 1900 hrs, the AOC, 33 Wing Air Force received SOS message from Reliance Petroleum Limited stating that they had a casualty on board at one of their barges at sea, who if not evacuated immediately was likely to succumb. The gentleman had a heart attack, which needed immediate attention. Wing Commander Amulaya Chandra Bharali of TACDE was alerted by the AOC 33 Wing Air Force because only a few days earlier he had carried out evacuation from another barge in day time in the wake of cyclone at Jamnagar. Although Wing Commander Bharali did not have experience on deck landing at night yet he immediately volunteered to undertake the task. Realising the gravity of the situation and the urgency of mission, Wing Commander Bharali quickly gathered his crew and got airborne for the mission in the shortest possible time. The sortie was undertaken in dark night condition with winds gusting to 25 Kts and more. The barge helipad was illuminated but the surrounding areas were enveloped in absolute darkness with no reference or depth perception possible. Harnessing his vast experience and professional expertise, Wing Commander Bharali executed a successful landing on the barge and evacuated the casualty thus saving his life.

For his valour and professionalism in executing a hazardous task to perfection, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Amulaya Chandra Bharali.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 28th November 1998 - No.107-Pres/98 dated 15th August 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Vivek Vikash Bandopadhayay 15863 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Oct 97 Announced 15 Aug 98
Details :

Wing Commander Vivek Vikash Bandopadhay (15863) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit Air Force since 23 April 97.

On 22 October 97, one helicopter of his unit was compelled to force land at an altitude of 19250 ft near 'Amar' while operating in Op Meghdoot area. The force landing point was very close to enemy position and within their firing range. On receiving news, Wing Commander Bandopadhay immediately initiated the action to retrieve the aircraft despite very difficult circumstances.

He immediately flew in to 'Amar' to assess if the helicopter could be flown out. On confirming that the aircraft could be flown out from the forced landing point after rectification, he flew in a second sortie the same day with necessary equipment and manpower. This time he was unable to land due to heavy enemy firing. He made the third successful attempt on the next day and got the helicopter rectified. However, the aircraft could not be flown out due to persistent enemy firing. On 24 October 97, sensing that any further delay in flying out the stranded aircraft could result in its loss due to enemy firing, Wing Commander Bandopadhay decided to take a bold step. He started up and flew out the aircraft in the face of enemy firing. The helicopter had suffered significant collateral damage due to enemy shelling but was flown out safely to the base camp.

Wing Commander Bandopadhay executed this task with utmost courage and with complete disregard to his personal safety. In this action of retrieving the helicopter, he showed complete dedication to duty, exceptional qualities of leadership and courage.

For his devotion to duty and professional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Vivek Vikash Bandopadhay.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 28th November 1998 - No.107-Pres/98 dated 15th August 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Janapareddy Venkata Sunil Kumar 20838 AELUnit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 22 Oct 97 Announced 15 Aug 98
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Janapareddy Venkata Sunil Kumar (20838) AE (L) is en the posted strength of a helicopter unit, AF as Senior Technical Officer wef. 20 March 96.

His Unit has the challenging task of airmaintaining Army posts on the Siachen Glacier, operating at the extremes of flight envelope, the aircraft experience frequent snags peculiar to high altitude operations. Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar with his keen sense of involvement, has ensured a high serviceability state and work output of the highest quality.

On 22 October 97, one helicopter force landed at 'Amar' Helipad. It was decided to recover the helicopter from the site which was at 19,250 ft. and under constant enemy shelling. Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar volunteered to lead the rectification team without waiting for acclimatization. He along with the team was landed at 'Amar' and inspite of intermittent enemy shelling worked in the open trying to recover the aircraft. The recovery had to be abandoned that day due to heavy enemy fire. Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar again led his team the next day and braving extreme cold and enemy fire pinpointed the required snag. He motivated his men to work under very hostile conditions by leading them from the front. Consequently the aircraft was rectified and safely flown back to the Base Camp. Any delay in rectifying and recovering the aircraft could have resulted in its loss due to heavy enemy shelling. Flight Lieutenant Sunil Kumar not only saved the aircraft, but also displayed exemplary qualities of leadership and courage, in the best tradition of the Air Force.

For his leadership, devotion to duty and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' to Flight Lieutenant JV Sunil Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 28th November 1998 - No.107-Pres/98 dated 15th August 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Debashish Ganguly 22347 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 06 Jul 98 Announced 15 Aug 98
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Debashish Ganguly (22347) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit wef 03 February 97. During his tenure, he has flown approximately 900 sorties in Siachen Glacier.

Since September 97, the enemy firing along the AGPL had gone up manifold. Flight Lieutenant Ganguly, displaying, raw courage, time and again flew through enemy shelling (airbursts) to drop supply to the technically crucial and critical posts of 'Amar' and 'Sonam'. While operating to posts on the AGPL, he never let personal safety come before national pride.

On 06 July 98, Flight Lieutenant Ganguly was carrying out air maintenance sorties to 'Sonam', the highest helipad in the world. While off loading, an enemy artillery shell landed merely 15 feet from the helicopter. The proximity of the explosion rocked the aircraft while few sharpnels directly impacted on it. Undeterred by the explosion and displaying nerves of steel, Flight Lieutenant Ganguly quickly checked the important aircraft parameters, and took a split second decision to recover the damaged aircraft to Base Camp, out of the enemy's reach.

Flight Lieutenant Ganguly displayed not only raw courage in the face of enemy, but also exceptional professionalism and ability to think and react calmly, quickly and correctly under "Fire".

For his exemplary courage, in the face of enemy, composure & professionalism of a very high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Flight Lieutenant Debashish Ganguly.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 28th November 1998 - No.107-Pres/98 dated 15th August 1998 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Hemant Kumar Sachdeva 17355 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Mar 98 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Hemant Kumar Sachdeva (17355) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit wef 12 January 98. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and is also the Flight Commander of the Unit.

During his tenure, Squadron Leader Sachdeva has flown over 120 hours in Siachen Glacier and has led the younger pilots from the front, often through heavy enemy firing. As Flight Commander, he attained the "Glacier Ops" status within a very short span of three months and thereafter took on the Glacier training of young pilots with full gusto. He also played a key role in planning and execution of an engine change and retrieval of an aircraft from one of the highest helipads in the world.

Since 26 March 98, there had been a spate of engine malfunctions in Siachen Area. While this trend was alarming, the engines were not available for investigation due to either enemy action or take off weight constraints of high altitude. Squadron Leader Sachdeva volunteered to fly single pilot from a high altitude helipad to Base Camp to overcome the take off weight constraints. This decision was taken consciously and with full knowledge of the hazards involved in undertaking single pilot operation in the Glacier, only so that an analysis of engine malfunctions occurring at those altitudes could be done. The defective engine was flown down single pilot by Squadron Leader Sachdeva on 14 July 98.

For displaying exceptional courage and professionalism even at the cost of personal safety, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader HK Sachdeva.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Rajinder Singh 13980 F(P)Unit : 20 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Group Captain Rajinder Singh (13980) Flying (Pilot) commanded a Fighter Squadron, AF from 23 January 95 to 25 November 96. He is presently posted as COO of a fighter base. He is an experienced Qualified Flying Instructor and has flown over 5000 sorties of accident free flying.

During his tenure as Commanding Officer, the Squadron flew about 8300 sorties without a single flying accident. The excellent managerial skill of the officer is evident from the fact that despite the aircraft being very old, the Squadron achieved 100% serviceability on eight different occasions during which all aircraft were flown. This indeed was a unique achievement. He also conducted permanent move of his Squadron to another base. The move was meticulously planned and executed in such a way that the Squadron commenced full-fledged flying within 72 hours at the new location. For all these achievements his Squadron was adjudged the Best Fighter Squadron in the Command in 1996-97.

As COO, the officer has led from the front and shown a rare sense of drive and total involvement to provide a safe flying environment. He has ensured that the airfield environment is maintained at a very high operational standard. Inspite of the runway surface being in a bad state, his close supervision has ensured that there has not been a single FOD. Also there has been no instance of a bird hit in the last year and a half. The operational performance of the Wing during DASI and CASI visits has been exceptional. The Wing was also declared the Best Operational Wing of the Command for 1996-97.

For his exceptional qualities of leadership, initiative, dedication to service, his continued high performance and constant endeavour to achieve excellence in all areas, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Rajinder Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Amit Aneja 14668 F(P)Unit : No.26 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Amit Aneja (14668) Flying (Pilot) has been the Commanding Officer of a frontline fighter Squadron since 22 October 96.

His Career has been marked by total and unconditional involvement, devotion to duty, leadership qualities and the highest norms of interpersonal relations which have ushered in unprecedented degree of improvement in administration and operational preparedness. This is borne out by the fact that during his tenure as Squadron Commander, the Squadron received the bombing trophy for Exercise Eklavya '97 and the unit was declared best in Western Air Command for operational turn around of aircraft, with unprecedented 97% marks. His introduction of a novel concept of Morale, Welfare and Recreation Cell in the Squadron has led to an environment wherein the minor offences in his unit have steadily reduced to the lowest figure of last eight years. The concept has not only been adopted by Air Force Station where his Squadron is based but has been well appreciated by Headquarters Western Air Command.

For his consistent performance of a very high order, he has been commended by Air Officer Commanding in Chief of two Commands and his accident free flying record has earned him Flight Safety Three Stars. For his good performance the officer was selected to attend the Staff College Course in USA.

For his devotion to duty, sustained professional acumen and outstanding leadership qualities, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Amit Aneja.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ramesh Rai 14669 F(P)Unit : No.16 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Ramesh Rai (14669) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a pilot in the Flying branch on 29 December 76. He is an A-2 category Instructor and is Staff College qualified. He stood first in the test pilots course and won the trophies for 'Best in Test Flying'. At the flying Instructors' course he won the trophy for being "Best in Ground Subjects". He was awarded commendation by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Air Command in 1979 and by the Chief of Air Staff in 1995.

Wing Commander Ramesh Rai was appointed Commanding officer of a Fighter Squadron on 28 December 95. On assuming command, he devoted himself with selfless commitment to raise the operational capability and performance of the Squadron. He intensified operational training learning and flying, particularly in Armament and Electronic Warfare. As a result, his Squadron won two trophies in exercise "Eklavya" for excellence in marksmanship. The Squadron undertook extensive study and trials of the Electronic Warfare Pod and evolved successful programmes and tactics against enemy Naval and Air Force radars which have now come to stay in the Air Force. Having excelled in all facets of operations, maintenance and administration, the Squadron won the "Best Fighter Squadron" trophy in the Command. These achievements were a result of his total devotion, professional dedication and leadership.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Mohit Kumar 16554 F(P)Unit : No.7 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Mohit Kumar (14674) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 29 Dec 76 in the flying branch of the Indian Air Force. He has flown 3600 hours on single engine jet fighter aircraft. He has undergone three professional courses and is a graduate of Royal Air Force Staff College, UK, where he was adjudged the best foreign student in the course. He has been commended twice by the Chief of the Air Staff for his creditable performance, first during the instructional tenure and then as Flight Commander of a Fighter Squadron.

Wing Commander Mohit Kumar has been the Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron since 21 April 97. During his tenure, the Squadron has performed exceedingly well in all disciplines. His exceptional qualities of leadership and his positive spirit have been instrumental in substantial improvement in the overall performance of the Squadron. This was amply proven during inspection visits by the Aircrew Examination Board and Directorate of Air Staff Inspection wherein the Squadron excelled itself in all facets. The high professional skills of the Squadron were also displayed during air to air firing of guns, missiles and also during Exercise Vayushakti98, wherein the Squadron scored direct hits with all the weapons fired.

Under his leadership and guidance, the Squadron was well knit into a cohesive team. With his deep sense of involvement and planning, he motivated his personnel to evolve innovative tactics and indigenous ideas. He has worked over and beyond the call of duty, thereby instilling in his men a high sense of dynamism, culture of pride and spirit to win. These steps have led to vastly improved skills in operational, maintenance and administrative aspects of his unit.

For his dynamic leadership, foresight, and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Mohit Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Suneel Shripad Soman 14681 F(P)Unit : No.52 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Suneel Shripad Soman (14681) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Fighter stream of Flying (Pilot) branch of the Indian Air Force on 29 December 76. During his meritorious service he has excelled in many fields gaining fully Op status on two fighter aircrafts. He is qualified Flying Instructor holding A-2 category and has been the Chief Instructor at the Flying Instructors School. He served as the Assistant Defence Advisor in Dhaka. Bangladesh from September 90 to May 94. He distinguished himself by producing a prize winning dissertation on Indo-Bangladesh affairs during the DSSC course. Wing Commander Soman has been the Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron since November 96. The task of the unit is to train the budding fighter pilots of the IAF. He assumed the command of the squadron just after the unit relocated at a new base that was reactivated after a long gap. The repair of operational and maintenance infrastructure had not yet reached the desired standard. Wing Commander Soman utilised his vast experience and outstanding leadership to recommence flying training within a very short duration. Simultaneously, he set about organising the maintenance facilities to ensure a constant availability of aircraft to sustain Squadron's flying effort. The net result was that the flying training was completed within the stipulated time frames. With his personal example and zealous application of his professional acumen Wing Commander Soman has been able to ensure a high standard of flying training to the ab-initio fighter pilots of Indian Air Force.

For outstanding professionalism, exemplary qualities of leadership, sustained hard work, commitment and involvement, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Suneel Shripad Soman.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Anthony Richard 15027 F(P)Unit : No.105 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Anthony Richard (15027) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 10 June 77 in the Flying branch of the IAF. He has held the appointments of the Unit Flight Commander, Chief Operations Officer and Senior Flight Safety Officer. In 1992 he was awarded Chief of the Air Staff's Commendation.

Wing Commander Anthony Richard was appointed the Commanding Officer of a helicopter Unit on 24 July 95. On taking over, he faced the challenge of improving the helicopter serviceability state which was 51%. With his dynamic leadership and managerial skills he motivated the unit technical staff and achieved 100% helicopter serviceability in August 96, which was achieved for the first time in the history of the unit. In addition, he also undertook significant additional tasks simultaneously to improve the overall aircrew Categorisation State and operational preparedness of the unit. There were a total of 58 upgradations/initial categorisation of the aircrew and the monthly average flying was improved from 135 hours to 215 hours. During the DASI and four AEB visits, the unit performance was above average. In January 97, the unit participated in the Inter Command Helicopter competition "Exercise Ranvijay" and won two trophies. He himself flew over 688 hours towards sensitive communication duties, flood relief operations, Air Force/ Army exercises and training of young pilots, thus creating an atmosphere of confidence among the aircrew to take up challenges. With foresight, accurate planning and perseverance, he provided a new purpose and direction to the unit personnel.

For his devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Anthony Richard.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Birender Singh Dhanoa 15405 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Birender Singh Dhanoa (15405) Flying (Pilot) has been commanding a Fighter Squadron since 31 March 97. His tenure has been characterized by consistent achievement of task and the highest standards of professionalism amongst aircrew. The personnel under his command are noticeable for their high morale. His Squadron has achieved every goal set for it. He has been instrumental in imparting to even junior aircrew the confidence that can only come from marked professionalism. He has encouraged them to lead and undertake the most challenging missions. By guidance and example, he has improved the armament delivery results of the Squadron. Inspite of having to train a number of UT Op pilots, he has made his Squadron an elite outfit and specialist Squadron in tactical photo reconnaissance. The Squadron under his command, has an unblemished safety record and in fact there have been two cases where pilots have brought back a stricken aircraft. This speaks volumes for Wing Commander Dhanoa's leadership qualities. His Squadron was awarded the 'Best Fighter Squadron' trophy of the Command in November 97.

For his dynamic leadership, devotion to duty and distinguished service, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Birender Singh Dhanoa.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Karan Vir Singh Pammar 15688 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Karan Vir Singh Parmar (15688) Flying (Pilot) is commanding a front line helicopter unit since 28 July 97. As commanding officer, he has involved himself deeply in all aspects of helicopter operations. He has worked with dedication and meticulous care in producing training notes for armament delivery from helicopter. He has also applied himself in analysis of the long standing problem of rocket firing and has evolved concepts for combat employment of the helicopter.

It is highly creditable that Wing Commander Parmar has achieved all this concurrently with commanding a unit involved in air maintenance in Saichen area. A keen flier himself, the officer has set a personal example for his subordinates to emulate. Under his guidance the unit has exceeded all previous levels of air maintenance wherein 1100 tonnes of load was lifted in three months. This was achieved at a time when it was critical for the operational posture in the sector.

In the course of this task, he has also improved the training status of the unit so that the maximum aircrew are now qualified for glacier operations. In achieving these tasks, he has shown a great ability to motivate and inspire personnel under his command to overcome physical discomfort and domestic difficulties for all round improvement.

For his continued professional competence and extreme devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Karanvir Singh Parmar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sher Singh 15718 F(P)Unit : AFS Thoise  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Sher Singh (15718) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Air Force Station, Thoise since 26 February 96 as Chief Operations Officer.

He took over as Chief Operations Officer in the "OP Meghdoot" sector under hostile conditions. In the war scenario of Op Meghdoot, he has shown exceptional courage and leadership by leading the team of pilots to do yeoman service in air maintaining all Siachen posts. On 26 August 96, when one of our helicopters crashed due to enemy action, he participated actively in recovering the bodies of his comrades from the crash site at Hoshiyar, braving an umbrella of enemy artillery and surface to air missile fire. Since then he has formulated Standard Operating Procedures in all threatened helipads by personally flying under exposed areas to get a first hand threat assessment.

By closely monitoring flying from dawnto-dusk, gathering intelligence reports, coordinating with Army for all the support servi ces round the clock, he has considerably contributed to the increase in tonnage achieved, as also a reduction in flying related incidents to a bare minimum in "OP Meghdoot" operations. The shifting of helicopter detachments from Thoise, which resulted in saving lakhs of rupees daily and the construction of a new runway at Base Camp are both his ideas.

For distinguished service of high order in this low intensity war zone of "OP Meghdoot", the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sher Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Girish Saini 15886 F(P)Unit : No.24 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Girish Saini (15886) Flying (Pilot) is a pilot from the fighter stream and has over 3000 hours of total flying experience to his credit. He is a qualified flying instructor and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College.

Wing Commander Girish Saini was appointed Commanding Officer of IAF's latest acquisition the prestigious SU-30 multi role Squadron in October 97. Soon after assuming command of the Squadron, Wing Commander Saini settled down to the task of building up his Squadron into an efficient and effective fighting unit. With his dynamic leadership qualities and a high degree of professionalism he has successfully guided his team of officers and men in fully exploring a new aircraft in an entirely new role. He has been intimately involved in flying missions on the SU-30 in order to explore the areas of air combat and air-to-ground armament delivery. Under his leadership, the Squadron has successfully demonstrated the capabilities of this potent weapon platform in various air shows across the country, including Vayu Shakti-98 where the fire power and pin point accuracy of armament delivery was witnessed by a large audience.

Wing Commander Girish Saini has led his Squadron with personal example of professionalism, devotion and dedication to duty in the highest tradition of Indian Air Force.

For his singular contribution in building a nascent Squadron equipped with the SU-30 aircraft into a strong operational unit and for demonstrating inspiring leadership qualities, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Girish Saini.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Anil Kumar Murgai 16212 F(P)Unit : Suryakiran  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Wing Commander Anil Kumar Murgai (16212) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a pilot in the flying branch on 13 December 80. He is an A-2 QFI, who also stood first in No. 16 IR1E course. He is an alumni of the Defence Services Staff College. The officer was posted to AF Stn Bidar on 09 May 96 as the Suryakiran aerobatic team deputy leader. Being an ex-Thunderbolts' pilot his guidance to the inexperienced pilots of the team was invaluable. It was due to his hard work, initiative and devotion to duty, that the team could build up to 7 ac status within a short time.

He was reposted to Bidar in March 97 as the team leader. With characteristic initiative and drive he harnessed the limited resources under him. It is to his credit that changes in the pilots of the 'Suryakiran' did not affect the performance of the team. In the golden jubilee year of India's Independence, the team was tasked to perform at short intervals at variety of venues all over the country. This entailed extensive practice, meticulous planning and execution. Each of these displays was greatly appreciated. A highlight was the historic formation acrobatic display over the Red Fort on 15 August 97.

Displaying total commitment and a very high degree of professionalism, Wing Commander Anil Kumar Murgai has believed in leading by personal example and leadership. Despite the very high risk involved and operating from different airfields, the team has had no incident/accident attributable to human error.

For exceptional professionalism and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Anil Kumar Murgai.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Sanjay Mittal 16773 F(P)Unit : Helicopter Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Sanjay Kumar Mittal, YSM (16773) Flying (Pilot), has been on the posted strength of HTS, AF since 28 April 96. He has been carrying out the duties of Flight Commander, No. 1 Sqn. On 24 October 97, Sqn Leader Sanjay Kumar Mittal, during an instructional Pilot Nav sortie with Pilot officer S. Bagga heard a loud explosive noise from the rear quarter. Immediately thereafter, the helicopter started losing height and cyclic control went into oscillatory to and fro motion. The symptoms presented by the aircraft were a rare occurrence and not commonly experienced in the helicopter fleet. Squadron Leader S Mittal instantly recognised the deteriorating conditions, and with great presence of mind elected to terminate the flight. The control forces being experienced from the oscillatory rotor became prohibitive and turned to churning as the ground was closing in. Sensing the incapability of single pilot control inputs he sought the assistance from the trainee in steering the aircraft away from the obstruction that loomed straight ahead. This timely action saved the crew from possible fatalities. By executing a controlled crash landing he also preserved the valuable evidence so that the cause of the technical defect could be ascertained.

Squadron Leader Mittal displayed situational awareness, alertness and professional competence of a very high order. His timely action averted possible fatalities and preserved valuable evidence.

For his professionalism and devotion to duty the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Sanjay Kumar Mittal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Nirmal Singh Jamwal 17156 F(P)Unit : No.24 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Nirmal Singh Jamwal (17156) Flying (Pilot), from the fighter stream has over 3000 hours of flying to his credit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, an Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner and has also qualified as an Experimental Test Pilot.

Squadron Leader NS Jamwal was selected for conversion on to the prestigious SU-30 multi role aircraft and underwent training in Russia. His test pilot background and the experience gained as a Qualified Flying Instructor enabled him to master the formidable SU-30 aircraft with professional ease. His delicate handling of such a large and heavy aircraft and manoeuvring with clockwork precision in a limited airspace speaks volumes of his professional ability. His deft handling of the aircraft and professional knowledge of the intricate flying characteristics of the SU-30 led to his being nominated as an aerobatic display pilot. He has successfully demonstrated the exceptional manoeuvrability of the SU-30 aircraft during various low level aerobatics displays on occasions of national importance including Republic/Independence Day, Vayu Shakti 98, Air Force Day and the Mumbai Air Show.

Squadron Leader Jamwal is a soft spoken individual who had always aimed for perfection and precision display with professional pride. With such an attitude and approach to the intricate task of aerobatic flying, he has been a source of inspiration to everyone.

For his dedication, devotion to duty and high degree of professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Nirmal Singh Jamwal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Sqn Ldr Arun Kumar Gandotra 20730 F(P)Unit : No.6 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Arun Kumar Gandotra (20730) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron since 09 January 95.

On 09 June 98, he was detailed to fly as number 4 in a four aircraft tactical formation on a fighter trainer aircraft at airfield. The aircraft was configured with two 1,200 litre drop tanks with 4,500 Kgs of total fuel. During take off, while unsticking at 155 Kts, he heard two thuds. He decided to abort take off considering the weight of the aircraft (13 ton), the elevation of the airfield, short runway length available and such a critical stage at which the decision was taken, he managed to handle the situation in an exemplary fashion and stopped the aircraft 1000' short of the barrier, without any undue strain or any damage to the aircraft, the rotary hydraulic arrester gear or the arrester barrier.

Post flight inspection revealed bird ingestion in both the engines. Further investigation revealed that the Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) on both the engines had shot up past 940 degree C, as a consequence to the bird ingestion, (limit for engine withdrawal being 790 degree C) and extensive damage was caused to both the engines. In case the take off had been continued, the EGT would have risen further, probably resulting in seizure/fire on both the engines, in which case both the pilots would have had to eject at a very critical stage and low altitude, and an aircraft would have been lost.

For his keen sense of situational awareness, quick reactions and exemplary handling of a react emergency which could have cost an aircraft, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Arun Kumar Gandotra.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 29th May 1999 - No.91-Pres/99 dated 26th January 1999 

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.