Awards for the year 1999


A total of 174 Awards are listed.
Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal : 1 | Param Vishist Seva Medal : 6 | Uttam Yudh Seva Medal : 3 | Ati Vishist Seva Medal : 12 | Vir Chakra : 2 | Shaurya Chakra : 1 | Yudh Seva Medal : 6 | Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) : 42 | Vishist Seva Medal : 28 | Mention in Despatches : 73 |
Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal
Air Marshal Vinod Patney 6125 F(P)Unit : Western Air Command  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Air Marshal Vinod Patney has been in command of Western Air Command since 01 April 97. Operation Vijay was launched to evict the enemy from Kargil heights in May1999. Western Air Command was given the responsibility for conduct of air operations in the area. Use of Air Power in such mountainous terrain had no precedence in the past. The enemy was entrenched at heights of 15,000 feet and above and was well equipped with mobile Surface to Air Missiles. The rules of engagement of target by our aircraft were constrained and the higher directions of war mandated implicit respect of the Line of Control. Despite these limitations, Air Marshal Vinod Patney effectively mobilised the forces placed under him to plan and execute the operational plan. The Indian Army was under pressure from enemy ground forces, but as soon as the IAF went into action, the tide was turned. Initial loss of aircraft was analysed in a professional and confident manner and new tactics were developed. Air attacks continued with devastating effect. With his incisive ability he took bold decisions to direct air attacks on enemy targets, which resulted in inflicting maximum damage on the war making po tential of the enemy. The enemy capitulated in a time span shorter than anticipated. The tangible success of air operations eventually enabled the Army to physically eject the intruders with minimal losses.

The success of air operations in Op Vijay was highly decisive and without parallel in the history of aerial warfare. The outstanding leadership provided by Air Marshal Vinod Patney during this period was the clinching factor for success of air operations. His professional abilities and willingness to take bold decisions in war effectively proved to be the turning point in the military victory in Op Vijay.

Air Marshal Vinod Patney displayed professional leadership and devotion to duty of the highest order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Jagbir Singh Rai 6507 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Marshal JS Rai VM & Bar was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force on 26 May 1962 as a transport pilot. He has over 10,800 hours of flying on various types of aircraft and helicopters on the inventory of the Indian Air Force.

Air Marshal JS Rai, as a young officer, served for long in the valleys of NEFA, flying Otters and Dakotas. Thereafter, he became a Qualified Flying Instructor and has since then trained numerous trainees to graduate as aviators in the Indian Air Force. During his last stint on Instructional assignments, he has also held appointments of Flight Commander and Chief Instructor of Training Establishments. His staff appointments include Inspector at Directorate of Air Staff Inspections and Director of Operations (Transport and Helicopters) at Air Headquarters. He has also served as Senior Air Staff Officer at HQs Southern Air Command and Training Command. For his long and intimate association with operational flying, he has been appointed Commodore Commandant of No. 59 Squadron, Air Force in Nov 1991. He is an alumni of National Defence College.

For Command appointments, the Air Marshal has commanded 2209 Missile Squadron, Air Force Station, Suryalanka, No. 49 Squadron and Air Force Station, Yelahanka. Prior to his appointment as Senior Air Staff Officer at Training Command, he held the appointment of Commandant of National Defence Academy. He took over as Air Officer Commanding-inChief of Training Command, IAF on 01 Jan 1998. Air Marshal JS Rai has introduced new flying pattern for more efficient and cost-effective training of pilots. He has been instrumental in analysing critical problems connected with maintenance of HPT-32 aircraft and in initiating remedial measures in consultation with various DRDO organizations to restore confidence of the Instructors and trainees in the aircraft. Under his able and dynamic leadership, the Commanders and Supervisors in the field have displayed a greater sense of commitment and dedication resulting in better flying environment and highest standard of training. His imaginative management of resources has caused the infrastructure at the training institutions as also living conditions for personnel to greatly improve.

Air Marshal JS Rai VM & Bar has thus rendered distinguished service of most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Darshan Singh Basra 6519 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Marshal Darshan Singh Basra AVSM VM was commissioned as a fighter pilot in May 1962. In 36 years of distinguished service he has held several important Command and Staff appointments. That his service was of exceptional order was recognised by the award of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal to him. He is a graduate of Military College, Paris, a Pilot Armament Instructor and a Fighter Combat Leader. He was one of the founder members of the prestigious TACDE. In the Indo-Pak war of 1971 he successfully undertook night strike operations deep inside enemy territory. His accurate night attacks at Sargodha airfield, famous for its fortress like defences, are still quoted in aviation circle for fearlessness and cool professionalism.

He has the distinction of commanding fighter Squadron twice (Gnat and MiG-21). Both his tenures recorded Nil accident rate. Air Force Station, Bareilly - a major fighter base not only peaked operationally under his command but also saw introduction of local purchase procedures which led to huge saving and better utilisation of funds. His vast experience and knowledge resulted in a much better Inter Service Co-operation when he was Air Officer Commanding Advance HQ WAC.

As SASO Eastern Air Command, his acute analysis and sound recommendations led the Air Force to introduce Type Training Instructors for MOFT Units and an improved syllabus for training. These measures have resulted in a qualify improvement of pilot training.

It is extremely difficult to detect an aircraft in mountainous region due to limitations of radars. When Intelligence Reports indicated that insurgent groups in East would resort to air drop of weapons, he successfully evolved procedures to detect and thwart such schemes within the existing resources. His wide field experience, broad knowledge base and outstanding resolve to use resources efficiently led to an optimum utilization of the transport fleet in EAC.

He took over as SASO, Western Air Command in Mar 98. In a short span he has set into motion a variety of measures aimed at sharpening the fighting edge of the most important command of the IAF. These are all expected to fructify shortly.

Air Marshal Darshan Singh Basra AVSM VM (6519) Flying (Pilot) has thus rendered distinguished service of most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Vinod Kumar Verma 6528 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Marshal Vinod Kumar Verma AVSM VM was commissioned in Indian Air Force as a Fighter Pilot on 26 May 1962. In 36 years of his distinguished service career he has had the distinction of Commanding a premier Fighter Squadron and subsequently an Operational Fighter Base. He has flown various types of front line fighter aircraft, which include Jaguar, MiG-29 and Mirage-2000. The Air officer is a Graduate of the National Defence College and has held a number of Command and Staff Appointments. He was one of the founder members of the prestigious Tactical Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) where he has served as Commandant. He was Air Advisor at the Indian High Commission in UK. He was awarded Vayu Sena Medal in 1965 Indo-Pak conflict and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1989 for his distinguished services.

His vast reservoir of knowledge and professionalism were amply displayed during his staff tenures as Director Offensive Ops and Director Personnel Officers as well as during the diplomatic assignment at UK.

Air Mshl VK Verma was appointed Air Officer In Charge Personnel in Apr 96. He is responsible for all aspects of Personnel Planning, Induction, Training and Education. He has discharged all these functions with distinction. He took over as chairman of the Principal Personnel Officers Committee (PPOC) in Mar 98 and has been responsible for coordinating action on all Inter Service/ Tri Service issues.

Air Mshl VK Verma AVSM VM has thus rendered distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Dinesh Chandra Dhyani 6590 ADMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Marshal DC Dhyanl AVSM VSM was commissioned in the Administrative Branch of the 1AF on 23 Jun 62. In a career spanning over 36 years, he has distinguished himself and brought laurels to the organisation through his professionalism, sincerity and unimpeachable integrity.

He has held a large number of prestigious field and staff appointments in his rise to the highest post in Administrative Branch. In every appointment he has left an indelible stamp of excellence through his thorough appreciation of the nuances of the tasks at hand and his vision towards qualitative upgradation of the areas under his control. The Air Officer was the recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal in 1985 for professional excellence and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1997 for the distinguished services of a very high order. As Air Officer in charge Administration for nearly three years, he has brought in work ethos that has seen various aspects of Administration to come through with timely and effective actions. His tenure has seen significant impetus to genuine and long term welfare measures that have won the accolades of the recipients across the entire strata of personnel and families. Recognising the serious situation with regard to married accommodation, the Air Officer was instrumental in shifting the emphasis of new works to Married Accommodation. Considerable progress has already been achieved. The new Group Insurance Scheme, the Medical Insurance Scheme, enhancement in Housing and Vehicle loans, introduction of loans to purchase Computers and many other innovative welfare measures have fructified under his tutelage. In the field of Adventure sports, his encouragement and involvement saw the IAF winning a place in the International arena and today our contribution to Adventure sports is acknowledged not only in India but also in the world. In every facet of Administration, whether in support of operations, welfare, discipline, security or financial management his wholesome involvement and guidance are distinctly visible.

Air Marshal DC Dhyanl AVSM VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Velayadhun Girish Kumar 6747 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Marshal Velayudhan Girish Kumar AVSM VM is on the posted strength of the Directorate General of Defence Planning Staff, Chiefs of Staff Committee, Ministry of Defence since 02 Jun 97.

He has over 8000 hours of flying to his credit. He has held many key Command, Staff and Instructional appointments in the IAF. In his present appointment as Director General of the Defence Planning Staff he heads the highest level inter-services organisation in the country providing forecasts and analysis on issues of utmost importance to the nation and the armed forces. In this regard, he has carried out several incisive studies, including forecast of the future Indo-US security concerns and a prognosis of the economic and military trends in a neighbouring country. These analyses have proved to be extraordinarily accurate in the light of events that have unfolded over the past year.

He has formulated policy imperatives governing strategic weapons and their command and control. He has also examined indepth the higher defence organisation of the country which has been well received at the highest quarters.

While dealing with international relations, he has been projecting an excellent image of the armed force and the Government of India. He also hosted several foreign delegations on their visit to India and put across the rationale for India's foreign policy and military posture very effectively.

As regards inter-services issues, Air Marshal Kumar has played an extremely effective role in promoting jointness in the Services with respect to operational, fiscal, equipment and personnel policies. In this context, he was instrumental in formulating the Ninth Defence Plan in a manner acceptable to the three Services and the Government. As an Advisor to the Chiefs of Staff Committee, he has provided valuable insights and recommendations to resolve major issues affecting the three Services, including measures to optimize scarce resources available to the armed forces.

Air Marshal Velayudhan Girish Kumar AVSM VM has thus rendered distinguished service of the highest order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Shanti Swaroop Gupta 6805 AEMUnit : Maintenance Command  Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Marshal Shanti Swaroop Gupta AVSM VSM took over as the Air Officer Commandingin-Chief of Maintenance Command on 01 Aug 97. Within a short span of time after taking over, with his dynamism and vision, he transformed the entire work culture of Maintenance Command. All the BRDs and Equipment Depots have been connected to Command HQ through modems. Exchange of information about the inventory, which runs into several lakhs, is now being done on computers. Similarly, the information on items which have been indigenised was compiled from various agencies and the Command now has records of more than 1.7 lakhs such items. Establishment of a huge data base and quick transfer of information has been of immense help in executive decision making. This resulted in reduction of inventory levels and a large inventory which was non-moving started moving. Effective utilisation of procurement powers in respect of decentralised ranges consisting of HPT32, Kiran, Dornier aircraft, Cheetah/Chetak helicopters, Clothing and MT, has resulted in reduction of stock holdings and cash out flows annually, besides ensuring high level of availability of items.

A cell was formed at HQ Maintenance Command for monitoring and reducing the outstanding AOGs. This Cell has made very significant achievements, as the complete procedures for meeting the AOG demands were revised and streamlined. A regular feed back is now given to operational commands on the status of their outstanding demands. Concept of Base Repair Depot acting as Mother Depot has been implemented in letter and spirit.

A number of studies were carried out under the guidance of Air Mshl Gupta which have resulted in savings amounting to millions of dollars which otherwise would have had to be paid to the foreign vendors. These include studies on life extension of AN-32 and MiG-29 aircraft indigenously.

Since import of spares from abroad is becoming costlier and also in some cases these items were not available, he launched a major drive for indigenization of spares. This programme included holding of seminars and exhibitions with the help of Confederation of Indian Industries to encourage the entrepreneurs to meet the requirements of the Indian Air Force indigenously. He also undertook programmes for modernization of infrastructure at the BRDs, so that many of the sample spares required could be manufactured at the Depots. As a result of these measures more than one thousand items our of approximately 2000 required for overhaul of bare airframe of MiG-29 aircraft have been indigenized.

Air Marshal Shanti Swaroop Gupta AVSM VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
AVM Satinder Singh Dhillon 7980 AEMUnit : Western Air Command  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Satinder Singh Dhillon was commissioned on 17 Oct 63 in Engineering branch of the IAF. For his distinguished service, he was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal in 1981 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1999.

AVM SS Dhillon has been working as Senior Maintenance Staff Officer, Western Air Command since 30 Jun 97. With his foresight, astute planning and perseverance, he was able to provide anew purpose and direction to the maintenance personnel at the field units.

During Kargil conflict, the officer toured the units extensively to have first-hand information on maintenance activities. He, thereafter, interacted with the repair agencies to maximize serviceability of aircraft and ground support systems. All vital systems of the aircraft, radar and Nav Aids were thoroughly checked during the preparatory phase to ensure optimal performance. The most significant results of his endeavors was the remarkable feat of maintaining an average serviceability of deployed fighter aircraft above 95% and Radars near 100% throughout the operations.

The officer had a daunting task of making up deficiencies of either Air Armament Weapons or their matching fusing com-ponents at the forward bases. Due to his dedicated, diligent and selfless professional approach, Western Air Command was able to affect movement of more than 2500 tons of Armament stores to our forward bases by Air/ Road.

Air Vice Marshal, SS Dhillon thus ren-dered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
AVM Jaganadhan Kumar Pathania 8053 ADMUnit : Western Air Command  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal JK Pathania was commissioned on 11 Dec 1963 in Administrative branch. During his service career of 36 years he has held important field and staff assignments. He is a graduate of DSSC and is a recipient of Vishisht Seva Medal and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. During Op 'Safed Sagar', he was Senior Officer in-charge Administration at HQ WAC IAF. Immediately on declaration of operations, he initiated essential and vital measures at forward operational bases in J&K Sector, Punjab and Haryana to support sustained air operation. Augmented manpower was properly received, distributed and requisite admin facilities were set uphill record time. Security arrangements at bases particularly at Srinagar and Awantipur were promptly beefed up through effective ground defence system and camouflaging to provide safe working environment. Emergency works services were planned and initiated most efficiently. Admin support systems like uninterrupted stabilised electric and water supply were monitored and maintained to ensure that air operations are not hampered at bases due to these factors. Runway rehabilitation schemes were formulated, practiced and kept in a high state of preparedness to meet any contingency. The administrative requirements of the forward bases were closely monitored through personal visits and constant dialogue with commanders to ensure optimum admin efficiency and high state of morale of the personnel in the field.

Air Vice Marshal JK Pathania thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
AVM Narayan Menon 9005 F(P)Unit : Jammu & Kashmir  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Narayan Menon was the first person from the 1AF involved in Op 'Safed Sagar'.

On 10 May 99, he was requested by the MGGS North Com for assistance to heli-lift additional troops into the area of intrusion as also to provide armed helicopters to dislodge the intruders. The officer was able to respond to the first request, but the second request needed a political decision. While this was awaited, at the officer's insistence, helicopters were armed and readied and crews were trained. AVM Menon encouraged and monitored all aspects of the armament training at high altitude.

As the situation grew increasingly serious, so the officer's involvement in joint planning increased as well. In addition, it was also decided to utilise his expertise at Srinagar. When a final decision was taken to utilise the IAF, AVM Menon oversaw the planning and execution of all missions. His methodical, reasoned and balanced approach was beneficial to those who supported him while planning, and a major, calming influence on pilots who had suffered the loss of contemporaries. With his keenly analytical brain, AVM Menon's ability to discern a problem and react appropriately led to a complete revision of tactics. The eventual adoption of these methods led to no further loss of man or machine. Also, despite conducting ops at altitudes and over terrain hitherto unthought of accuracy levels and efficacy of attacks kept increasing. AVM Menon's team was able to keep continuous pressure by night as well as during undercast conditions, thus maintaining a stranglehold on the enemy and leading to an early cessation of hostilities.

AVM Narayan Menon thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Manek Bomanshaw Madon 7681 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Manek Bomanshaw Madon VM & Bar (7681) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the IAF as a pilot on 28 Oct 63. He has commanded a frontline fighter squadron, been the Chief Operations Officer at Srinagar and commanded a premier fighter base. He has also held demanding staff appointments like the Air-I of an Operational Command and a Project Manager in the MoD. He is an alumnus of the National Defence College. He was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry in 1971 war and a Bar to it for distinguished service in 1985. He has almost 5000 hours of accident free flying. In every appointment the Air Officer has acquitted himself with credit.

AVM MB Madon has been the Commandant of the Air Force Academy since December 1995. During his tenure, the Alma Mater of all the Air Force pilots and non-technical ground duty officers has undergone a sea change with an aesthetically appealing face­lift and a quantum leap in the standard of training. The cadets who graduate from here are enthused with a fire born out of conviction and dedication that only a thorough professional can inspire. In all aspects of training, from flying to class-room activity to extra­curriculum fora, he has put his indelible stamp of uncompromising quality. During his tenure, all training has been successfully completed within the stipulated time frame regardless of natural or other constraints and hurdles. Providing leadership by personal, example has been his hallmark. With the induction of trainees of technical courses, the Air Force Academy today is racing towards its ultimate aim of becoming an Air University. Complicated and sophisticated joint training programme were drawn out within a short span of two months without compromising on the standards of ongoing training. This task was meticulously completed by AVM Madon with attention to every detail.

Air Vice Marshal Manek Bomanshaw Madon VM & Bar has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Dinesh Chandra Nigam 7938 AELUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal DC Nigam (7938) was commissioned on 07 Oct 63 in the Aeronautical Engineering Branch of the IAF. He has since held many prestigious appointments such as Chief Engineering Officer at Barielly, Chief Officer at 9 RRU, Chief Systems Officer at Radar and Communication Project Office (RCPO),

DMPQ & A at Air HQs and the

officiating Director General, RCPO. He is a Post graduate from Greenfield Institute of Technology, UK and Graduate of the National Defence College. For his distinguished service of a high order he was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal in 1985.

Air Vice Mshl Nigam is the Global Coordinator of Integrated Material Management Online System (IMMOLS) project since 26 May 97. He has been associated with 1MMOLS project since its inception and has been closely involved with the drawing up of the contract:, setting up of suitable working environment, for the TCS consultants, maintaining close co­ordination between plethora of agencies in the Ministry, scientific, audit and finance organisations etc. His efforts resulted in completion of the System Study Phase with minimal delay.

During the study phase AVM Nigam also ensured that the Wide Area Network (WAN) for Online information requirement was changed to be based on Satellite Communication where the P & T circuits and tropo communications were found to be suboptimal solutions. The change in proposal required allocation of space segments, additional financial outlays and approval and coordination with a plethora of agencies. The processing of this change and related cases was entirely done by AVM Nigam and his personal contribution is commendable.

Air Vice Marshal DC Nigam, VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Satinder Singh Dhillon 7980 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Satinder Singh Dhillon, VSM (7980) AE (M), was commissioned on 17 AVSM 1999 Oct. 63 in the Engineering branch of the IAF. He completed the Flying course in 1971 and has the rare distinction of being an engineer as well as a fighter pilot. He has held prestigious appointments of Chief Engineering Officer at Ambala, Command Engineering Officer at Western Air Command and Air Officer Commanding of a Base Repair Depot. For the distinguished service rendered by him in the past, he was commended by the Chief of Air Staff in 1977 and awarded Vishisht Seva Medal in 1981.

AVM SS Dhilion was appointed Senior Maintenance Staff Officer, Western Air Command on 30 Jun 97. With his foresight, indepth professional, knowledge, accurate planning and perseverance, he was able to provide a now thrust and direction to the personnel at field units. He built them into a cohesive team to work dedicatedly towards the operational preparedness of Western Air Command and hence the Indian Air Force. The officer worked zealously towards 'Self­Help' approach to maintain optimum serviceability of Air force equipment and encouraged units to undertake repairs on indigenous substitution of modules otherwise considered beyond their purview. This not only improved their operational status but also resulted in a substantial saving to the tune of about 40 lakhs during the year 1997-98.

The officer formed “Think Tank" concept and initiated “Quality Audit" programme to improve work culture and maintenance hygiene of field units. Due to his dedicated and selfless professional approach, Western Air Command was able to maintain very high serviceability of aircraft fleet, AD Radars and other maintenance support services throughout the year. During Exercise 'Trishul-98', the Command maintained a very high serviceability of 98% for all aircraft and near 100% for radars.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Gulshan Kumar Kawatra 8001 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Gulshan Kumar Kwatra was commissioned on 06 April 1964 in Engineering Branch of the 1AF. He performed creditably during 1971 War for which he was Mentioned in Despatches. He has held appointments of Chief Engineering Officer at Uttarlai and at Bidar, Chief of Planning and Chief of Aircraft at a Base Repair Depot and staff appointments at Air Headquarters. He has also been on deputation to the Botswana Defence Force.

For his distinguished service he was also awarded Vishisht Seva Medal.

Presently, he is appointed as Director Maintenance Plans and Quality Assurance at Air Headquarters since 01 Nov 96, where he has analysed numerous maintenance problems and initiated prompt remedial measures. His efforts have resulted in enhancing flight safety, streamlining maintenance practices/ giving impetus to indigenisation and improving work efficiency. He has been responsible for speedy introduction of quality control measures which resulted in ensuring high cleanliness standard of aircraft fuels. His singular involvement in introduction of measures to streamline the process of technical defect reporting and investigation have contributed immensely in taking timely preventive measures. He has also been responsible for successful and timely completion of trials on cocooning of Pechora equipment, which enabled the 1AF to save valuable equipment life, reduce maintenance expenditure and maintain combat equipment in operational readiness.

His other significant contributions include pioneering work towards recognition of military aviation skills for entry to civil aviation sector, measures to overcome tech cadre shortage, contribution towards retention of specialised skills and introduction of modem training facilities for skill development in handling state of art weapon systems. Air Vice Marshal Kwatra is also a fellow of Aeronautical Society of India and member of various National Advisory Panels and Committees.

Air Vice Marshal Gulshan Kumar Kwatra, VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of exceptional.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Jagnandan Kumar Pathania 8053 ADMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Jagnandon Kumar Pathania VSM was commissioned in Administrative branch on 21 Dec 63. During his career of over 35 years he has acquitted himself commendably in a broad spectrum of challenging assignments which include Chief Operations Officer of an operational Unit, Joint Director of Air Staff inspection, Chief Administrative Officer of the largest transport base, Director of Pay, Pension and Regulations and Commandant, Air Force Administrative College. For distinguished service of a high order he was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal in 1985. He was also Mentioned in Despatches in the 1971 war.

As Operations Officer of an Air Defence Directions Centre, he displayed a very high level of professional

skill and contributed effectively to the Air Defence of the nation, both in times of peace and war. Due to his professional excellence he was selected for the advanced intercept course on Mirage­2000 aircraft in France. As a Chief Admin Officer, the officer performed exceedingly well and contributed substantially in improving operational efficiency and the quality of life of the personnel. As Director of Pay, Pension & Regulations, he was instrumental in settling the long outstanding issues in pay fixation, restoration

of technical pay and

sanction of field allowances. As Commandant, Air Force Admin College, the officer was able to innovate new ideas to enhance the quality of training. The college was adjudged as the best ground training institution during his tenure.

In Jan 97, he took over as SOA, Central Air Command. He set out with the task with a clear vision to ensure that efficient administrative cover was provided to the units under the Central Air Command. He revised policies in all disciplines of administration and gave special emphasis on work services, non-public funds and personnel/discipline. matters. He was singularly responsible for organising Defence Exhibition at Lucknow In Mar 90 which proved a great success.

Air Vice Marshal Jagnandon Kumar Pathania VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Vanacharla Anjaneyulu 8609 ACCTUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Vancharla Anjaneyulu (8609) Accounts was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 27 Jun 64.

AVM Anjaneyulu was appointed as Director of Accounts at Air HQ in Feb 96 and is the senior most officer of the Accounts Branch in the IAF. He brought about a significant change in the philosophy of accounting services by making it committed to the operational needs. His perserveance resulted in the setting up a hi-tech computer system at AFCAO which had been awaiting clearance from MoD for many years.

Successful exploitation of Op Network system for computerized data transfer of monthly pay entitlement to field units has resulted in the saving of cost and time involved in a manual movement of pay slips through airmen escorts. He was instrumental in obtaining MoD clearance for authorization of cash handling and disbursement by warranted ranks of all trades. Meticulous forward planning resulted in timely implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission recommendations. His involvement saw significant reduction in the non performing assets of Non Public Funds of the IAF. In a career spanning over three decades, the Air Officer has held a number of prestigious appointments including two tenures as Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Central Accounts Officer and many important staff appointments at Air HQ.

The dedication, vision, conceptual ability and professionalism of AVM Anjaneyulu have proved highly beneficial to the Service. Air Vice Marshal Vancharla Anjaneyulu has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Har Prakash Singh Sidhu 11051 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Commodore Harprakash Singh Sidhu, VSM (11051) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 04 June 1967 in the fighter stream. He was awarded VSM in 1987 whilst in command of a MiG­21 Bis Squadron, Since then he has held the appointments of Senior Instructor (Air) at DSSC, Station Commander at AF Station, Sirsa and Air­I at HQ Western Air Command.

As Station Commander Sirsa he established and oversaw the successful conduct, of an MiG Operational Flying Training course to overcome the back lot in the IAF. In 1993, his Station was inundated with flood waters. By quick reaction and enterprise, he led his men to save service property worth crores and rapidly restore high operational status. This was recognised by DASI as well as with the award of the WAC trophy. As Air­I at WAC, he was instrumental in twice drawing up the Command Operational Instructions and for successful conduct of major operational exercises and flypasts.

Air Commodore Sidhu was appointed Air Officer Commanding of AF Station, Bareilly on 01 Apr 97. Using his vast experience, he quickly reviewed operational plans and infrastructure to upgrade them for improved efficiency and productivity. Personally supervising the utilisation of limited funds, he ensured implementation of an optimal maintenance programme and improved welfare services. The Station had extensive growth of vegetation causing high bird activity and was becoming a flight safety hazard.

Air Commodore Sidhu developed innovative methods to control vegetation and bird activity, leading to improved flight safety. Despite short notice, he oversaw the successful conduct of an adhoc Type Qualified Flying Instructors Course (Helicopters) to meet the critical shortfall of instructors.

Air Commodore Harprakash Singh Sidhu, VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Sudhir Sah 11648 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Commodore Sudhir Sah VM (11648) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a pilot on 02 Jun 68. A Qualified Flying Instructor, and Senior Instructor (Air) at Defence Services Staff College, he was awarded Vayu Sena Medal for exemplary professional skill while commanding a helicopter unit. In the 1971 conflict he was Mentioned-in Despatches. He has commanded an Air Force Station and also led an IAF training team to Mauritius.

He was appointed Senior Air Staff Officer of HQ AOC J&K on 09 May 97 where his responsibility has been air Maintenance in Siachen Glacier for “Op Meghdoot". During 1997 winter, unprecedented bad weather and heavy enemy shelling depleted stocks at some posts to critical levels. On 04 Nov 97 he flew to a high altitude post, despite heavy enemy shelling to deliver urgent supplies. Subsequent1y, he flew to another crucial post and landed back at Base Camp while it was being shelled. His leadership raised confidence levels and morale of young aircrew and also helped in formulating Standard Operating Procedures for flying during enemy shelling. His managerial skills, planning ability, team development, dedication and devotion to duty maximised Air Maintenance. For Op Meghdoot, stocks at all posts were substantially built up in record time.

Air Commodore Sudhir Sah VM has thus rendered distinguished service of exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Basudev Banerjee 11654 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Commodore BASUDEV BANERJEE (11654) Air Commodore Basudev Banerjee (11654) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Fly­ AVSM 1999 ing Branch on 02 Jun 68. He has been Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Air Force Station, Yelahanka since 12 May 97.

As AOC of a premier Flying Training School (FTS) he has been responsible for imparting training to young pilots and navigators of the IAF on four different types of twin engine transport aircraft and helicopters. Despite several challenges, Air Commodore Basudev Banerjee has ensured very high standard of training and flight safety consistently over past eighteen months.

In addition to his abovementioned responsibilities, he was also given the enormous task of conducting prestigious international Aerospace Exposition Aero-India 98 in December 98. He was entrusted with great responsibilities of building the required infrastructure in a brief time frame, upgrade the flight safety environment including modern navigation equipment, augment administrative infrastructure and formulate methodology for flying display. Air Commodore Banerjee, by his perspective planning, conceptual skill and untiring efforts achieved the herculean task and made Aero-India 98 a great success. The air show earned an international appreciation.

Air Commodore Banerjee has earlier commanded a helicopter unit in offensive role in the desert sector. He also commanded a Helicopter Base in the Western Sector. He has held important staff appointments at Air Headquarters and instructional assignments in the Defence Services Staff College.

Air Commodore Basudev Banerjee has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Gurnam Singh Chaudhary 11870 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Commodore Gurnam Singh Chaudhary VSM (11870) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the fighter stream of IAF on 29 Dec 1968. During his long service, he has excelled in every field gaining fully ops status on a number of fighter air craft. He is a graduate of the Experimental Test Pilot School and also an alumni of the Defence Services Staff College. He commanded a frontline strike squadron with distinction. As a test pilot he has been involved in the test flying for some very important projects. For his distinguished service as Joint Director, Air Staff Requirement he was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal in 1992.

He was appointed Air Officer Commanding of Air Force Station, Tezpur in May 97. The major task of his Station has been to impart operational, training to young fighter AVSM 1999-2000 pilots of the IAF. With his able leadership, this task has been achieved admirably. This is borne out by the quality of officers who completed their training at the Station. He is a dynamic leader whose zealous application of managerial skills was instrumental in bringing up the airfield environment. High grading achieved by the units under his command during inspections by Directorate­ of Air Staff Inspection reflects the professional standards and excellence the station achieved under the dynamic leadership of Air Commodore Chaudhary. With personal, involvement and optimization of resources, he has controlled expenditure of Public funds, improved the functioning of NonPublic funds and MES works services. He has been instrumental in initiation of a large number of welfare activities on the station to improve the quality of life and to keep the morale of the personnel high at a place badly affected by internal security problems.

Air Commodore Gurnam Singh Chaudhary VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Shiv Kumar Bhan 12510 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Cmde Bhan was posted to Directorate of Ops as Joint Director Technical Operations (JDTO) from Apr 95 to Dec 97. He immersed himself in the complexities of the job and involved himself in tackling numerous problems of air operations faced by fighter squadrons. He took active part in reviewing and formulating the Air Force Doctrine which was being formulated for the first time. He drew on his vast experience and conceptual skills to update orders and instructions, review the course syllabus of TACDE, establish the Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumented Range at Jamnagar, and tackle the myriad of problems that arose with regard to the management of the Ground Attack fleet. During the year 1995-96 there had been a significant increase in aircraft accident rate due to ricochets in air to ground front gun firing, which forced the IAF to temporari1y suspend the front gun firing. Air Cmde Bhan initiated a thorough review of the attack patterns and showed rare initiative in seeking information from other air forces on the design of targets, attack patterns etc. He then formulated definitive recommendations for remedial measures to avoid ricochets. As a result, front gun firing was resumed. He was instrumental in starting Armament Training Camps for fighter squadrons which have gone a long way in improving the Operational capability of the IAF. During his tenure as JDTO he held Officiating charge as D Ops Offensive for over a year, but despite discharging two onerous functions simultaneously he did not let the quality of his work suffer and set an example for others to follow.

Air Commodore Shiv Kumar Bhan VM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Murali Sundaram 12369 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 99 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Air Commodore Murli Sundaram (12369) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the fighter: stream of Flying (Pilot) branch of the Indian Air Force on 13 Jun 70. Through out his long and distinguished career, the Air Officer has excelled in every field, gaining fully ops status on MiG­21 variants, Hunters, Jaguars and Mirages. He is a qualified flying instructor holding A­1 category. During his tenure at the Flying Instructors School, he was instrumental

in

prototype evaluation and induction of current generation of trainers in the Training Command. He commanded a Jaguar squadron with distinction. Prior to his current appointment, he worked as Director Operations (Joint Planning) at Air Headquarters. He successfully planned IndoUS Cooperation meetings and the conduct of Aero India 96 at Bangalore.

He was appointed Air Officer Commanding of Air Force Station, Chabua in Mar 97. The major task of his station is to impart op training to budding fighter pilots of the 1AF. With his concerted efforts, all the tasks were completed on time. With zealous application of his professional acumen, managerial skills and untiring perseverance, he has brought about a sea change at the base in the airfield environment and maintenance practices.

With personal involvement and optimization of resources, he has brought all around eco­nomy in expenditure. To over come acute shortage of accommodation at his station, he has started a temporary housing scheme that has helped in improving the quality of life of all personnel.

Air Commodore Murli Sundaram has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 1999 Number: 

Vir Chakra
Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja 17864 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date 27 May 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja (17864-A) Flying (Pilot) was the Flight Commander of a MiG–21 Squadron inducted Srinagar for the Kargil Operations. On 27th May 1999, he was planned to lead a two aircraft mission for Photo reconnaissance of enemy positions in the Batalik Sector. As he was getting airborne he was informed that Flight Lieutenant Nachiketa had ejected in the vicinity of Muntho Dhalo. Squadron Leader Ahuja immediately realized the necessity of locating and recovering the downed pilot. He changed his mission profile and set course towards Muntho Dhalo. Despite being told that surface to air missiles were being fired in the area, Squadron Leader Ahuja carried out orbits to try and pinpoint the location of the crashed aircraft and pilot. He sent his No. 2 back to base but himself continued the search, ignoring the threat to his own life.

By sheer perseverance, he was able to locate the crash site and transmitted this information to the rescue helicopters. Unfortunately, at this stage, his own aircraft was hit by a surface to air missile. With exemplary presence of mind and cool professionalism, he attempted to nurse the aircraft towards a safer area. But when the aircraft engine flamed out Squadron Leader Ahuja had no choice but to eject. He ejected safely and had the presence of mind to transmit his last recorded ground position.

On 28th May 1999 the body of Squadron Leader Ahuja was handed over to Indian authorities. The body bore two bullet injuries.

Squadron Leader Ahuja displayed exceptional courage in going beyond the call of duty while searching for a downed brother officer.

Reference: Gazette of India , 26th January 2000 - No.18 - Pres/2000 dated 11th March 2000 

Vir Chakra
Wg Cdr Anil Kumar Sinha 16074 F(P)Unit : No.129 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 28 May 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wing Commander Anil Kumar Sinha (16074) F(P), has been the Commanding Officer of a Mi-17 helicopter unit since 27th May 1997.

On 28th May, 1999, Wing Commander Sinha was the leader of a four aircraft formation, which was tasked to fly a live air to ground rocket attack, on feature 5140 located on the Tololing ridge. The enemy, located on this ridge, was bringing down accurate fire on the highway linking Srinagar with Leh.

The enemy was armed with shoulder fired Stinger air to surface missiles and were firing these missiles at the formation. Two of the missiles missed Wing Commander Sinha’s helicopter and was seen in a video recording. It was during this attack that the number three aircraft of the formation was shot down, killing all four crew members. The rocket attack was successful and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

The leadership and sense of commitment, displayed by the officer in the face of danger to himself and his aircraft was in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India , 26th January 2000 - No.18 - Pres/2000 dated 11th March 2000 

Shaurya Chakra
Sepoy Sukhbir Singh 14367197 ORUnit : 914 DSC Platoon  Award Date 08 Aug 97 Announced 26 Jan 99
Details :

Sukhbir Singh, was on the posted strength of 914 DSC Platoon attached to HQ CAU (U), AF since 05 Apr 97.

While on annual leave in his village Khandsa, Gurgaon (Haryana), Sepoy Sukhbir Singh noticed some thieves stealing items from the godowns of Jaipur Golden Transport Company by breaking the wall. He woke up his four brothers and a neighbour and armed with sticks. They all went to the site of the robbery. They surrounded the godown of the Transport Company as the thieves tried to escape in a Maruti Van. The criminals were brandishing knives and revolvers and warned Sepoy Sukhbir Singh and party not to interfere. Undeterred, Sukhbir Singh caught hold of the driver of the van. In the ensuing scuffle he was fired upon by another person sitting in the rear. The Sepoy was hit in the chest and fell to the ground, seriously wounded. He succumbed to the injury on the way to the hospital.

Sepoy Sukhbir Singh displayed valour in engaging the criminals with scant regard to his own safety and sacrificed his life to save the property which did not belong to him.

Reference: Notification No. 51-Pres/99 dated 26th January, 1999 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 3rd April, 1999.  

Yudh Seva Medal
Gp Capt Mathews Kurrhikobil Joseph 13393 F(P)Unit : AFA Awantipura  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Group Captain Kurrhi Kombil Joseph Mathews (13393) Flying (Pilot) has been the Commanding Officer of Air Force Station Awantipur since 22 Jun, 98.

Gp Captain Mathews correctly anticipated that Awantipur airbase would become a focal point for the air operations against the Pakistani intruders in Kargil Sector. On his own initiative he brought the Station to a high state of readiness and when the orders to adopt precautionary measures arrived, his Station was fully mobilised. His resourcefulness and initiative enabled incoming forces to attain combat readiness in less than stipulated periods. His leadership synergised the entire team and many innovations emerged to optimise available resources of men and material.

He conducted briefings and ensured that high levels of motivation were maintained and when air strikes were ordered, on 26 May 99. MiG-29 and MiG-21 forces under his command gave excellent account of themselves. His continued involvement with aircraft preparation, launch and recovery, ensured a high combat tempo throughout the operations. His personal involvement inspired the rest. Gp Capt Mathews con-tributed significantly to the success of air operations in the Kargil Sector.

For distinguished service of high order, the Hon'ble President is please to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Gp Capt KJ Mathews

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Gp Capt Arvind Ramachandra Oak 14103 F(P)Unit : Jammu & Kashmir  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Group Captain Arvind Ramchandra Oak (14103-G) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of HQ AOC J&K upto 04 Jul 99 and on attachment to, Air Force Station Srinagar thereafter upto 19 Jul 99.

On the assumption that combat elements of the IAF would be employed to evict the Pakistani intruders in Kargil area, Gp Capt Oak was ordered to Srinagar as the mission planner and coordinator on 22 May 99. He quickly established a viable system of detailed joint planning with his Army counterparts and drew up practical procedures for strike and air defence missions. His incisive and indepth briefings enabled participating aircrew to clearly understand mission profiles and objectives. Once the Air Force operations began on 26 May 99, he ensured an effective debrief methodology so that tactics could be refined or altered to meet emergent situations. The clarity of reports rendered by him enabled higher Headquarters in optimal resource exploitation and decision making.

Group Captain Oak worked with total devotion throughout his stay at Srinagar and his contribution towards the success of air operations has been extremely significant.

For distinguished service of high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Gp Capt AR Oak.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Sunderraman Neelakantan 15184 F(P)Unit : No.1 Squadron  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wing Commander Sunderraman Neelakantan (15184) F (P) is in command of 1 Squadron AF and was operating from 7 Wing, AF wef 26 May 99 for 'Op Safed Sagar'.

The officer is a true professional, who works hard and runs his Sqn effectively. This professionalism is evident in the manner in which the unit goes about doing its allotted tasks. The Sqn was inducted and relocated at short notice on deployment. This task was accomplished smoothly, and since then, the Sqn. has been able to meet all operational tasks given to it. This involved rapid and frequent role changes, and launching of missions at extremely short notices.

The officer displays total dedication and devotion to duty, and takes pride in whatever he does. He is a bold and dynamic Commanding Officer, who leads from the front. He managed his manpower and resources effectively in order to conduct round the clock operations. His courage is evident from the fact that within six weeks, he had already flown 47 operational missions. The missions involved provided day/ night fighter escort to our strike formations during 'Op Safed Sager'. Many of these missions were flown in extremely poor/marginal weather conditions, where he also displayed personal flying skills of a high order.

For his professionalism, leadership and courage displayed in the face of the enemy, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Wg Cdr Sunderraman Neelakantan.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Birendra Singh Dhanoa 15405 F(P)Unit : No.17 Squadron  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wg Cdr BS Dhanoa (15405-L) F(P) is the Commanding Officer of MiG-21 Squadron and has been on the posted strength since 31 Mar 97.

His unit was tasked to carry out Fighter Recce missions only. Such missions were carried out professionally during the initial days of the operation. After IAF changed over to Medium Altitude Level Attacks, he volunteered to carry out bombing attacks, even though his unit is not earmarked for ground attack missions. In a record time, he changed the configuration of his aircraft to bombing role. He led from the front and the professional leadership that he displayed resulted in very accurate bombing attacks on the enemy. Under his able guidance and supervision the Squadron attained a high standard of professionalism and operational efficiency. This officer has been in command for the past two years. The motivations, high standard of professionalism and the eagerness to undertake missions by all the pilots in the Squadron is due to the correct direction and leadership provided by him as Commanding Officer. The Squadron maintained two detachments during the activation and the Squadron achieved 100% serviceability.

He provided inspirational leadership and was instrumental in ensuring success during this operation. He motivated his team to undertake night strike missions, even though they were not trained for it. He was actively involved in day as well as low altitude night bombing. He coordinated operational, administrative and technical aspects facilitating the Squadron to undertake the various roles it was tasked with.

For his professionalism, inspiring leadership, hard work and exceptional devotion to his job during operations in Kargil sector, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Wg Cdr BS Dhanoa.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Sandip Sud 15685 F(P)Unit : No.223 Squadron  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wing Commander Sandip Sud (15685) Flying (Pilot) was the Commanding Officer of MiG-29 Squadron. He handed over the command of the Sqn on 18 Jun 99.

The Sqn was inducted to Air Force Station Awantipur on 13 May 99 under his command. During Operation Safed Sagar, he actively planned and trained his Squadron personnel for air operations. It was his leadership, dedication and sincerity that brought up the Squadron to very high standards of professionalism. He was instrumental in formulating new tactics of Area Cap for the requirement of providing Air Defence cover to Strike missions in the target area. These tactics proved to be most effective deterrent against enemy aircraft resulting in air superiority in the target area. He ensured brainstorming and debrief sessions to evolve better tactics for Air Defence of the target area. As a sincere professional pilot, he himself volunteered to undertake important missions, thus setting an example to all the pilots of the Sqn. He flew 15 missions during Operation Safed Sagar.

For his professionalism, leadership, exceptional devotion and outstanding work, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Wg Cdr Sandip Sud.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Sandeep Chabbra 16032 F(P)Unit : No.7 Squadron  Award Date 15 Aug 99 Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wing Commander Sandeep Chhabra (16032-K) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 1980 in the Flying Branch of IAF. He is a Fighter Combat Leader, has been a Directing Staff at Combat Training School and a graduate of Defence Service Staff College.

On 03 May 99, Wg Cdr Chhabra was appointed Commanding Officer of a Mirage2000 Squadron. During Op Rakshak, he undauntingly faced the challenges put forth by a determined enemy in Kargil sector by leading a combat Sqn in a type of operations never experienced by the unit before. Under his command new tactics and procedures were evolved and utilised most gainfully.

Wg Cdr Chhabra flew 36 operational missions of which five were live bombing missions. He led his unit in operations by rare example and from the front. Under his command his Squadron flew 142 operational sorties in the Kargil Sector, releasing 225 bombs of various tonnage and eight state of the art laser guided bombs, effectively destroying numerous enemy targets.

On 08 Jul 99, Wg Cdr Chhabra was detailed to carry out an attack on enemy camp with 6 x 1000 lb bombs. Despite being threatened by three Surface to Air Missiles, fired at him, he continued with the attack successfully destroying the assigned target. On 10 Jul 99 Wg Cdr Chhabra was tasked to destroy enemy targets at Point 4388. While he was rolling into the attack, enemy aircraft were reported in the vicinity by own Air Defence Escorts. Despite the presence of an airborne threat and launching of a Surface to Air Missile in the dive, he successfully carried out an accurate attack totally destroying the target.

Wg Cdr S Chhabra, with his personal involvement, leadership and dedication inspired his unit in the successful destruction of numerous enemy targets thereby minimising attrition to our own forces as also shortening the duration of Kargil conflict.

For distinguished Service of most exceptional order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Wg Cdr Sandeep Chhabra.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 15 Aug 1999 Number: 

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 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Gp Capt Satish Pal Singh 13770 F(P)Unit : No.25 Squadron  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Group Captain Satish Pal Singh (13770-H) Flying (Pilot) is posted as Commanding Officer of a Transport Squadron since 30 Mar 98.

This highly committed Officer in true patriotic spirit motivated his men to work round the clock and ensured that servicing of aircraft was completed well ahead of schedule and that maximum number of aircraft were made available for the tasks of Op Sqn deployment, airlift of army formations, shifting of AD elements, positioning of armament load and augmentation of manpower from far flung places to the theatre of operations. He perceived this requirement well in advance and with keen involvement and correct guidance to maintenance staff ensured that three IL-76s were available and that 100% AN32 were serviceable for all tasks. Accident/Incident free flying of over 1300 hrs by the Sqn during this period and airlift of 3000 tons and 4500 troops bears an eloquent testimony to his meticulous planning and exemplary leadership.

During 'Op Safed Sagar' the threat of enemy AD Fighters and MANPADS loomed large in the Northern Sector. Displaying exceptional degree of operational orientation he devised procedures to ensure minimum exposure of own aircraft and motivated all aircrews for uninterrupted operations in the Valley despite hostile operating environment and inclement weather. Unmindful of his personal comfort and safety he led the Sqn from the front and flew round the clock not only on the IL-76 but also on AN-32 and logged 70 hrs in just 20 days during the initial phase of 'Op Safed Sagar'. His personal example and unflinching devotion to duty motivated his team towards the singular objective of providing total support for 'Op Safed Sagar' which was a true force multiplier and immensely helped the IAF and the Army in attaining their objective.

For his exemplary leadership, devotion to duty and indomitable courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Capt Satish Pal Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Raghunath Nambiar 16378 F(P)Unit : No.7 Squadron  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Wg Cdr Raghunath Nambiar (16378-R) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot in the Flying Branch on 11 Jun 81. He is on the posted strength of Air Force Station Gwalior since 12 May 98. He has flown 1820 hrs of accident free flying on the Mirage 2000 and holds the proud distinction of being the most experienced Mirage-2000 Pilot in the country.

On 24 June 99 this Officer was specially chosen to lead the first ever IAF operational delivery of an LGB. He was tasked to attack Tiger Hill which was defended by hostile enemy SAMs. The attack profile of a LGB requires the aircraft to descend below 2700 ft and exposes it to enemy fire. Despite this danger to his aircraft the pilot willingly descended to the required height and pressed home the attack. His attack on Tiger Hill at an enemy camp located at the peak was a direct hit and destroyed the entire camp. The videotapes of his attack clearly indicate the accuracy of the delivery and its devastating effect on the enemy. It is estimated that this attack was primarily responsible for the low casualty rate that the Indian Army suffered during the capture of Tiger Hill.

For his exceptional bravery, skill, dedication and courage under fire in the face of the enemy, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Raghunath Nambiar.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao 17343 F(P)Unit : No.7 Squadron  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details : Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao (17343-K) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron, since 27 Apr 97. He is the Flight Commander since Apr 99 and is a Qualified Flying Instructor.

Muntho Dhalo Attack: On 15 Jun 99, he was responsible for acquiring the largest enemy camp in the Batalik Sector. He followed up on 16 Jun 99 by leading a two aircraft mission, armed with 6x250 Kg bombs successfully destroying the Eastern side to the camp. This attack was responsible for annihilating the enemy's resolve leading to marginalising of enemy ground force activity. Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao launched this attack undeterred by reports of Surface to Air Missiles having been fired from the camp, with total dedication and devotion to accomplish the assigned task.

LGB Attack by Night: On the night of 0708 Jul 99 Sqn Ldr Rao carried out an attack on the Ridgeline West of Tiger Hill armed with a Laser Guided Bomb. The target location necessitated an attack profiles that would bring his aircraft within the launch envelope of shoulder fired missiles. He struck the target with determination of a rare kind and scored a direct hit as reported by our ground forces.

During the operations, Sqn Ldr M Rao flew 27 operational missions which include ten live bombing missions. Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao displayed immense devotion, involvement and professionalism of the highest order during planning and execution of the missions under hostile conditions. Awareness of missiles being launched at him only motivated him further to decimate the enemy.

For the conspicuous gallantry, valour displayed in the face of the enemy and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Sqn Ldr Mohan Rao.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Vishwas Gaur 17361 F(P)Unit : No.108 Squadron  Award Date Announced 15 Aug 99
Details :

Squadron Leader Vishwas Gaur (17361-N) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Fighter Squadron of the Air Force since 03 May 98.

He is a dedicated and hard working officer with sound professional knowledge. During 'Operation Safed Sagar', as Fighter Strike Leader, he was instrumental in the Squadron achieving high operational standards. It was because of his hard work and precise calculations for High Altitude Release (HAR) mode; the Squadron was able to engage all targets successfully keeping the aircraft outside enemy missile ranges. In the absence of tables for HAR mode and varying target height, this was of utmost importance to avoid fratricide. He also understood the difficulties faced by Air Force and Army planners to locate and photograph the enemy targets in rugged mountainous terrain. It was his knowledge of the aircraft systems and innovative suggestion of using Laser Designator Pod for filming the targets that made the operations simpler for the planners. Thereafter, there was no looking back in locating and destroying the enemy targets, making 'Operation Safed Sagar', a complete success. As a Flight Commander he ensured that the Squadron achieved hundred percent success rate in launching the tasked 152 sorties towards 'Operation Safed Sagar'. As professional pilot till date he has flown 26 day and night missions. He showed exceptional courage in face of strong enemy opposition and caused destruction of several important targets. His exemplary courage and devotion to duty has been a source of inspiration and motivations to others.

For his innovativeness, professionalism, exceptional courage and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Vishwas Gaur.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 11th March 2000 - No.27-Pres/2000 dated 15th August 2000 

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.
Pages 1 2 3 4