Awards for the year 2001


A total of 92 Awards are listed.
Param Vishist Seva Medal : 5 | Kirti Chakra : 2 | Ati Vishist Seva Medal : 12 | Shaurya Chakra : 8 | Yudh Seva Medal : 1 | Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) : 28 | Vishist Seva Medal : 29 | Mention in Despatches : 7 |
Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Prakash Sadashivrao Pingale 6755 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Marshal Prakash Sadashivrao Pingale AVSM VrC VM (6755) F(P) was commissioned as a fighter pilot in November 1962. He saw active service in 1965 war and was awarded Vir Chakra for gallantry. Subsequently he was chosen as one among the core group of pilots of the 1AF to undergo training in erstwhile USSR to become the nucleus for training other pilots within the country. Besides, he is a highly qualified instructor, one among the very few in the IAF to hold Instructional Category A-l.

The Air Officer has the distinction of having commanded two fighter squadrons and two major IAF Bases. He was awarded Vayu Sena Medal for distinguished command of the Hunter Operational Flying Training Unit. In higher appointments he has served as the Staff officer in-charge of Administration of an operational command and as the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Inspection) at the Air Headquarters.

On promotion to the rank of Air Marshal, he took over the vital post of Inspector General of the Air Force and was responsible to oversee the professional standard and Flight Safety in the Air Force. During two years of his service in the capacity of Inspector General of the IAF, the Air Officer contributed immensely in enhancing operational efficiency and Flight Safety. His untiring effort towards flight safety resulted in reducing the accident rate in the IAF during the 1996-98. He initiated the drive for quality assurance in the aircraft maintenance shop floors at Operational Bases, Base Repair Depots and the industry. This resulted in reduced defects and improved reliability of aircraft and its support facilities.

In his present appointment as SASO HQ SWAC, the Air Officer's contribution in operational matters has been once again of great significance which has helped in enhancing the Op preparedness of the Command.

Air Marshal Prakash Sadashivrao Pingale AVSM VrC VM has thus rendered distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Khushinder Singh Bindra 6863 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Marshal Khushinder Singh Bindra AVSM VM (6863) F (P) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of IAF in Jan 1963. In 37 years of service Air Marshal Bindra has excelled both as a helicopter pilot and as an administrator. He has nearly 4600 hrs of flying to his credit, has commanded a front line Helicopter Unit and has the rare distinction of commanding the Helicopter Training School twice. He has been Air Attaché at Kabul, President of an Air Force Selection Board, Air Officer Commanding of a transport base, Deputy Commandant of Air Force Academy and Senior Officer In-charge Administration of Western Air Command. His service was of exceptional order was recognised by the award of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1997 and Vayu Seva Medal in 1975.

Through out his career, Air Mshl Bindra has displayed a very high degree of professional zeal and commitment. As Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air HQ the Air Officer displayed remarkable clarity of thought and reasoning and brought about a number of innovative improvements which significantly enhanced the lAF's security and intelligence setup. As Senior Air Staff Officer at Central Air Command, he brought his varied experience to bear on the conduct of a large number of command level exercises and seminars successfully. As Senior Air Staff Officer, Training Command he was instrumental in successfully implementing the concept of Joint Training for all streams and branches at the Air Force Academy, which was a major change from the existing system that catered mainly to flying training. He was also responsible for the smooth and successful conduct of the Aero India 98 at Air Force Station Yelahanka, Bangalore. Air Mshl KS Bindra was appointed Air Officer-in-charge Personnel (AOP) at Air Headquarters in Oct 99. As AOP he is responsible for all aspects of personnel planning, induction, training, education and personnel administration. He has introduced an innovative concept of Human Resources Policies in order to bring in greater organisation, transparency and information dissemination in areas of personnel policies. In a short span he has introduced a number of measures aimed at making the policies pertaining to Personnel and Training dynamic and effective.

Air Marshal Khushinder Singh Bindra AVSM VM has thus rendered distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Teshter Jall Master 7224 F(P)Unit : Training Command  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Marshal Teshter Jall Master AVSM (7224) F (P) was commissioned in the IAF on 09 Mar 63 as a Fighter Pilot. He has to his credit more than 2500 hrs of flying on aircraft of both Soviet and Western origin. During his distinguished career he has held several important field and staff appointments. Apart from commanding an operational Squadron and an ADDC, he has commanded a premier fighter Base. He has contributed in the Field of EW and Defence Production when posted in staff appointment at Air HQ. He was Air Attaché at Washington before taking over the command of College of Defence Management. Prior to his present appointment as Inspector General (Flight Safety & Inspection) since Oct 1999, he held the appointment of Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of an Operational Command.

As Commandant of College of Defence Management, a Class 'A' Joint Services Institution, he brought about recognition to the college at the national and international level thereby enhancing its image. During his tenure an annual seminar was instituted at the national level. The recognition of the College at international level is evident from the fact that representation from friendly countries was for the first time at Major General level. With his zeal he got the long-standing proposal for permanent accommodation of the college cleared which will result in the move of CDM from its present temporary accommodation to its permanent location in the near future,

As SASO, of an Operational Command he was responsible for the smooth induction of the SU-30 fleet. With foresight and innovative planning he ensured that the Squadron achieved its full potential and was available for operations during the Kargil crisis. As SASO he was responsible for Air Power Demonstration both at Pokhran and Mumbai. The Vayu Shakti at Pokhran in Mar 99 had for the first time air to air missiles firing and full depiction of an air land battle. These events having been conducted safely speaks highly of the professionalism of the Officer. He was also tasked with the move of Command HQ to a new location, which he completed in meticulously under adverse circumstances. The HQ becoming operational in a short duration paid dividends during Op Safed Sagar, which was fully conducted from the new location of the HQ. He fine tuned Air Defence of Command area of operation along with revitalizing Pechora units and C&R system wherein a new CRC was introduced in the Gujarat area and Air Defence of Mumbai strengthened.

As IG (FS&I) he has put in considerable effort for accident prevention with special reference on accidents due to human error and technical defects. He has also been responsible for introduction of Role Specific Inspection and a new pattern for selection of units for annual awards. This will not only enhance the Op potential of the IAF but also foster air warrior qualities. During this period he was also a member of the Task Force on Review of Defence Management from May to Sep 2000, a task he carried out in addition to his regular duties.

Air Marshal Teshter Jall Master AVSM has thus rendered distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Surender Singh Chauhan 7853 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Surender Singh Chauahan AVSM VSM (7853) AE (M) was commissioned in IAF in Oct 1963. A graduate in Mechanical Engineering, he successfully completed his conversion course in Aeronautical Engineering and Engineering Management in IAF from Air Force Technical College at Bangalore in 1964. During his 37 years of meritorious service in IAF, he has qualified on a number of Fighters, Transports and Helicopters of IAF including modern front line aircraft like Mirage-2000. He was trained abroad on Jaguar aircraft and jet engine testing procedures on test bed. He is an alumni of National Defence College, New Delhi and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.

A renowned Aeronautical Engineer in the aviation circles of the country, Chauhan has held various appointments in IAF. The most coveted of these have been as Chief Engineer in Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) where he was involved in instrumentation and modification of various aircraft systems for flight testing and evaluation and as Chief Engineer of the only Mirage-2000 base in IAF. He was Director of Engineering at Air HQ and was in charge of the entire Russian fleet of fighters, transports and helicopters. He also served as Senior Maintenance Staff Officer of Eastern Air Command.

In the present appointment as Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Engineering) at Air HQ, AVM SS Chauhan has been in charge of maintenance of Western origin fleet and basic trainers. The sustained records of high serviceability and healthy flight and maintenance safety records of the fleet under him are a reflection of his foresight and managerial skill.

Air Vice Marshal Surender Singh Chauahan has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Gulshan Kumar Kwatra 8001 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Gulshan Kumar Kwatra AVSM VSM (8001) AE (M) was commissioned in IAF in Apr 1964. A graduate in Mechanical Engineering, he successfully completed his conversion course in Aeronautical Engineering and Engineering Management in IAF from Air Force Technical College at Bangalore.

He is a Fellow of Aeronautical Society, of India and has held high offices including Presidentship of its Delhi Chapter. During his service in IAF, he has qualified on maintenance of five different types of aircraft and helicopters and underwent specialist training in UK and USA on aircraft and aeroengine.

A specialist in aviation maintenance, he has served the IAF during the last 36 years in various capacities. At the first and second line levels of maintenance, he rose to be a Chief Engineer of a Flying Training Establishment. He has also been the Chief of Production and Chief of Planning in a Base Repair Depot overhauling aircraft, helicopters and their accessories. In view of his rich experience, innovative thinking and unrelenting initiatives, he was deputed to a friendly country where he excelled in helping that country to set up its own infrastructure for aviation maintenance.

In his present appointment as Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Maintenance Plans), he has been conceptualising maintenance policies in IAF. He is personally responsible for enabling the IAF in taking a significant step forward in setting up infrastructure at Type Training Schools which has set new standards of training in Defence Services with enormous contribution to Flight and Maintenance Safety.

A rare combination of multi-facetted talent with boundless energy, he finds more hours in a day and is capable of performing multiple activities concurrently. The indigenisation and self reliance efforts of IAF, which have reached new heights in the recent years, are clue to his singular contribution.

He is the Air Force representative of the Fifth Pay Commission and a host of sensitive issues have been resolved by his uncanny acumen for human psychology, trouble shooting and systematic analysis.

Air Vice Marshal Gulshan Kumar Kwatra AVSM VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of the most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Kirti Chakra
Wg Cdr Rajiv Kothiyal 15696 F(P)Unit : National Flight Test Center, ADA  Award Date 04 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Rajiv Kothiyal (15696) F(P) was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot in the Indian Air Force on 15th June, 1979. After successful stints in various fighter squadrons, he served as a Flight Commander in a front-line-air-superiority MiG29 squadron. On completion of his tenure, he was selected to undergo the Experimental Test Pilot Course at the United States Air Force Test Pilot School. He graduated successfully from his prestigious institution in May 1990. In February, 1995, Wg Cdr Kothiyal was selected for the challenging assignment of being the Test Pilot for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. Since then he has been actively involved in every facet of the design and development of the LCA, providing the most important pilot-interface to the LCA project. The successful development of control law for the Digital Fly-by-wire Control system, the Cockpit architecture and the pilot’s check lists and emergency procedures are attributed to Wg Cdr Kothiyal’s professional diligence and application of mind. Having successfully participated in the development activities, Wg Cdr Kothiyal was entrusted with undertaking the maiden flight of the first prototype of the LCA on 04-01-2001. This was the first occasion when an aircraft fully developed in India was to fly with a Fly-by-wire system. This complex system is packed with computerised flying controls, which enable an unstable aircraft to be flown with a very high degree of agility. Wg Cdr Kothiyal meticulously planned the test flight and ensured that every contingency was catered for. Wg Cdr Kothiyal flew the maiden test flight in the most exemplary manner.

Wing Commander Rajiv Kothiyal in this pioneering act displayed exceptional professionalism, courage and bravery that were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Notification No. 56-Pres/2001 dated 26th January, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th May, 2001. 

Kirti Chakra
Cpl Akhilesh Kumar Mishra 734502 ORUnit : AFS Bhuj  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Corporal Akhilesh Kumar Mishra is on the posted strength of a fighter squadron located at Bhuj, Gujarat since 10 Apr 2000.

A devastating earthquake struck Bhuj on 26 Jan 2001. Immediately after the earthquake Cpl Mishra immediately ran to rescue the survivors. For the next four days, he worked day and night and saved 19 lives. He had no rescue equipment but only his will, imagination, bare hands and raw courage. Snaking through tiny crevices, he worked his way in and pulled out one boy and three women from the remains of three different buildings in Shivnagar area on 26 Jan 2001. The same night, human sounds were detected in another mound of rubble. Despite parts of the building still collapsing in fresh tremors, Cpl Mishra continued to tunnel his way through different collapsed floors of the buildings. Fully aware of the risk of being buried alive any moment, he worked through the night to rescue a father and child. On 27 Jan 01, Cpl Mishra again volunteered to enter a small passage created by Army engineers through the top concrete slab of Vaibhav Laxmi Apartment in Shivnagar. He scraped through the rubble and tunneled his way through three different levels of the buildings (almost 30 feet) to save Cpl Shah and his wife. Working almost non-stop for six hours, he finally rescued Mrs. Gita Ben trapped below two pillars, a roof and a wooden frame in the early hours of 28 Jan 01. On 29 Jan 01, Cpl Mishra rescued a teenaged girl named Avni, who had been pinned down by two concrete beams. In the night, while the tremors continued, he entered the most unstable part of the wreckage and emerged after about an hour with the last survivor in that complex.

Corporal AK Mishra displayed conspicuous valour and presence of mind in rescue operations, without caring for the grave risk to his life.

Reference: Notification No. 128-“Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1 Section 1 Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002.  

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Laljee Kumar Verma 7768 MEDUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Marshal Laljee Kumar Verma (7768) was commissioned in the Army Medical Corps on 08 Sep 63 and seconded to the Air Force on the same date. During his career spanning over three decades, he has held many key appointments and by dedicated hard work and foresight has reached the appointment of Director General of Medical Services (Air).

Air Marshal LK Verma has excelled in each of the discipline he has handled. He is well­known personality in medical administration and has held SMO's appointments at five different Stations. For his oratory skill and quality of paper, he was awarded “Lt Gen KS Master oration", which is a triservice recognition. His experience in oratory, Mountaineering & Paratrooping skills & Jungle Survival and Counter Insurgency has stood him in good stead in the Services. Air Marshal Verma's zest for knowledge has always been on the forefront. He has completed a research project of World Health Organisation by establishing a proper system for Hospital Waste Management at Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore which in fact is the only medical institution in the country where a scientifically proven system of Hospital Waste Management has been functioning. With his efforts, an Indian Society of Hospital Management (ISHWM) has been formed of which he is to be elected Founder President.

As the Director General Medical Services (Air), he has pursued relentlessly towards modernization of hospitals and in achieving the highest standards in training of doctors and Para medical staff. The aspect of preventive health care has received a high impetus under his able leadership. Due to his efforts and guidance, installation of Lab for Night Vision Goggles is underway at IAM, Bangalore. These measures would enhance the overall health standards and contribute towards flight safety in the IAF.

Air Marshal Laljee Kumar Verma has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Purnendu Kumar Mukherjee 7698 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Purnendu Kumar Mukherjee (7698) F (P) was commissioned on 28 Oct 1963. in 37 years of distinguished service he has held several important staff and command assignments. He has flown over 3000 hrs on various fighter aircraft and has been Chief Ops Officer and Air Officer Commanding of major flying bases. He was mentioned in despatches for distinguished services rendered in 1971 war.

AVM Mukherjee was posted as Assistant Chief of Air Staff (FS&I) with effect from 03 Feb 97 and functioned in the appointment till 06 Jan 2000. With his vast experience in various field and staff appointments at Air HQ, it did not take him long to apply himself to the important aspects of Flight Safety and Inspection under the IGs branch.

He was the driving force for institutionalizing an operationally oriented relook at field units. Under his astute guidance, the inspection Directorates brought anew a host of operations related insights into the working of the field units. Some of the methods initiated were the Quality Audits on MiG-21s, AN-32, Bomb dumps and role equipment of fighter Units, an insightful look at Base Repair Depot functioning and security of a number of major Bases.

In Flight Safety, AVM Mukherjee was instrumental in commencing the framework for strengthening the FS organization in the HQ as well as field units. His tireless efforts also contributed towards gaining the sanction for the funds under Flt Safety code head which have provided the impetus for the improvement of flying environment at the airfields and keeping the airfield zones safe. Under his keen sense of propriety and integrity of the highest order, Quality Assurance gained momentum. His probing questions in all aspects of procurement of stores under QAS and timely guidance has provided the benchmark for future transactions.

Air Vice Marshal Purnendu Kumar Mukherjee has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Satish Kumar Ramlal Dham 8097 MEDUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Satish Kumar Ramlal Dham, VSM (8097) Med was commissioned on 29 Dec 1963. A distinguished graduate from BJ Medical College Pune, he obtained the post graduate degree in medicine (MD) in Nov 1970 and later super-specialised in immunology acquiring M Sc from Birmingham University in UK. He has held coveted appointments of Senior Advisor Medicine, Head and Professor of Medicine at Armed Forces Medical College and Consultant (Med) at the apex tertiary care Army Hospital, Research and Referral Hospital (AHRR). Earlier in his formative years he served with distinction at the Caribou transport squadron in the field and the Canberra bomber squadron. He was chosen to be the Physician and Staff Surgeon to the CAS. For his professional excellence he has been commended by the AOC-in-C, TC in 1975 and by the CAS in 1978 and awarded Vishisht Seva Medal by the President for distinguished services of high order in 1987. He served as a medical member UN fact finding mission at Cambodia in 1989. Professionally acclaimed nationally, he was awarded Fellowship of Indian College of Physicians in 1993. He has distinguished himself as one of the few Clinical Immunologists in the country.

Appointed Commandant of the prestigious super­specialty Command Hospital Air Force, Bangalore in Jul 2000, AVM Dham has brought radical changes in the work atmosphere of the hospital which has witnessed a frenzy of professional activity. Departments of nephrology with latest Dialysis facilities and a transplant center, upgraded imaging center with CT Scan facilities and Joint Replacement and Neurosurgical centers have been further modernized with state of art equipment comparable to the best national centers of the country. A nationally acclaimed hospital waste management system has been set up. The hospital is a center of excellence for imparting post graduate training in various disciplines recognized by Rajiv Gandhi University of which AVM Dham is a Principal. His varied experience as teacher has further augmented the training of Medical Officer.

Air Vice Marshal Satish Kumar Ramlal Dham, VSM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Ramesh Chandra Mahadik 8570 ADMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Ramesh Chandra Mahadik, VSM (8570) Adm was commissioned in the Administrative Branch on 27 Jun 64. During 30 years of distinguished service he has held varied key appointments such as Commanding Officer, Chief Operations Officer and Joint Director Air Defence. For his dedicated and result­oriented performance as a fighter controller, he was awarded the Commendation by the CAS and Mention­inDespatches during 1965 and 1971.

As Chief Admin officer of a major fighter base his professional and methodical approach reflected itself in a perceptible improvement in al spheres of administrative activities. His innovative approach in creating infrastructure facilities for Malaysian Air Force trainees and recommendations for Russian Warranty Team resulted in his being awarded the VSM.

After a tenure as Air Officer Commanding of an Equipment Depot, he was posted to Air HQ as ACAS Works, where he was instrumental in bringing about major changes in budgetary allocations and more effective management of funds. He interacted with engineers, contractors and vendors to evolve a work ethos of quality consciousness. He ensured that construction work was completed in a compressed time frame. During the Kargil Conflict, his personal involvement and interaction at the highest level with engineers, trade sources, Border Road Organisation and MOD ensured availability of additional funds, machinery, material and manpower to front line bases immediately after outbreak of the conflict.

He took over as SOA Central Air Command in Sep 99. He set out his task with a clear vision to bring about the desired improvements in AVSM 2001 all facets of administrative activities at Bases and Units under Central Air Command. He gave a new impetus to the development of an efficient and effective work culture through developing inter­action between engineers and executives at all levels of functioning. His professional and aggressive approach has led to resolving a number of outstanding problems of encroachment removal.

The officer displays mental resilience for accepting new challenges and working under pressure with equanimity and has set benchmarks for devotion and achieving organization goals.

Air Vice Marshal Ramesh Chandra Mahadik, VSM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Vijay Achyut Patkar 8632 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Vijay Achyut Patkar VSM (8632) AE (L) was commissioned on 23 Jul 64 in Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics) Branch of the IAF. The Air Officer has varied and rich experience in the field of Electronic Warfare, Information Technology and Maintenance of Aircraft and Helicopters. His achievements as Chief Engineering Officer at Air Force Station Agra were indeed commendable where he maintained a very high serviceable state of the transport fleet and zero maintenance lapse state in practice. For his distinguished service, he was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal in 1988.

A Postgraduate from IIT, Kharagpur and alumni of College of Defence Management, the Air Officer has successfully utilized his knowledge to enhance his technical, financial and logistic prowess. During the Kargil Conflict the officer took upon himself the task of the requirement of armament stores vis­à­vis their consumption and availability for various weapon systems and thus worked out the immediate and futuristic requirements. The task was concluded to its logical end by his visit to CIS countries to tie up procurement and delivery of stores.

In his present tenure as Assistant Chief of Air Staff Engineering the Air Officer has utilized his sound knowledge of both ground and airborne systems to suggest improvements to existing software available at our BRDs and incorporation of in lieu systems, thus resulting in saving of foreign exchange. His advice to IAF/MOD on the intricate issue of handling two separate contracts for procurement for Mi-17 helicopter safeguarding the interest of IAF resulted in significant benefits. His highly innovative abilities and professionalism are optimally utilized in dealing with foreign vendors as well as indigenous design of Flight Data Acquisition Systems and other electronic equipment.

Air Vice Marshal Vijay Achyut Patkar VSM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Bijoy Krishna Pandey 8990 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Bijoy Krishna Pandey VM (8990) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on 25 Dec 64.

During his 36 years of dedicated service, the officer has held a number of important, difficult and challenging assignments both in India and abroad. He served as Air Attaché, Embassy of India at Kabul from Sept 89 to Sep 92, perhaps the three most turbulent years in the recent history of war ravaged Afghanistan. He successfully commanded Air Force Station Agra, one of the largest operational bases in the IAF which sustains high intensity flying operations throughout the year. At Air HQ, the officer held the appointment of Director System Application and Director Operations (T&H). In the recent past, he served as the deputy Commandant of the National Defence Academy. It was during his tenure that the NDA celebrated its Golden Jubilee, an infinitely complex exercise during which NDA hosted the Vice President of India as the Chief Guest, a large number of dignitaries and thousands of alumni of NDA. AVM BK Pandey has been with ARC since 28 Feb 2000, where he heads the Air Wing which is the largest wing of the ARC both in terms of manpower and assets. In less than eight months as Operation Manager ARC, AVM Pandey has initiated many reforms/measures which have had a positive impact on the work ethos of the Air Wing. The fleet modernization and other futuristic projects are being handled by him very systematically and efficiently which will ensure smooth implementation of various projects of importance to national security.

Air Vice Marshal Bijoy Krishna Pandey VM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Subhash Chandra Rastogi 8999 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Subhash Chandra Rastogi VSM (8999) F (P) was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the IAF on 25 Dec 1964. During his career, he has held numerous key Command and Staff appointments, performing with distinction in every assignment. He was awarded the VSM in 1990 while serving at ADDC, Barnala. He has undergone the Experimental Test Pilots Course in the UK and is alumnus of DSSC and NDC.

As Commandant ASTE, he pioneered the installation of a telemetry system, which fulfilled a long outstanding need for an advanced flight test support system in the IAF. As AOC of an Air Base in the Eastern Sector, he resurrected the Base for fighter operations within one month of completion of runway repairs. It was primarily due to his tireless efforts and exemplary ability to marshal available resources that the entire operational support infrastructure of navigation aids, PAR, runway barriers and lighting were made functional in record time. While attending the national security course at the NDC in 1997, the officer was awarded the gold medal for his thesis on the subject of 'Defence Expenditure in India'.

As ACAS (Plans) at Air Headquarters he has worked to progress various projects and programmes of modernizing the IAF in the post Kargil period. In the Plans branch, he has revivified the entire planning process with constant focus on optimum utilization of the capital budget. His budget planning for new acquisition for 2000-2001 has been done after detailed interactions with the user directorates as well as the MOD, so as to make the whole process more scientific and precise. His commendable efforts have already resulted in materialization of five contracts worth Rs. 1045 crores in the first quarter of financial year 2000-2001. His considerable conceptual and analytical ability, as also his deep study of the acquisition process, came to the fore during his presentation to the Standing Committee of Parliament, the Arun Singh Task Force for the Management of Defence and the VCOAS Committee on Defence Procurement.

His personal grit, determination and dedication to work show up in sharp relief by the way he combated and overcame the crippling injuries he sustained in a flying accident many years ago, to be counted among the best in the IAF.

Air Vice Marshal Subhash Chandra Rastogi VSM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Puran Chandra Singh Rautela 9576 MEDUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Puran Chandra Singh Rautela SC VSM (9576) AE (L) was commis sioned in the IAF on 04 Oct 1965. During his illustrious career, he has held various imp ortant and challenging appointments. His technical expertise, augmented by desire to innovate and design, has yielded various benefits to the IAF. He developed the first AS-200 version carrier, which was put to extensive use in the IAF. He was the member of DARIN design team for Indian Jaguar. During his tenure in RCPO from 1988-1992, he had conceptualized and developed RAME (Guwahati) and RAME (Wadsar), which are fully functional now. He designed the airborne caliberational system MATCAL which is fully functional now and has significantly contributed to the serviceability of Testers for various weapons systems.

Since his posting as ACAS Sigs (Air) in Jan 98, he has shown remarkable ability in conceptualizing and Implementing various schemes. He has designed the IAF high-speed communication network between Air HQ and Command HQ with direct dialing facility, using compression and frame relay techniques. He has brought about radical changes in the procurement policy of telephone exchanges, which has amounted to savings to the tune of Rs. 2 crores in the last two years. He also designed and developed ATC 3D system, which will give a substantive boost to flight safety and safer operation at ATC. During the Kargil war, the Air Officer ensured that effective communication was provided at all levels. He developed a technique to use bulk encryptors on analogue tropo links, which is now under implantation. Air Cmde PCS Rautela by sheer dint of hard work, coupled with ingenuity, has not only given concrete shape to innovative concepts but has also set benchmarks for his subordinates to follow.

Air Vice Marshal Puran Chandra Singh Rautela SC VSM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Donovan Eric Jonas 10131 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Commodore Donovan Eric Jonas (10131) F (P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in Mar 66. During his thirty four years of distinguished service, he has held several important Staff and Command appointments. He commanded a frontline Jaguar squadron and was Chief Operations Officer and Air Officer Commanding of premier fighter bases of the Indian Air Force. He has also held the appointment of Ops IA of an operational Command. Presently he is holding the post of Director Personnel (Officers) at Air HQ. As Squadron Commander of a Jaguar Squadron, he led from the front and brought up the operational and maintenance standards in the Squadron to a very high level. As Chief Operations Officer of a fighter base, he was actively involved with conduct of flying operations. He actively pursued flying and participated in the Command Gunnery Meet as staff pilot and had the distinction of winning the bombing trophy.

Air Cmde DE Jonas took over the command of an operational Station in Aug 95. Realising that it was the human element that would make the vital difference between mediocrity and excellence, he galvanised the manpower under him into action. Instituting a series of steps for close interaction between his officers and other ranks, the Air Officer built up a sense of camaraderie and spirit-de-corps amongst all personnel. The result was a quantum jump in productivity, as evident from a unique 'Above Average' assessment by Directorate of Air Staff Inspection. The Station also hosted the Colour Presentation ceremony, which due to his exceptional foresight, planning and administrative ability, was conducted in most successful manner bringing laurels to the Station.

He is presently posted as Director Personnel (Officers) at Vayu Bhavan since 10 Feb 98. In a short span of time, with little or no previous experience in the personnel branch, he acquired expertise of a very high order. As DPO, he has demonstrated very high skill levels in his staff work and has combined the requirements of service with a human touch in a firm and fair manner.

His deft handling of personnel management has brought laurels to the Personnel branch at Air HQ.

Air Commodore Donovan Eric Jonas has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Harsh Tripathi 11087 ADMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Commodore Shri Harsh Tripathi (11087) Adm/Lgl was commissioned on 24 Jun 67 and joined the Department of Judge Advocate General (Air) in 1972. He has held important legal assignments at various Command HQs and Air HQ. He was appointed as Judge Advocate General (Air) on 01 Aug 97.

The legal acumen and professional knowledge of the Air Officer has contributed immensely in successful defence of civil litigation on behalf of the Government. He has been monitoring the progress of about 2000 court cases to safeguard the interest of the State. His personal involvement in settling a large number of civil litigation in the recent past has exhibited his deep sense of commitment and high degree of professional competence, he has ensured that decision of the courts went in favour of the Union of India. In certain cases he strove hard and got some adverse decisions reversed in appeal thus saving the Government heavy expenditure.

The Air Officer took upon the task of revision of Regulations for the Air Force 1964 and accomplished it expeditiously. With his exceptionally high degree of professionalism, uprightness and dedication in rendering legal advice, keeping long tern interest of service as paramount, he made substantial contribution towards improvement of discipline and morale in the IAF. He has authored a number of booklets and guidelines on implementation of the provision of Air Force Law. These publications have proved to be of immense use while dealing in legal matters in the IAF.

Air Commodore Shri Harsh Tripathi has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Thekkekara Thomas Job 11507 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Commodore Thekkekara Thomas Job VSM (11507) AE (M) is commanding a Base Repair Depot since 01 Aug 97.

The overhaul of MiG-29 aircraft commenced at this BRD three years ago. Since then the production capacity in respect of MiG-29 overhaul has been steadily increased. During a visit to the Depot the Chief of the Air Staff had stressed the need to give priority to trainer Aircraft. The depot produced a record number of aircraft even exceeding Air HQ task. Also, three trainers were produced instead of the task of one, even though the depot was attempting overhaul of trainers for the first time. Establishing the overhaul line of MiG-29 aircraft was beset with problems like non-availability of spares and technology as well as late arrival of Russian specialists. Under the able leadership of Air Cmde TT Job, the depot undertook the task of installing and commis sioning a number of test rigs without any help of Russian specialists, problems of non-availability was tackled by boosting indigenization efforts to a record level. Under his leadership, life extension study of MiG-29 aircraft was successfully completed, thereby avoiding sending of aircraft abroad for overhaul. The allotted task of overhaul of MiG23 aircraft was also completed well in time. In addition, a large number of modifications have been completed on MiG-29 and MiG-23 aircraft. Also, a number of innovative measures have been introduced in the depot to improve the quality of life.

Air Commodore Thekkekara Thomas Job VSM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Ashok Dharam Chibber 12118 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Air Commodore Ashok Dharam Chhibar (12118) F (P) was commissioned on 30 Aug 69 in the Flying Branch of the IAF. Throughout his distinguished service, he has held a variety of Staff and Command appointments. These include command of a fighter squadron, which was declared best in the IAF, and an operational air base. He served on the directing staff at College of Air Warfare and as Chief Instructor at the Air Force Academy. As Air-1 of South Western Air Command, credit goes to him for smooth conduct of the highlyacclaimed Fire Power demonstration at Pokhran range in 1998 & 1999. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and has flown over 4500 hours on various aircraft. He was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff in 1986 and by the Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief of Central and Training Commands.

Air Cmde Chhibar took over as Air Officer Commanding, of a fighter base in the Eastern sector. The Air Officer realized that sustained excellence could materialize only through a cultural reorientation of his manpower. He also realized that personal example and selfesteem would be an important catalyst in the change. Though a series of individual and collective interaction he infused as sense of belonging and cohesion among his personnel and instilled in them a sense of pride. Through meticulous planning he ensured that his support environment matched and complimented the ethos of excellence he set in his station. Combining his operational and managerial skills he was able to marshal all the resources at his command to improve the serviceability-state of the fighter fleet aircraft based at his station.

His sustained efforts resulted in high level of Op preparedness, noticeable environmental improvements and an overall enhancement in the quality of life in the station. The culture of excellence he created also reflected itself in the Young Officers' Course designed and conducted by his Station for the officers of EAC. The course was started at his imitative and has proved highly successful. He was also actively involved in the preparation and implementation of the Accident Prevention Programme in Eastern Air Command.

Air Commodore Ashok Dharam Chhibar has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Samir Riaz Kagdi 23771 F(P)Unit : No.114 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 04 Jul 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Sameer Riaz Kagdi, was on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 08 Oct 1999. He was an extremely professional flier and a matured officer, who gained the status of glacial captain in Op Meghdoot in a record time of five months. During his short stay of nine months, he flew 350 hours, including 225 hours on the Glacier. On several occasions he flew through enemy shelling to drop supplies to tactically crucial posts at the world's highest helipads. On 04 July 2000, Flt Lt SR Kagdi was detailed to fly as a captain to Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO). While flying to DBO, 05 nm short of Goshen, his helicopter experienced collective pitch lever failure and started descending rapidly. He handled this unusual and grave emergency in an extremely professional and competent manner. He selected the most suitable force landing field available and put down the helicopter with only cyclic control. He sustained grievous spinal injuries and fractures during landing. Unmindful of his excessive pain, his accurate and logical analysis of the emergency brought out the factors which gave the Court of Inquiry the requisite direction and made it possible to determine the cause of the failure and instituting remedial actions, thus preventing further recurrence. Flt Lt SR Kagdi succumbed to his injuries and died on 16 July 2000 in Command Hospital, Chandigarh.

Flt Lt SR Kagdi exhibited thoroughbred soldierly attitude, exceptional professional courage and gallantry in face of an unusual grave and emergency and made supreme sacrifice in the best traditions of the Air Force.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Shaurya Chakra
Sgt Mahender Singh 683508 ORUnit : No.15 Squadron  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Sergeant Mahender Singh Radio Fitter is on the posted strength of a Squadron located at Bhuj, Gujarat since 24 June 1998.

A devastating earthquake struck Bhuj on 26 Jan 2001. Immediately after the earthquake Sgt M Singh rushed to Shivnagar of Bhuj where a number of Air Force personnel were staying in multistoried buildings. Risking his own life several times at different occasions, even when the after shocks were continuing, he went underneath the crumpled buildings, broken water tanks and falling structures to rescue the lives of wife and daughter of late Sgt Awasthi, wife of Sgt Rajput, wife of Cpl DP Singh and others trapped inside at different places. While saving lives of eight Air force personnel and their family members, he not only displayed unmatched courage and valour but also sharp presence of mind and intelligence. Efforts required to clear off the debris and take out people alive from inside were trying and stressful in the absence of proper tools and implements. However, he used innovative methods and preserved in rescue work to save human lives from debris. Without losing heart and hope, he worked continuously day and night for five days with little rest and care for him. His timely efforts, selfless attitude and zealous approach motivated others to contribute in the rescue operations thus saving more lives.

Sergeant Mahender Singh displayed exemplary bravery, courage and selfless devotion in saving human lives.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Shaurya Chakra
Cpl Suresh Chintalapati 741025 ORUnit : 27 Wing  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Corporal Suresh Chintalapati was on the posted strength of a Squadron located at Bhuj, Gujarat since 30 Mar 1999. On the morning of 26 Jan 2001, a devastating earthquake hit Bhuj where in a lot of buildings collapsed, trapped people within them. Immediately after the earthquake Cpl Suresh took the job of rescuing people trapped under the rubble. He rushed to Ashapura Apartment, a multistoried building in Shanti Nagar area of Bhuj, which had collapsed trapping many families of airmen and civilians. With make shift tools and bare hands, he made passage through a small opening in the rubble and risking his life rescued four children. Thereafter, he proceeded to the next building and tunneled through the rubble to pull out a small child the only surviving child of late Corporal Thapa. In another building nearby he rescued three civilians. Then he moved to Shiv Nagar apartments where many people were trapped in the debris. For the next four days, he worked in this apartment and helped in locating and rescuing about fourteen trapped persons. It was his initiative and sheer courage, which saw him repeatedly going under the debris to extricate trapped persons and all this when tremors were still being experienced. Due to his immense patience and indomitable will, four persons were extricated on 30 Jan 2001. His heroic efforts and never day die attitude resulted in rescue of 24 Air Force personnel and civilians.

Corporal Suresh displayed indomitable courage, grit and outmost commitment in saving precious human lives.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Shaurya Chakra
Cpl Mohammad Javed 749551 ORUnit : AFS Bhuj  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Corporal Mohammed Javed Radio Fitter was on the posted strength of a Squadron located at Bhuj, Gujarat since 25 Nov 1997. A devastating earthquake struck Bhuj on 26 Jan 2001. Immediately after the earthquake Corporal Javed commenced rescue operation within the Air Force Camp. Working with basic implements as hacksaw blades and crowbars, he made a passage through the rubble of one building and pulled out the two surviving members of a family. Quickly moving on to another building, he pulled out wife of Corporal D Singh and wife of Sgt VS Yadav. Thereafter he proceeded outside the Air Force Camp to Vaibhav Lakshmi Apartments at Shivnagar area. Even as after shocks continued, he worked through the mangled steels and concrete of the multi-storey complex to locate survivors. Unmindful of physical exhaustion and personal risk, he kept breaking concrete and cutting through steel rods to extricate the living. On 26 Jan 2001 itself, he pulled out seven survivors from the site. On 27 Jan 2001, he pulled out one more women from beneath of debris of Gayatri Complex in Shivnagar. On 29 Jan 2001, he extricated the last survivor in Kaveri complex, an infant child. He repeatedly put his life at risk to save others. Thus working selflessly, he saved 14 lives.

Corporal Mohammed Javed displayed courage of high order in undertaking rescue operations at great risk to his own life.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Shaurya Chakra
Cpl Sanjeev Kumar Arora 763234 ORUnit : 27 Wing  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Corporal Sanjeev Kumar Arora is on the posted strength of a squadron located at Bhuj, Gujarat since 25 Oct 1999. A devastating earthquake struck Bhuj on 26 Jan 2001. Immediately after the earthquake Cpl SK Arora commenced rescue operations. Working day and night, almost non-stop and with great risk to his own life, he saved 14 precious lives over the next four days. On hearing voices from the rubble of Vaibhav Lakshmi Apartments in Shivnagar area that had come crashing down, he created a narrow passage by using only basic implements like crowbars and hacksaw and located two couples. Even as after-shocks continued and parts of wrecked building continued to fall down, Cpl Arora worked continuously for long hours unmindful of his own safety and pulled out Sgt Tripathi SS, his wife, Sgt Roy Chaudhary and his wife. On their information he continued digging and at late night, pulled out a small girl child followed by her father. Cpl Arora continued to work on the same site on 27 Jan 2001. Tunneling down narrow passengers dug through the rubble, he pulled out five more survivors from Gayatri Apartments in Shivnagar. On 28 and 29 Jan 2001, Cpl Arora saved three more lives including Sgt KT Prasad's wife from Kaveri Apartments.

Corporal Sanjeev Kumar Arora displayed immense courage and unflinching commitment and saved lives of others at great risk to his own life.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Shaurya Chakra
LAC Amar Kumar Bajpai 764609 ORUnit : No.2251 Squadron  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Leading Aircraftsman Amar Kumar Bajpai was on the posted strength of a squadron at Bhuj, Gujarat since 18 Jun 2000. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Bhuj on 26 Jan 2001, Leading Aircraftsman Bajpai immediately rushed to Shivnagar area of Bhuj, where number of Air Force personnel were staying in multistoried buildings. Risking his own life several times at different occasions and even as tremors continued, he went inside the broken buildings and hanging structures to rescue the lives of nine people including airmen and civilians. With no tools and instruments to work he used innovative methods to save human lives from the debris. Efforts required were arduous and stressing but without losing heart and hope, he worked continuously day and night for 5 days with little rest and care for himself. His timely efforts, selfless attitude and zealous approach motivated others to contribute in saving more lives.

Leading Aircraftsman Amar Kumar Bajpai displayed exemplary courage and selfless commitment in saving human lives.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Shaurya Chakra
LAC Arvind Kumar 774907 ORUnit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Leading Aircraftman Arvind Kumar was on the posted strength of a squadron at Bhuj since 28 Jan 2000. On the morning of 26 Jan 2001, a devastating earthquake hit Bhuj wherein a lot of buildings collapsed, trapping people within them. Immediately after the earthquake Leading Aircraftman Arvind Kumar rushed to the affected residential quarters within the Air Force Camp and commenced rescue operation. With raw courage, make shift tools and bare hands, he made passage through a small opening in the rubble and rescued a girl. Then he proceeded to the collapsed DSC quarters where some people where trapped inside. Again, with grit and indomitable will he tunneled through the rubble to pull out two persons. For the next four days, he was instrumental in locating and rescuing 12 trapped persons. It was his initiative and sheer courage which saw him repeatedly going under the debris to extricate persons trapped within and all this when tremors were still being experienced. During this he succeeded in taking out a child by cutting leg from dead body under which the child was trapped. On 29 and 30 Jan 2001 when hope of locating and rescuing live persons was diminishing. LAC Kumar showed a high degree of perseverance and continued working untiringly. His efforts paid of, when a girl child was rescued alive on 30 Jan 2001. His heroic efforts and never say die attitude resulted in rescue of 20 Air Force personnel and civilians.

Leading Aircraftman Arvind Kumar displayed courage of high order and utmost commitment for saving precious human lives.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Shaurya Chakra
LAC Rajeev Bhardwaj 776440 ORUnit : No.128 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details :

Leading Aircraftsman Rajeev Bhardwaj is on the posted strength of a squadron located at Bhuj, Gujarat since 31 Jan 2000. A devastating earthquake struck Bhuj on 26 Jan 2001 after the earthquake LAC Bhardwaj immediately set out to rescue survivors. Working tirelessly over the next four days, he saved 16 lives. On 26 Jan 2001, while the tremors continued, LAC Bhardwaj worked his way into the rubble of four multistoried apartments complexes in Shivnagar area and rescued five women, two children and two men. From 27 Jan 2001 to 29 Jan 2001, LAC Bhardwaj worked tirelessly and rescued Sgt Sharma RP and his family, a man, his wife and a teen-aged girl from Taxila Apartments in Shivnagar area. On 29 Jan 2001 he recovered a child after a struggle of six hours. As days passed by the task became all the more difficult. Bodies had started decaying and the probability of finding the survivors kept reducing. However, LAC Bhardwaj continued with the same zeal and dogged determination. Overcoming all hurdles and bracing the aftershocks, LAC Bhardwaj saved 16 lives from Shivnagar and Gandhinagri area.

Leading Aircraftsman Rajeev Bhardwaj displayed unparalleled courage, determination and commitment in saving others lives even at a risk of his own life.

Reference: Notification No. 130-Pres/2001 dated 15th August, 2001 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 9th February, 2002. 

Yudh Seva Medal
Gp Capt Bijender Singh Siwach 12413 F(P)Unit : UNAMSIL  Award Date 26 Jan 01 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Group Captain Bijender Singh Siwach AVSM VM (12413) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the IAF on 13 Jun 70 and has been the Commander of IAF contingent Sierra Leone-2000, UNAMSIL since 15 Mar 2000.

Gp Capt BS Siwach, an outstanding officer and an exceptional flier, has more than 6000 hours of accident/incident free flying to his credit. He is an A-2 qualified flying instructor, graduate of Defence Services Staff College and has had eminently successful tenure as Commanding Officer, Mi-8 and Mi- 17 units and Station Commander, Air Force Station, Sarsawa. He is a recipient of 'Vayu Sena Medal' and 'Ati Vishisht Seva Medal' for distinguished service of exceptional order.

A Joint Army-Air Force operation named 'Op Khukri' was launched on 15 Jul 2000 to rescue 22 Indian Troops and 11 Military Observers of United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, from the Clutches of Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels. Gp Capt BS Siwach was actively involved in the joint planning of the operation right from the conception phase and contributed immensely towards providing round the clock effective air support for the operation. The officer ensured the execution of the entire air operation in a very professional and daring manner. Under his dynamic leadership, the IAF Contingent helicopters flew 108 sorties/66.55 hours under extremely adverse weather conditions over most inhospitable hilly and thickly forested terrain in the face of the threat from the rebels. His very close monitoring and control of the air operation helped a great deal towards the most needed swiftness without compromising the safety of contingent air assets. Gp Capt BS Siwach ensured a very effective and continuous air umbrella over the area of operations which was instrumental in the grand success of the Op Khukri, in the shortest possible time of less than two days.

For his distinguished service of a high order under operational conditions, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Group Captain Bijender Singh Siwach.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2001 Number: 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Motilal Nalluri 13911 F(P)Unit : Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Group Captain Motilal Nalluri (13911) Flying (Pilot) has been functioning as the Chief Test Pilot (CTP) of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Air Force since Jun 99. He earlier served in ASTE from Dec 85 to May 88, where he was actively involved in indigenous weapon integration trials on the MiG-21 and MiG-23 BN as also on AEW TOP aircraft for baseline flight and thrust derivatives.

As CTP he has supervised and monitored as many as 52 flight trials, of which 44 were completed in 1999. This was a quantum leap from 17-flight trials completed in the previous year. Most of these trials were of a very complex nature involving large-scale integration of state-of-the art equipment, systems and weapons on contemporary aircraft, in order to substantially enhance the strike and avionics capability of the IAF. He personally conducted a number of high-risk flight trials himself. In addition to the trials, the officer has been deeply involved with a number of ongoing projects to upgrade aircraft in service. He has also provided useful inputs for the LCA and ALH programmes.

The officer's contribution in enhancing the punch and reliability of aircraft and system in the IAF is noteworthy, as is his undivided dedication and devotion to duty.

For his devotion to duty and yeoman contribution to Flight Testing, the Hon'ble President, is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Motilal Nalluri.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Manmohan Sud 13945 F(P)Unit : AirHQ Communications Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Group Captain Manmohan Sud (13945) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 15 Feb 75. He converted to transport aircraft in Sep 76. He is posted as Commanding Officer of Air Headquarters Communication Squadron since 01 Jan 1999.

Gp Capt Sud has flown over 7700 accident free hours in his career on nine different types of aircraft including Dakota, AN12, AN-32 and B-737 in various roles. This includes VVIP role, air logistics in northern and eastern sector and bombing role on AN12 aircraft. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with 1850 hours of instructional experience. He achieved exceptional category and instrument rating 'A/MG' in 1989 on AN-12 and has been a Type Examiner.

The professional skills of Gp Capt Sud are regularly put to test in the demanding environment of VVIP flights undertaken by the squadron. Personally he has flown 506 hours in the present tenure including 261 hours on VVIP/VIP commitment. The squadron has contributed to projecting the Indian Air Force as a professional and competent force amongst the service and civilian dignitaries. As Commanding Officer, Air Headquarter Communication Squadron, he has displayed leadership qualities in all operational and administrative spheres.

He had the computerisaton of the flying, admin and technical data of the Squadron completed. On the flying side he has ensured that available flying hours are optimally utilised to achieve the highest standards and turn over the aircrews as required by the service. In the technical sphere he has ensured monitoring of spares, technical manpower and training requirements of each trade on the three types of aircraft that the Squadron holds. He has also ensured computerisaton of the flying administration and technical data of the Squadron. He has also commanded the Air Force Day Parade 2000.

For his dedication to duty, professional competence of a high order and leadership qualities, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Manmohan Sud.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Inder Singh 14082 F(P)Unit : 18 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Group Captain Inder Singh (14082) Flying (Pilot) has been functioning as the Chief Operations Officer of an Air Force Base in the western sector since 12 Apr 99. Within a few weeks of taking over this appointment the Base was faced with a war like situation with Operation Safed Sagar. Apart from ensuring speedy launch of the local fighter squadrons to their Op locations he personally supervised the induction of over forty fighter aircraft of four different types. The Herculean task of loading and offloading men was handled under his supervision in an exemplary manner. With little regard to personal comfort he relentlessly ensured that the task on hand was completely expeditiously.

On taking over as Chief Ops Officer, Gp Capt Inder Singh voluntarily took up the task of office computerisation and automation on war footing. With his knowledge and experience he motivated and guided his subordinates to achieve a systemic IT network within 'operations' that included daily flying programme, weather forecasts, e-mail and web sites among others.

Both, on and off work, with his energetic attitude and management skills, Gp Capt Inder Singh has cohesively bonded officers of all branches working under him to achieve synergetic results.

For his devotion to duty, dedication to service and consistent results, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Inder Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Raghvinder Nath Joshi 15432 F(P)Unit : Helicopter Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Raghvinder Nath Joshi (15432) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned as Helicopter Pilot in the flying branch on 07 Jul 1978. He is an A-2 QFI and holds Cat A/Master Green rating on Mi-8, Mi-17, Chetak and Cheetah helicopters. He was served in Aircrew Examination Board and Air HQ Communication Squadron and has commanded a Helicopter Unit.

Wg Cdr RN Joshi was posted to Helicopter Training School in Apr 98. In his initial appointment as Chief Group Instructor he restructured the training schedule, called for feed back from instructors and student officers, identified weak areas and continuously monitored progress. His deep and personal involvement resulted in the performance of trainee officers showing a continuous upward trend.

In his tenure as Chief Flying Instructor since Nov 98, he has utilised his vast experience in streamlining the flying procedures, standa rdising and computerising phase briefs and manoeuvre briefs. The good flight safety record and high standards achieved by the School, as brought out during inspections, have been largely due to the sustained work put in by him.

As the IInd I/C of the School, Wg Cdr RN Joshi has taken very active part in all activities of the school. His cheerful disposition, sincerity, devotion to duty and positive attitude has been a source of inspiration to the younger generation.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Paramjit Singh Mann 15570 F(P)Unit : TTF  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Paramjeet Singh Mann (15570) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned into the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force on 30 Dec 78. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and has over 3200 hours of fighter flying. He was a member of the erstwhile formation aerobatics team, 'Thunderbolts', and has served three tenures as Flight Commander in different fighter squadrons. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College.

Wg Cdr Mann commanded a Hunter Unit for nearly three years. On assuming command, he was beset with two difficulties. The first was the maintenance problems of an aged Hunter fleet and the second was the logistics and administrative impediments due to a widely dispersed technical area. Encouraging in-house solutions and local adaptations, he achieved a high serviceability, touching 100% on a number of days. His leadership and personal involvement were manifest in the efficient accomplishment of tasks and the excellent Flight Safety record that was maintained during his tenure. By ergonomically re-organising his Flight and maintenance Complex, he improved the working environment, thus negating the inherent disadvantage of a widely dispersed technical area. Qualitative improvements in his Airmen's billets by way of provisioning cable TV, curtains and bed-side lamps and the creation of a Recreation room, effectively reinforced the 'one family' feeling among his Unit personnel.

Wg Cdr Mann was also very involved in the induction of the indigenous pilotless Target Aircraft-Lakshya. Even in the nascent stages of induction, he formulated preliminary operating procedures, training schedules and also suggested modifications to the system. As a result of his dedication, the entire spadework is already in place for the operational induction of the new equipment.For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Paramjit Singh Mann.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Shirish Baban Deo 15681 F(P)Unit : No.51 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Shirish Baban Deo (15681) Flying (Pilot) took over the command of a frontline fighter squadron on 19 Jan 98. His squadron was the only squadron that carried out operational flying training and other operational commitments simultaneously. Wg Cdr Deo has led the squadron from the front through out his tenure and has flown more than 700 sorties during the period. Having served as DS at Flying Instructors School and Tactics and Combat Development Establishment, he has used his experience and expertise to improve the training standards of the squadron and ensured accident free flying without sacrificing the quality of training.

The squadron has also performed extremely well during all inspection visits. Wg Cdr Deo's professional attitude, exceptional standard in weapon delivery and air combat skills have motivated the squadron pilots to maximise their potential. He has been thoroughly involved in all maintenance-related activities and has ensured the cohesiveness so essential in a combat unit. The Squadron has initiated various welfare and educational assistance schemes for airman's children, which helped in sustaining high morale of Squadron personnel.

For his exceptional qualities of leadership, devotion to duty, dynamism, safety consciousness, dedicated efforts for betterment of service and ability to inculcate professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Shirish Baban Deo.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Umesh Shastri 15698 F(P)Unit : No.45 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Umesh Shastri (15698) Flying (Pilot) has been in command of a front line fighter squadron of the Air Force since 10 Mar 97 up to 31 April 2000. He is a highly experienced fighter pilot with over 3400 hours of accident free flying of which 2086 hours are on MiG-21 aircraft. He is a qualified flying Instructor holding A-2 category and is also a Fighter Combat Leader.

During his tenure as Commanding Officer he has always led the squadron from the front. He has ensured good planning and exemplary execution of all tasks assigned to the squadron. The squadron has always risen to every occasion and has acquitted itself with credit in all facets of activity. He has personally led the squadron's formation during the airpower demonstration at Pokharan, Vayushakti-98 as well as Vayushakti-99 and carried out attacks on the assigned targets with impeccable professionalism. During 'Op Safed Sagar' the squadron was the first in SWAC to achieve the feat of 100% serviceability, which speaks volume of his quality of leadership, planning and coordination. The squadron has also weathered through two cyclones, which hit the station in 1998 and in 1999. Through meticulous planning and execution he ensured the dispersion and securing all service equipment and other assets of the squadron, thus saving them from any damage. He ensured a high training status of aircrew and ground crew at all times. This manifest itself on 10 Aug 1999 when an intruding Pakistani Atlantique, a Naval surveillance aircraft was shot down by a section of two aircraft from his squadron.

For his excellent leadership of the squadron through all tasks assigned, for his capabilities and dedication to duty and for leading the squadron by personal example which is in the best tradition of the service, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Umesh Shastri.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Rakesh Kumar Negi 15869 F(P)Unit : 2000 HC Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Negi (15869) Flying (Pilot) is on deputation to United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) as Commanding Officer of No. 2000 (Helicopter) Squadron consisting of Mi-8 and Chetaks.

On 07 May 2000, Wg Cdr Negi, while flying over rebel held territory, monitored a distress call from another IAF Mi-8 stating that his aircraft has force landed and the rebels are approaching the aircraft from different directions. Realising the gravity of the situation Wg Cdr Negi, displaying exceptional courage and presence of mind, immediately proceeded to the force-landing site and successfully evacuated the 19 UN personnel and the crew before the rebels could capture them. The daring rescue mission received wide scale appreciation including from UN HQ, New York.

On 15 Jul 2000, Wg Cdr RK Negi led his squadron in a joint air-land operation 'Op Khukri' to extricate 222 beleaguered troops from the inhospitable terrain dominated by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels equipped with anti aircraft weaponry. Undaunted by the heavy odds, Wg Cdr Negi courageously led his squadron from the front and flew 40 missions under extremely challenging terrain, weather and battle conditions. All these missions involved troop induction and redeployment from extremely restricted areas in treacherous weather with cloud touching treetops and under continuous firing from rebels. Throughout the operation, he continued to inspire and motivate his crew by his personal example and was able to get the best of them. Wg Cdr RK Negi was instrumental in the swift success of "Op Khukri".

For these acts of courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Seva Medal' (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Rakesh Kumar Negi.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Anil Khosla 15871 F(P)Unit : No.6 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Anil Khosla (15871) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in 14 Dec 79 in the Flying Branch of the IAF and has been the Commanding Officer of a Jaguar squadron since 12 Apr 99.

A highly motivated, diligent and responsible officer, Wg Cdr Khosla has been able to motivate the Unit personnel to a very high level of performance. The Squadron, during his tenure, has risen from strength to strength, which has been possible as a result of his exceptional leadership qualities. The operational capability of the Squadron kept on improving under his command and all the tasks given to the Squadron were executed in a professional manner. The Unit under his guidance performed extremely well in every exercise that it took part in and also proved its mettle in the Command Gunnery Meet.

Leading by his personal example, Wg Cdr Khosla has been able to instill confidence, enthusiasm and sense of pride in his men, binding the unit into a strong and potent team of professionals. The Squadron being adjudged the best Fighter Squadron in SWAC and being nominated for best Fighter Squadron of IAF bears testimony to this fact. At the same time, he has always held the welfare of those below him high on priority by taking personal interest in the problems pertaining to the personnel and has been able to keep the morale of the personnel high.

For his professional capability and devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Anil Khosla.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Shyam Bihari Prasad Sinha 16053 F(P)Unit : No.52 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Shyam Bihari Prasad Sinha (16053) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch on 15 Jun 80. He has 3600 hours of accident free flying to his credit. The officer has held the appointments of Flight commander of a MiG-21 squadron and Chief Flying Instructor at a Flying Training Establishment. He is a Cat-A-2 Qualified Flying Instructor and an Air Force Examiner. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He has been commended by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Central Air Command and by the Chief of the Air Staff.

Wg Cdr Sinha has been posted as Commanding Officer of a MiG Operational Training Squadron since 07 Dec 98. Operational Conversion Training on fighter aircraft is an unenviable task, given the inexperience of ab-intio trainees. Early in his tenure, Wg Cdr Sinha assessed the demands of this exacting task. Through concerted efforts and effective leadership, Wg Cdr Sinha ensured prompt task completion, enabling MOFT courses to pass out on time. The exceptional flight safety record enjoyed by the squadron, inspite of the intense training environment, speaks volumes of the Commanding Officer's deep personal involvement. Staff Pilot training was also accelerated to ensure 100% operational and instructional clearance. All this was achieved by leading from the front through personal example. Despite the preoccupation of his appointment, the Commanding Officer has held the distinction of flying the maximum number of sorties in his squadron.

Driven by the singular aim of improving aircraft availability, he addressed the issue of a large number of AOGs. Through effective liaison with higher formation and HAL, he accelerated the clearance of his Squadron AOG demands. Effectively utilising his managerial skills and excellent interpersonal relations, he raised the productivity of his technical staff. The end result was a sustained high serviceability, occasionally touching 100%. His genuine concern for his men and his orientation towards morale, resulted in a large number of welfare measures in his Squadron. He has been an exemplary leader.

For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Shyam Bihari Prasad Sinha.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr S Harpal Singh 16071 F(P)Unit : No.47 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander S Harpal Singh (16071) Flying (Pilot) has been in command of a front line fighter squadron since 04 May 09.

During the last two years, the squadron, under the command of Wg Cdr Harpal Singh has done 3155 h of accident-free flying. For the past 12 months, the Squadron has had an incident-free record barring two cases of material failure and one of technical defect. DASI visited the Station on two occasions and on both occasions, the Unit performed creditably, getting an overall grading of Average Plus. The Squadron was entrusted with several professional tasks during his tenure such as the formulation of Communication Jamming operating procedures, certain new intercept procedures and air to ground attack procedures, which were carried out in a most professional manner. During 'Op Safed Sagar', the Squadron was tasked with an Air Defence missions in the valley and gave a good account of itself. Throughout the period of Kargil Ops, the Unit operated from two different locations, and met all assigned tasks despite the shortage of manpower and equipment.

The squadron has constantly maintained a high serviceability to aircraft and avionics and achieved 100% serviceability in Aug 99. The squadron has developed software for Flight Data Recorder analysis, which overcomes several shortcomings of the present system.

As a professional, Wg Cdr S Harpal Singh has a wide and varied experience. He has flown all the MiG aircraft on the inventory of the IAF except the MiG-25 and has a total of 2468 hrs of accident free flying. He has led his Unit from the front in all aspects, be it professional, social or on the sports field. The work environment of the Unit has undergone steady change for the better. Under his leadership, the Squadron operated as wellknit team and was adjudged the best fighter Squadron of WAC for the year 1998-99.

For displaying exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander S Harpal Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Balakrishnan Suresh 16206 F(P)Unit : No.2 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Balakrishnan Suresh (16206) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 13 Dec 80 in the flying branch of IAF. An accomplished professional, he has over 2200 hours of fighter flying to his credit. He is a Fighter Strike Leader (FSL) with the distinction of two instructional tenures at the Tactical and Air Combat Development Establishment.

Wg Cdr Suresh was appointed the Commanding Officer of a fighter squadron on 24 Aug 98. On taking over command, he faced the twin challenges of low aircraft availability and low operational status of pilots mainly in the op and strike roles. A thorough analysis of the situation revealed that while improvement of role-qualifications was an operational necessity, resources would be hard to come by. Through a concerted and well-focused training effort, he affected a quantum jump in the status of his squadron. The squadron armament results showed a noticeable improvement under his watchful guidance.

Enhanced operational readiness saw his squadron ready and willing to go whenever called upon. He responded promptly during the mobilisation for Op Safed Sagar and the build-up during the Sri Lankan contingency. His squadron accredited itself in exemplary fashion during the annual joint Navy Air exercise off the Eastern seaboard.

The Commanding Officer had to call upon the very best of his managerial skills in juggling scarce aircraft resources. Through close interaction with his maintenance staff, he ensured maximum support for his operations. Meaningful interaction with Wing and Command staff fetched real time solutions for his operational and maintenance problems. At the same time, his humane approach towards his men and their problems resulted in a large number of meaningful welfare measures being instituted for the overall improvement of his unit.For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Balakrishnan Suresh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Jasjit Singh Kler 16225 F(P)Unit : 127 Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Jasjit Singh Kler (16225) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the flying branch on 13 Dec 80. A Qualified Flying Instructor, he has 6800 hours of flying to his credit including 700 hours towards Op Meghdoot. He was specially selected for an instructional tenure in Namibia in 1996. He has been twice awarded Commendations by the Chief of the Air Staff, the first in Jan 90 and the second in Jan 93. In recognition of his professional competence, the officer was selected to conduct the first ever type QFI course on helicopters in 1998.

Wg Cdr Kler commanded a Helicopter Unit for over two years. Shortly after assuming command, the officer was assigned the onerous responsibility of formulating an operating procedure for Air Sea Search and Rescue, a task he executed admirably. He later validated the procedures himself by undertaking twelve missions over the sea.

Wg Cdr Kler realised the enormity of his task towards bringing up the operational status of his Unit. Adverse weather, relative inexperience of his aircrew and seemingly insurmountable maintenance problems, all came in his way. He addressed each issue through a two-pronged strategy. First, he accelerated the categorisation and roleclearances of his aircrews, through a wellfocused training schedule. Through excellent liaison with the Wing and Command, he progressively streamlined his maintenance activities and built up and sustained his fleet of Mi-17s. The net result was a significant jump in the operational capability of his Unit. During his tenure, the Unit flew 4400 hours, airlifting over 5000 MT load, all the while maintaining an unblemished safety record.

Leading by example, Wg Cdr Kler completed his own area-familiarisation and operational role clearances in record time. Through his personal involvement, all operating procedures were reviewed to ensure a safe environment for his relatively young aircrew. The officer's capability was such that he was often called upon to undertake special missions by Command Headquarters.

For exceptional devotion to duty, exemplary leadership and conduct, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Jasjit Singh Kler.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Arun Tillu Samtani 17002 F(P)Unit : 2000 HC Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Arun Tillu Samtani (17002) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of the Mi-35 Squadron of the IAF Contingent Sierra Leone-2000 for the United Nations in Sierra Leone.

'Op Khukri', a joint Army Air Force Operation of the United Nations forces was executed to extricate 222 UN Peace Keepers held hostage for more than 75 days by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels at Kailahun in Eastern Sierra Leone. Mi­35 helicopters of the IAF contingent were tasked to provide fire support to own troops at all times from dawn to dusk during this operation.

On 16 July 2000, Wg Cdr AT Samtani was tasked to carry out strike on RUF reinforcements coming through Manowa Ferry to impede the advance of UN troops heading from Kailahun to Daru and suppress the RUF fire at UN ground forces road convoy. Undeterred by the enemy anti aircraft guns and heavy machine guns fire, Wg Cdr AT Samtani attacked enemy positions with rockets and front guns with pinpoint accuracy, inflicting heavy damage on rebel positions. Throughout the period of operation, Wg Cdr AT Samtani relentlessly carried out strikes at RUF positions with clinical accuracy at RUF strongholds of Kailahaun, Giehun, Pendembu and Kuiva that were located along the axis of advance of UN ground forces. Wg Cdr AT Samtani flew eight missions involving 14 hrs of flying in less than two days under extremely adverse weather and terrain conditions and under the threat of continuous firing by the rebels.

For this act of exceptional courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President of pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Wing Commander Arun Tillu Samtani.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Tejinder Singh Sareen 17138 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Wing Commander Tejinder Singh Sareen (17138) F (P) was posted as the Flight Commander of an Attack Helicopter Squadron with effect from 03 May 1998. During his tenure as the Flight Commander this officer involved himself intensely in the operational well being of the Squadron. The Squadron has a peculiar chain of control with the Army, Western Air Command, AOC J&K and the local administration. The tasking, therefore, becomes multi point and places a great strain on the Unit. The Flight Commander, being the pivot, has to deftly manage the man and material resources to meet multi point demands. Wg Cdr TS Sareen managed this very well. With his knowledge of the aircraft he maintained a high serviceability.

During the Kargil war he led the Squadron Detachment in the Valley. For the last six months, the squadron has been manning a detachment of the same place and Wg Cdr TS Sareen has been leading the detachment most of the time. He has also been involved in the trials on the usage of the Attack Helicopter in the Valley with certain modifications. Whenever the Squadron got tasked for the anti-insurgency operations in the Valley, Wg Cdr TS Sareen was in the forefront, which is an ample display of his leadership qualities.

For devotion to duty and professionalism and for being an example to emulate, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Tejinder Singh Sareen.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr George Thomas 17722 F(P)Unit : 2000 HC Sqn  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Squadron Leader George Thomas (17722) Flying (Pilot) is posted to the Mi-8 flight of the IAF Contingent for the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone. He is the Flight Commander of the Flight.

Op Khukri, a joint Army Air Force UN operation, was conducted to extricate 22 UN peacekeepers, held hostage for more than 75 days by Revolutionary United Front rebels in Kailahun. The Mi-8 helicopters were tasked to carry out special heliborne operations in support of ground operations. These included insertion and extrication of troops into and from rebel stronghold. The helicopters were required to operate from unprepared sites and confined spaces under constant threat of enemy fire. Sqn Ldr George Thomas, a veteran helicopter pilot, was undeterred. Despite being fired upon on a number of occasions he led 24 missions into enemy territory, under extremely adverse weather conditions, over most inhospitable and thickly forested terrain. Throughout the conduct of this operation, the officer flew all the sorties assigned to him, with courage, enthusiasm and with utter disregard to personal safety.

On 08 Jun 2000, Sqn Ldr Thomas was tasked to escort a UN convoy from Hastings to Rogberi, which was captured by rebels. His task included providing fire cover to the ground column. It involved flying the helicopter at extremely low altitudes over treacherous and thickly forested terrain of Sierra Leone under constant threat of rebel fire. During this mission Sqn Ldr Thomas spotted an ambush the rebels had laid for the convoy. Realising the gravity of the situation, the pilot engaged the enemy while at the same time informing the advancing column of the impeding ambush. The rebels fired 03 rockets at the helicopter. With his exceptional flying skill, he successfully evaded these attacks. Undeterred, he held his position in the area and continued to guide the ground force. This timely action thus prevented the ground forces from suffering heavy causalities due to enemy ambush.

For this act of exceptional courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader George Thomas.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Dharmender Singh 18580 F(P)Unit : No.111 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Squadron Leader Dharmender Singh (18580) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 25 Jan 99 and is the Flight Commander of the Unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and Unit Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner with 4000 hrs of flying.

On 21 Jun 2000, a request for casualty evacuation was received from HQ CAC, 1AF. Erin Gushing, a lady member of a US expedition team was suffering from acute appendicitis and high attitude sickness, which had become life threatening. Sqn Ldr D Singh was designated as leader of a two helicopters formation for the evacuation, which was to be effected from close to Sundardunga glacier near the peaks of Nandakot (22510') and Baling (22651'). Unfortunately all attempts made by him to pick up the casualty at higher altitudes on that day were negated due to bad weather. On 22 Jun 2000, after two unsuccessful attempts, Sqn Ldr D Singh's relentless persistence to penetrate the weather was rewarded. Armed with years of hill flying experience, he navigated below clouds and close to the valley bottom to locate the casualty. As he located the site, the approaching weather and rain made the landing site visible only briefly. Using his skill, professional knowledge and maturity he took a calculated risk to make a swift landing to evacuate the casualty, minutes before weather engulfed the helipad with rain. The circumstances required the mission to be completed at all costs. Squadron Leader Singh courageously evacuated the casualty with his brave effort in the face of imminent danger and saved life of a foreign expedition member. His display of courage in adverse and trying circumstances was in keeping with the best traditions of the IAF.

For this act of courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Dharmender Singh.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Flt Lt Pranay Dixit 22726 F(P)Unit : No.130 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 06 Feb 99 Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Pranay Dixit (22726) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 02 Feb 98.

On 06 Feb 99 an emergency SOS message was received by the Air Force. A team consisting of two French and five Belgian nationals were stranded near Padam area in the Zanskar Valley due to an unprecedented snow blizzard. Hypothermia, an acute respiratory trauma, critically affected several members of the team. The officer was on a detachment at Thoise and was entrusted upon with the casualty evacuation task. On receiving the task, he was airborne within a short time after modifying an aircraft for casually evacuation. The weather was deteriorating fast in the upper reaches of the Zanskar Valley. He flew through the treacherous and unforgiving confines of the narrow snow bound Zanskar Valley and located the site of the stranded trekkers.

Despite whiteout, poor visibility conditions and precarious obstructions, the officer landed at the snow-covered site. The timely rescue saved the perilled trekkers from a near certain calamitous fate. This laudable act of courage and valour was acknowledged by All India Radio, Television and local Newspapers. His display of exceptional courage in averse and trying circumstances was in keeping with the best traditions of the IAF.

For this act of courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Pranay Dixit.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th May 2001 - No.68-Pres/2001 dated 26th January 2001 

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
JWO Valiya Veetil Rajeev 669018 ORUnit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 01
Details :

669018 Junior Warrant Officer Valiya Veetil Rajeev, Flt Engr is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 12 Jan 1998. He has been flying extensively in the highly demanding and hostile terrain of the Op Meghdoot and Op Rakshak sectors. He is an exemplary airman and a distinguished Flt Engr who has as astute knowledge of various helicopter systems and procedures.

Over a period of three years, JWO VV Rajeev has flown a total of 950 hrs of which 750 were flown in air maintenance sorties in the Siachen Glacier and Kargil sectors. During the month of Feb 2000, repeated enemy firing over Alpha and Jwala DZs in the Op Meghdoot sector brought the dropping missions to an abrupt halt. The forward posts of Indian Army were in dire need of ration and ammunition. JWO VV Rajeev, with his vast experience and excellent knowledge of the topography, volunteered for emergency drops over the DZs. Accurately monitoring engine and rotor parameters, he guided the crew of the helicopter towards the DZ by resorting to terrain masking. This provided reasonable cover and concealment to the helicopter right up to the DZ. The drop was successful and further missions could be carried out due to the confidence instilled by JWO VV Rajeev.

His sound knowledge on all matters pertaining to service flying makes him a very valuable and dependable worker. His thorough professionalism and sense of responsibility has been big motivating factor for his juniors and colleagues instilled by JWO VV Rajeev.

For his dedication to the service and devotion to duty of a high order, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Junior Warrant Officer VV Rajeev.

Reference:  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Rajesh Isser 16968 F(P)Unit : No.128 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 11 Jun 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Wing Commander Rajesh Isser (16968) Flying (Pilot) is commanding a helicopter unit in the Eastern Sector since 17 May 1999. On II Jun 2000, East Siang district was inundated by flash floods causing wide spread devastation. Three helicopters were launched {or the rescue task and Wg Cdr Isser was to coordinate these ops at Passighat. Wg Cdr Isser personally flew numerous missions and was able to evacuate 46 people from rooftop, treetop, small eroding islands and a capsized boat by rope ladders and winching. This involved hovering over the swirling and ferocious Siang River in poor visibility conditions and heavy rain. A total of 76 people were rescued from the swirling water. Thereafter, he searched for a capsized ferry, which was finally located after an hour of search. The ferry and Its 98 occupants were stuck In the middle of the river, with some of the passengers stuck waist deep in quick sand. He was personally responsible for rescuing 58 people, while others were rescued by the second helicopter pooled in for the task. With his untiring efforts he also coordinated relief operations in East Siang, Yinkiong and Annini district. A total of 2800 marooned people on either side of the Siang were rehabilitated to their homes between 12 Jun 2000 and 26 Jun 2000. He personally flew more than 70 sorties to evacuate more than 1600 persons cut off from their homes entailing operations from riverbeds, hillside and unprepared areas. On 24 Jun 2000 some survivors were spotted from a helicopter on a cut off island. Wg Cdr Isser took off within minutes of the SOS call and winched up 47 people to safety from the swirling waters of the Deopani River. This involved flying in a narrow valley, inclement weather and poor light conditions in late evening. For displaying exemplary professionalism, zeal and courage beyond the normal call of duty, the Hon'ble President Is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Wind Commander Raiesh Isser.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Gulbag Singh Padda 18303 F(P)Unit : No.112 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 24 Aug 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Squadron Leader Gulbag Singh Padda (18303) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a helicopter unit since 25 May 1998. He is a Fully Ops staff pilot of the unit. On 24 Aug 2000 the unit was tasked to launch two helicopters for flood relief in Hyderabad. Sqn Ldr Padda, along with his crew, got airborne from Yelahanka at 1300 hrs within an hours notice. Information was received that approximately 150 persons were stranded atop a building, which was mid stream in Musi river. The river was in full spate and had damaged the foundation, which could have led to collapse of the building. Lives of 150 persons were in danger if they were not evacuated before night fall. After reaching Hyderabad, Sqn Ldr Padda got airborne for the rescue mission nearing the sunset time. On reaching the spot he found that the building was surrounded by tall obstructions and winds were gusty. Considering the gravity of the situation he decided to winch up the people from the rooftop one by one. The helicopter was made to hover at 5-7 meters, the only reference being a small portion of parapet of the building roof. Sqn Ldr Padda winched up 127 adults and 15 infants In a little more than 1.45 hrs. The task was completed in eight shuttles without refueling. Sqn Ldr Padda displayed tenacity of purpose and professionalism under very demanding situation. For displaying a high degree of courage and professionalism, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Gulbag Singh Padda.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Sanjeev Sharma 20489 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 23 Jun 00 Announced 15 Aug 01
Details : Squadron Leader Sanjeev Sharma (20489) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted Strength of a helicopter unit since 11 Oct 1999. On 23 Jun 2000, an emergency message was received from the Deputy Commissioner, Tezu District that the lives of more than 100 people were at stake as the Lohit river had risen to dangerous levels inundating large areas. Also, a bus carrying 42 passengers was stranded on a remote Island. Unless rescued immediately, all 42 people were likely to perish. The weather was marginal with Incessant drizzle, low clouds and poor visibility. Sqn Ldr Sharma immediately swung into action. Using his skill he negotiated adverse weather to reach the site. Displaying a keen sense of professionalism and skills he winched up five people who were perched on the roof of the bus. Thereafter, displaying his Indefatigable spirit, grit and determination, Sqn Ldr Sharma flew 12 sorties rescuing 141 people including six infants from various marooned villages. The rescue operation was so well planned and efficiently executed even in trying circumstances that the casualties were landed at Tezu Aircraft Landing Ground even before the District Administration could reach there. This daring operation enhanced the image of the IAF among the people of the region. For his act of daring rescue of flood ravaged people and displaying courage under trying circumstances, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Sanjeev Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 19th January 2002 - No.123-Pres/2001 dated 15th August 2001 & AFD 2002 Investiture Booklet 

The Awards Database presented here was made possible by the kind generosity of Air Marshal Bharat Kumar, author of Courage & Devotion to Duty : A Chronicle of IAF's Honours and Awards (1932-2008). Air Marshal Bharat Kumar had very graciously given permission to reproduce the citations from the book on this website.
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