Awards for the year 2005


A total of 96 Awards are listed.
Param Vishist Seva Medal : 6 | Kirti Chakra : 2 | Ati Vishist Seva Medal : 12 | Shaurya Chakra : 5 | Yudh Seva Medal : 3 | Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) : 31 | Sena Medal (Gallantry) : 1 | Vishist Seva Medal : 28 | Mention in Despatches : 8 |
Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Sunil Kumar Malik 9002 F(P)Unit : Air Head Quarters  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Marshal Sunil Kumar Malik AVSM (9002) F(P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot in the Flying branch on 25 December 1964. He has over 4200 hrs of accident free flying to his credit. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and Air War College of USA. He is a production test pilot, who has held several key appointments such as Joint Director at Directorate (Offensive Ops), Commanding Officer of the Aircrew Examining Board, Air Attaché Moscow, Air Officer Commanding of two operational bases, Additional Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations), Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) and Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at South Western Air Command. He was awarded Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1996. Presently he is Vice Chief of Air Staff since 01 October 2004.

As Air Officer Commanding, Air Marshal Malik carried out the task of reassessing the operational deployments of Air Defence systems. He executed a major operational work of runway resurfacing with top quality within a record duration of six months. During his tenure the average aircraft serviceability improved from 65% to 74%.

As Additional Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations) during Kargil air operations, Air Marshal Malik made significant contribution in planning the target systems and acquiring intelligence on those. He was also instrumental in harmonising all Electronic Warfare Operations. Major inter service and internal changes were necessitated post-Kargil Review Committee recommendations, for which he effectively planned and brought about organisational changes for better exploitation of intelligence network.

As Senior Air Staff Officer of South Western Air Command, Air Marshal Malik most efficiently and expeditiously brought all the forces to an instant alert status ready to face any challenges. He also ensured that all forces remained deployed with a very high level of operational preparedness with sustained high morale. He organised and executed realistic training exercises for bringing about synergy between Air Defence and Strike Forces. During this period extensive flying training were carried out with the lowest accident rate.

As the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, HQ Southern Air Command, Air Marshal Malik brought about administrative improvements not only in the work environment but also in the quality of life of personnel below officer rank. He was Chairman of an Inter Services Study Group, which was constituted to study and make recommendations in respect of the selection process for NDA, its service training syllabi and other curriculum. The study group under his leadership has made valuable recommendations towards meeting the future requirements of all the three services

Air Marshal Sunil Kumar Malik AVSM has thus rendered distinguished service of most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Satish Kumar Jain 9716 F(P)Unit : South Western Air Command  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Marshal Satish Kumar Jain AVSM VM (9716) F(P) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in October 1965 in the fighter stream. During his distinguished service of 39 years, he has held many challenging flying and staff assignments, which include command of a fighter Sqn and two front line fighter bases, head of Air Faculty at the DSSC, Director Air Defence, ACAS (Op Concepts & Doctrine) at Air HQ, AOC J&K and the Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO), HQ Training Command. He has flown over 4200 hours on 25 different types of aircraft. He is a QFI Cat A2 and a Production Test Pilot. He was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal in 1987 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1998. Presently he is AOC-in-C South Western Air Command since July 2004.

As Director Operations (Air Defence), Air Marshal Jain conceptualized and formulated the futuristic op requirements of modernisation of the country's air defence systems. Their implementation will have a far-reaching effect in enhancing the effectiveness of our air defence. He was also actively involved in planning and support for Op Safed Sagar, which entailed rapid deployment, adjustment and support to Air Defence forces. As the Air Officer Commanding J&K, he successfully accomplished all air logistics and fighter/ combat operations from the six airfields and numerous wheelbases in the J&K and Siachen sector. During the summer of 2000 he overcame a serious logistics crisis at the base camp due to flood-related destruction of bridges with astute employment of his limited airlift resources. The combat capability of his fleet was improved significantly through systematic training, coordination and trials in difficult terrain.

As the ACAS (Operational Concepts & Doctrine) Air Marshal Jain contributed significantly to increase international coop-eration with many countries. As the leader of the Indian Military Delegation to Tajikistan, he saved the exchequer many crores by convincing the Govt of Tajikistan to supply unused Pechora missile spares free of cost thus giving a muchneeded relief to the Pechora squadrons. His dedicated efforts led to the successful conduct of Executive Steering Group meetings with the USAF, which led to unprecedented level of IAF-USAF joint exercises. He was the nodal coordinator at Air HQ for evolution and implementation of joint staff structures pursuant to the recommendations of Group of Ministers to revamp the national security system. He drew up the road map for induction of simulators in the IAF. As SASO, HQ Training Command, Air Marshal Jain initiated concrete steps to upgrade the skills and categories of instructors and controllers, which has resulted in upgradation in large numbers. He ensured significant improvements and growth in networking and computer aided learning at all training units,

Air Marshal SK Jain has thus rendered distinguished service of most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Subhash Bhojwani 9734 F(P)Unit : Training Command  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Marshal Subhash Bhojwani AVSM VSM (9734) F(P) was commissioned in the IAF as a Fighter Pilot on 16 October 1965. He has flown over 4500 hours on single engined aircraft, which include 31 combat mission in December 1971 in the Western Sector, for which he earned 'Mention-in-Dispatches'. He is a Fighter Combat Leader and one of only two IAF pilots holding QFI cat A-1. For his distinguished services, he was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal in 1993 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1997. A graduate of RAF Staff College and Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies, Air Marshal Bhojwani has held prestigious field, staff and instructional appointments including CO of two fighter squadrons, Chief Operations Officer of flying station, instructional assignments at DSSC and College of Air Warfare, Air Officer Commanding of a premier fighter base, Director Ops Offensive and Air Staff Inspection, Commandant Air Force Academy and Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of Western Air Command, before being appointed as AOC-in-C Training Command since Jul 2004.

As Director Operations (Offensive), he systematised WWR management and measures to optimise availability of weapon and fuses (Project Checkmate). During Kargil operations, he was member of Core Group at Air HQ and was nominated as media spokesman for IAF in which capacity he brought into public focus the crucial role of air power in that conflict. During 2000-02, as commandant Air Force Academy, he restructured the training to optimise existing resources and improves training standards.

At the height of Op Parakram, Air Marshal Bhojwani was appointed SASO, WAC, where he was instrumental in bringing the entire operational assets of the Command to a very high state of readiness. During his two year tenure, he oversaw induction and operationalisation of new technology equipment such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Bison, Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR), Mi-35 upgrade and Integrated Command Air Tasking System (ICATS), as well as expansion of operational use of computer and data networks. The smooth conduct of several major exercises and flawless completion of Op Meghdoot tasks bear testimony to his conceptualisation and management skills. His standard of staff work and related activities has set a benchmark for others to follow.

As AOC-in-C Training Command Air Mshl Bhojwani involved himself in the restructuring of training of airmen and the establishment of the AF Engineering College.

Air Marshal Subhash Bhojwani AVSM VSM has throughout rendered distinguished service of most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Ajit Bhavnani 10440 F(P)Unit : Strategic Forces Command  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Marshal Ajit Bhavnani AVSM VM (10440) F(P) was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on 29 October 1966. During his distinguished service of 40 years he has held a wide range of important operational and staff appointments which include Defence Attaché to Sweden, Commanding Officer of a premier Air Force base, Director of Offensive Operations, Air Advisor to the CAS and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers). He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, where he served as an Instructor. He has flown a large number of combat aircraft in the lAF's inventory, and has also gained proficiency in flying helicopters and transport aircraft. Since the early years of his service, his exceptional flying skills and disciplined approach were recognized at every level. During the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict, he flew 22 operational missions on MiG-21 aircraft into enemy territory, thereby making a significant contribution to the war effort. For his dedicated efforts and high level of professional skills, he was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal in 1987 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 1991.

In 1984, Air Marshal Bhavnani was selected to lead the IAF team to France to fly the newly acquired state-of-the-art, Mirage 2000 aircraft. On return, he commanded the Battle Axes Squadron and equipped it with the new aircraft and was responsible for laying a strong foundation for the lAF's Mirage fleet. During his tenure as Commanding Officer of prestigious Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE), he introduced a wide range of changes in the curriculum, leading to significant improvements in lAF's combat skills and orientation.

As SASO HQ CAC, sustained efforts made by Air Marshal Bhavnani ensured successful induction and operationalisation of the newly acquired Flight Refueling Aircraft, 1L-78. In February 2003 he successfully coordinated the first ever Indo-French combat exercise held at Gwalior, involving modern combat aircraft. Later, he also successfully handled the task of planning and conducting the first Indo-US air combat exercise at Gwalior in October 2003. His meticulous preparation and expert professional guidance resulted in the successful conduct of this exercise, which brought in extraordinary accolades from the US Air Force.

In his present assignment as Commanderin-Chief of the Strategic Forces Command, Air Marshal Bhavnani has initiated several important measures to optimize the integration of forces and command and control of the strategic systems with a view to increase the operational potential of the Strategic Forces.

Air Marshal Ajit Bhavnani AVSM VM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Harendrajit Singh Garkal 11780 ADMUnit : Eastern Air Command  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Marshal Harendrajit Singh Garkal VSM was commissioned in the Administrative Branch of the IAF on 15 December 1968. He is an alumnus of the College of Defence Management. During his distinguished service of over 35 years, he has held varied key appointments such as, Air Staff Inspector, Officer Commanding GCA Radar Squadron, Chief Administrative Officer, Senior Personnel Staff Officer, Air Officer Commanding Equipment Depot and Senior Officer-in-charge Administration. Presently he is Air Officer-in-charge Administration since 22 March 2004.

Air Marshal Garkal has brought laurels to the organisation through his exceptional calibre, sincerity, honesty and unimpeachable integrity. He has left an indelible stamp of professionalism in all his previous appointments. For his professional and distinguished service of high order, he was commended by AOC-in-C in the year 1977 and was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal in 1997. As Officer Commanding GCA Squadron, Air Marshal Garkal pioneered the integration of GCA and Air Defence radar for optimum operational Results. As Chief Administrative officer of a major base, he brought about perceptible improvement in all spheres of administrative activities. As Air Officer Commanding Equipment Depot, his far-sighted and proactive approach saw creation of some strategic, permanent assets, besides establishing an innovative inventory management system.

As Senior Officer-in-charge Administration at HQ Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal Garkal successfully used his vast experience to bring about qualitative and quantitative changes in the maintenance and upgradation of infrastructure. He took initiative to set up Command Museum and Archives. He ensured efficient management of Public funds and evolved an ethos of cost consciousness leading to desired improvements in all facets of administrative activities.

As Air Officer-in-charge Administration Air Marshal Garkal has initiated steps to ensure quality planning, effective monitoring and execution of operational and security related works. His professional and result oriented guidance to the AFCAO culminated into landmarks e.g. e-POR for officers and airmen, software for data inputs by units, etc. Under his able guidance, sports and adventure activities have got a fresh impetus. His tenure has brought in significant and genuine long-term welfare measures. A drive to improve education standards in Air Force Schools, office computerisation and greater attention to improving the infrastructure at remote locations deserve a special mention. His wholesome involvement and guidance are distinctly visible in every facet of administration, whether in support of operations, welfare, sports, discipline, security or financial management.

Air Marshal Garkal has thus rendered distinguished service of most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Param Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Parimal Kumar Sarkar 26480 MEDUnit : Air Head Quarters  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Marshal Parimal Kumar Sarkar (26480) Med (Retd.) was commissioned in the Army Medical Corps on 24 July 1966. During his 38 years of distinguished service he held various coveted appointments which include Senior Advisor in Preventive and Social Medicine, Reader at AFMC, Assistant Director of Health HQ 3 Corps, HQ 4 Corps, HQ Western Command and Commandant of prestigious Command Hospital Air Force Bangalore (CHAFB). He was commended by the Chief of Army Staff for his meritorious service in the year 1997. He retired as DGMS (Air) on 30 September 2004. Earlier, in his formative years, Air Marshal Sarkar earned the qualifications of Diploma in Public Health (DPH) and Diploma in Industrial Health (DIH). He is also a Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Preventive & Social Medicine (PSM). He served with distinction as a specialist in PSM at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. As Reader at AFMC, he distinguished himself as an excellent medical teacher and guided many research projects and PG students. He displayed excellent administrative skills as Commandant CHAFB. He modernised various departments of CHAFB & ensured adequate comprehensive health care to all patients. Patient satisfaction irrespective of rank & status was his primary concern. During his tenure as Commandant, CHAFB was adjudged as “Environmentalist of the year 2002" and was awarded first prize in Hospital Waste Management System by Karnataka State,

As Deputy Director General (Pension) at the office of DGAFMS, Min of Def, Air Marshal Sarkar was instrumental in revision of the book “Guide to Medical Officers - Military Pension" which guides all medical officers of the Armed Forces regarding attributability, aggravation of the disabilities and disability pension. He ensured revision of all the Armed Forces Medical Forms used for admission, discharge in hospitals, medical categorization etc.

During his tenure as DGMS (Air) Air Marshal Sarkar focused on improving patient care in hospitals and training of doctors and para medical staff in the Air Force. Due to his endeavour, state of the art equipment has been installed in the Air Force hospitals which would further augment the patient care. A new electronic medical records data management system has been established at the Med Dte to maintain records of all AF officers across the country.

Air Marshal Sarkar has excelled himself as a professional teacher and displayed excellent organisational skills as an able administrator and contributed significantly to the growth of medical services of the Armed Forces. He has thus rendered distinguished service of most exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Kirti Chakra
Wg Cdr Sudhir Kumar Sharma 17717 F(P)Unit : No.111 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 11 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Wing Commander Sudhir Kumar Sharma, Flying (Pilot) is commanding a Helicopter Unit since 05 August 2002.

On 11 May 2004, Wing Commander Sharma was directed to urgently evacuate three members of a mountaineering expedition to Mt Kamet, who were critically injured due to inclement weather. These casualties were at an altitude of 23,260 ft, which is beyond the ceiling of 23,000 ft of Chetak helicopter. Due to their serious injuries, it was impossible to bring them down. Wing Commander Sharma flew in his Cheetah helicopter to the site and on locating the survivors realized that the only option was to land on an unprepared small tabletop sloping area located on an exposed snow covered ledge. Such landing demanded extraordinary courage and exceptional flying skills. Even a slight mishandling of helicopter controls could lead to a catastrophic accident endangering the life of the pilot.

No one in the world had ever attempted landing a helicopter at such a high altitude let alone evacuate casualties from an unprepared, snow bound and sloping piece of ground. Despite the deterring and trying conditions, deteriorating weather, severe turbulence, gusty jet stream exceeding 120 kmph and low margin of power available, Wing Commander Sharma, displaying resolute determination, utmost courage and an utter disregard for his personal safety, landed at the site not once but three times to evacuate the causalities. His courageous act under these near impossible conditions was instrumental in saving the lives of three mountaineers from certain death. The rescue from an altitude of 23,260 feet is the highest ever landing and casualty evacuation by any helicopter and in the process set a world record which has been recognized by Limca Book of World records.

Wing Commander Sudhir Kumar Sharma displayed conspicuous bravery in face of impossible odds, exceptional courage and rescued the mountaineers.

Reference: Notification No. 125 -Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1 Section 1 Gazette of India dated 15th August, 2005.  

Kirti Chakra
Wg Cdr Balakrishana Pillai Sreebhavan Krishna Kumar 17870 F(P)Unit : No.122 Helicopter Flight  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

Wing Commander Balakrishna Pillai Sreebhavan Krishan Kumar is posted as the Commanding Officer of a Mi-8 Flight at Air Force Station, Car Nicobar since 08 November 2004. On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station Car Nicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake, which was followed by a Tsunami. Wing Commander Krishna Kumar’s house was one of the first to be engulfed and destroyed by the tidal waves. After having faced a near death situation and surviving the same, Wing Commander Krishna Kumar lost no time in getting airborne, to take stock of the situation and to carry out search and rescue operations.

On getting airborne, Wing Commander Krishna Kumar saw the havoc being wrecked by 30 feet high tidal waves and realized that time was at premium. He immediately commenced rescuing families and personnel stranded on balconies, rooftops and high ground before the tsunamis could demolish or engulf the structures. Rescue operations by winching up and evacuation by landing was getting dangerous by the minutes and as the water was consuming everything in sight. In spite of his own traumatic escape from near death situation, Wing Commander Krishna Kumar kept the composure and displayed extreme courage and professionalism by continuing to manouevre the helicopter under marginal safety conditions, thereby saving approximately 400 lives. In subsequent days, despite losing all his belongings in the Tsunami, Wing Commander Krishna flew numerous sorties to provide relief and succour to thousands affected not only in Car Nicobar but also in the rest of the Nicobar group of islands.

Wing Commander Balakrishna Pillai Sreebhavan Krishan Kumar displayed extraordinary courage, conspicuous gallantry and compassion to fellow beings in the face of heavy odds in a natural disaster.

Reference: Notification No. 34-Pres/2005 dated 26th January, 2005 published in Part 1 Section 1 Gazette of India dated 9th April, 2005.  

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Marshal Pramod Kumar Mehra 11581 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Pramod Kumar Mehra, VM (11581) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 18 May 1968 in the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force. During his 36 years of distinguished service, he has held various appointments including Commanding Officer of a fighter squadron, Test Pilots' School, Station Commander of a front line Air Force Station, Commandant of Aircraft and System Testing Establishment, AOC of an operational base and Air Defence Commander of SWAC. He has over 5000 hrs of flying on over 30 different types of aircraft to his credit. He is an alumnus of the College of Defence Management and the National Defence College. He was awarded Vayu Seva Medal in 1989 for his distinguished services. Presently, he is Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters.

As ACAS (Int), Air Vice Marshal Mehra has been instrumental in synergizing the work in the Directorate and the newly formed Defence Intelligence Agency. This has contributed towards shaping the structure envisaged by the Group of Ministers (GOM) recommendations and the RM's post-Kargil Directives. His efforts have helped streamline the flow of information and enmesh various functions of the Dte of Int towards realizing the envisaged objectives. While doing so, he contributed towards making the restructured Joint Services Intelligence Committee (JSIC) more effective by ensuring regularity of meetings and involvement of other military and civil agencies.

Air Vice Marshal Mehra has reoriented the focus of the Directorate from general to “actionable" intelligence. He has lead greater emphasis on analysis of intelligence and has actively involved the user Branches at Air HQ. Towards this, a system of regular intelligence briefings at Air HQ now encourages a participative role by the Operations Branch and the Int Directorate of other Services. Special studies are now conducted each month aimed at understanding the regional/global security environment. He has initiated steps towards hi-tech upgradation of photo interpretation facilities at Air HQ and has proactively guided Air Force Liaison Units towards counter intelligence functions in order to meet present and future demands. Under his stewardship, a systematic review of outdated directives/policies on intelligence and security has been carried out so as to make them contemporary and futuristic. He steered a project study of a futuristic Intelligence Network for timely and need-based access to imageries and intelligence data by field users.

Air Vice Marshal Mehra has consistently rendered timely advice on matters of defence cooperation in order to facilitate intelligence sharing, training and strategizing defence trades.

Air Vice Marshal Pramod Kumar Mehra, VM has, thus, rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Arvind Jeet Singh Walia 12155 ADMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, VSM (12155) Adm was commissioned on 27 December 1969 in the Administrative stream of the Indian Air Force. During his 34 years of service, he has distinguished himself in various appointments, which include Commanding Officer of a Radar Squadron, Chief Administrative Officer of three major Air Force Stations, JD Org (Cer) and D Org, performing a sensitive charter of duties. He is a graduate of the College of Defence Management. Presently, he is posted as Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Air Force Works) at Air HQ since April 2003.

A versatile, innovative and self motivated Administrative officer, Air Vice Marshal Walia has consistently exhibited a very high degree of professionalism and administrative acumen through out his career. During his tenure as Chief Administrative Officer at Tezpur and Guwahati, the stations were adjudged “Best in Administration". He was adjudged as “Best Chief Administrative Officer" of the Eastern Air Command in 1994-95. For his professional ability and distinguished services as Administrative Officer par excellence, he has been commended twice by the Chief of the Air Staff and awarded VSM in 2002.

With his exceptional organizational abilities, Air Vice Marshal conceptualized, planned and motivated the establishment of the 'Air Warriors Symphony Orchestra' which has added honours to the prestige of the Air Force by its highly acclaimed performance across the country and abroad. His appreciation of the complexities of works services is complete and has provided catalytic direction for cohesive coordination of related activities though out the Air Force, resulting not only in scheduled commencement of various infrastructural projects but also in optimum utilization of funds, placed at the disposal of the IAF. With his in depth knowledge, ingenuity and meticulous planning, he has ensured initiation of a vast variety of infrastructural works keeping pace with the induction of latest high technological systems for the modernization of the Air Force. This includes highly prestigious projects like the induction of AJTs, development of airfields at Phalodi and Deesa. His analytical approach and foresight has constantly spurred his team to successfully launch the largest ever Capital Works Plan of the IAF in 2003-04. This has resulted in providing a threshold and the much needed impetus to the ever-growing modernization needs of the Air Force.

Air Vice Marshal Arvind Jeet Singh Walia, VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Jai Krishan Gupta 12308 MEDUnit : Air Force Central Medical Establishment  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Jai Krishan Gupta (12308) was commissioned on 15 January 1970 in the Medical branch of the Indian Air Force. During his 34 years of service career he has held various significant staff appointments, which include Deputy Principal Medical Officer at two operational Commands and Deputy Director Medical Services (Civil Aviation) at Air HQ. He has specialized in Aviation Medicine. He is a recognized Professor and Examiner of Aviation Medicine with Bangalore and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences. Presently, he is the Air Officer Commanding Air Force Central Medical Establishment. In his present assignment Air Commodore Gupta has brought AFCME up to the level of being a center of excellence. Apart from the physical improvements, which have been appreciated by all who visit the Establishment, he has able to infuse a great deal of professionalism into AFCME with a kind of a gentle face. By inculcating a positive attitude in his staff and providing a congenial atmosphere, the anxiety and suffering of the clientele has been enormously mitigated. New equipment has been added and manpower usage has been optimized. Systematized utilization of resources and close monitoring by him have not only reduced the time for medical evaluation considerable but also raised the standards of medical boards resulting in the speedy up-gradation of many aircrew. Through networking all the departments, he has made AFCME almost paperless. His vision to transmit medical boards to Air HQ digitally and get online approval so that upgraded aircrew can start flying from the day they finished their medical examination at AFCME is nearing fruition.

At Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) Air Commodore Gupta made a significant con tributions to the field of Acceleration Physiology. He initiated the high G training to IAF Air Superiority Fighter pilots and has also published many noteworthy research papers in this field. At Air HQ he brought a quantum change in the quality of licensing medical evaluation of civil pilots. At HQ WAC as PMO he did meticulous planning and ensured smooth handling of medical men and material during 'Op PARAKARM'. He has always displayed a very high degree of professionalism and his determination, dynamic leadership and vision have enthused many young doctors in the IAF medical service. His noteworthy work in the field of aviation medicine has contributed in improving the operational efficiency of IAF aircrew.

Air Commodore Jai Krishan Gupta has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
AVM Gurdip Singh Kochar 13149 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Gurdip Singh Kochar, VM (13149) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 24 June 1972 in the Flying branch of the Indian Air Force. During his service career, he has held various challenging appointments including that of Commanding Officer of a flying Squadron and Training School, Chief Operations Officer of a flying station and Ops 1A of a Command HQ. He is an A2 QFI. He is a graduate of both the Defence Services Staff College and National Defence College. He was awarded Vayu Seva Medal for his devotion to duty. Presently, he is Air Officer Commanding of a major fighter Base in the eastern sector.

Air Commodore Kochar's personal involvement and sound leadership has enabled the station to achieve a very high degree of professional excellence. In addition to the hectic flying activities of the resident squadrons, the base always had a steady flow of visiting squadrons for range firing and numerous trials at the Interim Testing Range. Meticulous planning and uncompromising supervision have ensued achievements of all tasks with exemplary efficiency and competence.

The maintenance standards of the station were improved significantly by ensuring a distinctive thrust on self-help approach and coordination. Efforts to improve hydraulic and fuel discipline, streamlining the MT operations and making the Station Refuelling Section a model for all others to emulate deserve special mention.

Air Commodore Kochar has worked tirelessly towards up gradation of domestic facilities to improve the quality of life. A project for married accommodation for warrant ranks was successfully completed. He ensured completion of all the works services within a short span of time to upgrade operational, maintenance and domestic facilities for use by a detachment of the Republic of Singapore Air Force for flying training at this base. Due to his persistent efforts, the Station was adjudged as the 'Best Overall Station' in EAC in 2002-03 and 'Best in Administration' for two consecutive years, 2002-03 and 2003-04. Air Commodore Gurdip Singh Kochar, VM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Raghbir Singh Sandhu 13174 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Raghbir Singh Sandhu VSM (13174) AE (M) was commissioned on 02 Jul 1972 in the Engineering branch of IAF. During his 32 years of distinguished service, he has held several important command and staff appointments, including that of Chief Engineering Officer at two flying bases, Director (Engineering 'B') at Air Headquarters and Commanding Officer of a Base Repair Depot (BRD). He was awarded VSM in 2001 for his distinguished services. Presently, he is Air Officer Commanding of a premier Maintenance Base since November 2002. During his tenure as Director (Engineering 'B') at Air Headquarters, Air Commodore Sandhu had the challenging task of setting up Dornier aircraft overhaul and servicing facilities at a BRD. His careful planning ensured setting up of the required industrial facilities at the BRD in a very short period, which resulted in early commencement of Dornier aircraft servicing, and consequent early availability of the aircraft in IAF. As Chief Engineering Officer at two flying bases, he set high maintenance standards to increase serviceability and availability of MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighter aircraft, resulting in both these flying bases being awarded “Best Maintenance Wing" trophies. As Commanding Officer of a BRD, he brought in visible improvement in the work culture, quality of output and enhanced aero engine production to ensure achievement of task.

Air Commodore Sandhu took over the command of a premier Maintenance Station on 11 November 2002, where he was responsible for functioning two BRDs, one Equipment Depot and many other maintenance and administrative units. His regular interaction with Depot Commanders, constant supervision of aircraft and aeroengine production lines and close monitoring of provisioning of spares ensured achievement of allotted task during the last two years. His innovative measures like formulation of new repair schemes, introduction of new modifications and focused approach on indigenization have helped achieve the station goals in professional arena. His special effort to set up overhaul facilities for Nose Landing Gear of AN-32 aircraft has helped the AN-32 fleet by reducing dependence on Russia besides saving phenomenal FFE to the exchequer.

Air Commodore Raghbir Singh Sandhu VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Sushil Kumar Jha 12490 LGSUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Sushil Kumar Jha (112490) was commissioned on 26 December 1970 in the Logistics branch of the Indian Air Force. During his 33 years of distinguished service, he has held various appointments including that of Commanding Officer of an Equipment Depot, Senior Logistics Officer of a premier fighter base, Commanding Officer of an Air Stores Park, Command Logistics Management Officer (CLMO) of an operational command. He is a graduate of College of Management. He was commended by AOC-in-C Maintenance Command in 1986 and by the CAS in 1991. Presently, he is Air Officer Commanding of an equipment depot since 01 Oct 2002.

As CLMO, Air Commodore Jha was instrumental in providing prompt and effective logistics services to Air Force Station, Bhuj during earthquake in January 2001. During Op Parakarm, he meticulously planned and provided effective logistics support to the operational units.

As the Air Officer Commanding of the largest Equipment Depot of the IAF, Air Commodore Jha has followed a dynamic and result oriented approach to maximize demand satisfaction, identification of non moving stores and vigorously pursue their disposal. To this end, non moving stores worth Rs 8 Crores have been identified and disposed of in the last two years. His emphasis is on correct and accurate PR/SR submission which has not only brought about a saving of Rs. 29 Crores, but would also avoid future accumulation of non-moving stores. His initiative on conduct of Provisioning Capsule Courses for Technical and Logistics Officers has highlighted the finer nuances of provisioning, coupled with correct applic-ation of financial regulation in an effective manner. Due to his sincere efforts and effective liaison, the Govt of Maharashtra has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 14 lakhs for a Water Harvesting Project in the station.

Air Commodore Jha has displayed all round ability to upgrade knowledge, improve efficiency and professionalism on the one hand as also vastly upgrade the quality of life of all personnel on the other. As a result the Depot was declared Best Depot by HQ MC on 18 December 2003

Air Commodore Sushil Kumar Jha has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Yash Kumar 12872 AEMUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Yash Kumar (12872) was commissioned on 05 July 1971 in the Engineering branch of the Indian Air Force. During his illustrious service career of 33 years, he has held many important field and staff appointments. He commenced his career in a Bomber Squadron and was awarded a commendation by the CAS in early days of his career. The officer completed his post graduation in Aerospace Engineering from IIT and was awarded Air India Medal for best performance. Presently, he is on the posted strength of HQ Western Air Command, IAF with effect from 01 July 2002 as Command Engineering Officer.

Air Commodore Kumar has undergone training in France on Mirage 2000 aircraft and then in USA on Engine Test Bed. Subsequently, he installed the state-of-the-art Engine Test Bed for Mirage engines to support the then newly inducted Mirage squadrons. Later, as Commanding Officer of a premier aero-engine Repair Depot, with focus on 'higher production with improved quality', he accomplished the highest ever production, leading to a quantum jump in flying efforts by operational squadrons. He is also a graduate of National Defence College.

WAC, being the foremost command, comprises almost all types of fighter, transport and helicopter fleets, which need to be maintained operational at all times. With his deep involvement, high initiative and constant interaction and guidance to technical personnel at bases Air Commodore Kumar has been able to maintain high serviceability and operational effectiveness. He achieved this through daily monitoring and liaison with repair and supply agencies to provide timely support to operational bases. Throughout he has displayed deep sense of responsibility and commitments towards interest of service. With his vast and varied experience Air Commodore Kumar has always been innovative. His relentless effort to improve infrastructure and quality of maintenance of aircraft and equipment has helped to enhance flying effort despite various constraints. He also guided the units on innovations and self help approach and provided a sense of purpose to the personnel who rose to the occasion and took up the challenges. These innovations proved highly useful to improve reliability of systems besides the saving to exchequer.

Air Commodore Yash Kumar has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Bidanda Chengapa Nanjappa 13246 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Bidanda Chengapa Nanjapa, VSM (13246) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 23 December 1972 in the Flying branch of the IAF. In 32 years of distinguished service, he has held many key appointments, including Directing Staff at Tactics and Combat Development Establishment. He has attended prestigious Security Studies Course in the USA and the 42nd Course at National Defence College. He was awarded VSM in 2002 for his distinguished services. Presently, he is the Air Officer Commanding of a major Fighter Base in Southern Western Sector.

As Air Officer Commanding, Air Commodore Nanjapa has worked ceaselessly to a very focused plan encompassing operations, maintenance and administration. He has been instrumental in achieving induction of the SU-30 MKI which involved evaluation of the state of the art aircraft, liaison with the Russian warranty team and the Soviet Design Bureau to resolve all issues to the benefit of the IAF, as well as operationlisation of theSu30 MKI fleet in all its roles including air to air refueling and multi mission long duration sorties, in record time. All flying units a this Base, which include the SU-30 Ks, the SU-30 MKI of Phase I and II and the Maritime Jaguar have maintained the highest operational status.

Under the inspiring leadership of Air Commodore Nanjapa, the Station developed state of the art maintenance procedures promoting outstanding professionalism, safety and serviceability. In recognition of the tremendous efforts put in by the station, it was awarded the SWAC Trophy for the year 2003. Based on his guidance and drive, the Station has an enviable record of environmental cleanliness, civic discipline and boasts of personnel, who are highly motivated. Innovative efforts have been launched in rain-water harvesting, power/water conservation and road safety.

Air Commodore Bidanda Chengapa Nanjapa, VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Kamal Singh 13302 AELUnit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Kamal Singh (13302) AE (M) was commissioned on 31 December 1973 in the Engineering Branch of Indian Air Force. During his 31 years of distinguished service, he has held several important appointments, including that of Joint Director (Quality Assurance Service) and Director (Engineering 'B') at Air Headquarters, Chief Engineering Officer at two flying bases and Assistant Air Attaché at the Embassy of India at Washington (USA). Presently, he is the Air Officer Commanding of a premier Base Repair Depot.

In his present appointment at BRD, Air Commodore Kamal Singh has initiated steps for in-house refurbishment of life-expired Pechora missiles. The pioneering work on recovering two Pechora firing units at Vadodara and Narela, both of which had done more than 5000 hours, has put both these units back into action. Similar retrieval was also effected on critical and expensive components of the very important THD-1955 and PSM-33 radars. Adding of life to old equipment has saved phenomenal Free Foreign Exchange (FFE) to the exchequer by delaying new procurement. Techno-logistics functions at the depot has also received his special attention. An IT-enabled network today steers repairable for rejuvenation or liquidation faster than before, disallowing uncontrolled accumulation. 139 obsolete vehicles and 90 tons of waste metal have been disposed off to generate for new equipment.

Air Commodore Kamal Singh has especially exerted himself to improve the quality of life. His untiring efforts with the otherwise difficult civic organization bore fruit when chronic problems of 20 year old open sewage flowing through the domestic area, choked storm drains, languishing married accommodation project, acute shortage of drinking water, and of dangerous traffic on the main road beyond the domestic area were resolved within one and a half year of his tenure.

Air Commodore Kamal Singh possesses a special managerial ability of instilling camaraderie in his men. This has blended the civilian and MES components of the depot with service personnel and their families to form a synergetic team.

Air Commodore Kamal Singh has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Anjan Kumar Gogoi 13382 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Anjan Kumar Gogoi, VSM (13382) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying branch of the Indian Air Force on 02 June 1973. During his 34 years of distinguished service career he has held various important field and staff appointments including that of Commanding Officer of a fighter squadron, Chief Operations Officer in a Fighter Wing, Station Commander of a Fighter Base and Air Officer Commanding of a Frontline Fighter Wing. He has over 3000 hours of flying to his credit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, a Fighter Combat Leader and graduate of the Defence Services Staff College. He attended the National Defence College course in South Africa. He was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal in 2002 for his distinguished service. Presently, he is Principal Director Operations since 03 November 2003. On assuming his present appointment, Air Commodore Gogoi immediately prioritized the tasks of the three sub directorates of Tactical Operations, Weapons and Nuclear Biological Chemical Warfare. In addition to the responsibilities of the directorate he was also tasked with planning and execution of major Air Force exercises including the Exercise Vayu Shakti - 04 (Fire Power Demonstration) which was conducted at Pokharan range with precision and finesse. The exercise involved coordination of over 100 fighter, transport aircraft and helicopters. A host of conventional and guided weapons were delivered, showcasing the professionalism and firepower of the Indian Air Force.

In July-August 2004 the Indian Air Force took part in Exercise Cooperative Cope Thunder a multilateral exercise at Alaska with 10 aircraft and 300 Air warriors. The exercise involved the first ever deployment of Indian Air Force fighter aircraft out side the SubContinent. The entire planning, coordination and execution of the exercise was conducted under the direction of Air Commodore Gogoi. The excellent performance of the aircrew, technical and support personnel in the exercise was in large measure due to his meticulous planning and professional leadership.

Air Commodore Anjan Kumar Gogoi, VSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air Cmde Kuzhikombil Joseph Mathews 13393 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Air Commodore Kuzhikombil Joseph Mathews, YSM (13393) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 02 June 1973 in the fighter stream of the IAF. During his service career of 31 years, he has held various important appointments including that of a Commanding Officer of a an FBSU in the J&K Sector, Chief Operations Officer of a fighter base, Commanding Officer of a fighter squadron, Command Air Defence Officer and Senior Flying Training Officer. He has over 3300 hrs of flying. He is a qualified flying instructor and a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and Air War College, USA. He was awarded Yudh Seva Medal during Kargil operations as Base Commander in the J&K Valley and Commendation by the Chief of Air Staff in 1978 and 1989. Presently, he is Air Officer Commanding of a major fighter Base in Western Sector. In the present assignment, Air Commodore Mathews has brought about distinct improvements in the qualitative and quantitative aspects of flying, maintenance and administration. He has been instrumental in setting up an Air Defence Group consisting of Aircrew and Fighter Controllers and has ensured the training and building up of a core Air Defence group for combat operations. He has successfully implemented the pilot project of Squadron Concept at his base. During his tenure the squadrons flew a total of over 10,100 sorties. The station maintained very high serviceability of Radar, Ranads, MT Vehicles and considerably improved the serviceability of aircraft. As a result the Station was declared the best Operational Wing of Western Air Command in 2003-04. During Op Parakarm and thereafter, Air Commodore Mathews has ensured highly proactive support to inducted combat forces to optimize performance. He accepted every challenge and ensured that his team performed to achieve each task with high standards. He has ensured innovative methods of disseminating information through a network of various media increasing awareness of the personnel. While maintaining a sharp operational and maintenance edge he has ensured a very high quality of life for all personnel.

Air Commodore Kuzhikombil Joseph Mathews, YSM has thus rendered distinguished service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Gp Capt Balakrishnan Suresh 16206 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Group Captain Balakrishanan Suresh, VM (16206) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force on 13 December 1980. During his 23 years of service he has held various important field and staff appointments which include CO of a fighter Squadron and two tenures as Directing Staff at Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE). He is a Fighter Strike Leader (FSL) with 2390 hours of flying to his credit. He was commended by AOs-in-C of WAC (1989) and SWAC (1993 and awarded Vayu Seva Medal (VM) in 2001 for bringing about improvement in operational status and capability of the Squadron commanded by him. Presently he is posted as Commandant TACDE since 25 November 2002. A sever shortage of FSLs, Fighter Combat Leaders (FCL), Master Fighter Controllers (MFC) and Helicopter Combat Leaders (HCL) developed in the field between May 2001 and October 2002. After taking over as Commandant in November 2002, Group Captain Suresh ensured the completion of two FCL/ FSL/MFC course and one HCL course. As Commandant TACDE, Group Captain Suresh was nominated as the Director for Exercise Cope India 2004, a major Indo-US Air Force exercise involving air superiority aircraft. The entire process of planning, training of own forces and conduct of the exercise started in September 2003 concurrently with the heavy training commitments of TACDE. The exercise was successfully conducted as per plan. Group Captain Suresh led his team in a highly professional manner. During this period, TACDE also undertook several additional task like formulation of Standard Operating Procedures for Laser Guided Bombs, revision of type specific Briefing Guides for Air Defence and Ground Attack aircraft, development of Compo GPS as an effective debrief tool and formulation of Multi-level ingress philosophy as well as BVR tactics.

Group Captain Balakrishanan Suresh, VM has thus rendered service of an exceptional order.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Shaurya Chakra
Gp Capt Vivek Vikash Bandopadhayay 15863 F(P)Unit : 37 Wing  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station Carnicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake measuring 9.1 on the Richter scale, lasting for ten to fifteen minutes, followed by Tsunami waves. As the disaster struck, Group Captain Bandopadhay, unmindful of his personal safety, rushed to all accessible areas of Air Force Station exhorting and guiding people to move to safer areas. While moving around the Station , he met the CO of Helicopter unit and requested him to immediately launch a helicopter sortie. This led to prompt rescue operation and ultimately saved hundreds of lives. In the process, he also entered a submerged area to rescue a stranded child. Even as huge Tsunami waves were approaching the area, he took several women and children in his vehicle and dropped them to a safer place. In process, he was hit by the wave and washed away. He somehow managed to hold on to a tree for a couple of hours to save his life. As water receded, he continued his mission of search and rescue and providing succor to devastated people.

Throughout he displayed exemplary courage and fortitude.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Pulluvallyil Raman Sudhakar Panickar 23634 EDNUnit : 37 Wing  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station was devastated by a severe earthquake which was followed by Tsunamis. Squadron Leader Panickar could not escape the fury and was washed away by the tidal waves. He held on for his life on a tree trunk, which was adrift for nearly an hour before reaching the safety of firm ground.

Immediately after surviving the onslaught of Tsunami waves, he organized rescue teams and started the arduous task of looking for survivors and recovering and identifying the bodies of the deceased. He personally went to several submerged areas to look for survivors. Looking for survivors in an area strewn with debris, unstable buildings, reptiles and a coastline redefined by the tsunami was a task, which required any individual to draw immensely from this internal resource of courage. Squadron Leader Sudhakar was among the very few who dared to undertake this task with total disregard for his personal safety. He subsequently organized the panic stricken surviving personnel, families and civilians into manageable groups so that a “headcount” could be carried out and medical aid/food could be distributed to those who needed it urgently. For the next few days, Squadron Leader Sudhakar took on the extremely difficult task of identification, documentation and cremation of the bodies. Handling bodies in advanced stages of decomposition is a task, which does not draw many volunteers. Squadron Leader Sudhakar was able to motivate a team of officers and airmen to assist him in this unpleasant task.

Squadron Leader Pulluvallyil Raman Sudhakar Panickar displayed exemplary courage and gallantry beyond call of duty in the face of severe adversity.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Tammeneni Srinivasulu 24567 ADMUnit : 37 Wing  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station Carnicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake which was followed by Tsunamis. On noticing the increasing waves, Squadron Leader Tammeneni Srinivasulu, immediately started warning others and advised them to move towards the runway, as it was comparatively higher. During this process of helping others, he himself went into chest deep turbulent waters, thereby risking his own life.

After extricating himself, he started moving towards the runway when he heard some cries for help. He personally went to several submerged areas to look for survivors to help them. Looking for survivors in an area strewn with debris, unstable buildings and coastline redefined by tsunami was a task, which required any individual to draw immensely from his internal resource of courage. He re-entered the waters and rescued some of the survivors, mostly ladies and children, who were hanging on trees and moved them to the safety of high ground. After ensuring safety of the people he had rescued, he began to look for others who might still be alive. In the process, he sustained several injuries including a deep cut on his foot. Undeterred by the injuries and the turbulent waters, Squadron Leader Srinivasulu continued his search and was able to recover three bodies on the first day, before they could be washed back to the sea.

Squadron Leader Tammeneni Srinivasulu displayed exemplary moral and physical courage in the service of mankind with total disregard to his personal safety in the face of sever adversity.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Arisetty Vijay Kumar 25858 F(P)Unit : No.122 Helicopter Flight  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004, Air Force Station Car Nicobar was devastated by a severe earthquake followed by Tsunamis. In a short span of time, the dangerous wave engulfed the area. Flight Lieutenant Arisetty Vijay Kumar realizing the danger of the devastating waves risked his life for saving the personnel. He rushed to stranded personnel and led them to the runway, which was the highest point on the airfield, knowing that any delay could have endangered his own life. His courageous and brave actions helped to save the life of many personnel. After the devastating Tsunami the entire Air Force Station was in a great trauma due to massive loss of lives and property. Buildings had collapsed and trees uprooted. Immediately after that Flight Lieutenant Vijay Kumar started up a helicopter expeditiously for rescue mission. Flying as Co-Pilot to the Commanding Officer, under difficult flying conditions and limited safety margins, he displayed courage of a very high order and continued with rescue, despite risk to his own life. He flew for three hours continuously. Undeterred by fatigue and the danger of flying in extreme adverse conditions, Flight Lieutenant Vijay Kumar undertook the rescue tasks despite all odds and difficulties. Though the safety margins for flying were dangerously low, he dared to fly and winched up stranded personnel from rooftops, balconies and radar ramp where the area was extremely restricted. His actions in the face of natural calamity were a morale booster to others who emulated him in further rescuing the personnel.

Flight Lieutenant Arisetty Vijay Kumar displayed raw courage, gallantry and selfless devotion to the fellow beings, in the face of heavy odds in a natural disaster.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Shaurya Chakra
Sqn Ldr Sushil Vijay Sansare 23770 F(P)Unit : No.41 Squadron  Award Date 26 Dec 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details :

On 26 December 2004 at 0630 hours, Carnicobar was hit by severe Earthquake followed by Tsunami. During and after the Tsunami onslaught, Squadron Leader Sushil Vijay Sansare was involved in saving lives and organizing safe conduct of rescue and relief operations. After being hit by the first wave, he courageously waded through the chest deep water to help the stranded families in the buildings. Upon being hit by the second wave, he barely managed to evade the neck deep water and save his life by running towards tarmac. He instructed the crew to position the aircraft on the runway. He then went towards the submerged end of the runway entering into neck deep reptile infested water and helped 15 stranded families mostly ladies and children to the safety of high ground. He recovered two personnel almost dead and brought them towards ambulance, however inspite of his best efforts, they could not be revived. With the help of Sqn ground crew, the body of IOC manager was brought back from the rubble.

He organized the ATC personnel to recover all the communication equipment and fuel tankers immediately to the tarmac to refuel the helicopters towards uninterrupted rescue operations and for airlifting the stranded people. His relentless efforts toward search and rescue and total involvement in casualty evacuation/relief operations resulted in saving many lives. It aptly exhibited sense of 'Service Before Self'.

Squadron Leader Sushil Vijay Sansare, thus, showed exceptional courage and gallantry beyond call of duty, in saving lives in the face of natural disaster.

Reference: Notification No. 126-Pres/2005 dated 15th August, 2005 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 26th November, 2005. 

Yudh Seva Medal
Gp Capt Kulwant Singh Gill 15220 F(P)Unit : MONUC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Group Captain Kulwant Singh Gill VM (15220) Flying (Pilot) has been the Contingent Commander of the Indian Aviation Contingent (IAC), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 14 Aug 2003.

Gp Capt Gill has displayed professionalism of a very high order as Commander of the largest IAF contingent ever sent on a UN Peace Keeping Operation under hostile and operational conditions. The officer's judgment of situations in an alien and hostile environment enabled him to develop a concept of operations that has earned accolades from all echelons of the UN. Under his leadership, in the last ten months, the Contingent has flown over 2000 hrs, which has been a key factor in the expansion of the UN's ambit from a few urban centres to a continuous swath of approximately 1000 km along the eastern DRC.

He was instrumental in the recovery of a crash-landed Mi-25 that was resting precariously on a down slope. The officer camped on site and personally led recovery of the helicopter in spite of the volatile security situation. After safe recovery of the aircraft, he flew it back to base without any outside support.

While continuing to accomplish the UN task with flair, the Indian Contingent has also earned a lot of goodwill from the local Congolese population. He has organised numerous medical and food camps for benefit of the local populace. The “Run for Peace", organised by the Contingent, saw participation of thousands of Congolese and was widely appreciated. The high degree of discipline and professionalism displayed by the Contingent has also come in for praise from all quarters. The Force Commander of the UN Mission in Congo has gone on record stating that IAC was a model worth emulating and urged Commanders of all participating countries to visit it. The officer has thus continually portrayed a befitting image of the Nation and the Service at an international forum.

For his exemplary display of professionalism and dedication to duty under operational conditions, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Group Captain Kulwant Singh Gill VM.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Sunil Kumar 17713 F(P)Unit : MONUC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Wing Commander Sunil Kumar (17713) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of IAF Squadron 2003, part of the Indian Air Force Contingent in Congo since 01 Aug 2003.

A firm believer in leading by example, he has always been at the forefront, be it in Goma or in Bunia. It was Wg Cdr Sunil Kumar, whose first shots from Mi-25 in the Congo firmly established the hold of MONUC in Congo. The much abused town of Bunia was in danger of falling into chaos in the early days of MONUC. Hundreds of militia were moving towards the town. A few well placed shots by Wg Cdr Sunil Kumar demonstrated the strength of MONUC's will, and the entire province returned to peace.

He has participated in several challenging missions, wherein he had to open fire on hostile militia. Time and again, without concern for his personal safety, he has engaged or deterred the militia. In the process, he has also managed to save valuable UN lives as well as property. As a Commanding Officer he has also been an inspiration of the highest order to both his aircrew as well as the rank and file of the Mi-25 Sqn. The recent restoration of peace in Ituri region is attributed by MONUC to relentless combat operations of Mi-25 detachment at Bunia under the guidance of Wg Cdr S Kumar. It is a testimony to his leadership and managerial skills that in spite of operating from two different locations, 400 km apart, the Squadron has performed exceedingly well and is always held in high esteem by the MONUC. Such may not have been the case without the hard work, dedication and omnipresence of Wg Cdr S Kumar.

For his motivating, efficient and result oriented leadership, which has helped to establish the Mi-25 Sqn as the most potent combat force of MONUC, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Wing Commander Sunil Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Yudh Seva Medal
Wg Cdr Bibhuti Kumar 18495 AEMUnit : MONUC  Award Date 26 Jan 05 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Squadron Leader Bibhuti Kumar (18495) Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) has been on the posted strength of Indian Aviation Contingent (IAC), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 12 Jul 2003.

During the pre induction phase in India, Sqn Ldr Bibhuti Kumar was entrusted with the role of maintenance and material manager. This involved meticulous planning, forecasting and networking for collection of Helicopters, Signal, Armament and other equipment. He was also faced with the challenging task like persuading agencies, finding the source of equipment, its serviceability and safe transit to its final destination in Congo. With his sustained hard work, detailed planning and networking, all these tasks were completed successfully. His motivational approach and team spirit ensured the erection of Helicopters in eight days and setting up of maintenance facilities like Daily Servicing State (DSS), Central Repair and Servicing Section (CR & SS), Avionics Lab, Signal section in twenty days in the alien land and in hostile conditions to set the pace for safe operation. The ingenuity with which the meagre resources were optimally utilised and deployed was complemented by all.

On 08 Dec 2003 one Helicopter crashed at Fataki, a rebel infested area. This aircraft after crash was resting on a slope in a hilly area that was inundated with thick foliage. All the five main rotor blades, TRA and wing of helicopter were damaged. Sqn Ldr Bibhuti Kumar, along with a team of technicians, worked in that inhospitable terrain and trying circumstances to enable its safe recovery. After six days of hard work, the Helicopter was successfully recovered. This unimaginable feat won laurels from UN and others. To meet the maintenance challenges in this environment, Sqn Ldr Bibhuti Kumar also developed an excellent maintenance culture to get the best from the available resources. With his excellent resource management skill, he was able to achieve 85% serviceability of helicopter, average monthly flying of 250 hrs with 100 technicians.

For his professionalism and exceptional dedication to duty in active field and operational conditions, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Yudh Seva Medal' to Squadron Leader Bibhuti Kumar.

Reference: Gazette of India Notification Dated : 26 Jan 2005 Number: 

Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanathan 21252 F(P)Unit : No.153 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 01 Jul 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details :

Wg Cdr Ajit Ramanathan SM was commissioned on 15 Jun 91 and was on the posted strength of 153 Helicopter Unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor, Instrument rating Instructor and Examiner and has over 5200 hours of flying to his credit. He is alumni of the prestigious National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.

On the afternoon of 01 Jul 04, then Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanathan was on a check sortie involving helipad ops in the 'Romeo' sector in J&K. While returning from the mission, he received a radio transmission from an Army aviation helicopter, requesting for a casualty evacuation of the Commanding Officer of 16 Maratha Li who was seriously wounded in an encounter with ANEs from Sekhlu helipad. Even though the attempt made by the Cheetah helicopter had been unsuccessful due to inclement weather, Sqn Ldr Ajit was not deterred. He immediately took stock of the situation and in spite of limited fuel and deteriorating weather conditions, turned back towards Sekhlu. Although he could not penetrate the weather the first time, rather than abandon the mission, he landed at Rajouri, ready to make another attempt as soon as possible. At the first window of opportunity, he took off for Sekhlu. The presence of extremely inclement weather and failing light conditions in the tricky hilly terrain of Romeo sector made the task extremely demanding. With his determination and high degree of skill, he was able to safely land the helicopter at Sekhlu.

The casualty arrived at the helipad after sunset. The weather report of the area was showing a deteriorating trend, with destination Udhampur reporting a weather warning for rain and thundershowers. While most factors were against, he was not dissuaded from his resolve to go ahead with the evacuation. He finally took off with the casualty on board 25 minutes after sunset. He now flew through the same restrictive conditions further worsened by the darkness. The hill shadows and presence of rain and clouds severely constrained the visibility, making flying extremely difficult. The presence of thunderstorm and rain made spotting and landing at Udhampur airfield, an extremely demanding task which was achieved safely with utmost professionalism.

The officer's act of selfless courage of flying his helicopter through difficult terrain and in deteriorating weather and poor light conditions, not only saved the life of a Commanding Officer, but also helped in boosting the morale of the ground forces. For having displayed flying skill, airmanship of exceptional order, courage and valour then, Sqn Ldr Ajit Ramanthan was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry) on 26 Jan 2005.

Note: Officer evacuated: Col AS Chahal, SM , then CO, 16 Maratha Light Infantry

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Shashi Kant Mishra 19570 F(P)Unit : -N.A.- Award Date 15 Dec 03 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Shashi Kant Mishra (19570) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter unit since 27 April 2003 as Flight Commander.

The unit took part in 'Op Fort William' in Bhutan, during December 2003. On 15 Dec 2003, Sqn Ldr Mishra was tasked to evacuate critically injured Royal Bhutanese Army jawans in the operation against terrorists.

Sqn Ldr Mishra, gauging correctly the urgency and gravity of the situation, acted in a swift and professional manner. He planned and executed the casualty evacuation himself within fifteen minutes of the receipt of the message. Unmindful of the risk involved, he undertook the sortie in hostile terrain and under small arms fire of the militia. His prompt and timely action not only saved the lives of seven critically injured soldiers from Nanglam helipad in Bhutan but also boosted the morale of the soldiers of a friendly country. The professionalism and courage displayed by Sqn Ldr Mishra has enhanced the image of the Indian Air Force.

For displaying courage in hostile conditions, the Hon`ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Shashi Kant Mishra.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Avaneesh Kumar Upadhaya 19893 F(P)Unit : No.132 FAC Flight  Award Date 02 Apr 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Avaneesh Kumar Upadhyay (19893) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of 132 FAC Flt AF since 29 April 2003 as Flight Commander.On 02 Apr 04 Squadron Leader Upadhyay was nominated as the Task Force Commander for search and rescue (SAR) of two Jaguar aircrafts of the Indian Air Force. These fighter aircrafts had been reported missing while carrying valley flying in Sonamarg Sector near Srinagar.

Squadron Leader Upadhyay displayed exceptional skill, courage and leadership in ensuring the successful conduct of the missions. He led his team from the front and carried out the first landing at the crash site unmindful of the hazardous weather, inhospitable terrain, intense cold at the dizzying heights of more than thirteen thousand feet on an unprepared snow covered and undulating hill slope.

He carried out 18 gruelling missions in the face of inclement weather. It was due to his exemplary courage, skill and expertise in managing his men and machines that he was able to locate and land at the crash site, induct the ground rescue parties and evacuate the evidence and mortal remains of the Jaguar pilots. Under his guidance the team carried out total 36 missions, flying for a total of 21.45 hrs ensuring successful completion of the rescue mission against the adverse conditions of weather and hazardous terrain.

For this act of exceptional courage and exemplary leadership in the face of adverse and inhospitable environment, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu. Sena Medal' (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Avaneesh Kumar Upadhyay.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Manu Chaudhry 19896 F(P)Unit : MONUC  Award Date 29 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Manu Chaudhary (19896) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of Indian Air Force Squadron 2004, part of IAF Contingent in Congo since 13 Jul 2003. During this period he has been performing the duties of the Squadron Flight Commander.

A Qualified Flying Instructor with over 4500 hours of flying experience, the officer has consistently displayed a penchant for leading from the front. Since the squadron's induction to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), he has flown over 290 hours and has time and again exhibited willingness for undertaking difficult tasks, when called upon to do so. In the initial phase of the Contingent's induction, he personally reconnoitred the area, selecting helipads for future operations. Most of these helipads were in areas never hitherto visited by UN forces and were controlled by various rebel groups, some inimical to the UN. He also actively participated in Operation Dhanush in May-June 04.

On 29 May 04, following the unrest in the town of Bukavu, Kelehe, a small hamlet on the road from Goma to Bukam was the scene of an ambush laid out by militia in which they killed one UN military observer while another, a lady officer was reported missing. Sqn Ldr Chaudhary was tasked to insert troops to search for the missing military observer. While the Mi-25s fired some rockets to sanitise the area, the Mi-17, captained by Sqn Ldr Chaudhary landed the search party comprising 36 troops, in two shuttles. With little regard to personal safety, the officer landed at the site, which the rebels, armed with rocket propelled grenades and other heavy calibre weapons, could have targeted from a vantage point close by. Had it not been for the search party being inserted in time, the marooned officer would not have been rescued. The missing lady officer was subsequently rescued, albeit badly injured and in a state of shock. In the glorious traditions of the Indian Air Force, the officer planned the mission meticulously and carried it out with the elan and professionalism. that epitomizes the officer's approach to his duty.

For consistently exhibiting courage in hostile environment, the Hon'bie President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Manu Chaudhary.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal 20459 F(P)Unit : Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment  Award Date 29 May 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal (20459) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Aircraft System and Training Establishment (ASTE) since 29 June 1998 as Test Pilot & Chief of Trial Team SARAS.

In Jan 02, ASTE was formally tasked to undertake flight testing of the Saras Light Transport Aircraft (LTA~ pro~ being indigenously designed and developed by National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL). Sqn Ldr Venugopal, then a test flying instructor at AFTPS was specifically chosen to head the Saras test team on account of his flight test experience a project pilot for evaluating Executive Jets for the Air Force. This was an extremely challenging task as the Saras had a unique rear mounted pusher prop configuration and was the first indigenous LTA programme. With his maturity and personal involvement he was instrumental in finalisation of all the necessary documentation and coï·“ordination with Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) as the team leader. He was directly responsible for finalisation of cockpit man machine interface and safety audit of the aircraft and its systems. He was also instrumental in planning, review, approval and execution of the entire test programme. He oversaw the continuity training and preparation of the other crew members of the team for the demanding task of undertaking the first flight and further evaluation of Saras ac. His dedication and hard work were commended and lauded by all the senior functionaries of NAL and MCA.

On 29 May 04, the first Saras Prototype took off on its first flight. First flight of a prototype aircraft is always a high risk proposition. The lack of an engineering test simulator, made the execution of first flight even more challenging. Soon after take off, the crew experienced Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) and angle of attack indication failure, thereby losing vital flight information. Coupled to this, the aircraft experienced mild vibrations due to opening of the refuelling panel in flight. As the Captain of aircraft Sqn Ldr Venugopal maintained his cool and rose to the challenge of having to deal with a serious emergency on a prototype aircraft on its first flight. He exhibited exceptional professionalism and courage in handling the emergency and recovering the aircraft safely.

For displaying professionalism and courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Kolal Krishnamurthy Venugopal.

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Sqn Ldr Randhir Singh 22345 F(P)Unit : No.132 FAC Flight  Award Date 02 Apr 04 Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Squadron Leader Randhir Singh (22345) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a frontline helicopter unit since 24 December 2001.

Between 02 Apr 04 to 05 Apr 04 Squadron Leader Randhir Singh was entrusted with the task of Search and Rescue (SAR) of two missing IAF Jaguar Fighter aircrafts in Sonamarg sector of J & K. In the shortest time, he reached the expected location and commenced his SAR operations. Gauging the hazardous weather at the location in his Cheetah SAR helicopter vis-a-vis the gravity of the mission, he discounted the risks involved. Even in the inclement weather, intense cold and dizzying heights, he undertook twenty-six missions involving more than eighteen hours of flying. It was only due to his expertise, unflinching courage and determination that he succeeded in locating the crash site and carrying out landings at an un-prepared snow-covered and undulating hill slope at more than thirteen thousand feet Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL).

Utterly unmindful of his personal safety and persisting on with his courageous efforts he kept the success of the mission paramount, while retrieving the mortal remains of the pilots along with other circumstantial evidence, from an extremely hazardous crash site.

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

Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sridhara Panicker Radha Krishnan Nair 16040 F(P)Unit : No.44 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Sridhara Panicker Radhakrishnan Nair (16040) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 1980. He is commanding the only strategic airlift squadron of the IAF since Mar 03. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor. His past appointments include Flight Commander of one of a premier transport squadron and Chief Operations Officer of an active base. He has over 6700 hours of accident free flying.As FIt Cdr, he has been in the forefront of path breaking landing trials to high altitude forward area airfields in Ladakh sector by night. This new found capability to mobilise men and material to mifitady sensitive and inhospitable terrain by night has added to the combat potential of our forces. During Ex-Safed Sagar, his meticulous planning and personal flying effort found him worthy of being 'Mentioned in Despatches'. He was instrumental in the Squadron being adjudged the 'Best Transport Combat Squadron' for two years in succession.On taking over command, he was given the onerous task of relocating the squadron. Due to his farsightedness, methodical approach and immaculate planning, the move was completed ahead of schedule, whilst continuing to remain operational and undertaking all commitments during the entire move. Despite manpower constraints, he maintained a sharp focus on training and steadily built up the training team. He converted 37 aircrew on type and also achieved high operational status in a relatively short period.As team leader and captain of the first aircraft which took part in Ex Cope Thunder in USA in the year 2003, he displayed sterling qualities of leadership and thorough professionalism which brought accolades to the IAF. It was his brainchild to pioneer a flight to the North Pole, set an endurance record by IL-76 aircraft and circumnavigate the globe. These three records and the exceptional performance during the exercise have found a place in the glorious history of the IAF. Also, the transpolar capability he established, has added a new dimension to the strategic reach of the IAF. On his return from Alaska, he once again spurred his team to achieve exceptional standards and win the 'best Transport Combat Squadron' trophy of the IAF.For his exceptional devotion to duty and leadership, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Sridhara Panicker Radhakrishnan Nair.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Shouvik Roy 16088 F(P)Unit : No.78 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Shouvik Roy (16088) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 15 Jun 1980. He is Commanding Officer of the first Flight Refueller Aircraft (FRA) squadron of the IAF since 16 Dec 02. A Qualified Flying Instructor with more than 7000 hours of flying experience in multifarious roles, he has held several important appointments that include Instructor at Flying Instructors School, Chief Flying Instructor at Basic Flying Training School arid Commanding Officer of South Western Air Command Communication Flight.As the first Commanding Officer of the squadron with newly acquired force multiplier aircraft, he had a series of arduous and challenging tasks ahead of him. Leading from the front and working tirelessly for long hours much beyond the call of duty, Gp Capt Roy ensured that the squadron was fully operational with its role in the shortest possible time. This involved extensive coï·“ordination with various Fighter Squadrons, Stations, Command HQ and Air HQ to be followed by sorties of long duration with a variety of fighter aircraft. With his inï·“depth knowledge and sound professionalism he formalised various operating procedures, which are being regularly practiced to exploit the immense potential of the FRA. While expanding the scope of FRA utilisation, he has effectively dovetailed the training of newly inducted aircrew. His relentless efforts have added the midï·“air refuelling capability, which the IAF was proud to showcase during the Air Force Day and also on the Republic Day. His professional competence, administrative acumen and leadership qualities make him a role model for everyone to emulate.For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Shouvik Roy.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Gp Capt Sunil Jayant Nanodkar 16555 F(P)Unit : Air Head Quarters  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Group Captain Sunil Jayant Nanodkar (16555) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the fighter stream of the IAF on 11 Dec 1981. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor with 3800 hours of flying. He is also a graduate from the Defence Services Staff College. He has successfully commanded a Jaguar Squadron. Presently, he is Director of Operations (Offensive) at Air HQ since Jul 2003ï·“On being appointed as the Director of Operations (Tactical) in Jul 2003, apart from monitoring the training and operational status of all the offensive aircraft fleets of the Indian Air Force, he was assigned the task of leading the team of air warriors to participate in a multinational exercise in Alaska, United States of America. This involved activities from initial planning of operations, maintenance, logistics and administrative requirements for a first ever fighter deployment outside India. The exercise entailed deploying six Jaguar aircraft, two IL-78 Flight Refuellers and two IL-76 heavy lift transport support aircraft across four continents, at a distance of 20000 kilometers from the homeland. He took on the challenge and meticulously planned the training of participating forces and their deployment to and from Alaska. Coordinating activities of transport, flight refueller and fighter aircraft away from homeland was a complex task and could only be achieved due to his foresight analytical approach and thorough planning. Having successfully and safely executed this exercise, a template has been put in place for the Indian Air Force to follow in any such future endeavour. This has also resulted in projection of cutting edge operational capability before the developed Air Forces. While undertaking this additional responsibility, he continued to closely monitor the upgrade programmes of two major fighter fleets along with their induction in the operational units.For his professionalism and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Group Captain Sunil Jayant Nanodkar.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Hemant Narayan Bhagwat 16423 ADMUnit : Para Training School  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Hemant Narayan Bhagwat (16423) Administration/Para Jump Instructor is on the posted strength of Paratroopers Training School, Air Force since 23 Aug 1999 and has been performing the duties of Chief Instructor (Cl).Wg Cdr Bhagwat has been an impetus and a driving force for all the paratroopers of PTS. In Jul 2002, Paratroopers Training School was given a challenging task ta evaluate efficacy of live para jumps from a height of 300 feet, using the GQ-8 low level parachute. Hitherto, no Indian had jumped from a height below 500 feet because, should the main parachute malfunction, para descent from 500 feet does not give the jumper any time to deploy his reserve chute. Accepting this demanding and high-risk challenge as Chief Instructor of the school, Wg Cdr Bhagwat worked out a systematic trial method and supervised its successful execution. Keeping in with the highest traditions of the IAF, and unmindful of his personal safety, on 29 Jul 2002, Wg Cdr Bhagwat became theï·“firstï·“ ever Indian parachutist to jump from a height of 300 feet.. He successfully demonstrated to other trial team members, the efficacy of the parachute descent from this ultra low level.Wg Cdr Bhagwat exhibits exemplary courage and undertakes the specialized job with a high degree of dedication. His efforts enabled the PTS to achieve a new landmark of 38,897 jumps during the year 2003-04, adequately adhering to the safety parameters.Besides being a Para Jumping Instructor par excellence with over 2000 parachute descents to his credit, including in excess of 1400 free fall jumps, as Chief Instructor of Paratroopers Training School, Wg Cdr Bhagwat has contributed significantly to enhance the quality of para training being imparted by the school.For displaying exceptional professional courage, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Hemant Narayan Bhagwat.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Nayani Harish 17135 F(P)Unit : No.3 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Nayani Harish (17135) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the flying branch of the LAF on 28 May 1983. He is commanding Officer of a frontline fighter squadron since 05 Dec 2002.Wg Cdr Harish took over command of the Squadron at a critical juncture when the squadron was in the process of inducting the Bison aircraft. At that time, the fleet was beset by teething problems and frequent snags with an overall serviceability in the region of 30%. Utilizing his experience as a Test Pilot and technical knowledge of the aircraft and its systems, he responded to the clarion call and dealt with the problem at hand with professionalism. With commendable foresight and clarity of thought he adopted a proï·“active approach and kept higher formations informed of the problem and suggested viable solutions. As a result of his untiring efforts, the serviceability state of the squadron improved drastically and presently stands at an average of 70%.The induction of the Bison aircraft ushered in advanced systems and weapons into the service. With sustained involvement and determination, Wg Cdr Harish formulated sound standard operating procedures and checklists to effectively utilise the aircraft as a weapons system. A large number of pilots were successfully converted onto the type and were distributed to other Bison squadrons to propagate the knowledge and training thus gained. The success and high professional standards displayed by the squadron in various exercises at national as well as international level stand testimony to the professionalism and dedication of the officer. The officer also formulated a detailed Air Test Proforma to be followed for the Bison aircraft.For his professionalism, dedication and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu. Sena Medal to Wing Commander Nayani Harish.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sreekumar Prabhakaran 17318 F(P)Unit : Suryakiran  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sreekumar Prabhakaran (17318) flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. He is on the posted strength of Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) as Commanding Officer since May 2002.He has led the SKAT with distinction, carrying out a total of 56 displays in all corners of the country and abroad. He ensuredï·“ that the team was highly motivated at all times. Leading the nine member aerobatic team, he displayed confidence, precision and flying skills of the highest order. He ensured that the team always practiced thoroughly before each display and subsequently operated at its best during the displays. Their aerobatic displays have helped greatly in motivating the youth in all parts of the country towards joining the Indian Air Force. The SKAT display during Exercise VAM SHAKTI over Pokharan on 14 Mar 2004 was also highly appreciated by both Indian and foreign spectators. During February ï·“ March 2004, he led the SKAT on its maiden visit abroad to participate in the Asian Aerospace Air Show at Singapore from 24ï·“29 February 2004. The ferry flight to and from Singapore required detailed planning and coordination with various agencies in different countries. This was meticulously done under the leadership of Wg Cdr Prabhakaran, and the SKAT maintained their planned schedule immaculately. During the Air Show at Singapore, the team lead by him carried out five aerobatic displays, while one display each was carried out at Bangkok and Yangon on the way to/from Singapore. All these seven displays were carried out meticulously and with precision in front of thousands of spectators. With their breathtaking displays, the SKAT brought laurels to the country and to the Indian Air Force.For the leadership and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Sreekumar Prabhakaran.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr S Hari Krishnan Nair 17338 F(P)Unit : Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander S Hari Krishnan Nair (17338) flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. He is the Commanding Officer of a Helicopter Unit since 16 Jun 2003.Immediately after he took over, the unit was reï·“tasked to create a formation display team [Sarangs] with a view to perform before international audience at Singapore during Asian Aerospace 04. To accomplish this task five additional pilots were posted in to fill in the cockpit vacancies. Considering the short time available, it was a major task to convert these pilots and train them to perform a world class formation display. In addition, the degree of difficulty of the assigned task was not known since Indian Air Force was attempting such a venture for the first time and there are very few helicopter display teams in the world. Notwithstanding these limitations, he undertook the challenge in his stride.Wg Cdr Nair carried out immaculate planning regarding the airlift of five helicopters from Bangalore to Singapore and back. He accompanied the helicopters with a small team of technicians to ensure complete safety during the move. At Singapore the aircraft were built up in a record two days time, ready for the air show. The air show was at a foreign base, over sea and restricted airspace. In addition, stringent aviation regulations were imposed by the host country as per their procedure. He modeled the air display to suit all the conditions and ensured perfect display, which drew appreciation from A foreign dignitaries, international media and the general public. The entire exercise went through without even an incident. The performance was applauded by the press and other participants. As a special gesture, the US MoD sent a note of appreciation to Air HQ on the team's performance. Appreciation of other foreign military heads was also conveyed personally to the Chief of the Air Staff during his visit on the inaugural day of the Air Show.For his exceptional devotion to duty, initiative and performance, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander S Hari Krishnan Nair.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle 17710 F(P)Unit : 104 HU  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle (17710) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 21 Dec 1984. He has more than 5400 hours of accident free flying to his credit. He is Commanding Officer of a frontline Attack Helicopter Squadron since 30 Jun 2003.Wg Cdr Wagle took over the command of the Squadron at a crucial juncture when the Sqn aircraft were being modernized with State of the Art equipment. His leadership and motivation were manifested in the smooth and speedy absorption of the high technology in the squadron. With the successful integration and assimilation of the cutting edge technology, the IAF can now boast of operating one of the most lethal Attack Helicopters in the world.The squadron was beset by various maintenance problems when tools and testers from the squadron were sent to Congo to support the maintenance requirements of the UN mission there. Wg Cdr Wagle became the driving force behind various inï·“house solutions and innovations to overcome these deficiencies and yet sustained a very high serviceability of aircraft, often reaching 100% for sustained periods. The Sqn performed exceptionally during all inspections including three inspections by the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection team and the squadron was declared the Best Combat Helicopter Squadron of the IAF.For his exceptional devotion to duty and inspiring leadership, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sandesh Prabhakar Wagle.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Umesh Rakhra 18071 F(P)Unit : No.24 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Umesh Rakhra (18071) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1985. He has a total flying experience of 1700 hr on type and a cumulative flying experience of 3760 hr. He has been and Commanding Officer of a frontline fighter Squadron since Sep 2002.As Commanding Officer, Wg Cdr Rakhra dedicated himself in achieving high operational status of the squadron. He was trained on type aircraft in Russia in 1997. He has been personally involved in conducting the training of more than 70 pilots of this type. As a lowï·“level aerobatics display supervisor, he had flown more than 225 lowï·“level aerobatics display sorties and trained three pilots in this role. He was the member of close formation aerobatics team on type in 2001. He is also the instrument rating examiner on type.During "Op Parakrarn" Wg Cdr Rakhra ensured high state of Op capability of the Sqn and the Sqn was the forerunner in execution of special missions related to the "Op Parakrarn". He produced Ops aircrew. on time to meet the requirements of the fleet. Under his command the Sqn has been the steppingï·“stone for induction and has performed exceptionally well inspite of manpower constraints created due to routing of aircrew and ground crew to other Sqns. The Sqn has gone on to fly 12500 accident free hours in the period under consideration. He put in concerted efforts in maintaining the equipment deployed at Op locations at all times and the Sqn still continues to be on 12h standby since Op Parakram.Under his able guidance and leadership the Squadron has moved to a new location at a short notice, which required considerable coordination and planning.For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Umesh Rakhra.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Sanjay Anand Kunte 18073 F(P)Unit : No.127 Helicopter Unit  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Sanjay Anand Kunte (18073) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1985. He is the commanding officer of a helicopter unit since 05 August 2002.In Jun 03, Eastern Air Command (EAC) was tasked with preparing for 'Op Fort William'. This included coordinating the joint planning and training of a large number of army troops and aircrew of the three helicopter units of EAC. It also involved formulating innovative tactics especially with Night Vision Goggles (NVG). Being the only NVG supervisor in EAC, Wg Cdr Kunte singleï·“handedly took on the task of imparting NVG training to pilots of EAC. His farsightedness, flawless planning and eye for detail were instrumental in his being selected as Task Force Commander for the operations. He planned and executed training of 3600 troops and 60 aircrew at various locations in the Northï·“East. He played an important role in formulating the appreciation and detailed plan of action for the operations.During the actual deployment phase of the operations, Wg Cdr Kunte displayed very high degree of professionalism and coordinated the move of units and execution of the plan in an absolute flawless manner, which was appreciated by the Chief of Army Staff and Headquarters of Royal Bhutan Army. This resulted in the Air Force and Army gaining immense goodwill of the Bhutanese authorities.For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Sanjay Anand Kunte.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Kishore Kumar Khera 18256 F(P)Unit : No.14 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Kishore Kumar Khera (18256) Flying (pilot) was commissioned on 07 Jun 1986. He is Commanding Officer of a fighter Sqn with effect from 07 Jul 2003.Wg Cdr Khera was selected to lead the Jaguar team for participation in Exercise Cope Thunder in Alaska, USA from 07ï·“30 Jul 2004. The team was expected to take part in this multinational exercise involving eleven countries. A total of fifteen Jaguar pilots, two engineering officers and sixtyï·“five technicians from five different squadrons and three Jaguar bases were placed under his command for this purpose. He integrated all personnel selected for the mission into an efficient and well trained team. The training was carried out in a very systematic fashion spread over six phases from Feb 04 to May 04 making optimum use of available resources. The aircrew training involving inter revalidation, inter variant conversion, AAR qualification, ILS/VOR and TACAN training was executed in a professional manner. The team performed creditably during the exercise and kept the IAF flag ï·“flying high.The most significant part of preparation was maintenance planning for the mission. This was the first time that the IAF was deploying its combat aircraft for an exercise abroad and planning had to cater for all contingencies in terms of spares, support equipment and optimal utilization of all available resources at hand. This led to realization of afl set objectives, and flawless execution of the mission as planned.For his professionalism and exceptional devotion to duty, the HonIle President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Kishore Kumar Khera.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Mohan Gupta 18562 F(P)Unit : 37 Wing  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Mohan Gupta (18562) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1986 in the IAF He is posted as a Chief Operations Officer at Air Force Station Car Nicobar with effect from 23 Jun 03.On 08 Oct 03, at 0925 h, he received a message that the Adventure Expedition at the Galathea river in the Great Nicobar Island was more than 18 hours overdue. Reacting to an emergent situation he immediately tasked the Base Helicopter Unit to launch the rescue helicopter. Ensuring no delay, the helicopter was airborne within thirty minutes of the receipt of the message with Wg Cdr Gupta as captain. On landing at Campbell Bay, even though limited details of the expedition were available with the local Detachment Commander, he and his crew worked out the possible route taken by the expedition members. He then took off for the rescue with emergency rations and medical supplies. He ensured that a proper briefing was carried out for effective and optimum crew utilisation.The entire route was in a hilly terrain with dense foliage, which made ground observation very difficult. Through initially no results were achieved he persisted with the search, effectively utilizing each member of his crew to finally spot the team twelve kilometers from their planned RV point. The team was in a deep narrow valley with tall trees ranging from 25 to 100 meters height on either side. This precluded a landing. He assessed the situation and decided to winch up the personnel. Variable winds and limited tip clearance of only five to ten meters made the task extremely demanding and challenging. Displaying a very high level of flying accuracy, concentration and crew resource management in this environment, all the fifteen members were successfully winched up. They were provided initial nourishment and brought back safely.For his exceptional devotion to duty and professional acumen in executing the rescue mission, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Mohan Gupta.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
Wg Cdr Ravi Khanna 18565 F(P)Unit : No.6 Squadron  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : Wing Commander Ravi Khanna (18565) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned on 06 Dec 1986. He was posted as Commanding Officer of a Fighter Squadron with effect from 23 Jul 2003.Wg Cdr Khanna was a thorough professional and he led his squadron competently. Under his leadership the unit not only accomplished all assigned tasks to perfection, it also set an example for others to emulate. During Eklavya 2003, the Squadron bagged five trophies out of a total seven and was adjudged overall best in the gunnery meet. The Squadron came first in three team events of which he led one and participated in another. It was also declared as the best Fighter Squadron in the Indian Air Force.As Commanding Officer of the unit, he had taken the Squadron to participate in the prestigious exercise Vayu Shaktiï·“04'. On 26 Feb 04, he was authorized to fly as No. 3 in a four aircraft formation that was to drop 1000 pound retarded bomb over Pokhran Range as part of a battle inoculation exercise. During the mission, after release, the bomb exploded in air very close to the aircraft causing the aircraft to disintegrate, resulting in fatal injuries to Wg Cdr Khanna. Throughout his tenure as Squadron Commander, he insisted on maintaining the unit at a high level of professional standard.For his exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander Ravi Khanna (Posthumously).
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty)
JWO Surendra Kumar 668479 ORUnit : No.122 Helicopter Flight  Award Date Announced 26 Jan 05
Details : 668479 Junior Warrant Officer Surendra Kumar Mohanty Flight Gunner is on the posted strength of a Helicopter unit in Andaman and Nicobar island since 22 Apr 2002.On 08 Oct 03 at 0925 h, after being detailed as the Flight Gunner on a mercy mission for the rescue of fifteen members of the expedition on the Galathea river in the Great Nicobar island, JWO Mohanty promptly reacted to the emergent situation and ensured that the helicopter was loaded with the requisite survival equipment and emergency food and water in the minimum possible time.Due to his vast experience as a Flight Gunner, JWO Mohanty was able to provide valuable inputs to the captain during the.crew briefing prior to the mission. During the search, he displayed keen observation and high situational awareness in surveying the route from the cargo compartment. The team was located in a deep narrow valley with tall trees ranging from 25 to 100 meters height on either side. This precluded a landing and the personnel had to be winched up. Variable winds and limited tip clearance of only five to ten meters made the task extremely demanding and challenging. Displaying exceptional competence and handling of the winching equipment, he winched up the fifteen members in the minimum possible time in extremely adverse conditions. Once on board, he provided them initial nourishment and comfort. All this while, he kept guiding the pilot in maintaining the ground position in the restricted area of operation. The mission would not have been successful but for his valuable contribution.For his exceptional devotion to duty and professionalism, the HonIle President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Junior Warrant Officer Surendra Kumar Mohanty.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 9th April 2005 - No.28-Pres/2005 dated 26th January 2005 & AFD2005 Investiture  

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Umesh Kumar Sharma 17323 F(P)Unit : No.109 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 27 Dec 05 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Umesh Kumar Sharma (17323) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Helicopter Stream of the IAF on 22 Dec 1983. He is a Type Qualified Flying Instructor and has also served as a production test pilot in a Mi-8 Base Repair Depot. He has to his credit over 5600 hrs of accident free flying. He is presently posted as Commanding Officer of a Mi-8 Helicopter unit at Air Force Station, Sulur since 11 Aug 2003.Air HQ detailed Wg Cdr Sharma lo load a contingent of six helicopters for undertaking rescue iind relief operations In Sri Lanka, named 'Op Sea Wave'. Utilising his skills ol professionalism and foresightedness, a meticulous induction plan was prepared. He led the first wave of three helicopters from Sulur to Colombo as the Task Force Commander. Immediately after landing in the midst of chaos in Sri Lanka, he co-ordinated with the SLAF HQ and various aid agencies and chalked out the modus operand! for the relief work. He displayed sterling leadership qualities leading the IAF contingent in Sri Lanka and was responsible for effective planning and successful execution of the rescue and relief effort.On 27 Dec 2005, 181 foreign tourists including ladies and children were injured and stranded in the worst affected areas of Galle, Matara and Hambantota. On receiving the news, Wg Cdr Sharma took on the onerous task of immediate evacuation. He was the first to recce and select suitable landing sites within the rubble and wreckage of devastation and ensured quick and safe evacuation to Colombo, thereby saving precious lives in time.He gallantly took upon himself the risk of being the first to recce and decide on the safe routes to fly in the LTTE infested areas. Displaying exceptional courage, despite a potential threat, he co-ordinated airlift of the relief material from SLAF bases to the LTTE controlled areas of Batticaloa, Ampara, Vavuniya and Trincomalee. During the operation, under his leadership, the contingent achieved a task of airlifting 2,35,000 Kg and 673 people, flying a total of 422 sorties/ 270 hours, without any flying accident/incident.For this act of exceptional courage, leadership qualities and selfless devotion to duty during the 27 days of rescue and relief operation in Sri Lanka by the IAF contingent of helicopters, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Umesh Kumar Sharma.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)
Wg Cdr Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem 18101 F(P)Unit : No.118 Helicopter Unit  Award Date 19 Jul 04 Announced 15 Aug 05
Details : Wing Commander Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem (18101) Flying (Pilot) Is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 Helicopter Unit as its Commanding Officer since 11 Aug 2003.On 10 Jul 2004 Wg Cdr Vridhachalem undertook a mercy mission at short notice from a village near Darranga, south of the International border with Bhutan. On reaching the area Wg Cdr Vridhachalem realized during the recce, that the Pugladia river had breached its banks splitting the village into two. The rising waters of the river were slowly submerging remnants of the village and the marooned villagers were faced with imminent danger to their lives. Despite the fact that there was no clear landing area available in the village, Wg Cdr Vridhachalem displayed gallantry in making a precise landing in a small water-logged clearing within the village. He hovered the helicopter low with one wheel touching the water-logged ground and evacuated the marooned villagers in an orderly manner.On 19 Jul 2004 Wg Cdr Vridhachalem received an urgent request from the DC Nagaon to launch helicopters for evacuating thousands of marooned villagers near Hojai. Two helicopters under the command of Wg Cdr Vridhachalem were launched for Hojai within a mere 30 minutes. The area near Hojai was totally inundated by the Kopili river. The river had breached its banks at a number of places and the resultant flash flood had taken the helpless residents totally by surprise. No clear area was available for launching conventional rescue operations. Assessing the difficult situation and the limited time available, Wg Cdr Vridhachalem brought the helicopter to a low hover on a submerged culvert, He commenced the rescue operation with the helicopter held steady at low hover over the culvert. I lundreds of civilians waded through waist deep water to board the safety of the helicopter hovering a few feet above the ground. He flew as many as 12 sorties to evacuate the marooned civilians without taking a break. The fact that such difficult operations were executed flawlessly by precise hovering over water, with frantic civilians clamouring to be rescued, speaks volumes of the leadership and professionalism displayed by the CO of the unit. The officer led by personal example in ensuring a high level of team motivation exhibited by all personnel of his unit In utiderlaklnn rescue missions under most difficult conditions.For these acts of exceptional courage in rescuing hundreds of lives, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Subramaniam Ravi Vridhachalem.
Reference: Gazette of India dated 26th November 2005 - No.130-Pres/2005 dated 15th August 2005 & AFD2006 Investiture 

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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