New Delhi: Eighty three Indian Air Force Air Warriors have been awarded Presidential Awards on the eve of Republic Day. This includes Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) for six Air Marshals, Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) for two Air Marshals, four Air Vice Marshals and nine Air Commodores.
Vayu Sena Medal (gallantry) (posthumously) have been awarded to one Squadron Leader and one civilian. Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) have been awarded to five Wing Commanders, two Squadron Leaders, one Sergeant and one Corporal. Vayu Sena Medal have been awarded to 14 Group Captains, four Wing Commanders and one MWO.
The Vishist Seva Medal (VSM) have been awarded to one Air Vice Marshal, nine Air Commodores, 21 Group Captains and one Squadron Leader.
Wing Commander Maneesh Kumar Roy, flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of an AN 32 Squadron and has a total of more than 6,000 hours of accident free flying to his credit. For his acts of exemplary courage and professional acumen in handling an unprecedented emergency Wing Commander Roy has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Saurabh Sharma, flying (pilot) is on the posted strength of an AN-32 squadron. He is a qualified flying instructor and has varied and extensive flying experience of over 7,000 hours. He has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (gallantry) for his act of exceptional courage and bravery in saving the lives of 40 personnel on board by successfully executing a single engine landing after critical engine failure at a high altitude Advanced Landing Ground (ALG).
Wing Commander Amit Jain, flying (pilot) is posted as Flight Commander of a Cheetal/ Cheetah Helicopter Unit operating in the Siachen Glacier. He is a qualified flying instructor and an examiner, and has more than 3,500 hours of accident/incident free flying. For his act of exceptional courage, exemplary leadership, resolute determination and highest level of professionalism, Wing Commander Amit Jain has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Anup Sharma, Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mi-17 1V unit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and the Flight Commander of the unit. On September 4, 2014 due to incessant rains, Jammu and adjoining areas were severely affected by floods, with water level rising above danger level in Tawi and Chenab rivers. In this grave situation, he dared the marginal weather and got airborne for the first rescue mission of Operation Megh Rahat from Chenab River.
His valiant efforts resulted in the rescue of a total of 244 marooned people from the clutches of death in similar operations and marginal weather including 158 people with the help of rope ladder from the raging rivers.
In another instance, Wing Commander Sharma was involved in a rescue effort at Katwari border post of BSF wherein any delay in the rescue would have resulted in 23 BSF personnel being washed away across the International Border. The approach itself was restricted from one direction at this post as it was surrounded by IB on three sides. He maintained steady hover at a height of 55 feet amid tall trees for one an hour and a half to save all of them. The entire mission required courage, perseverance and an undaunting spirit against heavy odds.
For acts of exceptional courage, he has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Wing Commander Pankaj Sharma flying (pilot) is on the posted strength of MI-17 V5 Helicopter unit at Air Force Station Srinagar. He is a Cat A Qualified Flying Instructor and is presently the Flight Commander of the unit.
Jammu and Kashmir faced a natural catastrophe in the beginning of September 2014 in the form of ravaging floods. Not to be daunted by the overwhelming magnitude of relief operations, he took on the responsibility of the team leader since the CO was on a fling exercise for the first day, for conducting all the rescue missions. An officer with tremendous courage and initiative, he flew the first sortie under adverse weather to assess the extent of damage for commencement of rescue and relief missions were to follow. He flew extensively in the most exigent circumstances for helicopters, which included winching up of around 200 people, mass evacuation of flood affected people and dropping of relief material.
As the flight commander of the unit, his dedicated involvement, crew management, conduct of briefings and intricate planning of sorties resulted in smooth conduct of rescue operations against heavy odds. The colossal task was under with clockwork precision and exemplary professionalism without any incident or accident; which can be attributed to the careful planning, formulation of procedures, ardent supervision and leading by example consistently.
For his acts of exceptional courage and selfless commitment in saving lives during Op Megh Rahat, Wing Commander Pankaj Sharma has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Squadron Leader Mantej Singh Somal flying (pilot) is held on the posted strength of a MI-17 V5 helicopter unit. While undertaking anti-Naxal operations in Jagdalpur, he received information that there was an attack by Naxalites on the CRPF camp in Chintalgufa. In the fierce gunfight with Naxalites, three CRPF personnel were critically injured and required air evacuation as life saving measure.
He took on the onerous task of evacuating the injured amidst the ongoing fierce gun fight. Displaying an un-daunting spirit, he evacuated the injured from the battle scene, which not only resulted in saving the lives of the injured but also served as a he morale booster to the troops on ground. For this act of exceptional courage, he has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (gallantry).
Squadron Leader Saurabh Raghuvanshi, flying (pilot) was on the posted strength of MiG 21 Bison Squadron at Air Force Station Srinagar. He was a qualified flying instructor and had over 1,450 hours of service flying to his credit. On May 27, 2014, the officer was planned to fly as No.4 in a four aircraft strike mission towards Exercise Talon in the Northern region. The mission was flown to validate the efficacy of Low Level Light Weight Radar (LLLWR) Air Defence preparedness against enemy raids.
The officer displayed exceptional valour, professional skills and unparalleled leadership in the face of extreme danger. He saved numerous innocent lives of his countrymen and national property by his heroic act. For this act of exceptional courage and supreme sacrifice, Squadron Leader Saurabh Raghuvanshi has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Squadron Leader Kapil Kareem, flying (pilot) is on the posted strength of a Mirage Squadron. He is a fully operational 4-aircraft leader on Mirage 2000 aircraft and has 691 hours of service flying. For his act of exceptional courage in ensuring safe recovery of aircraft Sqn Ldr Kapil Kareem has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Sergeant Ravinder Kumar, PJI is posted as parachute jumping instructor at Paratroopers Training School, Air Force Station Agra. Jakhar displayed exceptional courage and camaraderie in saving the life of his fellow paratrooper in the face of imminent danger to his own life. In the process of landing on a 70 degree incline rocky slope, he has not only displayed courage of high order but also professionalism of the highest order.
For his act of exceptional courage, camaraderie and professionalism, he has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Corporal Momocha Ningthoujam Indian Air Force (Security) is posted as a special forces operative and responsible for operations and training in an Air Force Garud Commando unit. He was one of the operatives inducted to undertake rescue operations in the flood affected areas of J&K. He went inside the semi-submerged house and rescued all four trapped civilians to the roof top. In this he carried one paralysed old lady and two small kids on his shoulder to reach the winching spot. While winching up was in progress, the house started collapsing under the force of swirling water.
Disregarding the threat to his life, he managed to evacuate all of them from the precarious and dangerous situation. Corporal Momocha displayed courage of the highest order while rendering selfless service to the nation. For act of exceptional courage and professionalism, Corporal Momocha Ningthoujam has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
Ravinder Kumar, Leading Hand Fireman (LHF), was on the posted strength of 3 Base Repair Depot Chandigarh since 1999. On June 8, 2014, an emergency fire call was received from Civil Fire Station in Sector -17 Chandigarh. Kumar, who was at home, being on off-duty, was recalled to join the fire fighting team at National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) in Sector 17, Chandigarh.
He displayed courage of the highest order in his attempt to contain the fire and made the supreme sacrifice in the process. This courageous act of the young Fireman epitomises the highest traditions of the Indian Air Force - 'Service before Self'.
He has displayed most conspicuous valour, courage and exemplary leadership and devotion to duty that will serve as an inspiration for generations. For this act of gallantry, he has been awarded with Vayu Sena Medal (gallantry).