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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Shaurya Chakra for IAF officer; 2 others get Vayu Sena medal

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 15, 2014
First Published: 08:47 IST(15/8/2014) | Last Updated: 08:50 IST(15/8/2014)

A wing commander of the Indian Air Force has been awarded the Shaurya Chakra, while two others have got the Vayu Sena medal for gallantry.

Wg Cdr Huvey Upadhyaya has got the Shaurya Chakra for “exceptional courage, resolute determination and extraordinary flying skills” while on an air maintenance sortie in the Siachen region.

As per his citation, he received an urgency message from the air traffic control (ATC) stating that an army advanced light helicopter (ALH) helicopter had not returned to the base camp and contact with it had also been lost.

“Wg Cdr Upadhyaya displayed courage, initiative and high situational awareness in reacting to the prevalent situation. He offloaded his helicopter at the helipad and set course in search and rescue of the overdue army helicopter.

Undeterred by the fast deteriorating weather and discounting his personal safety, he continued searching for the helicopter,” says the citation.

He located the wreckage of the crashed helicopter at an altitude of 17,600 ft.

“Exhibiting utmost courage and exceptional flying skills, Wg Cdr Huvey Upadhyaya landed his helicopter in between the crevasses near the crash site… Through his valiant act under trying and near-impossible conditions, he saved the lives of two army pilots..,” says the citation.

Wg Cdr Rahul Shukla has been awarded the Vayu Sena medal (gallantry) for saving a MiG-21 T-69 aircraft while coming from Kalaikunda (West Bengal) to Ambala (Haryana). On January 20, he was detailed to ferry a MiG-21 T-69 aircraft with a refuelling halt at Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh). After takeoff, he heard a bang from the rear portion of the aircraft.

Maintaining his composure in even increasing adverse circumstances, he carried out a flawless landing at Allahabad and successfully stopped the aircraft without any damage on the runway.

Wg Cdr Abhyankar Aniket Santosh has been chosen for the Vayu Sena medal (gallantry) for “exceptional courage, exemplary leadership and highest level of professionalism” in Jammu and Kashmir region.

As per his citation, on August 17, 2013, Wg Cdr Abhyankar was tasked to rescue a foreign national, who was part of an IndianBritish expedition, from Saser Kangri, which is at an altitude of 23,000 ft.

“Throughout this act of valour, Wg Cdr Abhyankar used his experience, judgement and exceptional flying skills and was able to save a precious life,” adds the citation.

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