Uploaded : 13 February 2000
Sqn. Ldr. T. J. Keelor, F(P) Vir
1965 , No. 23 Squadron (Gnat), Pathankot.
(Later Wing Commander)
Squadron Leader Trevor
Joseph Keelor was one of the first pilots to get trained on the Folland Gnat fighter
inducted by the IAF. He had previously received the Vayu Sena Medal for successfully
landing a Gnat after a technical malfunction.
During the 1965 Conflict, Sqn Ldr Keelor
was a Senior Flight Commander of No.23 Squadron flying the Gnat fighters from Adampur. He
was part of the detachment sent to Pathankot to counter the threat of enemy fighters which
were interfering with our operations in that Area.
On September 3rd, 1965, Sqn Ldr Keelor was
part of the Eight aircraft mission sent to escort a Mystere formation. When the forward
formation led by Sqn Ldr Greene was attacked by enemy fighters, Sqn Ldr Keelor manoeuvred
his formation to enable him to counter the threat, Keelor himself attacked the Sabre which
was targeting a Gnat from the lead formation. The Enemy fighter was last seen spinning out
of control after being damaged by Keelor's Gnat.
Sqn Ldr Keelor's act of shooting down the
enemy fighter despite the presence of F-104 Starfighters and other Sabres armed with
Sidewinder Missiles was unique and the first time ever the Indian Air Force ever scored
against enemy fighters after Independence. Sqn Ldr Keelor was awarded the Vir Chakra. He
retired from service as a Wing Commander.
Uploaded : 6 February 2000 (IST)
Fg Off P. S. Pingale, F(P) Vir
1965 , No. 7 Squadron (Hunter), Halwara.
(Now Air Marshal)
Prakash Sadashivrao Pingale was involved in the thick of the Action in the 1965 India
Pakistan Conflict. He was flying for No. 7 "Battle Axe" Squadron then
operating from the Halwara Air Base.
At the Outbreak of hostilities, Pingale was
involved in flying Combat Air Patrols in the Amritsar-Halwara area. On September 6th, His
formation was involved in an AirCombat with Sabres, in which his wingman shot down one of
the attackers. Pingale himself was shotdown , but ejected safely.
Even though suffering from back injuries as
a result of his ejection, Pingale was still involved in operational flying. On September
16th, He was leading a two Hunter formation which was scrambled to intercept two enemy
Sabre aircraft coming in to attack Halwara. Pingale intercepted the enemy formation and
shot down one of the attacking Sabres, whose pilot ejected and was taken POW. Then on
receiving a call from his wingman, he rushed to his aid and damaged the other enemy
aircraft. however, His wingman was lost in the combat.
Fg Off P S Pingale displayed, courage and
fortitude and ignoring his personal injuries was involved in combat throughout the war.
Pingale received the Vir Chakra for shooting down the Sabre.
Today, P S Pingale is serving as an Air
Marshal in Air Head Quarters.
Uploaded : 30 January 2000 (IST)
Flt Lt B. B. Soni, F(P) Vir Chakra.
1971 , No. 47 Squadron (MiG-21), Jamnagar.
Flight Lieutenant Bharat Bhushan Soni
was a member of a MiG-21 FL Detachment from No.47 "Black Archers" Squadron
based at Jamnagar.
Entrusted with the airdefence
responsibility of Jamnagar and surrounding areas, Flt Lt Soni was involved in numerous
Counter air missions as well as Combat Air Patrols.
On December 13th, 1971, A Pair of F-104
Starfighters from the PAF attacked Jamnagar airfield. Flt Lt Soni was one of the pilots on
Combat Air Patrol on that particular day. He was immediately directed to intercept
the attackers. Soni targeted one of the Starfighters and attacked with his Air to Air
Missiles. However on one of the missiles missing the target, he closed in and used his
cannon to shoot down the intruder off the Kathaiwar coast. The Enemy pilot was seen
ejecting in the shark infested waters, but Air and Sea Rescue was not able to locate him
Flt Lt Soni was awarded the Vir Chakra for
shooting down the enemy aircraft in what was the first ever encounter of the kind anywhere
in the world.
Uploaded : 23 January 2000 (IST)
Flt Lt Bhupinder, F(P) Vir Chakra.
1998 , No. 114 HU (Cheetah), Siachen Glacier.
Flight Lieutenant Bhupinder was a Helicopter pilot with a No.114 HU
operating in the Siachen Glacier Sector. He flew many missions in Casualty evacuation and
in replenishment sorties to forward posts. He played a vital role in rescuing two stranded
helicopters within a span of one week in this sector.
On another occasion, Flt Lt Bhupinder was
flying an air maintenance sortie, when his helicopter came under heavy shelling while
landing at an advanced helipad. His Co-Pilot suffered shrapnel injury from a close miss,
and the Helicopter was badly damaged. Flt Lt Bhupinder showed exemplary courage in flying
back the extensively damaged helicopter back to base.
Flt Lt Bhupinder was awarded the Vir Chakra
for his show of courage under enemy fire.
Uploaded : 16 January 2000 (IST)
Flt Lt Roy Andrew Massey, F(P) Vir
1971 , No.22 Squadron (Gnats), Dum Dum Airfield.
Flying Officer Roy Andrew Massey was a formation commander with No.22
Squadron , flying the Gnat Fighter in the Eastern Sector. Based at Dum Dum airfield near
Calcutta, No.22 Squadron was deployed to encounter any posible intrusion by Pakistani
Sabre aircraft operating from Tejgaon Airfield near Dacca.
On 22nd November 1971, a ground battle near
the Sailent of Boyra was raging on when enemy ground troops called upon their airforce for
support. Three Pakistani Air Force Sabre Jets were soon over the Boyra peninsula
supporting the Pakistani ground troops. Flt Lt Massey's formation was scrambled to
intercept and deal with the intruding aircraft. Massey led his formation with such skill
and effectiveness, that his formation shot down three of the four enemy aircraft. Two of
the Sabre Jets crashed in Indian Territory with the pilots being captured. Massey himself
chased one of the Sabres into Pakistani airspace before claiming it shot down.
For his leadership and bravery in the
airbattle, Massey was awarded the Vir Chakra Medal. Roy Andrew Massey went on to the rank
of Wing Commander , but unfortunately was killed in an air accident when his MiG-23
aircraft suffered a bird strike.
Uploaded : 8 January 2000 (IST)
Wg Cdr K S Suresh, F(P) Vir Chakra.
1971 , OCU , Jaisalmer.
Squadron Leader K S "Kuki" Suresh was posted to the
newly established Jamnagar Airforce Base in August 1971. Helping out Wg Cdr M S Bawa in
bringing up the base to an operational level, Sqn Ldr Suresh flew many combat missions at
the outbreak of hostilities in December 1971.
The Jaisalmer airbase had only four Hunters
on establishment, When a Pakistani Armoured Attack threatened to overrun the border
outpost of Longewala. Suresh was one of the few pilots who flew sortie after sortie in the
Hawker Hunter fighters at the airbase. Together with others, the enemy armoured offensive
was blunted. In one of the sorties Sqn Ldr Suresh's aircraft flew so low it grazed the
sand dune while pulling up after hitting a target.
After the arrival of reinforcements from
Jamnagar, On Dec 13th, Sqn Ldr Suresh was leading a three aircraft attack onto
Talhar Air Force Base near Badin. When intercepted by enemy aircraft, He manoeuvred
his aircraft and succeeded in shooting down a PAF Sabre aircraft and successfully
extracted his formation without loss.
Sqn Ldr Suresh flew a total of 22 Sorties
during the conflict for which effort he received the award of Vir Chakra.
Uploaded : 2 January 2000 (IST)
Wg Cdr Johnny William Greene, F(P)
Vir Chakra and Vayu Sena Medal
(Later Air Marshal )
Mohemadan by birth, a Christian by choice, J W Greene was the epitome of a fighter pilot
in the 60s. A Qualified Day Fighter Combat Leader, He was on a staff job at Ambala, when
hostilities intensified in August 1965. He was deputed to No.23 Squadron flying Gnats, as
the detachment commander of eight Gnats flying out of Pathankot airbase. Greene led the
Gnats into combat for the first time on September 3, 1965, in which his formation tangled
with PAF Sabres, and subsequently claimed one Sabre shot down. The next day, His formation
claimed its first confirmed Kill when another Sabre was shot down, this time in Indian
During the 1971 War, Wing Commander Greene
was the Commanding Officer of No.2 "Winged Arrows" Squadron flying the
Gnat, operating out of Pathankot. He led the squadron right from day one flying combat air
patrols over the forward airbase. In one action, he intercepted a Starfighter and was in a
dominating position, when the enemy aircraft by virtue of its superior speed burst away
from the combat. Greene recieved the Vayu Sena Medal for leading the Squadron.
Greene retired as an Air Marshal from the
Uploaded : 26 December 1999 (IST)
Wg Cdr Bhupinder Kumar Bishnoi F(P)
Vir Chakra and Bar (Later Air Vice Marshal )
B K Bishnoi is one of the few IAF Officers who was honoured with a
Bar to the Vir Chakra. As a Squadron Leader in 1965 War, Bishnoi flew several interdiction
missions with No.20 "Lightning" Squadron flying the Hawker
Hunter. In one of his missions in the Raiwind Area, He along with three of his colleagues
attacked and destroyed an ammunition supply train with rockets and gunfire. The Next day,
he led an interdiction mission against enemy targets in the Lahore sector in which a
significant amount of enemy armour was knocked out. B K Bishnoi was awarded the Vir Chakra
for these actions.
During the 1971 War, Wing Commander
Bishnoi was the Commanding Officer of No.28 "First Supersonics"
Squadron flying the MiG-21 FL aircraft. Wg Cdr Bishnoi led the first strike raids on Dacca
airfield in which he destroyed a transport aircraft by rockets on the ground. Wg Cdr
Bishnoi flew a total of 26 Sorties during the war, in which he destroyed the runway at
Tejgaon airfield as well as leading the strike on Government House at Dacca. For his role
in 71, Bishnoi received a Second Gallantry Award, in the form of a Bar to his Vir Chakra.
Bishnoi retired as an Air Vice Marshal from
Uploaded : 19 December 1999 (IST)
Flt Lt Syed Shahid Hussain Naqvi F(P)
Vir Chakra (Now Air Marshal )
Then Flt Lt. S S H Naqvi was a pilot of No. 120 (Ad Hoc)
Mystere Squadron flying in the Ganganagar Sector during the 1971 War. Naqvi flew 19
Sorties against Ground Targets during the conflict, including a successful attack on a
Boat Bridge across the River Sutlej.
Naqvi also flew a lone sortie against AA
installations in the Fazilka Area. His Tactical Reccoinassaince missions in the Western
Sector , in which he flew without any fighter escort were very successful and bought back
much information about Pakistani dispositions. He flew three missions against Pakistani
Railway marshalling yards. For his contribution to the Air Effort, Naqvi received the Vir
Today, S S H Naqvi is an Air Marshal,
having served as the DCAS of the Indian Air Force.
Uploaded : 12 December 1999
Flt Lt Niraj Kukreja F(P) Vir Chakra
Flt Lt. Niraj Kukreja was a MiG-21 Pilot during the 1971 War. flying
for a detachment of No.29 Squadron from Uttarlai, Kukreja was escorting a flight of Maruts
on the last day of the war, 17th of December 1971 in the Naya Chor area when they were
intercepted by F-104 Starfighters.
Kukreja chased one of the
Starfighters at deck level and downed it with one of his K-13 IR air to air missiles. Flt
Lt. Kukreja was awarded the Vir Chakra for his Starfighter Kill.
Flt Lt Kukreja died in an Air Accident less
than an year after the war.