Indian Air Force (IAF) Winds up Relief and Rescue Operations in Flood Hit Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh

Indian Air Force (IAF) Winds up Relief and Rescue Operations in Flood Hit Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh 
The Indian Air Force once again proved it mettle by responding immediately to the task of carrying out rescue and relief operations after incessant rains that affected Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Due to heavy continuous rains, water in large quantity entered the residential areas, affecting more than 5000 families. 

A total of 25 sorties were flown towards the rescue and relief operations in which 5000 Kgs of load was air dropped and 25 stranded people were rescued. IAF helicopters operated in the marginal weather to drop relief material and rescue the affected people especially women, infants and senior citizens. The sorties were flown around Chennai, where low lying areas were completely submerged and around Tirupathi and Nellore areas in Andhra Pradesh.

Since the water has receded and the rains have stopped, flood relief operations by the IAF have been called off by the state authorities. 

A Healing Touch by Indian Navy 
Indian Navy celebrates "Navy Week" in the first week of December every year to commemorate the victory at sea during 1971 Indo Pak conflict. The aim of the Navy week celebration is to bring the Navy closer to the public and generate awareness amongst them about the Indian Navy. One of the major activities of Navy Week is a 'Day Out' picnic for the Special & Under Privileged children. This event is conducted by INS India, the main administrative base of Delhi Naval Area.

As part of Indian Navy's commitment of supporting the humanitarian organizations and providing unflinching support to the needy children, Indian Navy organised a touching event for Special children. About 55 of them were taken out for a day of fun and frolic to National Rail Museum. Children from various organizations namely ASHA supported by the Army at Delhi Cantonment, Anchal Special Education Centre, Tamanna Special School at Vasant Vihar and Navy's supported 'SANKALP' at Nausenabagh I, Chanakyapuri were part of the group.

The Coordinator SANKALP, Mrs Priya Philipose graced the occasion and spent time with them as they enjoyed the joy ride and the magic show organized by the Navy. To cheer up the little ones gift hampers, refreshments and lunch were also distributed.

A similar picnic was organized on 17 Nov 15 for about 60 underprivileged children from Pratham Tyagi Memorial Trust, Patel Nagar, Saksham Bal Vikas Sanstha, Gurgaon and Shanthi Sahyog Play pre centre.

Award of President’s Standard to No. 18 Squadron and No. 22 Squadron 

1.         The President of India and the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces, Shri Pranab Mukherjee will be awarding the prestigious President’s Standard to     No. 18 Squadron and No. 22 Squadron, in a grand ceremonial parade, scheduled to be held at Air Force Station, Hasimara on 28 Nov 2015.  Group Captain KJ Singh, Commanding Officer of No. 18 Squadron and Group Captain Sandeep Singh Commanding Officer of No. 22 Squadron, will receive the President’s Standards.

2.         The Governor of West Bengal, Raksha Mantri and Raksha Rajya Mantri are also expected to grace the Ceremony on 28 Nov 2015.  Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vayusena Medal,  Aide-de-Camp,     Chief of the Air Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, Air Marshal C Hari Kumar Vayusena Medal,  Vishisht Seva Medal, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal BBP Sinha  Ati Vishisht Seva Medal,                       Air Officer-in-charge Administration,   along with other senior Defence and Civilian officials would witness the ceremony.

3.         18 Squadron AF was formed at Ambala on 15 April 1965 with five Gnat aircraft and eleven pilots under the command of Wg Cdr AL Michael.  The Squadron is endowed with a rich history and a formidable operational legacy.  The Squadron took on the role of the ‘Defenders of Kashmir Valley’ during the 1971 Indo-Pak war and carried out extensive flying towards escort duties and also mounted a near continuous day time Combat Air Patrol.     On 14 December 1971, fighting bravely & valiantly, alone in his Gnat, against PAF Sabres, Flying Officer NJS Sekhon laid down his life. He was decorated posthumously with the highest gallantry award of

the nation, the     ‘PARAM VIR CHAKRA’ for sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, flying skill and determination above and beyond the call of duty displayed in the face of certain death.  18 Squadron remains the only Squadron of the IAF with a          PVC awardee.   The Squadron operated an improved version of Gnat ‘The Ajeet’ from May 1980 onwards.  In 1981, Sqn Ldr Rahul Dhar was awarded         ‘SHAURYA CHAKRA’ for carrying out a dead stick landing after an engine seizure. The Squadron bid farewell to‘Ajeets’ in December 1988 at Bagdogra.The Squadron was resurrected at Hindon with the formidable MiG-27 ML aircraft in June 1989, thus entering the supersonic era. In 1996 the Squadron moved from Hindon to Kalaikunda and soon after it was designated as the first dedicated Night Strike Squadron of IAF. In January 2010, Flt Lt M Arora was awarded ‘SHAURYA CHAKRA’ for recovering an aircraft after a canopy burst at an altitude of 10.5 km during a supersonic run, despite grievous injuries and hostile environmental conditions in the cockpit. The Squadron has also participated in several international exercises at Kalaikunda with the French Air Force,    United States’ Air Force, Royal Singapore Air Force and  Royal Air Force. The Squadron remains the only MiG-27ML Squadron to carry out heavy armament drop at DM range by night.  In the year 2013, the Unit was entrusted with the task of banner target towing for air to air firing and on 19 September 2014 the Squadron finally moved to its present location, Hasimara. Since its inception, the ‘Flying Bullets’ have received           three Shaurya Chakras,  one Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry),  nine Vayu Sena Medals and four Mention-in-Dispatches in addition to the Param Vir Chakra awarded to                        Flying Officer NJS Sekhon.

4.         22 Squadron Air Force, then called as the ‘Hell’s Angels’ was raised on      15 Oct 1966 at Air Force Station Bareilly as the eighth Gnat Squadron of the IAF.          In December 1969, the Squadron moved to Kalaikunda where it was tasked for Air Defence Role during the 1971 war.  Here, the Squadron drew first blood for IAF by shooting down three intruding F-86 Sabre jets in a single four aircraft mission on     22 Nov 71.  Thus the ‘Hell’s Angels’ found a special niche in the history of Indian Aerial Combat when they proved their mettle as the most successful and destructive fighter Squadron of the IAF in the 1971 War.  For its daring, the Squadron was        re-christened as the ‘Sabre Slayers’. All three pilots who shot down the F-86 Sabres; Flt Lt MA Ganapathy, Flt Lt RA Massey and Fg Offr D Lazarus, were awarded Vir Chakras.  The Squadron was awarded Battle Honours during the Indo Pak conflict of 1971 for “Air Offensive for Liberation of Bangladesh”. In  April 1986, the Squadron received its official crest and was renamed as ‘SWIFTS’, the Squadron motto being “COURAGE TRIUMPHS”. In February 1990, the Squadron converted onto the   MiG-27 ML aircraft at Hasimara.  The Squadron was deployed for Op Vijay in 1999 and for Op Parakram in 2001-02.  On 08 August 2001, ‘SWIFTS’ became the first fighter Squadron to land at Lengpui airfield in Mizoram.  The Squadron was relocated to Kalaikunda in the year 2012, but moved back to Hasimara in August 2014.  In the recent years, the Squadron has won various air to ground gunnery competition trophies and has participated in various international exercises with foreign Air Forces thus remaining at the forefront of professional excellence. The number of honours and awards which have been bestowed on the unit and its personnel bear a testimony to this fact. The Squadron continues to render yeoman service to the nation in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Basantkumar B Pande
Group captain
Public Relation Officer

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