Wing Commander Deepika Misra has made history by becoming the first woman officer in the Indian Air Force to receive a gallantry award. The accomplished helicopter pilot from Rajasthan was awarded the prestigious Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) for displaying exceptional bravery during a flood relief operation in Madhya Pradesh.
According to an IAF spokesperson, Wing Commander Misra’s act of courage was truly remarkable and deserving of recognition. This momentous achievement serves as a shining example of the incredible talent and dedication that women bring to the armed forces.
#WATCH | IAF’s first woman gallantry award winner Wing Commander Deepika Misra received her Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry from IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari at an investiture ceremony. She helped in saving lives of 47 people in floods last year in areas of MP& Raj. pic.twitter.com/0rafSejI5p— ANI (@ANI) April 20, 2023
The Chief of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, presided over an Investiture Ceremony at the Air Force Auditorium in Subroto Park, where he awarded several officers and air warriors with well-deserved honours.
Among the awards presented were two Yudh Seva Medals and 13 Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry), along with 13 Vayu Sena Medals and 30 Vishisht Seva Medals. These awards were given in recognition of the exceptional bravery, dedication, and outstanding service demonstrated by these officers and air warriors.
The ceremony saw a total of 58 individuals being recognised for their outstanding contributions. Among them were 57 personnel from the Indian Air Force and one from the Army, who were awarded various honors for their exceptional service to the nation. Notably, Wing Commander Misra was honoured with the Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry), becoming the first woman officer in the history of the Indian Air Force to receive such an award. While women in the IAF have been recognised for their devotion to service in the past, this is the first time that a gallantry award has been conferred on a woman officer of the IAF, making it a significant milestone in the journey towards gender equality and recognition of women’s achievements in the Indian Armed Forces.
As per the Indian Air Force’s statement, Wing Commander Misra was tasked with undertaking a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation to aid the flash flood victims in northern Madhya Pradesh in August 2021. Despite the challenging conditions, she displayed exceptional courage and skill during the eight-day rescue operation, which involved low hover pick-ups and winching. Wing Commander Misra’s efforts led to the rescue of 47 individuals, including women and children, and her actions brought a sense of safety and security to the flood-affected area.
As officials put it, “Her bravery and courage not only saved precious lives in a natural calamity but also instilled a sense of safety amongst the common populace.” This commendable act of valor has not only earned her the prestigious Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry), but also a special place in the history books.
In recent years, the Indian armed forces have seen a surge in diversity, and nowhere is this more evident than in the rising number of women who are taking on leadership roles. From enlisting to completing rigorous training programs and serving in combat zones, women are proving their worth and making significant strides in traditionally male-dominated industries. These trailblazers are shattering glass ceilings, challenging stereotypes and expanding the definition of what it means to be a soldier.
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