My coursemate from the IAF has made me proud. He has been awarded the Shaurya Chakra. An excerpt from the citation:
On 19 Dec 11, Wing Cdr VK Singh was detailed to fly a helicopter in a low level mission in the densely forested and heavily Naxal infested area, in support of the CRPF. The landing site was only a small clearing in the jungle with very tall trees around it and an undulating landing surface, which made the task even more difficult. After having completed two shuttles and having transported thirty commandos, while he was executing the third shuttle with seventeen persons on board, his helicopter was fired upon with automatic weapons from the left and below the aircraft. He immediately turned away from the probable direction of fire and gained height. After having ascertained that all aircraft parameters were normal, he decided to return to base, i.e. Jagdalpur.
Subsequently, the aircraft started experiencing severe vibrations and the entire cargo compartment was filled with the smell of burnt explosives. The severe vibrations made it extremely challenging to make sure that the helicopter does not go out of control with an any time possibility of an engine malfunction, Wing Cdr VK Singh kept his calm and controlled the helicopter with his professional acumen and flying skills. He reduced the speed and minimized the vibrations and kept a close vigil on the vital engine parameters. His calm and controlled composure and exceptional courage ensured that he tracked every event in the helicopter meticulously and brought seventeen men and the machine to safety, in an extremely professional manner after flying for forty long and demanding minutes.
In recovering the helicopter and personnel on board from the precarious situation in the face of intense danger and imminent threat to life, he showed exceptional courage and flying skills of the highest order. For this exceptional display of courage, inspirational leadership and composure under adverse conditions, Wing Commander Vatsal Kumar Singh has been awarded Shaurya Chakra.