Wing Commander Umesh Shastri (15698) Flying (Pilot) has been in command of a front line fighter squadron of the Air Force since 10 Mar 97 up to 31 April 2000. He is a highly experienced fighter pilot with over 3400 hours of accident free flying of which 2086 hours are on MiG-21 aircraft. He is a qualified flying Instructor holding A-2 category and is also a Fighter Combat Leader.
During his tenure as Commanding Officer he has always led the squadron from the front. He has ensured good planning and exemplary execution of all tasks assigned to the squadron. The squadron has always risen to every occasion and has acquitted itself with credit in all facets of activity. He has personally led the squadron's formation during the airpower demonstration at Pokharan, Vayushakti-98 as well as Vayushakti-99 and carried out attacks on the assigned targets with impeccable professionalism. During 'Op Safed Sagar' the squadron was the first in SWAC to achieve the feat of 100% serviceability, which speaks volume of his quality of leadership, planning and coordination. The squadron has also weathered through two cyclones, which hit the station in 1998 and in 1999. Through meticulous planning and execution he ensured the dispersion and securing all service equipment and other assets of the squadron, thus saving them from any damage. He ensured a high training status of aircrew and ground crew at all times. This manifest itself on 10 Aug 1999 when an intruding Pakistani Atlantique, a Naval surveillance aircraft was shot down by a section of two aircraft from his squadron.
For his excellent leadership of the squadron through all tasks assigned, for his capabilities and dedication to duty and for leading the squadron by personal example which is in the best tradition of the service, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Umesh Shastri.