Group Captain Kulkarni Raghavendra (17161) F (P) was commissioned as a pilot in the flying branch on 28 May 83. He has held several appointments as an Air Force Examiner, CO of the Communication Flight, HQ TC, Flight Commander and CO of IL-78 Squadron. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College and is a qualified flying instructor having flown over 7000 hours of accident free flying. His sustained hard work and selfless commitment has earned him commendations by the AOC-in-C, TC in Jan 92, AOC-in-C, EAC in Aug 93 and CAS in Jan 03.
He was posted as the flight commander of the first Flight Refueller Sqn. He faced the daunting task of exacting diverse missions related to the new role of Air to Air Refuelling (AAR) operations, involving planning and coordination with a variety of agencies. His professional competence and planning abilities contributed immensely in a large number of operators of the unit gaining their operational status, and ensuring safe conduct of AAR operations in a variety of scenarios. He was instrumental in the planning and execution of two international exercises viz. Ex Cooperative Cope Thunder and Ex Golden Eagle in which the unit successfully participated earning accolades from all quarters.
The officer's contribution as flight commander of the fledgling unit was highly noteworthy. This laid a strong foundation for the unit to undertake multifarious tasks successfully, resulting in him assuming command of the Sqn. Under his stewardship, the unit has strengthened its operational capability as also other facets of operations, demonstrating its professionalism during international exercise Garuda, and also during the inspection by Directorate of Air Staff. His compassion and leadership qualities have seen all personnel of the unit trying to emulate him in the best interest of the service.
For exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Kulkarni Raghavendra.