| Squadron Leader S Selvakumar (28716) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Cheetah / Cheetal Helicopter Unit located at Leh sine ~29Apr 13. The unit role includes operations in the Siachen Glacier and the Ladakh region at the extremes of the helicopter flying envelope. On 16 Oct 14, an ITBP patrol vehicle containing 12 personnel, carrying out patrolling along the Indo-Chinese border near Hot Spring, fell into a dry river bed. All occupants of the vehicle were seriously injured. On receiving the distress call, Sqn Ldr Selvakumar promptly gathered relevant information and quickly planned the mission. The valley to the Hot Spring is sparingly narrow, hostile, inhospitable and without any habitation. There are no force landing fields to put down the aircraft in distress. In addition, inclement weather left the pilots with no margin for error, making the assigned casualty evacuation task very demanding and challenging. Aware of the fast deteriorating weather, Sqn Ldr Selvakumar estimated that only a 2 to 3 hours window would be available for the rescue. He got airborne for the accident site in marginal weather, at 1125 hrs. Short of the accident spot, he encountered extremely bad weather with heavy snow fall forcing him to carry out a precautionary landing at Tsogtsalu. Determined to rescue the soldiers Sqn Ldr Selvakumar made another daring attempt against all odds. Under constant threat of border fire and impending deteriorating weather, he landed near the casualties in the first attempt on a very restricted landing zone. On landing it emerged that all the six personnel were lying casualties requiring more helicopters. He called and guided the other aircraft while acting as the de-facto coordinator under the uncertain circumstances. Being the last to take off he once encountered bad weather. He promptly diverted to Tangtse and ensured that the casualties were administered first aid thus enhancing the chances of their survival. Once the weather improved marginally, he took off for Leh, once again dodging weather while ensuring the safety of the ac and lives of the casualties. Despite facing numerous odds at various stages of execution of the plan and facing inclement weather in a treacherous and unforgiving terrain, Sqn Ldr Selvakumar by his courage, leadership, and resolute attitude ensured that six lives were saved from a dire situation. Sqn Ldr S Selvakumar is a highly devoted and well disciplined pilot who has flown more than 300 hrs in the Siachen Glacier and Ladakh region. He has executed more than 200 landings in the 'Op Meghdoot' area. Operating his machine at the extremes of the flight envelope. he has evacuated many casualties from the Siachen Glacier and Ladakh region. His contribution towards the efforts in the Siachen Glacier has been significant. For his courage, professionalism, and dedication, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader S Selvakumar.