Wing Commander James Arun Benjamin sustained serious burn injuries on this back, neck and face in 1971 in a Gnat flying accident. Undeterred by this and other serious emergencies that he encountered, he continued his flying career with courage, determination and thorough professionalism. He has flown 700 hrs on the Gnat and has to his credit 500 hrs of instructional flying as a Qualified Flying Instructor. He completed a successful tenure as a senior Flt Cdr in a MiG-21 Squadron before being chosen to command a prestigious fighter Squadron on 25 Feb 85.
With the distinction of being a Qualified Flying Instructor, Fighter Combat Leader and Defence Services Staff College graduate, he applied his full professional knowledge and ability to hone the Squadron to fine operational pitch during his tenure of two years and two months. The squadron carried out 5838 sorties in 3850 hrs of accident-free flying during this period.
His meticulous planning and guidance to his Flt Cdr assured a high Fully Operational, Instrument Flying rating status throughout, including rights strikes capability.
As a Commanding officer, he was quick on the uptake, totally reliable, positive minded, and a sound leader both in the air and on the ground. His reputation in the Squadron was of an exceptionally high order as was his standing with his peers and superiors. His ability in flying is evident from his flying qualifications, types of aircraft flown and apportionments held. On the present type MiG-21 variants, he has 1200 hours of accident free flying.
For his dedication to service beyond the call of duty, exceptional ability as a fighter pilot and supervisor, and man management, operational planning and training of a high order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Wing Commander James Arun Benjamin.