Squadron Leader Philip Mohan Mathai is the senior Flight Commander of a Fighter Squadron since 13 Jun 88.
On 24 Feb 89, he was authorized to fly as No. 3 in a 4 aircraft (MiG) formation which was to release live stores over SK Range. Soon after dropping the stores the entire formation entered the thick black smoke billowing from the target due to Napalm explosion of the formation ahead of it. Sometimes during this period No. 4 aircraft collided with No. 3 aircraft hitting it from the top.
After the impact, the pilot experienced total communication failure. Displaying total professionalism, he continued to fly towards base while continually trying to connect his shattered radio telephone plug. He had to be shepherded in for landing as his forward visibility was nil.
For his courage and exemplary professionalism, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Sqn Ldr Philip Mohan Mathai.