| Wing Commander Philip Thomas (20743) Flying (Pilot)was commissioned as a pilot in the Flying branch on 16 June 90. He has held the appointment of Flight Commander (Fit Cdr) of a Bison Squadron (Sqn), Fit Cdr Flight Safety (FS) of a major flying base and is currently Commanding Officer (CO) of a MiG-21 Bison Sqn since 31 Mar OS. A qualified flying instructor, he holds a Masters in Business Administration and is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College. Within four days of his assuming command, the Sqn had to induct to another Air Force Station due to runway repair. The task at relocated station involved conduct of full-fledged operations with all the commitments expected from an operational Bison Sqn. Wg Cdr Philip personally lead to ensure that the Sqn men and material settle down safely and comfortably in the shortest possible time. His proactive approach, professional clarity and involvement ensured that the Sqn excelled in all spheres of activity. To cite a few examples; the Sqn was inspected by Aircrew Examining Board (AEB) while on detachment (det). The Sqn performance was average plus with nil failures. Further, the Sqn took part in the SWAC annual gunnery meet 200S from the det location and excelled by winning two team events and three individual trophies. During the extended det which continued for ten months till Jan 09, the Sqn had nil Human Error (Servicing) / (Aircrew) [HE(S)!(A)]accident/ incident despite flying 211S sorties/1430 hours. Post de-induction to Jodhpur, the Sqn was inspected by Directorate of Air Staff Inspections (DASI)in two phases. The serviceability state of the Bison, which had been a critical issue, showed a remarkable improvement and was sustained in both phases with the Sqn flying 13 missions/51 sorties and assessed as average plus in operations. Within a fortnight of the DASI inspection, the Sqn was inspected by AEB and despite the short gap between inspections, the Sqn performance was better than the previous one with above average assessment, nil failures and creditably, nil observations from AEB. For the Mini Fire Power Demonstration 2009 and subsequent Maha Vayu Shakti 2010, the Sqn was tasked for Medium Altitude Release of Bombs by night - a first by any MiG-21 Sqn. Wg Cdr Philip personally lead the missions ensuring operational excellence. In between these two major events, the Sqn took part in annual gunnery meet 2009 and once again excelled by winning one team event and the all important coveted Best Fighter Sqn trophy. Once again, the Sqn has had an enviable FS record with nil HE(S)/(A), Foreign Object Damage or Bird Strike related accident/ incident and most importantly, reducing the total number of incidents itself to just three for 2009-10 despite flying 2332 sorties/1625 hours. Also, Wg Cdr Philip achieved a milestone by being the first pilot in the IAF to record 1000 hours of accident/incident free flying on the Bison. Wg Cdr Philip, during his tenure as a CO, has lead his Sqn with the highest standards of professional acumen and elan. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Wing Commander Philip Thomas.