| Group Captain Vishnameitai Ramamurthy Vishwanathan (21229) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a pilot in the transport stream of flying branch on 15 Jun 91. He is appointed as the Commanding Officer of the only IL-76 Squadron of the IAF since 23 Apr 12. He has held the key appointment of Flight Commander (platform) of the prestigious AWACS squadron and was instrumental in acceptance and ferry-in of all AWACS aircraft in to India from Israel. In the last two years under his able command, the IL-76 squadron has accentuated the lAF's vision of accomplishing enhanced serviceability and tasking, especially after the merger of all1L-76 assets under one roof. In 2013 the squadron was called upon to participate in two major IAF exercises i.e. Ex Iron fist and Livewire which required additional flying hrs over and above the unit's annual task of 3600 hrs. He took up this challenge head on and under his aegis the squadron not only performed exceptionally in the exercises but raised the bar on enhancement in tasking by flying 4271 hrs. At his professional best, the officer has time and again proved his leadership acumen in the air by attaining unparalleled operational achievements for the first time for the lAF. The Commanding Officer led from the front by piloting the first ever and highest recorded static line paradrop in the world at Nyoma at a height of 15,700 ft and also in carrying out the first ever successful aerial delivery trials of indigenously manufactured platform HDS-16T along with ADRDE scientists. This led to a significant and visible IAF footprint during major Army Battalion group drop exercises like Ex Prahar Shakti in May 13. His perseverance further bore fruit as another unprecedented achievement of two back to back Night Battalion group drops were carried out during Ex Shahbaaz Ajay with pinpoint accuracy in Dec 13. ΓΆβ‚¬ΒΆ The vision and foresight of the Commanding Officer has led to a multifold increase in support to the Army in maintaining the northern frontiers. He raised the bar of operational efficiency of the IAF by leading a barrage of ten IL-76 aircraft to Leh airfield in a single day airlifting 300 tons of load in Jan 13. This feat was once again enhanced by the officer by leading the squadron in achieving a new milestone of twelve IL-76 sorties in a single day to Leh in Feb 14, airlifting 364 tons. As always, his luminary leadership was aptly demonstrated by captaining the aircraft that flew the first ever Air Ambulance Mission on IL-76, and that too by night from Leh. The exceptional performance of the squadron during DASI visit only three months after taking over the command of the squadron speaks volumes about his meticulous planning, administrative acumen, and ability to take on challenges at a short notice. The expeditious training of new posted in pilots in a record time of six months, 100% upgradation of pilots in AEB visits, exceptional performance of the squadron in sports, consistent good performance in Chandigarh UT garden competition etc. can be attributed directly to his ability to inspire and motivate those placed under him. It has been due to his persevered efforts all along that the squadron was awarded trophy for the best overall performance transport squadron in HQ WAC AOR in the year 2012-13. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Group Captain Vishnamettai Ramamurthy Vishwanathan.