| Wing Commander Sagar Singh Rawat (22711) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Helicopter Unit since 16 Dec 07 and has been discharging the duties of Chief Flying Instructor. He is a Cat 'A helicopter pilot with more than 3800 h of accident/incident free flying till date. On 02 Sep 09 afternoon, the unit was tasked to launch a Search and Rescue (SAR)mission to locate the missing helicopter of Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, carrying the Chief Minister YS Rajashekhar Reddy. Wg Cdr SS Rawat was airborne within 25 minutes of the call, equipped with necessary SAR equipment and Search and Rescue Finder (SARRNO) onboard. On reaching the general area after flying for one and a half hours, Wg Cdr Rawat commenced his search operations. Realising that time was at a premium, a sequential search was commenced with meticulous marking and elimination. The absence of any response on the SARRND tilted the entire responsibility on Wg Cdr Rawat, to ensure a foolproof visual search in an area which was unfamiliar and the visibility was severely restricted by marginal weather conditions. Also the importance and criticality of the search mission had gathered enormous media attention and the capabilities of IAF were being watched by the entire nation. Not to be dispirited by the initial unsuccessful attempt, Wg Cdr Rawat diligently worked throughout the night, triangulating the probable position of the missing helicopter based on mobile tower receptions and available inputs from the local populace. With a purposeful mindset and confident about the most probable area of crash that he had arrived at, the previous night, Wg Cdr Rawat got airborne early in the morning on 03 Sep 09 and commenced search operations. The helicopter wreckage was located at 0825 h due to his systematic approach, on a spur of a hill amidst tall trees. Wg Cdr Rawat identified the site and immediately informed the concerned agencies. A landing at the site was impossible owing to the density of obstructions. Considering the gravity of the situation and importance of the task at hand, he judiciously exercised the option to hover and winch down the commandos. He gallantly chose this risky option as the helicopter at that altitude was operating at the extremities of its performance envelope. This action required great professional courage, instant response and exemplary flying skills. He executed the hover for a prolonged period in restricted space and adverse weather with a sharp look out on the helicopter performance. Throughout the operation, he displayed selfless courage, exceptional skills, leadership and dedicated purpose. By his timely and pronounced act of courage, he brought about a conclusion to what seemed to be a long drawn search operation. For this act of exceptional courage, exemplary leadership and professional acumen in execution of the mission, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Sagar Singh Rawat.