| Group Captain Ratish Kumar (23513) was commissioned in the Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot in flying branch on 17 Jun 1995. The officer is presently commanding a premier Sukhoi-30MKI Squadron since 15 October 2012. A Cat 'f! Qualified Flying Instructor, Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner and an Air Force Examiner, he is fully operational on Sukhoi-30 and MiG-21 ac with over 4600 hrs of accident-free flying. He was decorated with 'Mention-in-Despatches' for flying 19 live missions (Guns! Rockets/Bombs) during the 1999 Kargil Conflict. He was commended by UN Force Commander (Sudan) in 2007 for planning and executing a rescue mission which saved lives of 367 UN Staff and Civilians. During Specialist Weapons Camp in 2010, he achieved an air-air kill by chasing and shooting down an unguided missile. On assuming command, the officer has led from the front and has displayed extraordinary initiative in standardizing and multi-tasking the training process which resulted in a qualitative and quantitative jump in the operational capability. With same resources, the Squadron has flown 4500 accident-free hours (20% monthly increase) and trained 51 pilots in the current year. Some of the initiatives as CO include planning a fine mix of AST/OST embedded with WSO syllabus (to sharpen the combat" skills of pilots), 75% increase in simulator flying, 25% increase in night flying, flying a record 436 hrs in a month, formulating Anti-SAGW Manoeuvres, CMDS SOP, etc. While according the highest priority to the operational readiness, he has been a source of inspirational leadership for elevating the morale and welfare of the airwarriors. Under his command, the Squadron was adjudged the 'Best Fighter Sqn' and won the 'Best Day and Night Bombing Team' trophies in Eklavya. For exceptional devotion to duty, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) to Group Captain Ratish Kumar.