The Vayu Sena medal was presented to Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Deepika Misra on Sunday, making her possibly the first woman to receive the honor.
Additionally, the government awarded Group Captains Rahul Singh and Ravi Nanda the Vayu Sena medal for their contributions to India’s Operation Devi Shakti, the evacuation effort initiated to bring Indians back from Kabul after its Taliban takeover.
The IAF said that Wing Commander Misra had received an award for her work on a mission that was part of a relief effort for the flash floods that had hit northern Madhya Pradesh.
According to the report, the IAF, NDRF, and civil authorities used her first aerial reconnaissance and the input it provided to design the whole rescue mission.
The IAF stated that Group Captain Singh was a member of the C-17 transport squadron concerning his medal.
The IAF stated, “The flight landed at Kabul airport at night and taxied to the spot vacated by the preceding C-17 aircraft. After holding on to the ground for nearly four hours the possibility of the remaining evacuees reaching the airport remained bleak,” the IAF said.
At this point, the situation turned hostile with sporadic gunfire and swarms of civilians having broken through the southern perimeter wall and rushing towards aircraft parked in the northern part of the airfield.
“The officer displaying superior judgment and dynamic decision making executed an expeditious departure for Dushanbe to obviate any harm to the aircraft”