Wg Cdr(Retd) Kukke Sreekantasastry Suresh, Vr.C, Indian Airforce

Wg Cdr(Retd) Kukke Sreekantasastry Suresh, Vr.C

In August 1971, Flt Lt K.S. "Kuki" Suresh was posted to the newly established Jamnagar Airforce Base. There he helped Wg Cdr M.S. "Mini" Bawa in bringing up the base to an operational level.

During the India-Pakistan war in December 1971, Flt Lt Suresh was detailed to destroy a massive enemy armoured thrust spearheaded by a tank regiment at Longewala. The Jaisalmer airbase had only four Hunters on establishment at the time.

Flt Lt Suresh was one of the few pilots who flew sortie after sortie in the Hunter fighters. During one mission, he destroyed two tanks and damaged a number of others despite heavy ground fire. While carrying out the attack, his aircraft was hit and damaged by ground fire, but he skilfully brought the damaged aircraft back to the base safely.

In one of the sorties, Flt Lt Suresh's aircraft flew so low it grazed the sand dune while pulling up after hitting a target. Together with others, the enemy armoured offensive was blunted.

On 13th December 1971, after the arrival of reinforcements from Jamnagar, Flt Lt Suresh was leading a three aircraft attack on the Talhar Air Force Base near Badin in Pakistan. When intercepted by enemy aircraft, he skilfully manoeuvred his aircraft and shot down an enemy Sabre fighter. After that, he successfully extracted his formation without loss.

Throughout the operations, Flt Lt Suresh displayed gallantry, professional skill and devotion to duty of a high order. For this he was awarded the Vir Chakra.

Wg Cdr(Retd) K.S. Suresh is presently working for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) in Bangalore. He is the General Manager in charge of Flight Operations & Safety.