According to media reports, Murahtin and his pilot ranked first in the “tactical bombers” category of the competition, surpassing the skill of many other Russian, Belarusian and Chinese pilots taking part in the contest.
Prior to his assignment in Syria, Captain Murahtin served with the 4th Center of Combat Application and Conversion of Frontline Aviation in Lipetsk – Russia’s Top Gun school since the 1960s.
Naval Infantry Soldier Alexandr Pozynich, who was killed during the rescue operation, was presented a similar award posthumously, and Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, commander of the ill-fated Su-24, was posthumously awarded the title Hero of Russia.
On Tuesday, a Russian Su-24 jet was downed in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the plane was downed by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet over Syrian territory, and crashed some 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away from the Turkish border.