Commissioned into the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on 01 January 1966, Admiral Arun Prakash specialized in aviation, and during a career spanning over 40 years, acquired wide and varied experience at sea, in the air and ashore. He has commanded a number of warships including the aircraft-carrier Viraat, as well as two air squadrons and an air station. He has flown 2500 hours on a variety of single and multi-engined aircraft and helicopters from the aircraft carrier and ashore. He saw combat over West Pakistan in the 1971 war, while on deputation with an IAF fighter-bomber squadron, and was decorated for gallantry. On promotion to Flag rank, he served as ACNS (Air), ACOP (CP) and FOC Eastern Fleet. Subsequently, he was Commandant of his alma mater, the National Defence Academy and Chief of Personnel at NHQ. He was appointed the first Commander-in-Chief of the newly created Unified Andaman & Nicobar Command in 2001, and served in that capacity till taking over as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command in 2002. After a brief tenure as Vice Chief of Naval Staff, he took over as the 20th Chief of the Naval Staff on 31 Jul 04, and from 01 Feb 05 onwards served concurrently as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee. He was instrumental in the creation of the National Maritime Foundation in 2004, and was the Chairman of NMF from 2008-2012.