After completing the Defence Services Staff College course in 1970, Satish Kumar Sareen led the Eastern Air Command as the Chief Operations Officer at Tripura. During the 1971 War for his courageous leadership he was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal. After the war Satish Kumar Sareen was appointed as Ops 1 Officer at Eastern Air Command HQ. As Senior Flight Commander, he flew MiG-21 in Adampur, as part of No.1 Squadron. After that he was sent to Al-Kut military airbase in Iraq, as an instructor of Iraqi Air Force. In 1977, Sareen returned to India and joined No.15 Wing as a Chief Operation Officer. After that he commanded the No.24 Squadron flying the MiG-21bis.In 1981 Satish Kumar Sareen was promoted to the rank of Group Captain and led an Air Defence Signals Unit in the Eastern Sector.
Satish Kumar Sareen held many positions such as, Air Defence Commander of WAC and SWAC, Air Attach to UK. After returning back to India, he commanded the Srinagar Air Force Station in the Jammu and Kashmir Valley. In 1990, Sareen was awarded the Ati Visist Seva Medal in 1990 for his good performances and subsequently promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal. As AOC-in-C he served South Western Air Command and Western Air Command. In 1995, Satish Kumar Sareen was awarded the Param Visist Seva Medal. After that Satish Kumar Sareen served as Vice Chief of Air Staff responsible for all IAF defensive and offensive and intelligence activities at Air Head Quarter. In December 1995 he assumed the charge of Chief of the Air Staff as Air Chief Marshal.
Air Chief Marshal Satish Kumar Sareen became the Chief of Air Staff of India on 31st December 1995 and retired on 31st December 1998, after completing 41 years of distinguished service to the nation.