Local News: Heroic members of the Special Forces (SF) as one of the most elite and widely-admired units of the Army, have been rendering an invaluable service to the Nation since its founding and their exceptional tactful sacrifices during the final few years of the fight against LTTE terrorism, particularly with its Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol troops who have been recognized and famed as the most-feared.
On his arrival at the School premises, the day’s Chief Guest, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva was saluted in a Guard Turnout and invited to review the parade, presented by the day’s passing out by the Brigadier Nissanka Eriyagama, Centre Commandant, SF and Colonel Prasad Randunu, Commandant, SFTS, together with the Parade Commander. He afterwards closely reviewed the parade and received the salute of those SF undergraduates from the special dais.
Adding a new dimension to the proceedings, the badges to be awarded to those soldiers during the ceremony were flown by air. The Commander of the Army afterwards awarded Special Forces badges and the Colours to a representative group of those passing out undergraduates and paved the way for both Major General Hareandra Ranasinghe, Major General Senarath Yapa and Brigadier Wipula Ihalage to follow suit and pin the rest of those badges on the soldiers.
Later on, the day’s Chief Guest was invited to award laurels and certificates to the best of the best in the Course No. 50.
In a very rare gesture of excellence, Lieutenant T.M.T.G.N.M Tennakoon succeeded in becoming the Best Student and the Best Gymnast in the Course while Lance Corporal A.G Aluthgedara was selected as the Best Shooter.
Both received appreciation and trophies for proficiency from the Army Chief amid roars of applause as their names were read out.
The Chief of Defence Staff made a brief address on the occasion and reminded those graduates of the importance of their training and thanked the Regiment for inviting him to the occasion. After tracing the history of the SF and how it came into being, the day’s Chief Guest commended the SF for its series of unmatched contribution to the security of the country and their sacrifices. Paying a glowing tribute to all fallen SF War Heroes, he commended parents and next of kin of those SF graduates who consented to their enlistment to the SF. He also spoke high of the support HE the President and Hon Prime Minister extending to the armed forces and their well-being. The Chief Guest also paid a special tribute to all fallen, disabled and serving SF members and pointed out the dignity and pride, associated with the Special Forces, as a special regiment.
A special display of skills by parachutists, Sky Divers displays, band display, combat rider display, SF skills display, taekwondo, fighting in Built-up Areas and Unarmed Combat Fighting took the centrestage afterwards as entertaining features before the day’s proceedings came to an end. Towards the end, he was invited to appear for a group photograph with all passing out graduates and join refreshments with visiting Officers and Officers in the School.
Later on, the Commander was invited to unveil a plaque and open the newly-constructed SFTS outdoor gymnasium, well equipped with training accessories He also took time off to have a look at the survival training area in the SFTS and left memories in the compound by planting a ‘Muna Mal’ sapling.
He also interacted with a segment of parents and relatives of those Course attendees, present there and inquired into welfare and other matters of concern to them.
Speaking to media afterwards, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army briefed the significance of the SF course No 50 and why the Special Forces are different and new uniform was also introduced today onwards. Those elite forces Particularly Commandos and Special Forces have their own expertise as regard there operation capabilities.
In reply to a query about the Easter Sunday attack, he said that on the directions of HE the President, all necessary investigations are still underway and all security measures are in place for the security of the people in the country. The Army will accordingly join hands with others for that purpose. The Army with Police would take every possible measure to eradicate narcotics and drugs from the Sri Lankan soil as early as possible and the Army will give its maximum support for those operations.
A large gathering of Senior Officers, including Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit (ASVU), Major General Chinthaka Gamage, Commander, Security Forces – East, Major General Harendra Ranasingha, Director General Operations, Major General Senarath Yapa, General Officer Commanding 57 Division, Senior Officers, invitees, parents and well-wishers were at the location.