Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, Commander of the Army after his assumption of office as the Army Chief, a few months ago, visited the Security Force Headquarters-East (SFHQ-E) and its two Division Headquarters on Monday (27) and met a large section of serving officers and other rankers.
The day's itinerary of the Commander kicked off with his visit to the SFHQ-E at Welikanda where he was received by Major General Lal Perera, Commander, SFHQ-E with a formal Guard Turnout and a Guard of Honour, presented by SFHQ-E troops at the premises.
Minutes after those formalities, senior officers at the SFHQ-E were introduced to the Commander, which feature is considered as one of the rare chances of a lifetime to an Officer. The next moment saw the Commander getting to his feet to address a cross section of the officers and soldiers under command to the SFHQ-E.
At Kayankerni afterwards, the Commander was invited to open the newly-constructed Coral Cover Retreat where troops on rest and recreation could make use of it as a holiday resort at subsidized rates.
Lieutenant General Ratnayake’s next stop was at the 23 Division Headquarters, Thoppigala, the famous Baron's Cap which added an indelible milestone to the successfully- concluded Humanitarian Operations in the east after liberation of the famous Mavil Aru anicut.
The Army Chief was received on arrival at the 23 Division Headquarters by the General Officer Commanding, 23 Division who afterwards invited the visiting Commander to inspect the Guard Turnout, accorded in his honour at the entrance to the Headquarters precincts. In conformity with military traditions, the officers serving the Division were afterwards introduced to Lieutenant General Ratnayake explained to the troops on the new Insurance scheme and the welfare bus service, made available to all the troops as a novel concept.
Director General, General Staff, Senior Officers and Other Ranks were associated with the Commander’s visit to those places.
The next item on the agenda was the Commander's address to a cross-section of officers and soldiers serving the 23 Division. It took place at the popular tourist attraction, Thoppigala Heritage Park, lying at the foot of the famous Thoppigala hill.
The fourth leg of the day's programme started when the Commander reached the 24 Division Headquarters at Malwatte, Ampara where he was welcomed by the General Officer Commanding 24 Division with formal military honours.
His visit to the 24 Division Headquarters was of twofold importance since the Headquarters complex was to move into a new building, built by the troops themselves. House-warming ceremony of the new complex included the traditional oil lamp lighting, tree-planting and a ribbon-cutting formality, followed by a group photo with the Commander in the centre. Members of the Maha Sangha, led by Ven Kirindiwela Somathilake Thera, Parivenadhipathi, Vidyananda Pirivena, invoked blessings on the inauguration.
As was the case elsewhere, the Commander delivered his message loud and clear afterwards to all the Officers and soldiers during his visit to all the Divisions.
All senior officers serving Divisions and Brigades met the Commander afterwards and extended their greetings to the visiting military chief. A large section of officers and soldiers later on listened to their Commander before the programme for the day culminated for lunch.
Lieutenant General Ratnayake during his separate addresses to the troops at Welikanda, Thoppigala and Ampara paid tribute to the memory of numerous sacrifices, made by War Heroes at the risk of their own lives, blood, sweat, legs and limbs during the fight against terrorism.
He also spelt out measures that have been implemented by him for the promotion of career development, training modules, welfare programmes and civil-military support in the Army in the past few months.