10th April 2018 19:54:21 Hours
Special Forces Training School (SFTS) at Maduruoya adorned ceremonial garbs Monday (9) morning to wish goodbye and offer its greetings to seven Officers and one hundred eighty-nine Other Ranks of the Army's elite Special Forces (SF) who followed the intensive nine-month long training Course No 48 at SFTS, Maduruoya. They passed out in a glittering ceremony, graced by HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, accompanied by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne PC, Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne and the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake.
Heroic members of the Special Forces, to their credit as one of the most elite and widely-admired units of the Army, have rendered an indelible service to the nation during the final few years of the fight against terrorism, particularly with its Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol troops who were regarded the most-feared by terrorists.
HE the President Maithripala Sirisena upon welcomed by Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake who is also the Colonel of the Regiment, SF went to receive the Guard of Honour, accorded to him in the company of the parade commander, Major W.R.A.S.M Ranasinghe in keeping with military formalities.
A special Guard of Honour saluted the visiting HE the President Maithripala Sirisena who later on inspected it, together with the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake. Minutes after that, adding a new dimension to the proceedings, the badges to be awarded to the graduates during the cceremony were flown by air. HE the President Maithripala Sirisena afterwards awarded Special Forces badges and the Colours to the soldiers. Both Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne PC and Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne followed suit and pinned the rest of the badges on the soldiers.
Later on, the day's Chief Guest awarded laurels and certificates to the best of the best in the Course No. 48. In a very rare gesture of excellence, Second Lieutenant W.M.K.R Wanigasooriya succeeded in becoming the Best Student and the Best Gymnast while Lieutenant E.M.T.B.B Ekanayake was selected as the Best Shooter and received appreciation and trophies for proficiencies from HE the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
A special display of skills by parachutists, ‘Angampora’ displays, taekwondo, fighting in Built-up Areas and Unarmed Combat Fighting took the centrestage as entertaining features before the day’s proceedings came to an end.
HE the President made a brief address on the occasion and reminded those graduates the importance of maintaining discipline at all levels despite constraints. Further, the Chief Guest 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 documentary on the history of Special Forces followed by a brief demonstration, presented by Course attendees and Army cultural troupe added colour to the day’s event.
During his stay there, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces called at the Herbal Garden (Osu Uyana) and joined a tree-planting programme as a token of memory of his visit to the place.
He also interacted with a segment of parents of those Course attendees, present there and inquired into welfare and other matters of concern to them.
A large gathering of Senior Officers, including Mrs Chandrika Senanayake, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit (ASVU), Major General Santhusitha Pananwala, Commander, Security Forces - East, invitees, parents and well-wishers were at the location.