04th July 2017 13:56:07 Hours
A dignified formal ceremony at the Commander’s office in the Army Headquarters this morning (4) saluted the outgoing 21st Commander of the Army, General Crisanthe De Silva, in accordance with military traditions after he symbolically handed over the replica of the ornamental Baton to his successor, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, the 22nd Commander of the Army who was just appointed by HE the President Maithripala Sirisena as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The gesture of handover of the Baton signifies the transfer of command in the military way, amid greetings and best wishes.
The outgoing Commander, flanked by riders and escorting motorcade on arrival at the Army Headquarters, was received by the incoming Commander of the Army at the entrance to the Commander’s Secretariat at first before he was ushered to the office of the Commander.
As the day’s significance reached its peak, the outgoing Commander afterwards handed over the reins of his office symbolically to his successor by presenting him with the replica of the Baton after signing a document to signify the relinquishment of office as the Commander of the Army. Principal Staff Officers were also associated with the ceremony for relinquishment of duties at the Commander’s Office.
The ornamental Baton represents the commanding authority that can only be exercised by an incumbent Commander of the Army. The symbolic replica, needless to reiterate, signifies the most hallowed importance of the office of an Army Commander and the authority it commands over the organization.
Adding memories to the command of the organization, the outgoing Commander was also invited to unveil his photo in the Commander’s office around the same time.
Towards the end of the traditional gesture, a representative gathering of Principal Staff Officers, Directors, Senior Officers, Officers and Other Ranks formed a ‘hats off’ street-line in front of the Commander’s office complex and bade adieu to the outgoing Commander who shook hands with those who remained lined up.
General Crisanthe De Silva, who became the Commander of the Army on 22 February 2015 as the 21st Commander of the Army during his tenure of office, rendered a landmark service to the country, mobilizing his troops in times of all national needs, catastrophes and emergencies. In addition, he was instrumental in launching a number of welfare programmes within the organization in order to provide maximum benefits to the troops.
During his tenure, General Crisanthe De Silva as then Commander of the Army, effectively deployed his troops for more than two worst-hit flood disasters, landslides and other natural disasters and restored normalcy by conducting immediate rescue and relief operations. Worst of all were the Kosgama inferno in the weapon dump and the fall of the Meethotamulla garbage dump, for which the Army had to perform a tremendous amount of post-disaster relief work with the intention of rescuing lives of the people. He also threw his full weight behind ongoing all national projects island-wide such as Dengue control, Reconstruction of houses, resettlement projects, etc working closely with other stakeholders in government agencies.
General Crisanthe De Silva who has been the most senior Army Officer in service as an amiable and outspoken character, has made a name for himself among all tri-service personnel as someone who had the highest respect for his seniors and cooperated with everyone who sought the Army assistance.
General Crisanthe De Silva, who has wide-ranging experience in various command, staff and instructional appointments was appointed the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) a few days ago after he was elevated to the rank of a four-star General in appreciation of his tireless services to the Nation.