09th June 2018 13:50:00 Hours
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army, in what could be considered as an unprecedented example in contemporary Army history that would perhaps remind famous General Eisenhower’s epigram, “Sergeant is the Army” included a Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) in his retinue to the recent LANPAC Symposium and Exposition - 2018, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
The annual mega event of the US Land Forces of the Pacific Command (LANPAC), organized by the Association of the US Army (AUSA) got underway during May 22 - 24 at Honolulu Sheraton Waikiki Hotel on the theme ‘The Future of Land Force Integration; Multilateral Approaches Across the Indo-Pacific’, amid a galaxy of US Military veterans and several other foreign contributors.
Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Warrant Officer I W.M.S.P Wijesinghe of the Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police (SLCMP), currently serving the Army Headquarters as its RSM was reportedly taken by surprise when the Commander’s Secretariat wanted him to be ready for passage to the US to attend those LANPAC sessions which were largely designed for RSMs in the Indo-Pacific Region.
RSM, Warrant Officer I W.M.S.P Wijesinghe during his stay in the US had a rare chance of visiting the Non Commissioned Officers’ (NCOs) Academy of the Pacific Command and held an interaction session with the visiting NCOs of the 54 Infantry Division of the US Army.
The inclusion of the RSM in the Commander’s retinue once again affirmed that the Commander as spelt out on a number of occasions is dedicated to the letter to turn the future Army a much more to be of a “capacity-based” one while elevating all layers of professionalism among all rankers to the optimum.
It is against this background, the Army has taken steps to expand the horizons of knowledge of Other Rankers by offering them a multitude of new openings, introduction of fresh vocational training sessions while in service and also prior to retirement, promotion of athletic and sports skills to complete in both national and international spheres, introduction of new vistas of self-defence martial arts, sports, talents, etc, entry into competitive construction techniques, production of innovative and creative market products, enhancement of knowledge on health concerns, society, mass media impact, mental and physical well-being, encouragement for environment conservation, distribution of tree saplings and seeds among Other Rankers on passing-out, cleaning of common places, coastal belt, strengthening of civil-military co-operation, so on and so forth, to mention just a few.
Equally significant is their role in times of national disasters and man-made catastrophes, landslides, garbage-slides, floods’ etc. Other Rankers, largely led by respective Non-Commissioned Officers and commanded by Officers have already won the hearts and minds of the public by launching massive agricultural projects, prevention of flood threats, evacuation roles, relief services, 5R initiatives, conduct of blood donation drives, etc.
In all those above spheres, the Commander while closely monitoring all those moves has attached a greater importance to the welfare of the “Other Ranker” at all levels.
RSM Warrant Officer I W.M.S.P Wijesinghe during his stay in Hawaii had the exceptional privilege of meeting several NCOs of the 54 Infantry Division of the US Army, together with the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake. He was also invited to the NCO Academy of Pacific Command and was able to enjoy interactions with many RSMs of the Indo-Pacific region who were there for the symposium.