Published on - 6/30/2004
Chief of Staff and Overall Operational Commander (East), Lieutenant General S. H. S Kottegoda WWV RWP RSP USP ndc assumes duties as the 17th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army on 01st July 2004 after the retirement of Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army Lt. Gen L. P Balagalle on 30th June 2004.
Lt Gen Kottegoda, during his distinguished career spanning over thirty four years to his credit, has held a number of prestigious and key appointments at Army Headquarters (AHQ) and elsewhere in the organization. Reputed as a war veteran and a Military Officer par excellence, Lt Gen Kottegoda who was conferred with many laurels in recognition of his dedication and commitment to the Army, commands everyone's respect and regard.
Lt Gen Kottegoda before he assumed this highest mantle of his illustrious military career served the office of Deputy Chief of Staff, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force Headquarters, Director General, General Staff, Colonel of the Regiment Sri Lanka Light Infantry, Inspector of Infantry, Army Headquarters, Director General, Training, Director Training (AHQ), Director Military Intelligence, Commander 11 Brigade, Ratnapura, Deputy Commandant, Kotelawala Defence Academy, Deputy Director National Intelligence Bureau, Principal Staff Officer, Operational Headquarters at Ministry of Defence, Coordinating Officer for Kalutara and Mullaitivu districts, Colonel General Staff, Commanding Officer 4th Battalion Sri Lanka Light Infantry and several other junior appointments, including those of the Company Commander, Adjutant 1st Sri Lanka Light Infantry, Staff Officer 11, etc.
In the war-torn areas of the north and east, Lt Gen Kottegoda rendered his services in the office of Commander, Security Forces Wanni, General Officer Commanding 21 Division, Pompemadu, officiating General Officer Commanding 51 & 55 Divisions in Mirusuvil, Commander, 3rd Brigade Batticaloa, 5th Brigade in Mannar, Commander 10th Brigade Group Kayts and Pooneryn and a few other important appointments before he was recently nominated as the Overall Operational Commander in the East. As Overall Operational Commander in the East, he took the overall command of all Armed Forces, the Police and Special Task Force after the recent spate of criminal acts in the East.
Enlisted to the Army on 05th February 1970 as an Officer Cadet, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant and posted to the 1st Battalion Sri Lanka Light Infantry. Later he became the adjutant of the First Battalion, Sri Lanka Light Infantry. During his military career, to his credit, he followed Young Officers Course in India (1973), Battalion Support Weapon Officers Course in India (1979), Junior Command Course (1980),CRW Course, India (1983), Senior Command Course, India (1990-1992), Pacific Area Special Operation Course, Hawai, USA (1997), India based National Defence College Course (2000) in addition to a few overseas visits. He was also offered a special training course by British Security Services (M15) on Intelligence and Protective Security in the UK.
Lt General Kottegoda, in what was seen as recognition of his dedicated commitment to the cause, was appointed to play a vital role as Military Adviser to then Government delegation during the preliminary phase of the peace negotiations.
In praise of his bravery in the battlefront and recognition of his dedication to the service, he was decorated with several Gallantry Medals, including Weera Wickrema Vibhushana (WWV) Rana Wickrema Padakkama (RWP), Rana Sura Padakkama (twice) and a few other conferment including Uttama Seva Padakkama (USP), Purna Bhumi Padakkama and the Vadamarachchi Operation Medal.
Lt Gen Kottegoda, who has masterminded a number of welfare measures for the benefit of his men, is an old pupil of St Thomas College, Mount Lavinia. He excelled in sports representing his college in cricket, athletics and cadetting. Lt Gen Kottegoda, married to Mrs Sonia Kottegoda has two children, daughter and son.