29th May 2019 14:23:33 Hours
Sri Lanka Army’s Air Mobile Brigade of the 53 Division which boasts a life span of 25 years of excellence undertaking its milestone anniversary spectacle, the 310 km - long ‘Walk of Warriors’ (Ranakaminge Pagamana) after a brief inaugural ceremony commenced its expedition this morning (29) from Medawachchiya town to reach Colombo in 11 days.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army, the live-wire behind the realization of the ‘marching’ project was at Medawachchiya, flanked by Major General Kumudu Perera, Commander, Security Forces - Wanni, Major General Athula Kodippily, General Officer Commanding, 53 Division, Major General Kumar Jayapathirana, General Officer Commanding, 21 Division, Colonel Nishshanka Iiriyagama, Air Mobile Brigade Commander and several other senior Officers to flag off the walk after handing over the National flag and unit flags.
Lieutenant General Senanayake extended his warm greetings and best wishes to the troops, ready to undertake the challenge of walking and joined the troops as they began wending their way towards Anuradhapura.
“This is a Brigade which accomplishes a special role of operation for the benefit of all Sri Lankans and their skills are on par with those of the Commandos and other special infantry units. Its strength is reasserted and reinvigorated through this march as they have come to the fore in view of most recent development of violent acts. The people should understand the vigour and strength of the Army which completed 10 years after culmination of the war. It is the Army that appears first for defence of the people whenever the Nation is threatened,” the Commander quipped when a TV channel approached him.
School students at Medawachchiya Vidyalaya as the troops passed by greeted them waving National flags as a gesture of their goodwill and high regard they have for defenders of the nation.
The ‘Walk of Warriors’ expects to transmit the message that troops are always dedicated to the defence of the country as the ‘Rata Rakina Jaathiya’ and promotion of moves for reconciliation, irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. It also aims to pay tribute to the memory of fallen Air Mobile Brigade War Heroes and those sustained injuries and promote the dignified image of the Sri Lanka Army among the common public.
A total of 729 troops belonging to all units and training schools of the Air Mobile Brigade in addition to members of the Army band are taking part in the ‘Walk of Warriors’ who are expected to reach Colombo Independence Square by 8 June 2019 after 11 days via Anuradhapura, Habarana, Dambulla, Naula, Ukuwela, Matale, Kandy, Kadugannawa, Kegalle, Pasyala, Nittambuwa, Kadawatha and Borella.
Members of the public including Muslims in Akurana, students in respective areas, several civil organizations and Army units en route from Medawachchiya to Colombo have reportedly organized rousing receptions to the participants in the anniversary walk when they walk past those areas.
When the ‘Walk of Warriors’ reaches Dematagoda, the Commander of the Army will join the walkers again and attend a special concluding ceremony to be held at the Independence Square where the founder of the Air Mobile Brigade were to be felicitated.
Air Mobile Brigade was founded on 1 May 1994 on a conceptual notion of Brigadier H.N Halangoda (Retd) who was then a Lieutenant Colonel as LTTE terrorism was escalating posing a great threat to the territorial integrity and unitary status of the country. Since then Air Mobile Brigade troopers sacrificing their precious lives and legs and limbs contributed to the culmination of the 30-year long war for peace using their exceptional skills in special and infantry operations while simultaneously improving their consistent training, new strategic and technical approaches to suit most modern warfare requirements.