28th July 2021 18:34:55 Hours
The state-of-the art Air Mobile Training School (AMTS) at Nikawewa under the 53 Division Headquarters adorned ceremonial garbs Wednesday (28) morning and inducted well-trained 4 more Officers and 196 Other Ranks of the Reserve Strike Force (RSF) who completed the intensive Training Course No-23 of the AMTS, amidst greetings and best wishes during an eventful formal ceremony, dignified by the presence of General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army as the Chief Guest. The day’s itinerary adhered to strict health guidelines.
The day’s Chief Guest on arrival at the premises was saluted at first in a ceremonial Guard Turnout and invited to receive the salute of the parade, presented by the day’s passing out graduates after Major General Nishantha Manage, General Officer Commanding, 53 Division. Colonel Subash Sanjeewa, Commander, Air Mobile Brigade and Lieutenant Colonel M.A.D.R Mangala, Commandant, AMTS welcomed General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army.
Afterwards, the day’s Chief Guest, together with Major General Nishantha Manage, General Officer Commanding, 53 Division and Lieutenant Colonel M.A.D.R Mangala, Commandant, AMTS awarded the first set of Air Mobile badges to a representative group of those passing out undergraduates and paved the way for Major General Sampath Kotuwegoda, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, Major General Sena Waduge, Commander, ARTRAC and Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku, Commander, Security Forces - Jaffna to follow suit and pin the rest of those badges on the graduates who have qualified in the course.
Later on, the day’s Chief Guest was invited to award laurels and certificates to the best of the best in the Course No. 23. In a very rare gesture of excellence, 2 Lieutenant M.D.B.N Madusanka of Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment succeeded in becoming the Best Student in the Course while Corporal A.H.S Madusanka of Sri Lanka Light Infantry was selected as the Best Shooter. Corporal P.G.W Jayantha of Sri Lanka Light Infantry was adjudged the Best Physically-fit soldier. All of them received appreciation and trophies for proficiency from the Army Chief amid roars of applause as their names were read out.
The day’s Chief Guest after a while made a brief address to the occasion and reminded those graduates of the importance of their training and thanked the Air Mobile Training School for inviting him to the occasion. After tracing the history of the Air Mobile Training School and how it came into being, the day’s Chief Guest commended the AMTS for its series of unmatched contribution to the security of the country. (See separate story for the Commander’s speech)
The day’s Chief Guest was then invited to pose for a group photograph with the day’s undergraduates, Instructors, staff at the AMTS and other senior officers. He also interacted with a segment of Instructors and undergraduates and inquired into welfare and other matters of concern to them.
Later on, the Commander was honoured by inviting him to lay the corner-stone for construction of the new AMTS Headquarters building inside the compound. He also took time off to have a look at the training area in the AMTS and left memories by planting a Sandalwood sapling in the compound.
Minutes after that, the visiting Commander of the Army commissioned the new Fighting in Built-up Areas (FIBUA) model village before new graduates of the AMTS and 53 Division soldiers displayed their newly-acquired skills under the guidance of the 53 Division. The display included rappelling action tactics with 212 Bell helicopters, quick reaction combat rider displays, riot control team techniques with combing operations in the FIBUA, etc.
Towards the end of the day’s itinerary, he was invited to commission the newly-constructed ‘Zero Wind’ 200 m Firing Range and witnessed a demonstration of skills of shooters in the Air Mobile Brigade. The day’s itinerary culminated with award of a memento to the day’s Chief Guest. He also left memories by signing the AMTS visitors’ book before he left the place.
Senior Officers, including DGGS, Commanders of the Security Forces of Wanni, East, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and West, General Officers Commanding, Brigade Commanders, Commanding Officers and Other Ranks were associated with the day’s programme.