26th November 2018 21:38:02 Hours
A monumentally unique assembly of a few more than 2000 Tri service Warrant Officers (WOs) and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs) under one roof on a conceptual notion of the Commander of the Army for the first time in living memory of the military history took place at Attidiya Eagle’s Lakeside Convention Hall on Monday (26).
All of them as the driving force behind the making of the ‘soldier’ in armed forces in a spirit of comradeship participated in a full-day Seminar to receive updates on logistics and improved performance of their tasks, responsibilities, inter-relations, capacity, leadership skills, professional conduct and accountability issues.
The Seminar, inaugurated by HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces as the Chief Guest, themed on ‘Professional Role of Tri service Warrant Officers (WOs) & Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs), amid Challenges’ was also designed to mould those attendees to be admiring and exemplary role models for their junior rankers who would often interact at first with WOs and SNCOs for resolution of their concerns while on duty.
The ceremonial event was also graced by Secretary of Defence, Mr. Hemasiri Fernando, Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe and Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy as distinguished invitees who also joined the auspicious oil-lamp lighting ritual, headed by the President Sirisena after a brief video documentary on the event flashed on the screen. Recital of the National Anthem, Army song and the two-minute silence to honour the memory of fallen War Heroes set the stage ready for the day’s proceedings.
Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army extending a warm welcome to the President and everyone spelt out why an educative seminar, targeting this category of tri service personnel was launched for the first time under one roof. “SNCOs are the backbone of the armed forces and it is you who steer clear the direction for those serving with you and you are the one who is the ‘ombudsman’ for other ranks sharing their duties with you. Mutual understanding among tri services is essential and portends fellow-relationships. You are the guiding light that provide guidance and relieve them of their grievances and burdens at first before they reach higher command. This attempt is therefore meant to expand your capacity which would help simultaneously elevate the capacity of the soldier with whom you are working. Cooperation with overseas regional partners too will broaden your horizons,” the Commander remarked.
In his brief speech to the gathering, President Maithripala Sirisena lauded the services, being rendered by these NCOs for conduct of logistics in three service wings which in the post-conflict period have thrown their full weight behind realization of the government’s development and reconciliation goals. "I would like to bow my head to all of you for your services before the war, during the war and in the post-war era. These were the major three sectors in the recent military history. Your services are much more required but your retirement age does not permit you to continue. You are part of an Army recognized by the UN. Not every Army in the world is recognized in this way, "the President opined.
Speaker to the 1st Session of the Seminar, Brigadier S. N Halangoda (retd), one of the most respected veterans in the Army elaborated on ‘ How Disciplined Leadership Skills of Tri service WOs and SNCOs Impact the Progress of Establishments’. Major General Aruna Jayasekera, Commander, Security Forces-East, Rear Admiral W. E. M Sudarshana and Air Vice Marshal K. S. R Fernando, in their separate presentations to the 2nd Session dwelt on ‘Dedication to Nation-Building Thru Military Experience’ while Mr Kuma Iddamallena, Reputed Personality Development and Leadership Trainer delivered a comprehensive lecture on ‘Promotion of Professional Efficiency thru Positive Thoughts’ to the Seminar attendees.
In the final session, Major General Ruwan Kulathunge, Commandant, Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCS) added a new dimension to the Seminar, touching on the subject, ‘Lead of a Dignified Life upon Retirement as a Senior Citizen and Planning of retired Life’, in which he spelt out how the Army is geared to train potential Army retirees as well as those still serving tri services.
The day’s mega event drew to a close with award of certificates of participation to all tri service participants.
Moving drastically away from the stereotype rapt attention the Army has often been used to attach to the higher echelons of the service, Sri Lanka Army after Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake assumed the mantle of command in the latter part of the year 2017 took steps to implement a variety of ‘capacity’ based projects in order to elevate professional standards of Army WOs, SNCOs and Regimental Sergeant Majors (RSMs) who the Commander regards as the heavy-weight in the making of a soldier. Overseas interactive exchange programmes, introduction of pre-retirement vocational training slots, dispatch of them for overseas sports events, public appreciation of their achievements, award of special monetary grants, etc are among the most prominent, to cite a few of those projects.