10th April 2019 13:15:03 Hours
Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) Headquarters at Panagoda during the weekend (5-6 April) bade farewell to three of its proud sons, Major General Ralf Nugera, Major General Sudath Perera and Brigadier J. Thanthiriwatte who were retiring from the Army after exemplary and reputed services to the Nation and the SLLI Regiment, having served for more than three decades.
Wreath-laying Commemorations, Military Honours with Colours and Parades, Troop Addresses, Presentation of Souvenirs, Farewell Speeches, Street Line salutes, etc adorned the thematic arrangements at the SLLI Headquarters where a representative cream of senior SLLI Officers, including the Colonel of the Regiment, SLLI, Major General Ruwan Kulathunge added dignity to the retirement ceremonies of those three outstanding Officers of the highest calibre in the Army and the Regiment.
Major General Ralf Nugera held the appointment of Commander, Security Forces-Kilinochchi at the time of his retirement and served a number of prestigious appointments. He served as Directorate of Training, General Officer Commanding for 12, 14 and 23 Divisions, Commander 3 Task Force, Commander for 534 Brigade and Commandant at Maduruoya Army Training School, Infantry Training Centre at Minneriya and Officers' Career Development Centre (OCDC) at Buttala. He held the appointment of Colonel of the Regiment, Mechanized Infantry Regiment and the same in Commando Regiment up until his retirement. (See separate story)
Major General Sudath Perera also served several outstanding appointments in the Army and the SLLI Regiment. He was a former Director General Personnel Administration and lately the General Officer Commanding, 58 Division at the time of his retirement. In addition, he has also served the appointments of General Officer Commanding, 55 Division, Defence Attaché Turkey to cite a few of his responsibilities.
Brigadier J. Thanthriwatte, prior to his retirement served a number of distinguished appointments. He was the Brigadier General Staff, Security Force – West, Commander 623 Brigade and Colonel General Staff, 21 Division.
Separate programmes in the parade ground began on 5th & 6th April after they were warmly welcomed by Colonel J.K.R.P Jayasinghe, Deputy Centre Commandant, SLLI in accordance with military traditions and ushered them to salute the memory of fallen SLLI War Heroes at the outset.
In separate but moving farewell addresses, all three retirees recalled past memories with honour and outlined how they all worked for the betterment of the SLLI and its infantrymen who have done exceptionally well in the battlefield and elsewhere. They profusely thanked each and everyone for all the courage and support given to protect the country at the risk of their precious lives.
Memories were afterwards made eternal after Chief Guests posing for separate group photographs with all those who were present at the farewell parade. Reminding all of them the unwavering importance of the much-revered SLLI motto, ‘I Serve’ (Ich Dien), the outgoing Senior Officers joined refreshments with everyone. At the end of the events, the outgoing Senior Officers were presented a street-line farewell bidding ‘Jaya Sri’ by Officers and Other Ranks of the SLLI, as they began to leave the Regimental Headquarters premises, which remained as their second homes for decades.
Separate farewell dinners at SLLI Officers’ Mess appreciated their contribution to the growth of the SLLI awarding them with special mementos amidst hundreds of fellow-officers and distinguished guests.