25th December 2015 02:50:17 Hours
Hon Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe as the Chief Guest at the invitation of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva graced the ceremonial Passing out Parade (PoP) of 161 more Officer Cadets at Diyatalawa Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) on Sunday (20).
Those 161 Cadet Officers who underwent the SLMA training in Regular Intakes 81, 81B, Lady Intake 13C, Volunteer Intake 55 and Lady Volunteer Intake 13, were awarded their formal commissions by the day’s Chief Guest during the ceremony amid best wishes of their instructors, parents, next of kin and a gathering of well-wishers including senior officers and other invitees.
The Chief Guest was respectfully received at the entrance to the SLMA premises by the Commander of the Army, together with Brigadier R.W.W.A.D.B Rajaguru, Commandant, SLMA before he was ushered to the parade ground where the day’s main spectacle got underway.
A few seconds later, the Chief Guest, together with his host, laid a floral wreath at the SLMA war memorial, situated a few meters away from the venue as the first segment in the day’s agenda and honoured the memory of fallen service patriots in a solemn minute of silence as everybody stood up in reverence.
As patriotic melodies began rendering the air, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe afterwards commenced the ceremonial presentation of ornamental Commissioning Swords to the graduates, symbolic of their formal commissioning in the Sri Lanka Army as the stage was getting ready to receive the colourful salute from those newly graduated officers. Best Achievers in separate Intakes were also felicitated at the same occasion, awarding special mementos.
Sunday’s ceremony saw 32 Cadet Officers in the Regular Intake 81, 103 Cadet Officers in the Regular Intake 81B, 23 Cadet Officers in the Volunteer Intake 55 and 3 more Cadet Officers in the Lady Regular Intake 13C & Volunteer Intake 12 thus received their commissions before they are formally deployed for service across the island as Lieutenants.
In a separate assembly at the SLMA gymnasium, along with the SLMA Commandant soon after the commissioning parade, parents of the new graduates got together and adorned the shoulders of their brave and beloved ones with the insignia of the President’s Commission as one more customary feature in the day’s spectacle. It was a moment of rejoice, filled with eternal memories for those beloved ones of the new graduates who had hitherto missed them so much during the training.
The customary final presentation of those undergraduates in the previous evening occurred at Colonel Fazly Laphir Memorial auditorium in the presence of the Commander of the Army. The final presentation of those Cadet Officers centered largely on the theme, “Role of Contemporary Armed Forces within the Context of Asymmetric Warfare”.
Adding a new item to the day’s agenda, the SLMA book, “Pudumathalan Rescue Operation: Use of Mass Human Shields as a Terrorist Tactic and Armed Forces’ Response” and the Sinhala version of the“Battle of Danture” both compiled by officers, were formally released. Maiden copies of both works were presented to the Chief Guest, Lieutenant General De Silva, Commander of the Army and other distinguished guests by the SLMA Commandant as SLMA productions.
Typical Guest Night of the new graduates, a tradition in the PoPs at the SLMA were to take place this evening (20) at the Officer Cadets’ Mess with Hon. Sagala Rathnayake, Minister of Law & Order and Southern Development and Lieutenant General De Silva, Commander of the Army, taking the centre-stage at the head table.
Senior tri-service officers, distinguished invitees, parents and well-wishers, relatives of Cadet Officers witnessed the day’s main highlights.