Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

06th December 2017 21:28:48 Hours

New Volunteer Force Commandant Takes Over Office

Major General Piyal Wickramaratne, the newly appointed Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force (SLAVF) assumed office this morning (6) during a brief ceremony at the SLAVF Headquarters in Kosgama.

A Guard Turnout and a Guard of Honour saluted the new Commandant in accordance with military formalities after he was welcomed on arrival at the premises.

A brief Pirith chanting ceremony invoked blessings on the new appointment before he was invited to plant a sapling at the SLAVF premises.

As a formality, the new SLAVF Commandant symbolically placed his signature in an official document before he addressed a gathering of SLAVF Officers and Other Ranks who had gathered in the premises.

Major General Piyal Wickramaratne is the 35th Commandant of the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force which boasts a glorious history of more than 135 years with its origins dated back to colonial times.

Mrs Ruwini Sujeewa Wickramaratne was also present at the occasion.

A brief profile of the new Commandant, SLAVF is as follows;

Major General Agampodi Piyal de Zoysa Wickramaratne RWP ndu psc was born on 3 September 1963. He joined the Sri Lanka Army as an Officer Cadet on 27 April 1983 and received basic training at the Sri Lanka Military Academy, Diayatalawa. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 19 April 1985 and was posted to the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment.

Major General Wickramaratne received his school education at Richmond College Galle. He was an all-round sportsman and excelled at swimming winning a number of National events. He was adjudged the Champion at the National Pentathlon Swimming Championship in year 1982. In his Military education he was graduated at the Sri Lanka Army Command and Staff College having followed the Army Command and Staff Course Number One in year 1998. He was also graduated from the prestigious National Defence University, in China in year 2013. During his military career he has gained a wealth of experience by attending a large number of local and overseas courses and seminars which includes a local seminar on Socio Economic and Legal Aspects of Peacekeeping Operations. Major General Wickramaratne also attended the “Non Lethal Weapons Seminar” conducted in Sri Lanka by the US Forces. He also participated in the Military Tactical Warfare Simulation Exercises held in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh conducted by the US Marines and later he was selected to perform as the Exercise Coordinator Sri Lanka Army for the Military Tactical Warfare Simulation Exercise held in Sri Lanka in year 2004, conducted by the US Marines during which he received a valuable exposure in actively taking part in combined staff planning. He also followed the Joint Forces Staff College course in Norfolk, Virginia, USA in year 2005. He is also qualified in Glider Flying after successfully completing a Glider Flying and Soaring Course in Pakistan. Major General Wickramaratne has also excelled in the field of sports in the Army and is a recipient of ‘Regimental Colours’ in swimming.

Major General Wickramaratne, during his Military career has served in all the operational areas of North and East in Sri Lanka and held many key appointments in the Infantry Battalion such as Intelligence Officer, Adjutant, Company Commander, Battalion Second in Command and Commanding Officer. He has also gained a wealth of experience by serving as a Battalion Commander in the Airmobile Brigade of the Sri Lanka Army during offensive operations. Major General Wickramaratne had actively taken part in a number of major offensive operations conducted by the Sri Lanka Army during the past thirty years, both as a Field Commander and an Operations Staff Officer. Major General Wickramaratne had served as the Commander 231 Brigade at Punani under 23 Division and Security Forces Headquarters (East) in the Eastern Theatre of Operations from April 2005 to February 2006. He had actively taken part in the recently concluded victorious Wanni Humanitarian Operations as the Deputy General Officer Commanding 53 Division from December 2007 to August 2008 and as the General Officer Commanding of the 61 Division from September 2008 to July 2009.He also commanded the Mechanized Infantry Brigade for a short period from May to July 2008. He commanded the 51 Division, Jaffna from September 2011 to August 2012 and 22 Division, Trincomalee from August 2013 to May 2014, in undertaking nation building tasks in support of the national plan during the post conflict situation. Major General Wickramaratne served at 66 Division Pooneryn under Security Forces Headquarters (Kilinochchi), as the General Officer Commanding, from May 2014 and Commander, Security Forces – Central prior to assuming the office of Director General General Staff at Army Headquarters in mid 2016. He was also the Colonel Commandant of the Sri Lanka National Guard.

Major General Wickramaratne has been honoured with the Gallantry Award “Ranawickrama Padakkama” for his bravery in the face of the enemy.

Major General Wickramaratne has served as an Instructor at the Combat Training School and also has served in different capacities as Operations Staff Officers such as Brigade Major, General Staff Officer Grade One and Colonel General Staff, at Brigade, Division and Formation Headquarters where he has gained a wealth of experience in planning and preparation of Operation Orders/Instructions and Contingency Plans. He has also served as the Colonel General Staff at the Joint Operations Headquarters where he gained a wealth of experience in planning of Disaster Relief Operations during Post Tsunami Era by working in close liaison with different Embassies/High Commissions and Foreign/Local Non Governmental Organizations. Major General Wickramaratne served as the Brigadier General Staff at the Security Forces Headquarters (Wanni) from February 2010 to August 2011, during the most challenging era of the post conflict situation in undertaking the nation building tasks to support the national plan, where he could gain a wealth of experience in the fields of de-mining, administering of Internally Displaced Persons, reconstruction, re-settlement, rehabilitation and re-integration of ex-combatants, and reconciliation. He had also served as a Directing Staff at the Army Command and Staff College as well as at the Defence Services Command and Staff College from February 2006 to December 2007.

Major General Wickramaratne is married to Ruwini Sujeewa Wickramaratne and blessed with three children, a daughter and two sons.

He also assumes duties as the 9th Colonel of the Regiment of the SLSR.