12th February 2018 19:36:07 Hours
The highest-ranking trio in the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army, Major General Amal Karunasekara, Chief of Staff and Major General Dampath Fernando, Deputy Chief of Staff Monday (12) afternoon were on the same stage at the Army Headquarters, in a fitting ceremony of rare nature, to award laurels and felicitate a selected group of 60 Army personnel who toiled tirelessly during the times of most recent national catastrophes, natural disasters and man-made emergencies.
The move, one of the firsts in the Army, launched on a new conceptual notion of the Commander of the Army, who always maintains that such good work, should always receive due commendation of superiors, selected those personnel who contributed to the Army's Rescue and Relief Teams in an outstanding manner, judged by how they committed to the cause when disasters struck in the years 2016 - 2017.
The ceremony, headed by the Commander of the Army was also attended by Major General Piyal Wickramaratne, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force (SLAVF), Major General Priyantha Jayasundara, Military Secretary at the Army Headquarters, Major General Rukmal Dias, Commander, Security Forces - Central (SF-Cen), Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage, Commander, Security Forces - West (SF-West), Major General Shavendra Silva, Adjutant General of the Army, Major General Chagi Gallage, Director General Infantry of the Army, Brigadier Devinda Perera, Director Personnel Administration at the Army Headquarters, Senior Officers, Other Ranks and those selected laureates, recognizing their invaluable services, distributed valuable Certificates of Recognition to all those selected participants amidst roars of applause.
The felicitation and rewarding ceremony appreciating their exceptional dedication and commitment to the country and the Army, spoke high of their contribution separately during the ceremony as each segment of recipients lined up to receive those honours.
Commander during his brief address to the gathering, extended his best wishes and told the gathering that those Army personnel deserve the best and the highest accolades of the Nation since they worked day and night, despite threats to their own lives. The dignified ceremony was organized by the Directorate of Personnel Administration on the instructions of the Commander of the Army.
Sri Lanka Army troops during the times of those worst-hit disasters were among the firsts to come and take the lead in all search, rescue and relief operations.
In landslide-affected Meeriyabedda, Aranayake, Deraniyagala, Bulathkohupitiya, Ilukwatta areas, flood-affected Colombo, Ratnapura, Matugama, etc areas, cyclone-affected Panadura, Minuwangoda and Katana areas, explosion-affected Kosgama area, garbage-slide at Meethotamulla, etc, hundreds of Army troops from their respective formations rushed to respective locations and assisted state and local authorities in numerous ways and provided immediate relief in close cooperation with state agencies, etc. Troops also in the aftermath of such disasters put up temporary manning centres and continued their presence by providing relief services until normalcy returned.
During the same ceremony, the Commander of the Army awarded the best Drill Platoon award to the Sri Lanka National Guards (SLNG) in appreciation of their performances in the recent Independence day parade.