Lt. Gen. Ratnayake assumes duties as the new Army Commander

Friday, 2 August 2013 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The newly appointed Commander of the Army Lieutenant General R. M. D. Ratnayake WWV, RWP, RSP, USP, NDU, PSC, assumed duties yesterday (1 August 2013) at a function held at the Army Headquarters. Lt. Gen. Ratnayake is the 20th Commander of the Army. He was the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army since 2010, until he took office as 20th Commander of the Army. Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake who was elevated to the rank of Lieutenant General was enlisted to the Regular Force of the Sri Lanka Army on 6 February 1980 as an Officer Cadet and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 18 July 1981 in the Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) Regiment. Throughout the span of his career of more than 33 years, he has taken part in many seminars, conferences, workshops and invited assignments. Lieutenant General Ratnayake stands out as one of the few officers of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces to have completed so many local and overseas graduate study courses and diplomas. Currently, he is reading for a PhD at Kotelawala Defence University. With wide experience and service, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake was privileged to command an Infantry Battalion and three Infantry Brigades, prior to being appointed as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 23 Infantry Division which spearheaded the humanitarian operations in the East. Upon conclusion of humanitarian operations, he was called upon to rehabilitate 12,000 ex-combatants, where he was appointed as Commissioner General Rehabilitation. With the transformation of the Army from warfare to peacetime roles, using his capacity of judgement and sense of humaneness rendered an indelible service in the field of rehabilitation, in his capacity as the Commissioner General Rehabilitation. In addition, he has also held a variety of key staff, instructor and administrative appointments, including Commanding Officer of the Sri Lanka Military Academy, Director Media of the Sri Lanka Army and Military Spokesman for the Ministry of Defence from 2004 to September 2005. He excelled in discharging his duties in both the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment and Military Intelligence Corps and had been taking part in all the major offensive operations against terrorism since 1981 up until the termination of operations in the East even having sustained battle injuries. In recognition of his exceptionally unique performances as a battlefield veteran he was decorated with more than twenty gallantry and service medals, inclusive of the Weera Wickrema Vibushanaya (WWV), Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) (Awarded four times for Exceptional Gallantry), Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) (Awarded four times for Gallantry), Uththama Seva Padakkama (USP) (For distinguished conduct) and Desha Puthra Padakkama (DPP) (For wounded in combat). To this date, Lieutenant General Rathnayake, as an illustrious officer par excellence in the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka remains the only officer to have been awarded the Gallantry medals by an individual army officer multiple times over. He had been serving as the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army since 10th January 2010 until he took office as the 20th Commander of the Army on 1 August, 2013, in addition to the appointment as Colonel of the Regiment of Sri Lanka Light Infantry which has 25 Battalions under its wings. Lt. Gen. Ratnayake is a proud product of Maliyadewa College, Kurunegala and was an outstanding athlete during his school days. At present he is a council member of the Sri Lanka Rugby Union. Pix by Pradeep Pathirana and Sudath Silva