First Officer Commanding of the Commando Squadron
Lt Col S D Peiris
In accordance with the progress achieved by the Sri Lanka Army and incompliance with the various requirement that arose in our country. It became extremely necessary during the year 1977 to form a special unit in the army. With the good graces of the unstinted support giving to this necessity by the then commander of the Army Lt Gen JED Perera ndc psc, it was decided at a conference held through his leader ship to form a special unit comprising there officers and three other rankers in an advisory capacity before the end of the year. In This regard arrangements were made to provide a special commando training course on 09th February 1978. The initial commando training course was held at Diyatalawa Ella Army camp. In this regards 6 officers and 24 other rankers comprising from Armour, Artillery, Engineers, Infantry drawn from Light infantry, Gamunu watch and Singhe Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army participated. Those who voluntarily participated and successfully completed the training course. Came from different units of the Army who completed the second course and were selected as instructors were return to their respective regiments.
On 15th March 1980 as per instruction received from the Sri Lanka Army Head Quarters the Commando Squadron was formed, and was installed at Diyatalawa B camp. Major SD Peiris was appointed as the officer commanding of this squadron.
Thereafter, some officers and other rankers of the squadron under the responsibility and guidance of the regiment underwent a course of training conducted by British instructors. (SAS) In Anti - Hijacking and Hostage Release operations. In addition to this some of the commandos who had undergone an Airborne course at the Indian Air force training school, Displayed their capabilities at an air display at Rathmalana Airport on para jumping on the Army day held on 10th October 1980.
On 4th December 1980 the commando Squadron was established at Ganemulla. By 1981 midyear when the construction of the first stage of the camp had been accomplished. And the building was officially opened by then Hon. Deputy Minister of Defense TB Werapitiya. Thereafter stage by stage completion of the camp went on progressively, and as result on 15th March 1984 the officers Mess was ceremonially declared opened by Lt Gen Weeratunga, then Commander of the Army.
The commandos, were thus engaged on operational duties in North and East, and also played a major role in the Vadamarachchi operation. In addition, the commandos were engaged in small team operation. And other special operational tasks during this period. Commandos were engaged in VIP protection duties, and those who had received training in Anti - Hijacking and Hostage releasing, were placed at the bandaranayaka international Air - Port at Katunayaka.
On 15th March 1986 CQB Hut was declared opened, by then Hon. Minister of Defense Lalith Atulathmudali, for the use of Anti - Hijacking and Hostage release training purpose.
On 28th April 1988 the first Commanding Officer, Lt Col SD Peiris psc went on retirement, and Major PS Hadapangoda, was officially appointed to fulfill this vacancy as Commanding Officer.
During this time, independent brigade was formed and thus the Commando Regiment became a part of the Independent Brigade.
In the year 1990 for the first time the commando instructor team conducted a parachute training course, the graduation parade was held on 21st February 1990. On 15th March 1991 a well equipped building, for para training was opened at Ganemulla camp.
In the year 1990 for the first time the commando instructor team conducted a parachute training course, the graduation parade was held on 21st February 1990 On 15th March 1991 a well equipped building, for para training was opened at Ganemulla camp.
On 1st May 1991 the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Hadapangoda, Left the service and Lt Col PP Fernando psc was appointed as Commanding Officer. During this period on account of the successful operation performed by the commandos in the east jungles such as Thriconamadu, Thoppigala, Angodavilluwa, Welioya and also operation conducted in the north (pooneryn and Vettikerni) were conducted quit successfully.
According to the extreme necessities that had to be faced by our country during this period a 2nd Commando Regiment was opened on 1st March 1993 at Ganemulla. At this instance Lt Col P Chandrawansa psc Msc was appointed as the first Commanding officer of this regiment. With the opening of the 2nd Commando Regiment the training school which was at Ganemulla was shifted to Wellawaya Uva Kudaoya Camp. This camp started functioning from 11th May 1993. As a result of the increasing terrorist’s activities, the 2nd Commando Regiment was stationed at Welioya. In addition to this 2nd Commando Regiment was successfully engaged on operational duties north specially in pooneryn during this period then Navy Commander visited the Commando Regiment at Ganemulla.
In the event of the Commanding officer 1st Commando Regiment Lt Col PP Fernando psc being assigned a hire appointment and Lt Col SM De Rajapaksha was appointed as the Officiating Commanding Officer of the 1st Commando Regiment with effect from 10th March 1994. During this period on account of the successful operations performed by the Regiment in the East jungle such as Thriconamadu, Thoppigala, Angodavilluwa.
On 1st March 1995 2nd Commando Regiment celebrated its 2nd anniversary on 15th March of the same year, the 15th anniversary of the 1st Commando Regiment was celebrated.
On 20th March 1996 Lt Col SM De A Rajapaksha RWP RSP handed over duties of 1st Commando Regiment and Maj Sooriyabandara RSP took over the duties as the Officiating Commanding officer 1st Commando Regiment.
On 25th March 1996 Lt Col P Chandrawanse Psc Msc CO 2nd Commando Regiment handed over his duties to Lt Col KANS Fernanado RSP who took over the duties as CO 2nd Commando Regiment.
During this period 1st Commando Regiment was engaged in small group operations in the Batticolo area and some were at Poonarin protecting the Poonarin Camp. The 2nd Commando Regiment participated on operational duties on “ Operation Rivirasa I “ in the Jaffna area. On major operation such as “ Rivirasa II ”, “Shake Hand“ , “Sath jaya I,II,iii“ both the Regiments displayed their talent by participating in major roles at these operations.
At this period Colonel PP Fernanado RSP psc who was the centre Commandant of SF/Commando Regimental centre was assigned to higher headquarters and Lt Col Chandrawansa psc Msc handed over his post as the CO of 2nd Commando Regiment and took over the appointment as the Centre Commandant. At the same time Regimental Centre was shifted from Battaramulla to Ganemulla. During this period of time Independent Brigade was separated. And reestablish as Commando and SF Brigades. In this event Lt Col P Chandrawansa psc Msc was appointed as the first Brigade Commander of Commando Brigade.
On 1st March 1997 Lt Col KANS Fernanado RSP having handed over his duties as CO 2nd Commando Regiment was appointed as centre Commandant of Commando Regimental Centre and Maj PRS Jayasekara was appointed as Officiating CO of 2nd Commando Regiment.
On 31st March 1997 Lt Col KANS Fernando RSP was assigned to higher Head Quarters and again Lt Col P Chandrawansa psc Msc looked after the duties of centre Commandant while he was doing duties as Commando Brigade Commander.
On 1st January 1998 Maj Gen KJC Perera RWP RSP USP rcds psc was appointed as the Colonel of the Regiment and in the mean time Lt Col S Sooriyabandara RSP was appointed as Centre Commandant and having handed over his post as CO 1st Commando Regiment, Maj SAR Wijepala RSP was appointed as officiating CO 1st Commando Regiment.
During this period of time, the Commando Brigade on and off were engaged in small group operations and long range reconnaissance patrol, with the assistance of the Navy and Air force.
On 25th July 1998 Col P Chandrawansa RSP psc Msc handed over duties of the Commando Brigade to Col KANS Fernando RSP who was appointed as Commando Brigade Commander. It is worthy of mentioning, that the Commandos also participated in all stages of operation “ Jayasikuru “.
On 15th August 1998 Maj Gen KJC Perera RWP RSP USP rcds psc handed over his duties as the Colonel of the Regiment to Brig PP Fernanado RWP RSP USP psc who took over the duties as the Colonel of the Regiment.
On 26th March 1998 Lt Col PRS Jayasekara RSP handed over his duties as CO 2nd Commando Regiment. His duties were taken over by Maj SJN Ritigahapola, as officiating CO 2nd Commando Regiment.
On 1st January 1999 Maj SAR Wijepala RSP having handed over his duties as, CO 1st Commando Regiment, Lt Col PRS Jayasekara RSP psc took over duties as CO 1st Commando Regiment.
On 15th March 1999 with the approval of the Army Headquarters, Regimental Headquarter Battalion was opened, for the Welfare and well being of the injured and disabled Commandos. Maj BPS De Silva RSP was appointed as 1st Officiating CO of the RHQ Battalion.
During the end of 1998 Commando Brigade was stationed in the North (paranthan). It is noteworthy to mention at this point, that during the period of September 1999 the Commando Brigade displayed a major role in all emergency situations. On account of this, 1st Commando Regiment was shifted from Paranthan to Welioya. The trainees of the CRTS were also shifted to Welioya and Paranthan for OPS duties.
On 28th January 2000 Lt Col PRS Jayasekara RSP psc having handed over duties to Maj ND Dahanayake, on being appointed as Officiating CO 1st Commando Regiment.
In conclusion, it is of paramount importance to state, that the Commandos serving in various capacities ad Officers or men of other ranks are a devoted and dedicated lot. On many accessions they have sacrificed their lives and limbs, for the cause of the nation and our people. Many have lost their sight for us in their prime of youth, despite all these toils, trials and tribulations. Our sympathies are due to all Commando who have lost their lives and also to those who are living to fight this battle until peace is brought to our motherland.