20th December 2021 15:49:56 Hours
The commissioning parade marks the culmination of cadetship, and the beginning of a magnificent and challenging military career as newly Commissioned Officers of the Sri Lanka Army. The commissioning ceremony included four fabulous events, namely the Final Presentation, Commissioning Parade itself, Pipping Ceremony and the Commissioning Dinner.
The 96th Commissioning Ceremony of the Sri Lanka Military Academy was held triumphantly on 18th and 19th December 2021 and 316 lady and gentleman officer cadets from Intake 89, 90, 89 B. Lady 18 A, 60 (V) and Lady 17(V) were graduated to render their services to the Army and the country by joining the twenty-five Regiments.
The first event of the ceremony was the final research presentation conducted by the passing out officer cadets. The final presentation based on a comprehensive and in-depth research study on the contemporary topic, “The rise of Taliban in Afghanistan and its Spillover Effects on Terrorism and Extremism in the South Asia Region” was conducted at the Sino-Lanka Friendship Auditorium by a team of the passing out officer cadets. The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa graced the final presentation as the Chief Guest along with the Secretary to Ministry of Defence, Principal Advisor to the President, Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, the Chief of Defense Staff and Commander of the Army, and many other distinguished invitees of both local and foreign.
The research presentation conducted by the team of officer cadets emerged as a forum to bring forth their key findings through an in-depth analysis which included the importance of Afghanistan in Geo-demographic domain, Geopolitical Domain and Geo-economic Domain, Rise of Taliban, Invasion of the pre-Taliban Context, Origin and Rise of Taliban into Power, War on Terrorism in 2001 and its Aftermath, Return of Taliban into Power in 2021, Afghanistan as a Breeding Ground for Extremism and Terrorism, Afghanistan under Taliban Rule and its Spillover Effects on the South Asian Region while proposing recommendations to establish good governance, peace and prosperity within the region. In addition, the SLMA Journal for the third consecutive year was launched while uploading its e-copy to the SLMA website. Meanwhile, the Army Training Command, known as ARTRAC in compliance with the Army Way Forward Strategy 2021-25 launched seven military publications in conjunction with the final presentation under the direction of the Commander of the Army.
At this august gathering, the Chief Guest highly commented on the officer cadets’ academic standards which were portrayed through their public speaking and presentation skills. Further, the Chief of Defense Staff and Commander of the Army highly appreciated these young cadets’ in-depth study and their talents at the final showcase.
Nineteenth December 2021 (19th Dec) was a destined day for the 316 Officer Cadets of the 6 passing out Intakes as they received the Presidential Commission from His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The newly commissioned officers were from Regular Officer Cadet Intake 89, 90, 89 B, Regular Lady Officer Cadet Intake 18A, Volunteer Officer Cadet Intake 60 and Volunteer Lady Officer Cadet Intake 17. Amongst them were six officer cadets from the Republic of Maldives, Republic of Ruwanda and Republic of Zambia and also five Sri Lankan Officer Cadets who underwent training at the National Defence Academy-India, Bangladesh Military Academy, Nepal Military Academy and Pakistan Military Academy. Their glamourous ceremonial commissioning parade comprised of a Colours Squad, a Parade Commander, a Second in Command, a Drill Instructors Squad, a Cadet Command Element, 08x Passing Out Squads and 04 x Backup Squads was commanded by the Adjutant of SLMA, Maj R A A Ranawaka RWP RSP USP psc of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry and the Adjutant of Officer Cadet Wing, Capt B A P D A Bamunuarachchi of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry as the Second in Command of the parade.
The award of swords at a commissioning parade symbolizes the award of Presidential Commission as well as the awarding of the rank implying the nobleness of the profession of arms. His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General G D H Kamal Gunarathne (retired) WWV, RWP, RSP, USP, ndc, psc, MPhil as well as the Chief of Defence Staff and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, General Shavendra Silva WWV, RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, ndc, psc, MPhil awarded the swords at the commissioning parade materializing the much-awaited dream of these young officers.
Presentation of the President’s Awards to the outstanding officer cadets was another fascinating occasion of the Commissioning Parade where the President awarded special awards; President’s Awards for the First in Order of Merit in Lady Intake 17 (V), Intake 60 (V), Intake 89 B, Intake 90 and Intake 89 were awarded to Pl/U /O/ H A T Prabashwari, O/CDT A M D T N Perera, Pl/U/O R T L A Silva, Coy/U/O T R C D Pathinayaka and Bn/U/O C M M Rukshan respectively. Meanwhile, the Cane of Honour for the best all round Foreign Officer Cadet was awarded to Pl/ U /O A Adam from the Republic of the Maldives. The Sword of Honour for the best all round Officer Cadets of Intake 60 (V), Intake 89B, Intake 90 and Intake 89 were awarded to O/Cdt A M D T N Perera, Coy /U/O H E A Ranjula, Coy/U/O T R C D Pathinayaka and Bn/U/O C M M Rukshan respectively.
His Excellency the President by addressing the newly commissioned officers emphasized the importance of skill development, leadership traits and how failures can teach great lessons when these junior commanders move ahead in their challenging military careers. His advice for them was to overcome all hurdles on their way with positive thinking, determination and preparedness. In an appreciative tone, HE the President spoke on how the education, skills and leadership traits which are inculcated within these young officers would set the path to carry forward the Army’s image and future of the nation.
The Sri Lanka Military Academy during its 41-year prolonged unique history has been able to produce 11,075 Officers to the nation including the present President.
Lack of accommodation for trainee officer cadets as a result of extended intakes was a long-felt need at the Sri Lanka Military Academy. Having understood this basic necessity, “General Shavendra Silva Senior Cadet Block” was built and generously gifted to the SLMA by the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, General Shavendra Silva WWV, RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, ndc, psc, MPhil upon the invitation of the Commandant of the Sri Lanka Military Academy, Brigadier WWHRRVMNDKB Niyangoda RWP RSP USP ndu psc. Meanwhile, General Shavendra Silva presented the SLMA with a fleet refurbished vehicles which included 4 Tata Star buses, 5 Ashoke Leyland buses, a Toyota Coaster, a Unicorn Truck and a Tata 709 Horse Carrier. A new IP Communication System was also presented to the Sri Lanka Military Academy as per the direction of the Colonel Commandant of the Sri Lanka Signal Corps and the Chief Signal Officer, Major General PAJ Peiris ndu.
The ‘Pipping Ceremony’ yet another traditional and prominent event of the Sri Lanka Military Academy which marks the transition from an officer cadet to a commissioned officer by adorning officer cadets’ shoulders with the insignia of a Second Lieutenant by a parent or a closed relative. The Pipping Ceremony of the 96th Commissioning Parade was held at the Sino-Lanka Friendship Auditorium on 19 December where the placing of the rank on newly commissioned officers’ shoulders was done by the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and eight Principal Staff Officers due to COVID 19 health guidelines.
The Commissioning Ceremony of the passing out intakes reaches the culmination with the host of a royal banquet to the freshly joined members of the Sri Lanka Army. This provides an occasion for them to gather in an atmosphere of comradeship, good fellowship, fun and social rapport while building esprit de corps from the most senior to the most junior and vice versa. His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka graced this military banquet which would be written in a golden chapter of the Military Academy history as one of the most cherishing and grand memories of the 96th Commissioning Ceremony. The Chief Guest did not forget to make a special note in the Visitor’s Book on his visit to the Military Academy Diyatalawa which is his alma mater, too.
Meanwhile, the annual ladies get-together known as Ladies Night which is conducted for the spouses of the honoured and distinguished invitees of the POP were held at the Officers’ Mess of the Sri Lanka Military Academy in line with the 96th Commissioning Parade. The First Lady, Madam Ioma Rajapaksa attended the event as the Chief Guest while Madam Chithrani Gunarathne, Madam Sujeewa Nelson along with other distinguished ladies were also present at the Ladies Night-2021 which brought them a novel social experience.
Finally, the Sri Lanka Military Academy was able to triumphantly conclude the success story of the 96th Commissioning Ceremony with glory and pride.