Sunday, 20 June 2010

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Victory pageant of Tri-Forces

We did send shock waves across the globe on May 18, 2009!

Sri Lanka won the most dreadful challenge of defeating one of the ruthless terrorist organisations in the world. Sri Lanka has the utmost right to remember and rejoice the victorious past equally filled with joy and grief. The righteous owners of this unblemished victory are the brave sons of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the STF, the Police and the Civil Defence Force who safeguarded this country shedding their blood and sacrificing their lives.

They exhibited their splendour on June 18, 2010 at the Galle Face Green in an equisite parade of the three forces and the Police. They continued to prove that they are the greatest asset that gives succor to our motherland.

Following the arrival of the distinguished guests, hoisting the national flag, observing silence and 21 gun salutes was the Guard of Honour accorded to the President.

Tri-services bands and colour squads consisted of eight tri-service officers and 108 other ranks commanded by Major Thanuja Godewatta of Gajaba Regiment accorded the Guard of Honour to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Forces honoured President Rajapaksa for his unwavering leadership and astute statesmanship - the driving force that made them fight, vanquish the enemy and emerge victorious.

The parade started with the Commander of the Victory Parade and the Vanni Security Forces Commander Major General Kamal Guneratne reporting to President Rajapaksa. The President left the saluting dais to inspect the parade in a Jeep, accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff, Tri-service Commanders, Inspector General of Police and Victory Parade Commander. Following the historic speech by the President, Commander of the Parade Maj.Gen. Kamal Gunaratne led the parade obtaining permission from the President - Commander-in-Chief of the tri-services.

Major General Kamal Gunaratne who was the 53 Division Commander at that time paraded aboard the pilot vehicle in the company of Army Headquarters Warrant Officer-I Sergeant Major D.M.A Devasinghe according his salute to the President.

The first segment of the parade consisted of the Parade Commander, Tri-service Headquarter troops and other supporting troops followed by flag bearers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Police and the Civil Defence Force. Headed by Sri Lanka Armoured Corps band, Sri Lanka Armoured Corps, Sri Lanka Light Infantry, Gemunu Watch and Gajaba Regiments in the Army which have been honoured with Regiment colours, unit colours and President's colours proceeded in front followed by ceremonial troops of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and the Civil Defence Force. Representing Sri Lanka Navy Commodore N.A.N. Sarathsena paraded in the observation vehicle at the parade.

The Air Force contigent was commanded by Air Commodore Sumangala Dias. The Headquarters element of the Sri Lanka Air Force was commanded by Group Captain Leonard Rodrigo.

Combat parade

Next started the glamorous combat parade. Headed by Signals Corp band troops who braved all odds during the warfare, either in the seas, air or on land paraded. Those who were deployed at headquarters, Area Headquarters, Divisions, Task Forces of the Army as well as Navy and Air Force personnel were represented. Headed by Sri Lanka Light Infantry and Sri Lanka National Guard Bands, preceded by Security Forces Headquarters Flags in the East, Major General Chagie Gallage led the Eastern sector marched with Brigades and Divisions in the East with their respective flags, including the Service Corps, the War Heroes who provided necessary logistical support to the front columns of troops.

Next in the March Past was the East Navy Headquarters headed by the Navy Band and Naval flags followed by officers and sailors representing the Dvora Attack group and the special boat squadron. Naval Forces in the Eastern Front was commanded by Rear Admiral Susith Weeresekera.

Then, the Eastern Air Force Headquarters marched, headed by the Air Force band and flags comprised with flying squads, women flying squads and Air Force gunners. The Eastern contingent was commanded by Group Captain Sudarshana Pathirana.

Next part of parade was comprised with the Police Band, Police flags and a team of elegant Police officers honouring the saluting dais followed by the Eastern Headquarters of the Civil Defence Forces Headquarters.

Next, preceded by the Gemunu Watch band and led by the then 55 Division Commander Major General Prasanna de Silva, the present Commander of the Mullaitivu Security Forces marched the Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters with Brigades and Divisions in Jaffna with their respective flags.

Navy Band

Headed by the Navy Band the Jaffna Navy Security Forces marched next adding colour with their flags. Naval Forces from Northern Front was commanded by Rear Admiral Shriyantha Udawatte. Navy personnel march past was comprised with sailors and officers of the Rapid Deployment Force. Next was the Jaffna Air Force segment headed by the Air Force band and flag bearers. The Northern contingent was commanded by Group Captain Ravindra Liyanagamge. The flying squad and the Air Force gunners proceeded in the graceful march past.

The Police representing their Jaffna deployment marched headed by the Police band, flag bearers and Police Personnel.

Security Force Wanni marched in three segments led by Major General Shavendra Silva who was the then Commander in 58 Division in the Wanni central preceded by Commando Regiment band. The three segments were Security Forces Wanni Central, Western and Eastern. During that historic stage of operations, four attack Divisions, seven Task Forces, two auxiliary Divisions and two Area Headquarters, moving from Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu and the northern tip of Trincomalee composed the largest ever troop contingent that marched forward. The service units were represented next.

Providing all logistical support to Army fighting troops including, drinking water and the decisive bullet needed for targets, these troops of Medical Corps, Engineering Services, Service Corps, Ordnance Corps, Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Corps, Military Police Corps, General Service Corps, Women's Corps and Forward Maintenance Area Corps lent their unstinted support for those at the front of the battles.

Silent weapon

Army's silent weapon - the Snipers - marched next who hit the enemy in an impressive manner made the next glamorous batch in the march past. The Sri Lanka Navy and Air Force Vanni segment marched next. Naval Vanni Front commanded by Rear Admiral Rohan Amarasinghe. The Vanni contigent of the Sri Lanka Air Force was commanded by Shehan Fernando. These two forces fighting in the sea and air rescued innocent Tamil people from the grips of terrorism and while generously supporting all ground forces.

The parade continued with pride and valour with mechanized infantry brigades, Artillery parade, Navy Mechanize parade, Air Force Mechanize Troops, Special Task Force of the Sri Lanka Police, Signal Corps military parade, Auxiliary Infantry Parade, Parade of the Engineers and Field Engineers Corps.

Sri Lanka Navy's Offshore Patrol Vessels, Fast Gun Boats, Fast Attack Craft and Arrow boats sailed past in a formation in the seas off Galle Face Green paying their tribute as the Naval contingent marched passing the saluting dais. Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), SLNS Sayura, SLNS Samudura, SLNS Sayurala and SLNS Jayasagara, Fast Missile Vessels (FMVs) SLNS Suranimala and SLNS Nandimithra, Fast Gun Boats Abheetha and Ranadheera, 12 Fast Attack Craft (FACs), Passenger Craft "Jet Liner" and A 543 and 20 Arrow boats participated in the Sail Past displaying their manoeuvrability.

All Air Force flying formations were represented in the Fly past which included two Bell 212's, three Bell 412's three Mi17, three Mi 24 Attack Helicopters, five PT6 Trainers, three K8 Jet Trainers, two C130 Hercules transports, three An32b Transports, six Y12 passenger transports three F7 interceptors, three Kfir Multi Role Jets, three Mig27 ground attack jets. Weapons and ammunition utilized by the SLAF and Air defence equipment including guns and Radars will also be on parade.

SLAF Beech craft provided real-time footage from air and was linked to the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation's live telecast.

Last but not the least, the disabled War Heroes reminded us of the fact that it is the prime duty of each and every citizen of this country to protect these heroic men for the rest of their lives.

Conlcluding the combat parade the Second in Command of the parade Brigadier Renuka Rovel paraded in the vehicle before the saluting dais.

Next was the demonstration of the glamorous and the bravest para troopers. It exhibited the ultimate anticipation that lies in a brave soldiers' heart. Though they did not mean it, it signified the returning to the earth and standing on two feet among the people after a rigorous and stressful challenging journey.

- Dhaneshi

 

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