His Excellency the President Chief Guest at the Commissioning Parade held at the Naval and Maritime Academy

Seventy Naval officers belonging to the 45th Intake of Midshipmen, Direct Entry Volunteer Lady Officers Intake 02/2008, Direct Entry Volunteer Officers Intake 03/2008, Direct Entry Volunteer Counselling Officers and Service Entry Candidate Course 01/2008 passed out at a colourful commissioning parade held at the Naval and Maritime Academy in Trincomalee, on the evening of the 07th March 2009.

The Chief Guest was His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was accompanied by First Lady Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Among the distinguished invitees who graced the occasion were Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, Secretary of Defence Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weerathunga. Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was also in attendance to witness the historical event.

For His Excellency the President and the First Lady, it was a memorable occasion having witnessed their second son Yoshitha Rajapaksa being inducted to the noble service of the Sri Lanka Navy. Yoshitha Rajapaksa was also among the Midshipmen being commissioned by the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The moment was poignant with emotions when the President himself presented the coveted Sword of Honour to his son Midshipman Yoshitha Rajapaksa for being the Best Midshipman. Having also been the proud recipient of awards for the Best Sportsman and the Best Marksman, Midshipman Yoshitha Rajapaksa was filled with happiness to have the presence of his illustrious uncle Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who heads the Country’s successful Defence Strategy, to share in the remarkable achievements shown during his Naval training.

In his message to the memorable occasion, His Excellency the President called upon the newly commissioned Naval officers to serve their Motherland with utmost patriotism and to safeguard the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he expressed his wish to remind the officers of their duty and responsibility to uphold the rich traditions of the Naval Service and to move forward honouring the highest standards of discipline in the performance of all duties entrusted to them. The President also stated that at a time when Sri Lanka has earned the admiration of the world for its exemplary achievement in defeating terrorism, all Sri Lankans are indebted to the heroic men and women of the Armed Forces for the great triumph. He went on to emphasize that in this achievement the Sri Lanka Navy holds a special place for the decisive role it played in changing the tide against the forces of terror in our country. Whilst congratulating the officers being commissioned, the President paid tribute to the parents who have inspired and encouraged their children to join the Sri Lanka Navy to defend the Motherland.

The Naval and Maritime Academy (NMA), where the historical commissioning parade was held, is located within the picturesque setting of the Trincomalee Harbour. It is the premier training establishment of the Sri Lanka Navy capable of both officer training and all specialized branch training for naval ratings. Established on the 15th January 1967 and commissioned on the 15th July 1967, the NMA was awarded the prestigious President’s Colours in 2003 in recognition of the service it has rendered by training heroic officers and sailors whose tireless dedication and fearless devotion and sacrifice have immensely contributed for the integrity and the defence of the motherland. It is the first defence institution in the country to be awarded the ISO 9001:2000 quality management system certification from the Sri Lanka Standard Institution.  The Academy is accredited to the University of Kelaniya for officer under trainees to be awarded degrees in Naval studies. It is considered a rare privilege to undergo and complete one’s naval training from such a distinguished institution. The NMA today has the capability to train over 1500 trainees both officers and sailors.

In the colourful commissioning parade held at the illuminated main parade ground, the newly commissioned officers marched in a proud and elegant manner captivating the audience who had gathered to witness the momentous event. Clad in ceremonial naval uniforms, they displayed their talent and skills to the enthrallment of everyone that was present. The commissioning parade was held in keeping with the time-honoured traditions and customs of the Sri Lanka Navy. It consisted of a Band Display, a Drill Display, an Unarmed Combat Display and concluded with a Cultural Display.

At the commissioning parade, 15 Midshipmen and 15 Service Entry Candidates were commissioned and 40 Direct Entry VNF officers passed out on successful completion of their Naval training. Those who showed excellence while in training were presented with special awards in recognition of their outstanding performances.

In the Direct Entry VNF Lady Officers 02/2008 Intake comprising of 10 Lady Officers, Acting Sub Lieutenant OWDN Amanthi was adjudged the Best Overall Performance Officer while Acting Sub Lieutenant RPLP Senarathne was adjudged the Best Overall Performance Officer in the Direct Entry VNF Officers 03/2008 Intake which consisted of 25 Officers. In the Service Entry Candidates 01/2008 Course comprising of 15 Service Entry Candidates, PO (SBS) DDAJ Dematapitiya won the award for the Best Marksman and REA IV NHMKG Narasinghe received the awards for the Officer with the Highest Aggregate in Overall Subjects and the Best Service Entry Candidate.

In the Midshipmen 45th Intake which consisted of 15 Midshipmen, Midshipman WMIRL Suriyabandara received the award for the Officer with the Highest Aggregate in Professional Subjects. The award for the Officer with Highest Aggregate in Overall Subjects went to Midshipman MGMC Munidasa. Midshipman YK Rajapaksa won the awards for both the Best Sportsman and the Best Marksman and was conferred with the Sword of Honour.