The latest batch of well-trained 157 Commandos of the Army, specialized in amphibious landings, parachuting or abseiling and exceptionally distinctive in taking unconventional high-value targets as one more elite special operations unit of the Sri Lanka Army was adorned with their prestigious insignia and ‘maroon berets’ at Uva-Kudaoya Commando Regiment Training School (CRTS) premises on Saturday (19) during their ceremonial passing-out parade (PoP), graced by General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army as the  Chief Guest.

13 officers and 144 soldiers of 48 D & E 2022 batches of the Commando Regiment after their sustained and exceptional training that spanned 18 months under the tutelage of many veterans and instructors finally showcased their exciting and unique capabilities and operational techniques that would address any unprecedented threat or challenge as the day’s elaborate ceremony’s proceedings got underway in the presence of Senior Officers, parents and well-wishers.

157 More 'Maroon Berets' Join Commando Regiment Showing Unparalleled Skills
157 More ‘Maroon Berets’ Join Commando Regiment Showing Unparalleled Skills

The day’s Chief Guest General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army on arrival at the location was received by Major General Krishantha  Gnanaratne, Colonel of the Commando Regiment in the company of  Brigadier Vijitha Hettiarachchi, Commander, Commando Brigade, Colonel Kamal Dharmawardena, Center Commandant of Commando Regiment HQ and Colonel Janaka Samarasekara, Commandant of the CRTS after he was saluted in a formal, yet colourful Guard Turnout at the entrance to the CRTS.

A few minutes later, the Chief Guest was invited by the parade commander to review the day’s parade and receive the salute in the magnificent Guard of Honour, presented by those graduates who passed out on the day.  After the Guard of Honour, caring parents and next of kin of passing out Commandos were invited to pin prestigious Commando insignia on those brave sons, now all set to join the admired family of Commandos in order to prove ‘Nothing Impossible’.

The apex of the day’s spectacle, award of uniquely-suited ‘Maroon Berets’ to the graduates, symbolic of the particular identity, authority and full-fledged professionalism reached then as the Chief Guest, General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, together with Major General Krishantha Gnanaratne, Colonel Commandant of the Commando Regiment and Major General Anil Samarasiri, General Officer Commanding 65 Division lined up.  ‘Maroon Berets’ signify that the soldier wearing it belongs to an elite strategic force, designed to perform special operations in nature at strategic level, to protect the constitutional order of Sri Lanka both in wartime and peacetime while carrying out air, land or water-based specialized operations which most of them are highly and unfailingly classified.

The next moment marked the presentation of appreciative trophies and certificates to graduates who did exceptionally well and excelled during the 18-month-long Commando training course. Accordingly, the Award for the Best Commando and the Best Shooter of the Course was presented to Lieutenant   T. M. C. M. B Thennakoon who did extremely well while the Best Physical Award was awarded to Second Lieutenant C. L Jayathunga amidst roars of applause.

General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army afterwards in a brief address to the occasion lauded their skills, added his congratulations and best wishes to the graduates who walk out as members of a most admired family of infantrymen whose capabilities remain unmatched, unprecedented and unique in many ways. “You are most admired and highly respected and the Nation expects you to perform an exceptional role in defence of the country, ” the Army Chief remarked.

“It is not an easy task to be a Commando for it needs sustained courage and enthusiasm under the “Nothing Impossible” motto of the Commandos as all of you have by now embraced in your hearts and as protectors of the nation we should always do better things for the sake of the motherland under this bold theme. I myself being a former Colonel of the Regiment of Commando Regiment,Commando Brigade Commander and the General Officer Commanding 58 Division during Wanni Humanitarian Operations experienced the uniqueness of the Commandos and how much they were dedicated to the cause. Remember you are just entering a start of a new journey after comprehensive training by further enhancing your skills, despite challenges, ” he commented.

Thanking the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigade Commander, Centre Commandant and the CRTS Commandant for grooming those new Commandos, irrespective of health risks that prevailed during their training period, he reminded them of the patronage, blessings and unfailing support, being given all the time by HE the President, Prime Minister and Secretary Defence General Kamal Gunarathna (Retd) for armed forces with profound gratitude. To match with the ongoing “Sri Lanka Army Way Forward Strategy 2020-2025”, the Army would also largely focus on continued training, welfare and all other future roles of the armed forces with the facilities made available by the government. He also thanked all instructors for the commitment and contribution shown in grooming this new batch of brave sons at a time global security scenario is fast changing. Adding memories to the day’s event, all graduates with the Chief Guest and Senior Officers and Instructors afterwards posed for group photographs before the day’s main segment drew to a close.

The dazzling spectacle of the day, staged in the dropping zone area of the CRTS reached new heights afterwards as the stage was set for the spectators to witness the daring skills of those Commandos, exhibited in simulated demonstrations.  Sniper demonstrations, Real Fighting Techniques, VIP Protection Displays, Hostage Rescue and Counter-Terrorism Demonstration, Firing Demonstration, Man vs Man Shooting Demonstration, K9 (War Dogs)-Handling Display and Freefall Parachute Display, etc dominated the scene as the gathering watched the proceedings with awe, thrill and excitement before the day’s proceedings came to an end.

Invitees, Veterans, Senior Officers including Major general Vikum Liyanage, Chief of Staff, Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Channa Weerasooriya, Commandant Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, Officers and a gathering of ORs were present at the day’s Passing Out Parade. (SL ARMY MEDIA )