Written by Staff Writer
19 Mar, 2015 | 1:16 pm
A ceremony at which Former Chief of Defence Staff, Sarath Fonseka will be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal will be held on Sunday March 22, under the auspices of President Maithripala Sirisena.
The rank Field Marshal, which never retires, is equivalent to the position of a cabinet minister. It is also the highest rank in a country’s three armed forces – which makes him Sri Lanka’s first Field Marshal.
Sarath Fonseka began his life in the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment on February 5, 1970 as an army soldier. Later, he commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and subsequently posted to the first battalion. Thereafter, he rose to the ranks of Lieutenant, Captain and Major and as a Colonel and commanded the 23rd Brigade.
As a Colonel, Sarath Fonseka fearlessly faced the battle against terrorism. During that time he actively participated as the Brigade Commander in Operation Balavegaya. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier on December 1, 1993 and was later promoted to the two-star rank of Major General on February 23, 1998.
On December 6, 2005 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and brought in new reforms to the army and modernised it to stand against intense terrorism. On April 25, 2006, General Sarath Fonseka survived a suicide attack by the LTTE inside the Army Headquarters. After being injured in the field he re-entered the field to fulfill his duties of eliminating terrorism in the country.
In recognition of his services, he was promoted to the rank of General immediately after the culmination of the war. He was later appointed the Chief of Defence Staff which makes him an active serviceman for 30 years. He was presented him with many decorations by the military for his dedication – from the beginning till the end of the conflict.
He was also presented with Rana Wickrama, Rana Sura , Vishishta Seva Vibhushanaya and Uththama Seva medals. Bidding farewell to his illustrious military career, after serving his nation for over three decades, General Sarath Fonseka entered active politics in the 2009.
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