Written by Staff Writer
22 Mar, 2015 | 4:31 pm
Former Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal on Sunday, March 22.
The investiture ceremony was held at the premises of the Ministry of Defence under the auspices of President Maithripala Sirisena.
Sarath Fonseka is Sri Lanka’s first Field Marshal. The rank of Field Marshal, which never retires, is equivalent to the position of a cabinet minister and is the highest rank in the three armed forces of the world.
All Field Marshals carry a baton in their left hand, a symbol of their high position.
Fonseka joined the Ceylon Army on February 5th, 1970 as a cadet officer and after completing his officer training at the Army Training Centre was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Ceylon Sinha Regiment.
He went on to hold several commands and staff appointments.
Sarath Fonseka served as a Battalion Commander; Brigade Commander; General Officer Commanding of the 57th Division; Commander, Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna and Chief of Staff of the Sri Lankan Army before he was appointed Commander of the Army on the 6th of December 2005.
Following his appointment as the Commander of the Army, then Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka went on to implement many reforms.
On the 25th of April 2006, Fonseka was targeted by an LTTE suicide bomber. Although seriously injured in the explosion, Fonseka, who was no stranger to battle wounds, returned to active service following a quick recovery.
As the Army Commander, he took the fore in cornering the LTTE from Mavilaru to Nanthikadal, and eventually accomplished the end goal with a complete victory.
Following the war victory, the commander who was among the heroes who made immense sacrifices to liberate the nation from the clutches of terrorism, was elevated to the rank of General.
He was then appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff.
An active participant in military operations including Balavegaya, Jayasikuru and Riviresa, Fonseka received many medals in appreciation of his unwavering service.
He is a recipient of the prestigious Rana Wickrama Padakkama, the Rana Shura Padakkama, the Vishishta Seva Vibushana, the Utthama Seva Padakkama and the Desha Puthra Padakkama.
After a military career spanning more than 30 years, Fonseka retired from military service, having ridden the country of the terrorism which had afflicted it throughout almost his entire career.
Today, he embarks on a new journey of service to the nation as Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.
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