Sunday, 12 July 2009

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Thurstanites honoured for gallantry

With unquestioned dedication to their Motherland, these battle hardened men of the three forces and police in their war of liberation added a new chapter to the country's history. Undoubtedly they are a blessing to their loved ones and above all the greatest pride to their Alma Mater.


The war heroes with College Principal

And definitely it is this pride and honour they felt, led the Thurstan College to felicitate their brave men who were in the forefront of the Eelam War IV that liberated the country from LTTE terrorism. The College also share the pride of producing a unique leader, President Mahinda Rajapaksa to lead he country to prosperity.

Victorious Thurstanites received honours from their alma mater on June 30 - as icons of bravery, courage and dedication. Headed by Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramaratne, Brigadier Sathyapriya Liyanage, Colonel G.V. Ravipriya, Lieutenant Colonel Harendra Ranasinghe, Lieutenant Colonel Ajith Colambathanthri, Lieutenant Colonel Lal Chandrasiri of the Sri Lanka Army, Wing Commander Sampath Thuiyakontha of the Sri Lanka Air Force and Captain Hasantha Ediriweera of the Sri Lanka Navy - all proud products of the Thurstan College - received their lives greatest honour amidst a large gathering of young Thurstanites.

The presence of most of the past teachers of all these War Heroes added glamour to the occasion. They might have displayed glimpses of dedication and courage during their school days yet no one would have thought they would become heroes of their Motherland.

Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramarathne with a second class honours degree in Public Administration joined the Sri Lanka Police as a Probationary Assistant Superintendent of Police and served in many parts of the country before being appointed as head of the police force.

During his long career of 34 years in the Police, Wickramarathne has receives 'Poorna Bhoomi' award, Sri Lanka Police award for excellent service and Presidential awards as well.

Brigadier Sathyapriya Liyanage, a gallant Armed Corp Officer who led the troops to victory from many positions both in the Northern and the Wanni frontlines was a War Hero who was felicitated at the ceremony.

Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Sri Lanka Army on November 16 in 1985, Brigadier Liyanage was notable from his inception as a Commanding Officer of the Armed Corps, a strict administrator performed excellently as a General Officer Commanding in launching the final battle against LTTE terrorists. He was awarded the 'Poorna Bhoomi' medal, North East Service medal, 'Rana Wickrama' medal, 'Riviresa' medal and some more!

Fighting valiantly till the last LTTE terrorist was vanquished Colonel G. Vijitha Ravipirya, as the Commander of Task Force 8, played a significant role in the Wanni Humanitarian mission.

With the solid intention of eradicating terrorism from the motherland, Colonel Ravipriya a dedicated and understanding leader carried with him the true values he absorbed as a fine young man at his Alma Mater. On April 10 in 1986, on the day he was commissioned as an officer, Col. Ravipriya became the best cadet of his batch. He was moulded as a solid Army officer first at the Kothalawala Defence Academy and then at the Military Academy at Diyathalawa. Next to his beloved parents, it was the Thurstan College that definitely laid the solid base for this great warrior of the Artillery Regiment. He is a disciplined, yet a kind father to a daughter and a son. Despite suffering severe injuries due to a land mine explosion while on his way to take over duty at Talaimannar Camp in 1987, the mere "luck" saved him as he was destined to save his motherland.

Then a young Thurstanite, Harendra Parakrama Ranasinghe clearly realized that his task was to save the country with all his might on the day the LTTE massacred hundreds of innocent devotees at the foot of sacred Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura gave up his dream to become a lawyer. Lieutenant Colonel Harendra Ranasinghe, joined the S.L. Army as an infantryman in the Gemunu Watch and served in every part of the North and the East during his entire career including his service in the Special Forces as well.

His exceptional service to the country and his dedication and commitment was vivid in the hard battles he fought during 'Riviresa' operation, 'Sathjaya' operations I and II and during the Wanni humanitarian mission which he served under the 58 and 57 Divisions and Lt. Col. Ranasinghe has made himself of an exemplary father shaping up his young son of whom he is very much proud of.Lt. Col. Ajith Colambathanthri's interest in an Army career grew up since his school days at Thurstan Cadet Platoon.

He joined the Army in 1988 under the 26th Intake to the Military Academy in Diyathalawa. This true Gunner contributed greatly to 'Akunu Pahara', 'Riviresa' I,II, III, Shake Hand I,II,III, 'Edibala' and 'Jayasikuru' operations. Being attached to the 58 Division, Lt. Col. Colambathantri became "mastermind" behind the advancing soldiers providing artillery support during the entire northern operation.

His capability in coordinating and managing an uninterrupted supportive fire power was a solid base for the victories and successes of the Division. He was awarded 'Ranashura', 'Poorna Bhoomi' and a medal for his gallantry in the Northern and Eastern battles.

Commanding the 9 Gemunu Watch, Lt. Col. Lal Chandrasiri, a true Thurstanite brought honour to his Alma Mater. His victories at Andankulam, Pooneryn and Elephantpass were significant.

The great warrior led his men until the East was liberated and the battle against terrorism became a success.As an exceptional infantryman of the Gemunu Watch, Lt. Col. Chandrasiri sets an example not only to the young Thurstanites but clearly to the entire younger generation which includes his beloved son and daughter who stood with him patiently until he finished his mission.

The Sri Lanka Air Force and the Navy are also proud of its Thurstanites. Thurstan also honoured a true son of this land serving in the Sri Lanka Air Force, Wing Commander Sampath Thuiyakontha, with his extensive training as an excellent helicopter pilot, an asset to the country, Wing Commander Thuiyakontha skilfully led the Squadron of the MI 24s - the battle tank of the Air Force against enemy targets.

Penetrating into the enemy territory and demolishing enemy defence lines, this valiant warrior did more than his best to serve the motherland risking his own life several times. During his career starting from 1988, Wing Commander Thuiyakontha never failed in any of his given tasks.

Even amidst the adverse situations he would make that daring effort to support the ground troops by destroying the LTTE or rescuing military personnel sandwiched between enemy lines. He brought the greatest pride to the Thurstan College and surely he deserves this honour!

Shaped up especially in the College cadet platoon, Captain Hasantha Ediriweera of the Sri Lanka Navy is a proud product of Thurstan College. Joining the Navy in 1989 as a Sub Lieutenant, Ediriweera played a key role in the Navy during 'Jayasikuru' operation and later in the Mannar area.

Captain Hasantha Ediriweera carried with him the glory of being a Thurstanite into his service in the Navy as well. Thus, he deserves the honour from his Alma Mater.

The Thurstan College honoured these gallant warriors of the Wanni Humanitarian War among the hundreds of Thurstanites serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Police bringing glory to the motherland.

-DY

 

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