Women pilots makes history at SLAF

Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana( Sword of Honour) (from right) Pilot Officer ADPL Gunarathne

Today marks a historical event as two female officers were commissioned as pilots at the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) at its academy in China Bay. This is the first time in the SLAF’s 69-year history where female officers were commissioned as pilots.

In a press release the SLAF stated that today’s proceedings began on a grand note with the Commissioning Parade led by the Commanding Officer of the Ground Training Wing at China Bay, Group Captain Udaya De Silva marching on to the Parade Ground. The parade which consisted of three Squadrons, 9 Flights and the President’s Colour received the Chief Guest with a Ceremonial General Salute. Following the salute was the highlight of the day’s agenda, the commissioning of the 53 Officer Cadets as Commissioned Officers of the Sri Lanka Air Force which included two Lady Officers being commissioned as Pilots of the General Duties Pilot Branch for the first time in the History of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

The SLAF added that this was the culmination of nearly three years of intensive training and hard work by the officers who were from different branches such as General Duties Pilot, Technical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Logistics, Administrative Regiment and Operations Air. Having begun initial training at the Combat Training School in Diyatalawa for 21 weeks and at the Kotelawala Defence University for almost three years respectively, these officers subsequently followed their Basic Administrative Courses and respective branch trainings at the Flying and Ground Training Wings in China Bay and the Combat Training School at Diyatalawa.

Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana created history yet again when she was awarded the prestigious “Sword of Honour” presented by Group Captain NR Raheem. The sword of honour is awarded to the Officer Cadet who has achieved the highest results in both academic and professional studies, and who has shown the best all-round performance throughout the course. This is the first occasion in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force when a Lady Officer has been awarded the “Sword of Honour”.

 

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