SLAF’s first batch of female pilots commissioned | Daily News

SLAF’s first batch of female pilots commissioned

The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) held the Commissioning and Wings Parade of the 61st Intake of Officers Cadets, 13th Lady Officer Cadets Intake and the No 33rd and No 34th Kotelawala Defence University Intakes yesterday morning (November 17) at the SLAF Academy in China Bay.

On the invitation of the Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, taking the salute as the Chief Guest at this prestigious occasion was the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne.

The day’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, nine 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.

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. The next highlight of the parade was when the parade was handed over to the newly commissioned Officers to command. It marked the first instance in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force when a Lady Officer commanded a parade with the President’s Colour.

Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana had the honour of being the first Lady Officer to do so when she took over the parade as the new Parade Commander.