Sunday - 01 November, 2020

Commanding Officer

Commanding Officer

Group Captain MDAG Seneviratne
USP, BSc Aero Eng (USAFA), MDS (UoK), AMIESL, psc

Group Captain Gihan Seneviratne joined the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) in May 1992, having earned a scholarship to attend the United States Air Force Academy as a member of its Class of 1996.

He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelors Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Technical Engineering Branch in 1996.  He served as an Engineering Officer in No 7 Helicopter Squadron, Hingurakgoda, Officer in Charge of Motor Transport and Armament at Special Operations Group Puliyankulam, before being posted to the Aircraft Engineering Wing, SLAF Base Katunayake in 1997. 

At the Aircraft Engineering Wing, he was placed in charge of the Aircraft Repair and Salvage Section which was tasked with all Structural Repairs and Battle Damage Repairs of the entire Aircraft Fleet, as well as the Rotor and Composite repairs of the fleet.  During his tenure from 1997 to 2007, he was primarily responsible for managing a team of specialist Structural Repair Technicians numbering twenty to thirty, and assigned and often led small teams of these specialists during field repairs, battle damage repairs in operational areas. He was also responsible for Jig Repairs of aircraft with major damages and structural misalignment.  The task of salvaging of crashed aircraft was also the purview of the Officer in Charge AR & SS and he was actively involved in the recovery of a number of aircraft that crashed or carried out emergency landings in operational areas.

During his tenure in the appointment, he was responsible for a number of special projects including the Optical Alignment Testing of the Kfir Jets, Transplanting of Electronic Counter Measure Systems as well as the recovery of aircraft that were subject to damage due to the Terrorist attack on SLAF Base, Katunayake.

As the officer in charge of Non Destructive testing, he achieved Level II in Radiographic and Ultrasonic Testing through the Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka. 

He completed the Junior Commander’s Course No 14 at the Junior Command and Staff College at SLAF China Bay, earning the Golden Pen for the Best Commandant’s paper and the first in the order of Merit of course No 14.  He thus earned the opportunity to proceed to the Air Force Administrative College in Coimbatore, India to complete the 214 Junior Commanders Course. Squadron Leader Seneviratne was selected to join the Defence Services Command and Staff College Course (DSCSC) No 2 in 2007 and as the youngest Air Force participant in Course No 2, had the distinction of earning the Golden Owl award for the First in the order of merit in the Air Wing and the Golden Pen award for the Best Commandant’s Paper. He also had the distinction of being included in the Commandant’s Honours List. 

As Directing Staff II, Junior Command and Staff College, China Bay from 2009 to 2011, he took a proactive role in improving the course programme at the College.  He restructured the public speaking programme and also introduced methodologies for plagiarism testing of submissions.  He also designed a methodology for automating the grading of the student participants.  For his contribution to the development of the Junior Command and Staff College, China Bay, he was awarded with the Commendation of the Commander of the Air Force in 2011.

He was appointed as the Officer Commanding Maintenance of No 4 VVIP/VIP Helicopter Squadron at SLAF Katunayake, where shortly thereafter, he was tasked with relocating the squadron from Katunayake to Ratmalana.  Having managed the shifting of the entire operation without adverse effects on the Squadron’s operational efficiency, he was also responsible for subsequently shifting the squadron again to a new hangar that was designed as per the specification of the Squadron.  As Officer Commanding Maintenance, he was involved with ensuring that the newly built hangar conformed to the requirements of the operation and was also responsible for the second shifting of operations of the squadron to its present home.

In 2013 he was appointed as the Staff Officer (Technical) to the Commander of the Air Force and then in July of 2014 as the Command Media Officer as well. He served in this dual capacity till 2016, serving under then Commanders Air Chief Marshal HD Abeywickrama, Air Chief Marshal KA Gunatilleke and Air Chief Marshal GP Bulathsinghala.

He served as the Directing Staff III at the Defence Services Command and Staff College, Sapugaskande from January to September 2016, during which time, he took an active role in the Air Wing activities as well as those of the entire training wing. Notable among his activities were the first ever introductory programme of the Toastmasters Club as well as the successful conducting of the First Ever Directing Staff Workshop. 

He resumed duties as the Staff Officer (Technical) to the Commander and Command Media Officer from September 2016 on the appointment of Air Chief Marshal KVB Jayampathy as the Commander of the Air Force. 

He was re-designated the Director Media in August 2017 and continued to serve in the capacity of Staff Officer (Technical) to the Commander and the Director Media at AFHQ until February 2020.

As the Director Media, he was responsible for restructuring the Unit known previously as the Command Media Unit and for introducing many value additions to make it more responsive and more effective in projecting the correct image of the Air Force to the Public Media. 

During his career, Group Captain Seneviratne has been awarded with the Uttama Seva Padakkama (USP), SLAF 50th Anniversary Medal, Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal and Clasp, 50th Independence Anniversary Commemoration Medal, East Humanitarian Operations Medal, North Humanitarian Operations Medal, Poorna Bhoomi Padakkama and the Riviresa Campaign Service Medal.

Group Captain Seneviratne is married to Sharmali and is the proud father of two daughters, Tracy and Cassandra.