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38 Commissioned and 20 Take Wings at China Bay

Published on: 2010-09-18 19:24:29
38 Commissioned and 20 Take Wings at China Bay
It was a moment of utmost pride and patriotism for the Sri Lanka Air Force when it held the commissioning parade of the 51st Intake of Officers Cadets and the passing out parade of both the No.146 Intake of  the Regular Airmen recruit course and the No.07 Intake - Direct Entry Regular Airmen course yesterday (September 17) at  the SLAF Academy in China Bay.

Taking  the salute as the Chief Guest at this prestigious occasion was the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Mr. Ajith Nivad Cabraal. Chief of Defence Staff and the Commander of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke was also in attendance as guest of  honor.

The day’s proceedings began on a grand note with the Commissioning Parade led by the Commanding Officer of the  Combat Training School in China Bay, Wing Commander Indrajith Weerasooriya. The 38 Officer Cadets impending commissioning then slow marched on to the parade square for the formal proceedings.

The parade which consisted of four Squadrons and the President’s Colour then received the Reviewing Officer (the Chief Guest) with the General Salute at the Parade Square. Following the salute was the highlight of the day’s agenda; the commissioning of the 38 Cadet Officers.

This was the culmination of nearly three and half years of intensive training and hard work for the officers who were from different branches of General Duties Pilot, Logistics, Administrative Regiment and Operations Air. Having begun initial training at SLAF Base in Diyatalawa for 20 weeks, these officers subsequently followed the Basic Administrative Course at the Combat Training School in China Bay. This was followed by specialized branch training at SLAF training schools situated in Diyatalawa and China Bay for the No.51st Intake.

To begin the Commissioning proceedings, the Parade Commander informed the Officer Cadets to receive the ceremonial swords from the Reviewing Officers to commemorate this significant moment in their lives, and congratulated by their Chief, the Commander of the Air Force.

After the completion of the pre parade events, the Parade Commander marched out from the grounds after officially handing over the parade to the winner of the “Sword of Honour” and the Best Officer Cadet of this intake, M.D.R. Perera.

The Reviewing Officer accompanied by the Air Force Commander then inspected the parade after which the newly recruited SLAF personnel commenced their march  in squadrons firstly in slow time followed by quick time paces, formed as squadrons in column of route and re-forms on the receiving base.

The 142 strong parade then advanced in review order to present arms in general salute to the Reviewing Officer. They were accompanied by the Ceremonial Band of the SLAF as they marched in unison and camaraderie with a sense of great pride with each stride.

What proved to be a thrilling experience for the audience followed next at the Wings Parade for the 20 Officer Cadets of the General Duties Pilot branch who received their Flying Brevets from the Chief Guest. As the accolades were being received, the audience was treated to a thrilling fly past in the bright blue skies above the parade grounds.

First to take flight in perfect formation were 05 PT 6 aircraft belonging to the China Bay Academy No.1 Flying Training Wing. Following this, the shrill scream of the engines of 03 MiG 27 fighter jets could be heard zooming through the air long before they appeared in the skies,  doing their customary pull up followed by a beautifully executed roll before disappearing   in an enthralling exit. The migs were flown by Squadron Leader Asela Jayasekara, leading the formation with Squadron Leader Indika Premadasa and Squadron Leader Krishantha Kapugama as his wingman. Fittingly, the PT 6 formation was  carried out by the Instructors of the No01 Flying Training Wing, who put the young men who got their wings today through their paces to reach the skies.

The presentation of awards to the Airmen who passed out took place next was subsequently followed by the Reviewing Officer’s address. After which the parade marched out in slow time signaling the conclusion of the main event of the day.

Tunes and beats of local and foreign tunes could then be heard over the stunning China Bay SLAF enclosure as the Sri Lanka Air Force Military Band took to the parade square for the band display. The pace of the proceedings took a complete change at the arrival of the next set of performers, who albeit ‘performing’ indeed appeared very realistic in terms of action, dress and movements. They were the Gunners of the Advanced (TE-II) Course.

“On guard” they commanded in chorus as they advanced to the parade square with sharp movements and dress complete with black bandannas and faces painted a rugged black. Each gunner carried a T-56 rifle fixed with a bayonet. Skill and balance of the highest order were on show as the Bayonet Assault Display commenced, to thunderous applause from an awe-stuck audience.

This was followed by an equally power packed performance of unarmed combat which saw a sequence of moves, splits and remarkable jumps. The fighting tactics which are used in hand to hand combat when there isn’t room for handling of weapons displayed the gunners’ ability to keep their bodies well balanced and coordinated.

A meticulous and graceful drill display by recruits of the Combat Training School brought a close to the day’s eventful pro gramme. The meticulously perfect parade and the efficiency of execution  throughout displayed the skill and quality of the SLAF Academy and its coterie committed Instructors.   


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