PROFILE OF FORMER CDS

 

Air Chief Marshal WDRMJ Goonetileke RWP & bar, VSV, USP, ndc, psc

 

      Air Chief Marshal WDRMJ Goonetileke was appointed the Chief of Defence Staff on 28 February 2011 on relinquishing Command of the Sri Lanka Air Force. He was the 12th Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) and is the eldest son of the 5th Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, late Air Chief Marshal Harry Goonetileke.

 

      Born on the 28th of February 1956, he completed his education at St. Peter's College, Colombo Sri Lanka, where he excelled in both studies and sports. He joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet in the General Duties Pilot Branch on 13th January 1978. On successful completion of flying training, he was commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer on 24th August 1979.

 

      During his career of 33 years in the Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Chief Marshal WDRMJ Goonetileke held a number of Command, Operational and Administrative appointments. He logged many flying hours both in fixed and rotary wing aircraft when serving as an operational pilot. For bravery displayed in conduct of operations, he was awarded the Gallantry Medal "Rana Wikrama Padakkama" twice.

 
      He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Alabama, USA in 1994 and attended the prestigious National Defence College in Pakistan in 2001.
 
      He was appointed the Commander of the Air Force on 12 June 2006. On 18th May 2009, he was promoted Air Chief Marshal, becoming the first ever serving Officer of the Sri Lanka Air Force to be promoted to four star rank.
 
      Whilst being the Commander his endeavour was to create an environment in which personnel would be motivated, mentally and physically fit, and committed to serve the nation to the best of their ability not only in the primary SLAF role, but also in sports and all other activity. Throughout the sustained air campaign of the "Humanitarian Operations" he strategized with his senior commanders, providing for "opinion" and encouraging "consensus" for effective and efficient deployment of resources to ensure success. "Team" and "Team work" were the encouraged principles, with appreciation and reward processes, incorporated into the system.
 
      On 16 November 2009, he was appointed as the Acting Chief of Defence Staff in addition to his incumbent duties as the Commander of the Air Force. He was then made the Chairman of the Board of Management of Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAA of SL) with effect from 5th October 2009 until relinquishing duties on 28 December 2011. An avid sportsman he was also at the helm developing Sri Lanka Rugby, as the President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union serving two successful terms from 01June 2010 to 11 January 2012. He was also appointed as "Chairman of the Board"; of "Waters Edge Ltd", a Government Owned, multi facility Recreational and Hospitality Complex.
 
      He was admitted to the Degree of "Doctor of Philosophy" (Honoris Causa) by the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka on 20 November 2009, in recognition of his professional achievements as the Commander of the Air Force. He is also a fellow of the Institute of Management in Sri Lanka.
 
      Air Chief Marshal WDRMJ Goonetileke is married to Mrs. Nelun Goonetileke. They are blessed with a son and a daughter, Rehan and Ronali.