CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF

 

Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne WV, RWP & Bar, RSP, VSV, USP, NI(M), ndc, psn

 

      Admiral Ravindra (Ravi) Wijegunaratne was educated at the Royal College, Colombo 7. He has won ‘Navodaya’ scholarship in studies and was a President Scout, Corporal of College Cadet Platoon which won Hermann Loos Trophy in 1980 and a member of the College Hockey and Athletics team.  

 

     He joined the Sri Lanka Navy on 01st November 1980 as an officer cadet of the 9th Intake and privileged to join the prestigious Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), Dartmouth, UK being the best Executive Cadet of the batch. He was the recipient of the "Best International Midshipman" award at the BRNC, Dartmouth in the year 1982. He is specialized in Anti-Submarine Warfare and is a Qualified Diver, Paratrooper, and a Special Forces person.

 

     Admiral Wijegunaratne was instrumental in forming the Sri Lanka Navy's Special Forces element known as the Special Boat Squadron (SBS). He led a number of SBS operations behind the enemy lines including the famous 'Pooneryn Amphibious Operation' in 1993 and led SBS teams on training missions with US Navy SEALS and Indian Navy MARCOS.

 

     Admiral Wijegunaratne has been awarded with four distinguished medals for his acts of gallantry, valor and conspicuous bravery in the face of enemy that included Weerodhara Vibushanaya', 'Rana Wickrama Padakkama' and Rana Sura Padakkama'. He is also widely known as an expert in "Asymmetric Naval Warfare" and "Small Boat Operations".

 

     He earned his BSc (Hons) degree in War Studies from the Karachi University, Pakistan in 1996 and MPhil in Defence and Strategic Studies (First Class pass) from the University of Madras, India in 2010.

 

     He was an outstanding sportsman and has won Navy Colours for Rugby Football, Sailing, and Rowing. He is a top marksman and a Golfer who introduced the game of Golf to Sri Lanka Navy.

 

     He commanded the Sri Lanka Navy Flag Ship SLNS Sayura and held diverse key appointments such as First Secretary and Defence Adviser of the Sri Lanka High Commission in India, Commandant Naval & Maritime Academy, Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet, Director Naval Special Forces, Director Maritime Surveillance and Director Naval Operations when last Four LTTE Floating Armories were destroyed in international waters during 2006/2007, Director General Services, Commander of Southern, Western, Northern, and Eastern Naval Areas, Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard and Chief of Staff.

 

     He was appointed as the Commander of the Navy on 11th July 2015 and appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff on 22nd August 2017. As the Commander of the Navy he raised two battalions of the Sri Lanka Navy Marines, with the support of the US Marines in 2015.

 

     In 2019, Government of Pakistan awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) ‘NI(M)’ (order of Excellence) medal to Admiral Wijegunaratne for his contribution towards Sri Lanka-Pakistan Defence relations. NI (M) is the highest award that can be awarded to a General, Admiral or an Air Chief Marshal in Pakistan.

 

     He is married to Mrs. Yamuna De Saram, crowned Miss Sri Lanka in 1989, who also had a successful career as a Model and a Tele-drama actress. They are blessed with a 25 year old son, Satyajith.