CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF

 

Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne WV, RWP & Bar, RSP, VSV, USP, 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 and troop leader of the college scout troop. He was also the Senior Corporal of the College Cadet Platoon which won Hermann Loos Trophy as the Best School Cadet Platoon in Sri Lanka in 1980. He was also a member of the College Hockey and Athletics teams. 

 

    He joined the Sri Lanka Navy as an officer cadet of the 9th Intake on 01st November 1980 at the age of 18. He underwent basic training at the Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee and at the prestigious Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), Dartmouth, UK. He was the recipient of the "Best International Midshipman" award at the BRNC, Dartmouth in year 1982. He is specialized in Anti-Submarine Warfare and is a qualified diver, paratrooper, and Special Forces person.He has done his Staff Course at the Pakistan Navy Staff College in Karachi in 1995/96 and National Defence College Course in India in 2010.

 

      His last sea command was SLNS Sayura (Offshore Patrol Vessel), the Flag Ship of the Sri Lanka Navy. The other key appointments he has held during his unblemished naval career of 36 years are: Commandant Naval & Maritime Academy, Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet, First Secretary and Defence Adviser of the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi- India, Director Naval Operations, Director Naval Special Forces, Director Maritime Surveillance, Director General Services, Commander Southern, Western, Northern, and Eastern Naval Areas, Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard and Chief of Staff.

 
     He commanded the Sri Lanka Navy for two years from 11th July 2015 to 22nd August, 2017. He was appointed as Chief of Defence Staff of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces by His Excellency the President on 22nd August, 2017 and promoted to the rank of Admiral. The Chief of Defence Staff is the senior most military position in Sri Lanka.
 
      Admiral Wijegunaratne is the senior most Special Forces naval officer who was instrumental in forming the Sri Lanka Navy's Special Forces element known as the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) which contributed immensely during the conflict period. He commanded this elite unit twice in his career and has led a number of SBS operations behind the enemy lines and amphibious operations including the famous 'Pooneryn Operation' in 1993.He has led SBS teams on training missions with US Navy SEALS and Indian Navy MARCOS in Sri Lanka and abroad.
 
      He had also fought alongside the Indian Navy Marine Commandos (MARCOS) during 'Operation Pawan' in the Jaffna Lagoon in 1988 and awarded gallantry medal for his bravery.In 2001, he sustained severe injuries with fractured legs following a parachute jump accident. However, he returned to action with sheer determination. 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.
 
      Admiral Wijegunaratne is a highly decorated senior naval officer with four gallantry medals for his act of bravery and valour. He is a recipient of 'Weerodhara Vibushanaya', the highest gallantry medal in Sri Lanka for non-military nature, 'Rana Wickrama Padakkama' awarded twice for individual gallantry in the face of the enemy and 'Rana Sura Padakkama' for collective gallantry in the face of the enemy.
 
     He was also awarded with 'Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya' (VSV) and 'Uththama Seva Padakkama' USP) for his unblemished and exemplary naval career.
 
      He earned his BSc (Hons) degree in War Studies from the Karachchi University, Pakistan in 1996 and MPhil in Defence and Strategic Studies (First Class pass) from the University of Madras in India in 2010.
 
      He is also an alumni of the National Defence University, Washington DC, USA (NESA Center). He is widely known as an expert in "Asymmetric Naval Warfare" and "Small Boat Operations".
 
      He was an outstanding sportsman and has won Navy Colours for Rugby Football, Sailing, and Rowing. He was a top marksman who represented the Navy team and was the President of the National Rifle Association. Presently he is the President of the Naval Golf Club.
 
      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 24 year old son, Satyajith.