General GSC Fonseka RWP RSP VSV USP rcds psc was elevated to the high office of the Chief of Defence Staff on 15 July 2009. As Commander of the Army, he played a key role in the military campaign against the LTTE. His contribution in defeat of terrorism is widely acclaimed.
General Sarath Fonseka had his primary education at Madawalalanda Maha Vidyalaya Ampara, Thawalama Vidyalaya Hiniduma and Dharmashoka Vidyalaya Ambalangoda. He completed secondary education at Ananda College Colombo, where he excelled not only in education but also in the field of athletics and sports, bringing fame to the College in swimming and water polo. He also was the Sergeant of the Ananda College Cadet Platoon.
He joined the Sri Lanka Army on 5 February 1970 as an Officer Cadet. He earned the commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (1 SLSR) on 1 June 1971 after successful training at the Sri Lanka Military Academy, Diyatalawa. Subsequently, he rose to the ranks of Lieutenant (1973), Captain (1976), Major (1981), Lieutenant Colonel (1988), Colonel (1991), Brigadier (1993), Major General (1998), Lieutenant General (2005) and General (2009) respectively.
In his illustrious career spanning over thirty nine years, he has held a number of various operational and Staff appointments.
He had the distinction of serving as an Instructor at the Sri Lanka Military Academy Diyatalawa. He also served as an Instructor, Chief Instructor and later as Deputy Commandant of Combat Training School Ampara and Infantry Training Centre Minneriya. He was appointed as Commanding Officer, 4 Sri Lanka Light Infantry and in 1988, Commanding Officer for 1 Battalion Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment. During the period of southern insurgency he functioned as the Coordinating Officer for Gampaha District. On 7 November 1991 he was appointed as the Centre Commandant, Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment at Ambepussa and thereafter, he served as Colonel General Staff at the Directorate of Operations at the Army Headquarters.
He also held the appointments of General Officer Commanding of the 23 Division, 21 Division, 5 Division Mannar, 3 Division in Batticaloa, 27 Division in Kilinochchi, 55 Division at Mirusuvil, Deputy Commander Task Force I, Deputy General Officer Commanding 51 Division in Jaffna, and many other operational appointments. He was also appointed the General Officer Commanding 22 Division and later as Director General General Staff at Army Headquarters. On 23 February 1998, with his promotion to the rank of Major General, became the Colonel of the Regiment, Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment. Thereafter, he has held the appointments of Commander, Security Force Headquarters Jaffna and Wanni, Commandant, Defence Service Command and Staff College at Sapugaskanda, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, Director Infantry, Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff respectively as his military career matured. On 6 December 2005, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and appointed as 18th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army.
He has followed Anti Terrorist Jungle Warfare Course in India, Support Arms and Weapon Course in India, Platoon Commanders Course in Pakistan and Defence Services Command and Staff Course in Bangladesh. He is a graduate from the Royal College of Defence Studies (rcds) in UK.
With the challenge of launching ground operations and wiping out terrorism from the country, he meticulously devised necessary ground plans for military offensives and operations. General Fonseka commanded the Army during the two and half year-long humanitarian operations resulted in the elimination of the ruthless LTTE terrorism.
In recognition of his dedicated service, bravery and commitment in the fight against terrorism General Fonseka has been awarded the gallantry medals Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) and Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP). Deshaputhra medal has also been conferred on him following injuries he sustained during military operations.
He is a recipient of Vishishta Seva Vibushana (VSV) for distinguished service and Uththama Seva Padakkama (USP) for unblemished service to the nation. He has received many other operational and service medals. The Eastern Humanitarian Operations Medal, Northern Humanitarian Operations Medal, Purnabhoomi Padakkama, North and East Operations Medal, Vadamarachchi Medal, Riviresa Operation Medal, 50th Independence Day Anniversary Medal (1998), Army Anniversary Medal (1999), Republic Medal for Armed Forces (1972), President's Investiture Medal (1978), etc are among several other medals that recognize his distinguished military career.
General Sarath Fosnseka is married to Anoma and they are blessed with two daughters.