It was a historic day for the Sri Lanka Air Force today when the first batch of female pilots were commissioned and given wings at Air Force Academy ,China Bay.
Pilot Officer ADPL Gunarathe and Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana became the first Lady Officers to be awarded the prestigious Flying Brevet and be the pioneering female military aviators of Sri Lanka.
The lady officers were among 53 Officer Cadets as Commissioned Officers of the SLAF as pilots of the general duties pilot branch.
It was the culmination of nearly three years of intensive training and hard work by the officers who were from different branches such as General Duties Pilot, Technical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Logistics, Administrative Regiment and Operations Air.
Having begun initial training at the Combat Training School in Diyatalawa for 21 weeks and at the Kotelawala Defence University for almost three years respectively, these officers subsequently followed their Basic Administrative Courses and respective branch trainings at the Flying and Ground Training Wings in China Bay and the Combat Training School at Diyatalawa.
Today also marked the first instance in the history of the SLAF when a Lady Officer commanded a parade with the Presidents Colour. Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana had the honour of being the first Lady Officer to do so when she took over the parade as the new Parade Commander.
Pilot Officer RT Weerawardana also set another record when she became the first lady officer to be awarded the prestigious “Sword of Honour” presented by Group Captain NR Raheem. The sword of honour is awarded to the Officer Cadet who has achieved the highest results in both academic and professional studies, and who has shown the best all-round performance throughout the course.