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The newly-appointed 19th Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, Air Marshal RAUP Rajapaksa RSP and two Bars, VSV, USP, MSc (MOA) USA, MSc (Def Stu) in Mgt, MA in IS&S (UK), BSc (Def Stu), MIM (SL), AMIE (SL), rcds, psc was greeted ceremonially at the occasion of his first visit to the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff today (06 July 2023).

Major General Udaya Kumara, the Chief of Staff OCDS received the visiting Air Force Commander on arrival at the entrance. Extending a warm welcome, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Shavendra Silva WWV RWP RSP VSV USP ndc psc MPhil accompanied the new commander to his office.

The CDS extended his warm congratulations to the 19th Commander of the Air Force and wished for successful tenure to serve the nation benefitting all officers and ranks of the Sri Lanka Air Force. They also shared the memories, particularly during the three decades long war where they actively participated in the operations launched to liberate the motherland. The CDS also stated that he saw the potentialities and leadership qualities of a future Commander when he perform duties as the Commandant of SLAF Academy China Bay in the year 2019.

Thanking the CDS for the guidance and assistance extended, Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa requested the same gesture from the CDS in future too. The new Commander also stated that new opportunities are sought to develop the force to suit the modern challenges.

Towards the end of the call on, both of them exchanged mementoes to signify the importance of the day’s meeting. Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa placed a complimentary remark in the Visitors’ Book at the Office before he left the OCDS.

Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa is a proud product of Parakrama Vidyalaya, Bandarawatta, Bandaranaike College, Gampaha, and Ananda College, Colombo. Displaying a strong commitment to serving his country, he joined the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy in Ratmalana as an Officer Cadet on 6 October 1988, into the 6th Officer Cadets’ Intake.

The Commander of the Air Force holds the distinction of being a VVIP Captain Pilot and is qualified to fly ten types of aircraft, including the CESSNA-150, HARBIN Y-12, HS-748, SF-260TP, IA-58 PUCARA, B-200T, AN-32 and C-130. Throughout his career, he has accumulated over 7000 flying hours, encompassing both combat and transport missions.

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