Know your defense secretary : Kamal Guanratne

Following the succeeding of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Major General (Retd) Kamal Guanratne was appointed as the new secretary to the ministry of defense, succeeding General (Retd) Shantha Kottegoda.

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Kamal Gunaratne is a name that was heard too often, day and night on every TV and radio channel exactly about ten years ago. He is a battle-hardened Gajaba Regiment warrior who had made a landmark contribution to the elimination of LTTE terrorism from the Sri Lankan soil in 2009. Following the succeeding of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Major General (Retd) Kamal Guanratne was appointed as the new secretary to the ministry of defense, succeeding General (Retd) Shantha Kottegoda.

Early Life

Mr. Gunaratne was born to a family of schoolteachers. His father was a principal. He went to Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya for his primary education. Then he became an Anandian until he finished his school education.

Military Career

On 31st August 1981 he was enlisted to the Sri Lanka Army, as a cadet officer. He underwent his basic training at Sri Lanka Military Academy & received his commission as a second lieutenant into Rajarata Rifles on 4th December 1982. He has also attended few foreign academies such as Army War College, Mhow, the Defense Services College and the National Defense College, New Delhi for further training. Upon the disbandment of Rajarata Rifles, he was commissioned as one of the initial officers of the newly formed Gajaba Regiment. He has served as an Officer Commanding, Staff Officer 11, General Staff Officer 1, Commandant Infantry Training Centre, Staff Officer at Joint Operations HQ, General Officer Commanding, 55 Division, 53 Division, Commander, Security Forces-Wanni, Centre Commandant, Gajaba Regiment HQ, Colonel of the Regiment, Gajaba Regiment HQ, Colonel of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment and many other appointments in the North, Wanni and elsewhere.

In 1987, he took part in one of the remarkable missions in Sri Lanka Army history, the Vadamarachchi operation. In 1990, he was the commanding officer of the Mankulam Army Camp when it was subjected to intense LTTE attack. Under the orders from the Wanni Headquarters Gunaratne made a successful withdrawal from the encircled camp. He was commanding the Silawathura Army Camp when it came under siege by the LTTE. He was remarkably held off the LTTE attack for several days until 6GR was replaced by reinforcements.

By 1994, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel rank and took command in 6th Gajaba Regiment and took part in Riviresa operation. He was also appointed as a coordination officer in Operation Jayasikurui.

During the Ealam War IV, colonel Gunaratne was the Bridged Commander of the Air Mobile Brigade. Then the 53 Division was put under his command, while he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier. 53 Division is believed to have killed the leader of LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran. Following the victory, he served as Security Forces Headquarters- Wanni. He also served as the Deputy Ambassador to Brazil and Master General Ordance at the Army HQ until his retirement in 2016.

Service Medals

As a renowned officer in SL army, Major General Kamal Gunaratne received many medals such as Weera Wickrama, Rana Wickrama, Rana Sura and Utthama Seva for his gallantry in service,

Other Work

The book he authored, “Road to Nandikadal” was one of the best sellers in CIBF 2016. He has also written the biography of President Rajapaksa “Gotabaya” and “Kadol Aththu” a fictional story based on true incidents.

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