The ceremony began with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a two minute silence to commemorate fallen Heroes. Commander of the Air Force‚ Air Chief Marshal WDRMJ Goonetileke‚ addressing the gathering said that the success of the Air Force is mainly as a result of its "Team Work". Inviting the Secretary Defence to address the SLAF Officers & Other Ranks‚ the Commander stated that the leadership of His Excellency the President and determination of the Secretary Defence to erradicate terrorism were the key factors that contributed towards the success against the LTTE.
Addressing the gathering‚ Secretary Defence commended the SLAF for its role in defeating the terrorists and the successful conclusion of the Humanitarian Operations.
"It is not the fire power that determines the outcome‚ it is the determination of the man behind the weapon that holds the key to the outcome" he further added.
Further elaborating on the role played by the SLAF‚ Secretary Defence specially mention the close air support provided by the MI-24 Helicopter gunships‚ the accurate target acquisition by the fighter jets and the casualty evacuation operations carried out in the midst of the battle by the SLAF helicopters. He also appreciated the role played by the UAVs in providing real time situational awareness to the battlefield commanders. Further‚ he commended the services of the air transport squadrons which carried out resupplying operations in support of the troops in Jaffna Peninsula during difficult situations. Destroying terrorist air capability with the use of the Air Defence System was a notable achievement as the system has been established within a very short period of time. The action of SLAF Regiment in providing security for areas North and East‚ too‚ was appreciated by the Secretary Defence.
In conclusion‚ he added that "the Air Force has carried out its role in destroying the terrorist in air‚ on land and at sea".
The Commander of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal WDRMJ Goonetileke presented a memento as a token of appreciation to the Secretary of Defence‚ on behalf of the Air Force‚ at the end of the ceremony. More than two thousand SLAF personnel attended this ceremony.
Secretary Defence‚ accompanied by the Commander of the Air Force and other senior officers‚ inspected the aircraft, armament and other equipment used by the SLAF during the Humanitarian Operations. He also spoke to the officers and other ranks of the Aircraft Squadrons and other formations‚ commending them for their services.