Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne has been promoted to the rank of Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy with effect from July 07, 2014 by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The post of Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy fell vacant when Rear Admiral Jayantha Perera, who held that post, was promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral and appointed as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy.
Rear Admiral Ravindra (Ravi) Wijegunaratne studied at Royal College, Colombo and joined the Sri Lanka Navy as an Officer Cadet on 01st November 1980 at the age of 18 years. He underwent his basic training at the Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee and at the prestigious Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) Dartmouth, UK. He was the recipient of the “Best International Midshipman” award at the BRNC Dartmouth in year 1982.
He completed his Sub Lieutenant Technical Course in India, Specialization on Anti-Submarine Warfare in India, Naval Staff Course in Pakistan and National Defence College Course in India.
He has Commanded number of Patrol and Fast Attack Craft in the Sri Lanka Navy and his last sea command was SLNS Sayura (Offshore Patrol Vessel), the Flag Ship of the Sri Lanka Navy. The other key appointments he has held during his unblemished naval career are the Commandant Naval & Maritime Academy, Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet, Director General (Services), Director Naval Operations/Special Forces/Maritime Surveillance when the last four (04) floating warehouses of LTTE were destroyed in year 2007, Commander Southern Naval Area, Commander Western Naval Area and Commander Northern Naval Area. He Commanded the Eastern Naval Command prior taking over the appointment of the Director General Sri Lanka Coast Guard.
Rear Admiral Wijegunaratne is a qualified diver, parachute jumper and the senior most Special Force naval officer who was instrumental in forming the Sri Lanka Navy’s Special Force element known as the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) which contributed immensely during the conflict period. He commanded this elite unit twice in his career and has led number of SBS operations behind the enemy lines and amphibious operations; including famous ‘Poonaryn Operation’ in 1993. He also fought alongside the Indian Navy Marine Commandos (MARCOS) during ‘Operation Pawan’ in Jaffna Lagoon area in year 1987. He has also led SBS teams for number of joint exercises with the US Navy SEALs and the Indian Navy MARCOS in Sri Lanka and abroad.He sustained serious injuries and broke both legs as a result of a parachute jump accident in year 2000 and recovered back strongly with his sheer determination.
He was the First Secretary and the Defence Adviser of Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi, India from November 2001 to April 2005. His contribution in planning and coordinating the Indian Navy disaster relief operations during the Boxing Day Tsunami disaster was commended by the both Indian and Sri Lankan governments.
Rear Admiral Wijegunaratne is a highly decorated senior naval officer with four gallantry medals for his act of bravery and valor for fighting against the LTTE terrorists. He is a recipient of Weerodhara Vibushanaya (highest gallantry medal in Sri Lanka for non-military nature), Rana Wickrama Medal awarded twice (individual gallantry in the face of enemy) and Rana Sura Medal (collective gallantry in the face of enemy).
He earned his BSc (Hons) degree in War Studies from the Karachchi University, Pakistan and MPhil in Defence and Strategic Studies (First Class pass) from the University of Madras in India. He is an Alumni of the National Defence University, Washington DC, USA (NESA Center) and have delivered lecturers at the Center for Irregular War and Armed Groups, US Naval War College, New Port Rhode Island, USA.