One of the prestigious Regiments of the Sri Lanka Army - the Gajaba Regiment, which carries 38 years of legacy and has been awarded the Regimental colours and the Presidential Colours commemorates its 38th anniversary today, on October 14, at the Regimental Centre of the Gajaba Regiment in Saliyapura, Anuradhapura.

The Gajaba Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army joins the annals of Sri Lankan contemporary military history as the Regiment which produced the majority of Wanni battlefield Commanders who led the triumphant battle to drive away terrorism from the Motherland. In the post-conflict scenario, Gajaba Regiment troops contributed extensively to the betterment and peaceful co-existence of the country. Presently, the Regiment consists of 16 Regular Units and eight Volunteer Units with a total of 25 battalions with the motto “Unity is Strength”.

The Gajaba Regiment was named after the Sri Lankan great warrior, King Gajaba the First. The name of the heroic King “Gajaba” was the first to be proposed and it was accepted. He was a highly belligerent and hostile warrior in the history of Sri Lanka which meant the one who had arms as strong as an elephant. Chronicles of King Gajabahu create the strength and morale required for soldiers to approach the victories.

The 1st Battalion of the Gajaba Regiment was established on October 14, 1983 by amalgamating the 1st Rajarata Rifle Battalion and 1st Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment as per a decision taken by the Army Headquarters due to the ethnic conflicts that prevailed in Sri Lanka at that time. One of the meticulous War Heroes, Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne is honoured as the founding father of the Gajaba Regiment and he was a Lieutenant Colonel who was successful in establishing an impressive juncture in the annals of the Gajaba Regiment history as the first Commanding Officer of this Infantry Battalion.

Gajaba illustrates the pride of all members of the Army family and also about the extraordinary victory achieved by all its War Heroes. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary General (Rtd) Kamal Gunarathne and Defence Staff Chief and Army Commander General Shavendra Silva are proud products of the Gajaba Regiment and it is the only regiment that has been accoladed its prestigious name by eliciting a President, two Defence Secretaries and an Army Commander to the Motherland.

General Shavendra Silva became the Army Commander on August 18, 2019. He is one of the courageous leaders who have accomplished many gallantry awards among the organisation. He was worthy to achieve Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya (WWV), Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) and Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) while he was serving as a Second Lieutenant in the Army.

Besides, this Regiment engaged in more than 48 major operations during the period of brutal terrorism which prevailed in Sri Lanka till the end of the humanitarian operation. Gajaba troops have made an eternal record in history by contributing to the operations Vadamarachchi, Thrividha Balaya, Akunu Pahara, Jayasikuru, Sathjaya, Rivierasa and many more. A total of 175 officers and 4,075 other ranks of the Gajaba Regiment sacrificed their lives during the humanitarian operation and 180 officers and 4,030 other ranks were injured. To honour these valiant troops, four Parama Weera Vibhushanaya, three Weerodhara Vibhushanaya, 65 Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya, 774 Rana Wickrama Padakkama, 3,919 Rana Sura Padakkama, 12 Vishishta Seva Vibhushanaya, and 682 Uththama Seva Padakkama gallantry awards have been awarded to heroic officers and soldiers of the Battalion. On January 16, 2007, the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa awarded the President's Colours and the Regimental Colours to the Gajaba Regiment.

The evolution of the Gajaba Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army saw its birth in a decisive era when the country required young brilliant heroes with courage, dedication, and commitment with an apparent sense of discipline and professionalism. This prestigious and exceptional Infantry Regiment silently but majestically marches forward into the future to discharge the duties and responsibilities to the nation and the Army selflessly and in a disciplined manner.

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