ACM ‘Paddy Mendis’ Felicitated

January 02, 2021

Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne graced a ceremony organized to felicitate a living legend of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Desamanya Pathman Mendis, at the Air Force Base, Ratmalana yesterday (Jan 1).

A true hero of SLAF, also known as ‘Paddy Mendis’ was accorded a guard of honour during the colourful ceremony under the patronage of the Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana.

The Defence Secretary who was a guest of honour at the memorable ceremony, said while addressing the gathering, ACM Mendis is a man of exquisite talents who holds the record for being the youngest ‘Commander’ in the history of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

He said, “This honour was bestowed upon him at a challenging tenure, when the SLAF was spreading its wings to its fullest, at a time the country was engulfed in an insurgency”. “ACM Mendis not only tackled these challenges, but also did it with distinction” he added.

Citing the transition from Royal Ceylon Air Force to SLAF during his tenure, Gen. Gunaratne said “He pioneered the SLAF in many ways, being the first Qualified Flying Instructor to graduate from the prestigious ‘Central Flying School of the Royal Air Force’, the first Commanding Officer of the No 2 Squadron, and being the First Commander to be at the helm of the renamed SLAF”.

Many of the administrative and logistical functions and structures which exist in SLAF today are a direct result of his hard work and dedication, the Defence Secretary recalled.

Speaking to future military generation, the Defence Secretary said “you all should take the life and the service of ACM Mendis as a prime example”.

The Defence Secretary also praised the SLAF for felicitating an instrumental father figure of the SLAF history, today.

A memento was also presented to the ACM Mendis to mark the occasion.

Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, former SLAF Commanders, senior retired officers and the SLAF Board of Management were also present at the felicitation ceremony.