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Air Chief Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema, RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, rcds, psc, qfi is a senior Sri Lankan air force officer and fighter pilot, who served as the Commander of the Sri Lankan Air Force from 2011 to 2014 and later went on to serve as a Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon.[1]


Harsha Abeywickrema
Harsha Abeywickrama.jpg
AllegianceSri Lanka Sri Lanka
Service/branchAir Force Ensign of Sri Lanka.svg Sri Lanka Air Force
Years of service1980 - 2014
RankAir Chief Marshal
UnitNo. 5 "Jet" Squadron
Commands heldCommander of the Air Force
Deputy Chief of Staff
Director Air Operations
Battles/warsSri Lankan Civil War
AwardsRana Wickrama Padakkama Bar.png Rana Wickrama Padakkama
Rana Sura Padakkama bar.GIF Rana Sura Padakkama
Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya bar.GIF Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya
Uttama Seva Padakkama Bar.gif Uttama Seva Padakkama
Other workChairman of the Bank of Ceylon

EducationEdit

Educated at Royal College Colombo, he gained an MA in International Studies from King's College London, and an MSc in Management from the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University.

Abeywickrema is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies and the Air Command and Staff College, Air University. He has undergone a number of training courses and is a qualified flying instructor.

CareerEdit

Abeywickrema joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet in the General Duties Pilot Branch in 1980. After successful completion of Flying Training he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in 1982.

During his career he has commanded the No. 1 Flying Training Wing and was the first commanding officer of the No. 5 "Jet" Squadron when it was reestablished in 1991 under his command following the acquisition of F-7 and F-5 fighters from China, it was the country's first fighter squadron. He was one of the first pilots to qualify in F-7s in 1991 and IAI Kfirs in 1996. Thereafter he served as Commanding Officer of SLAF Palaly, Base Commander of SLAF China Bay, SLAF Anuradhapura & SLAF Rathmalana following which he became the Zonal Commander East and Chief Instructor of Air Wing of the Defence Services Command and Staff College.

In his stint as the Director Air Operations at SLAF Colombo, Air Force Headquarters he spearheaded air operations that brought about the successful conclusion of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009.[1][2] He was also the Director Logistics. Thereafter he served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force until he was promoted as Commander of the Air Force. In 2014 he retired from the Air Force and was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal.

Air Chief Marshal Abeywickrema has been awarded the gallantry medals Rana Wickrama Padakkama and Rana Sura Padakkama for individual acts of bravery, the service medals Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya (VSV), Uttama Seva Padakkama and Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal.

Later workEdit

After his retirement from the Air Force, Abeywickrema was appointed as the Chairman of the largest state bank, Bank of Ceylon.[3]

FamilyEdit

Abeywickrema is married to Neelika a lawyer and they have one son, Kasun. He is an active golfer.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit