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 Post subject: Weera Wickrama Vibushana Lance Corporal A.G.C Karunaratne
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:44 pm 
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The Courageous Candid Corporal
Weera Wickrama Vibushana Lance Corporal A.G.C Karunaratne

Monday, 31 March 2008
@ Sunday Observer


FEBRUARY 6, 2008, prior to a major operation, the Kovil in Nagar Kovil was filled with soldiers of the Eighth Vijayaba Infantry Regiment, lighting oil lamps. They all prayed as one, before leaving on a mission; once again reminding us of the famous phrase ‘Api wenuwen api’ meaning ‘together for all’.

On one line 16 oil lamps were lit; driving away the darkness, as the group of soldiers who were ready to attack the enemy to protect the nation. One wish, one prayer, one aim gave them that one chance to demolish terrorism... Private Karunaratne was one of them. He had been a candid, pleasant and dynamic student when he received his education from Pannipitiya Maha Vidyalaya. During year 2003 he joined Sri Lanka Army regular forces and obtained his training from Puttlam as a recruit of the Vijayaba Regiment.

Four, four-manned teams were to be deployed for an attack on the strong point between the Forward Defence Line (FDL) and second defence line in Nagar Kovil, under the command of Lt. Colonel Chamara Kumarasinghe. Lt. A.I.T Shamal was the Team Commander of the second group. He joined the Kotelawala Defence Academy in 2000 as a Cadet Officer and graduated as a Second Lieutenant. At nightfall and after a 10-day reconnaissance mission, a sand model briefing was conducted the night before the attack. The operation commenced in the early hours of 7th morning. Their task - to clear the first line, attack the bunkers in the strong point and the second defence line, before successfully withdrawing.

Date: February 07, 2008
Time: 0500 hrs
Location: Strong Point, Nagar Kovil

Private A.G.C Karunaratne was in the forefront. He led the first four-manned team. The teams penetrated the first defence line without any resistance. The line’s booby traps and claymore mines were cleared during reccee. At around 0500 hours, as they reached the strong point, the firing commenced. Private Karunaratne was the first to get hit, a shot to the head. Then came a hail of gunfire. Lt. A.I.T Shamal was shot both on the chest and the leg. In spite of the extreme conditions the teams were able to fulfil their task. Corpral Kalpage took over from Lt. A.I.T Shamal as the Team Commander, while the teams withdrew after obtaining their target. The teams were attacked with machinegun fire, hand grenades and 60 mm and 81 mm mortar. Lt. A.I.T Shamal was immediately transferred to Nagar Kovil, where he received first aid.

From there he was yet again transferred to MDS (Main Dressing Station) at Muhamale and taken via helicopter to Palali base where he underwent surgery as he was seriously injured. He was finally transferred to Colombo General Hospital for recovery.

Epilogue: The Eighth Vijayaba Infantry Regiment lost two men that day while six others were injured. According to Military intelligence the LTTE suffered heavy casualties. Private Karunaratne - who had been awarded Purna Bhoomi, earlier, for serving the 8th Battalion Vijayaba Infantry Regiment for working towards the mission of demolishing LTTE terrorism completely - was posthumously promoted as Lance Corporal (Non Commissioned). He was also nominated for a Weera Wickrama Vibushana medal for the courageous service rendered through his pursuit of leading, safeguarding his team, attacking and destroying the enemy. This week’s token of recognition is dedicated to Lance Corporal A.G.C. Karunaratne for the supreme sacrifice he made for the nation.

Certain names have been change to withhold identity.

(Courtesy: Sunday Observer) )


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