By Nalin Jayetileke
Marshal of the Sri Lanka Air Force Roshan Goonetileke RWP & bar, VSV, USP, ndc, psc was appointed the Governor of Western Province of Sri Lanka. He was sworn in before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat today, 24th March 2020 upon the resignation of the former Governor Dr. Seetha Arambepola.
Upon relinquishing Command of the Sri Lanka Air Force, he was appointed as the Acting Chief of Defence Staff on 16 November 2009 and as Chief of Defence Staff on 28 February 2012 .
He was the 12th Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) and is the eldest son of the 5th Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, late Air Chief Marshal Harry Goonetileke and the elder brother of late Group Captain Shirantha Goonetileke, who was killed in combat in 1995. He was the second serving service Commander to be appointed as Chief of Defence Staff whilst holding the office. Marshal of the Air Force Roshan Goonetileke is the most decorated officer in the history of the Sri Lanka Air Force and is held in high esteem for the role he played in ending the almost three decade long civil war.
Born on 28 February 1956, he completed his education at St Peter’s College Colombo Sri Lanka, where he excelled in both studies and sports. He joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet in the General Duties Pilot Branch on 13 January 1978. On successful completion of flying training, he was commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer on 24 August 1979.
During his career of 33 years in the Sri Lanka Air Force, Marshal of the Air Force WDRMJ Goonetileke held a number of Command, Operational and Administrative appointments. He logged many flying hours both in fixed and rotary wing aircraft serving as an operational pilot, as well as the Commanding Officer of No. 03 Maritime Squadron and No. 04 Helicopter Wing. He functioned as the Zonal Commander in both Northern and Eastern Zones, and commanded Air Force Bases Katunayake, Anuradhapura and China bay. He functioned as Director Operations, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations and Chief of Staff, prior to being appointed the Commander of the Air Force on 12 July 2007.
Marshal of the Air Force WDRMJ Goonetileke graduated from the Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Alabama, USA in 1994 and attended the prestigious National Defence College in Pakistan in 2001. On 18 May 2009, he was promoted Air Chief Marshal, becoming the first ever serving Officer of the Sri Lanka Air Force to be promoted to four star rank.
He was admitted to the Degree of “Doctor of Philosophy” (Honoris Causa) by the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka on 20 November 2009, in recognition of his professional achievements as the Commander of the Air Force. He is also a Honoury Fellow of the Institute of Management in Sri Lanka.
He was appointed Chairman Board of Management of Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAA of SL) with effect from 5 October 2009 until relinquishing duties on 28 December 2011.
Marshal of the Air Force is married to Mrs. Nelun Goonetileke. They have a son and a daughter, Rehan and Ronali. Rehan following in the foot steps of his grand father, father and late uncle has already obtained his flying brevet from the Sri Lanka Air Force, and commenced a career as a Helicopter Pilot.
An avid sportsman, the Marshal of the Air Force was heavily involved in the development of Sri Lanka Rugby, as the President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union, serving two successful terms from 1 June 2010 to 11 January 2012. He was also appointed as “Chairman of the Board” of Waters Edge Ltd, a government-owned, multi-facility recreational and hospitality complex.
information courtesy Presidents media/ https://en.wikipedia.org