Gagan Bulathsinghala

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Air Chief Marshal
Gagan Bulathsinghala
Born (1961-09-12) 12 September 1961 (age 56)
Colombo
Allegiance Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Service/branch Air Force Ensign of Sri Lanka.svg Sri Lanka Air Force
Years of service 1981 - 2016
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Unit No. 4 Squadron SLAF
Commands held Commander of the Air Force
Chief of Staff
Battles/wars Sri Lankan Civil War
Awards Rana 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 work Ambassador to Afghanistan

Air Chief Marshal Gagan Bulathsinghala (also known as Gagan Pulasthi Bulathsinghala) RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, MPhil (Def & Strat), MSc (Def Stud) in Mgt, FIM(SL) ndc, psc is a retired air officer and a former Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force.[1][2][3] He has also held the position of Chief of the Air Staff and, after his retirement on 12 September 2016, was appointed the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Afghanistan- a position he holds currently [4][5][6][7].

Early life and education[edit]

Gagan was born in Colombo on 12 September 1961. His father was Bulathsinghalage Percy Marcus Perera who was a Lawyer and a former Flight Lieutenant at Royal Ceylon Air Force and mother Dona Beatrice Perera. He received his entire education from Nalanda College, Colombo. While at school he had done many extra curricular activities such as cadeting, rugger and being a member of many school societies. He was also involved in publishing the college monthly news paper Nalanda. Some of his contemporaries at Nalanda are Major General Ubaya Madawela, Major General Janaka Walgama, Major General Ajith Wikramasingha, Consultant Neurologist Udaya Ranawaka & former Sri Lanka test cricketer Sanath Kaluperuma.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

Air Marshal Gagan is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College at Air University (United States Air Force) Alabama USA and the prestigious National Defence College (India) New Delhi. Gagan also holds Post graduate degrees of Master of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies from University of Madras India, and a Master of Science in Defence Studies Management from General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University Sri Lanka. Gagan is also a Fellow of Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Hawaii and Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies USA.

Gagan was presented with Nalanda Keerthi Sri award by his alma mater Nalanda College, Colombo in 2015.[14][15][16]

Military career[edit]

Early years[edit]

He joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an Officer Cadet on 12 February 1981 and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the General Duties Pilot Branch on 8 April 1983.

Gagan was the founding Commanding Officer of No. 6 Squadron SLAF and longest serving Commanding Officer of the No. 4 (VVIP/VIP) Helicopter Squadron SLAF. Air Marshal Bulathsinghala is a VVIP Pilot with over 4500 flying hours. He has the honour of being the VVIP pilot for four Sri Lankan Presidents J. R. Jayewardene, Ranasinghe Premadasa, Dingiri Banda Wijetunga and Chandrika Kumaratunga. Gagan also commanded the Sri Lanka Air Force Base China Bay.

Eelam War[edit]

The then Flying Officer Gagan was the pilot of Bell 412 that was hit by a Rocket-propelled grenade that has been fired by terrorists on 18 December 1986 in Poovarasankulam Vavuniya. After a fierce gun battle and in spite of losing one engine he managed to land the helicopter in Vavuniya base after declaring emergency.[17][18][19]

Notable appointments[edit]

During his tenure Air Marshal Gagan had held the positions of Aide de Camp to the Commander of Air Force, Overall Operations Commander Air Defence and the Command Flight Safety Officer, Chief Instructor of the Air Wing at Defence Service Command and Staff College, Director Air Operations, Chief of Staff. He was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal on 1 June 2015 and was appointed as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force on 16 June 2015.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Kolitha Gunathilake
Commander of the Air Force
16 June 2015 - 12 September 2016
Succeeded by
Kapila Jayampathy