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|Service/||Sri Lanka Army|
|Years of service||1981–2016|
|Commands held||Security Forces Headquarters – Wanni,|
|Battles/wars||Sri Lankan Civil War,|
1987–89 JVP Insurrection
|Awards|| Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya |
Rana Wickrama Padakkama
Rana Sura Padakkama
Uttama Seva Padakkama
|Other work||Secretary to the Ministry of Defence|
General Kamal Gunaratne, WWV, RWP, RSP, USP, ndc, psc, GR is a Sri Lankan general. He is the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and the former Commander Security Forces Headquarters - Wanni, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 53 Division and was a former Deputy Ambassador to Brazil. He was the Commanding Officer of the 53 Division in Sri Lanka Army, that killed the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Early life and education
Born to a family of teachers, his father was a School Principal. Educated at Dharmapala Vidyalaya and Ananda College, he joined the army in 1981 as a cadet officer, undergoing training at the Sri Lanka Military Academy. He attended the Army War College, Mhow, the Defence Services Staff College and the National Defence College, New Delhi.
After completing his basic training and a commando course, he was commissioned into the Rajarata Rifles as a second lieutenant. Following the disbandment of the Rajarata Rifles, he was one of the initial officers of the newly formed Gajaba Regiment. Serving as a platoon commander, company commander in the Gajaba Regiment, he was promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain. In 1987 he took part in the Vadamarachchi Operation and thereafter was deployed to Colombo for internal security duties. In 1990, he was the officer commanding the Mankulam Army Camp when it came under intense LTTE attack and under orders from the Wanni Headquarters made a successful withdrawal from the besieged camp. In 1991, he was promoted to the rank of Major and was appointed Second in Command of the 6th Battalion, GR. He was the officer commanding the Silawathura Army Camp when it came under siege by the LTTE, holding off the LTTE attack for several days until 6GR was relieved by reinforcements. During the siege he was wounded. Following deployment to Weli Oya he was once again seriously wounded. After returning to operational duties, he was transferred to Army Headquarters as a Grade II Staff Officer in the Directorate of Logistics. In 1994, having been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel he took command of the 6GR, taking part in the Operation Riviresa until 1997. From 1997 to 1998, he attended the first batch of the Sri Lanka Army Command and Staff College. Thereafter, he served as Commandant at Infantry Training Centre, Grade I Staff Officer at Joint Services Operational Headquarters coordinating the Operation Jayasikurui. From 2002 to 2004, he attended the Defence Services Staff College. On his return he was appointed Centre Commander of the Gajaba Regiment.
As a colonel he was Bridged Commander of the Air Mobile Brigade at the on set of the Eelam War IV, he went on to take command of the 55 Division and 53 Division and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier. 53 Division took part in many major battles leading to the death of LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. He was also the Colonel of the Regiment of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment and the Gajaba Regiment.
Following the war Gunaratne served as Adjutant General, Security Forces Headquarters – Wanni, Deputy Ambassador to Brazil and Master General Ordnance at the Army Headquarters from 16 February 2015 to 4 September 2016 before his retirement in 2016.
Accused of war crimes
Post retirement, General Gunaratne has been active in supporting former Defense Secretary Lieutenant Colonel Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in his campaign during the 2019 Presidential election. Following the election President Rajapaksa appointed Major General Gunaratne Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence succeeding General Shantha Kottegoda on 19 November 2019. In December 2020, he was promoted to the rank of General by President Rajapaksa.
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