Travis Sinniah appointed Navy Chief Holder of highest combat medal

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By 2017-08-19

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday appointed Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah, as the new Navy Commander at the President's official residence.

Rear Admiral Sinniah who served as the Eastern Naval Commander was the senior most naval officer to be in active combat operations at sea during the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah, who has served the Navy with immense loyalty for many decades, took office as the Navy Commander today," President Maithripala Sirisena tweeted yesterday after handing over the appointment letter.

The Secretary to the President Austin Fernando and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Kapila Waidyaratne were also present.

Rear Admiral Sinniah, joined the Navy in 1982 and holds the post of Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet. Being a specialist in counter terrorist and littoral warfare he was nominated to direct the Maldivian Defence forces in formulating a maritime security strategy and anti/counter terrorism doctrine, which was implemented in 2008 and remains as a MNDF foundation policy on counter terrorism at sea and on land.

Rear Admiral Sinniah was the design leader for the indigenous 30 mm stabilized gun of the SLN and led the Naval Task Force in the destruction of all 10 LTTE 'warehouse ships'. This operation 'Sagara Balaya' was the turning point of the war against the LTTE and was the beginning of its end. He has over 37 LTTE hits under his command and over 70 hits during his tenure as commander of the Fast Attack Flotilla. He was also the officer who apprehended the infamous LTTE ship 'Kadalpura' with 19 Black Sea Tigers on board including the LTTE 2nd in command and 9 LTTE area leaders.

He was recommended for field promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral during operations and awarded the highest combat medal (granted to a living officer) for exceptional valour and gallantry, the WWV.

His most significant gallantry awards are the Weera Wickrama Vibushanaya (WWV) awarded for individual acts of gallantry and conspicuous bravery of a military nature of a high order in the face of the enemy, Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) awarded for exceptional gallantry in the face of the enemy and the Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) awarded thrice for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, who is set to retire next Tuesday (22) would be appointed as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

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