Yoshitha continues training with Royal Navy, readies for posting on ship

Yoshitha Kanishka Rajapaksa will be eligible for appointment as an Acting Sub Lieutenant once he completes his Midshipman training with the Royal Navy.

The second son of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been promoted to the rank of Midshipman after he completed a 12-month stint as a Cadet at the Royal Navy's premier Officer Training Establishment located in Dartmouth.

After joining the Sri Lanka Navy on December 14, 2006, the old Thomian entered the British facility as a Cadet in January 2007 and received his first promotion to the rank of Midshipman on the successful completion of a 12-month service there.

The navy said a Midshipman would be eligible for promotion as an Acting Sub Lieutenant on the completion of 12 months service.

Before proceeding to the UK, Rajapaksa had been at Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee for about two weeks with over 23 colleagues who joined the service as Cadets. The navy said all of them were on their second stage of training which is categorized as Midshipman sea training. According to him both Cadets and Midshipmen trained here would get the opportunity to face the Sea Tigers during their deployment onboard vessels.

Rajapaksa is with the Executive Branch. Only sea-going officers of the Executive branch could exercise command of ships and specialize in any of the following: Navigation and Direction, Gunnery and Missiles, Anti-Submarine warfare, communication, hydrography and diving.

The navy said an Acting Sub Lieutenant would be qualified to receive the appointment as Sub Lieutenant after completing 18 months service on an acting capacity. On the completion of 12 months service as Sub Lieutenant he would be entitled for appointment as Lieutenant. The navy said the promotion of Cadet Entry officers to the rank of Lieutenant would be subjected to the approval by Commander of the Navy and the respective Commanding Officers.

An officer of the Executive branch would get his first appointment during his tenure as an Acting Sub Lieutenant when he gets the opportunity to serve onboard a Fast Attack Craft (FAC) as its Second-in-Command or an Additional Officer on the crew of a Fast Gun Boat or a bigger vessel. Fielding questions, an officer said the appointment would never be on a vessel below a FAC.

Yoshitha’s colleagues are already undergoing midshipmen sea training.

During the initial sea training Rajapaksa had served on board amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean during her deployment to the Caribbean. Commissioned on September 30 1998, the vessel is a platform and a base for anti-terrorist operations.

The President’s son joined the SLN against the backdrop of a major expansion of the service and the extraordinary success in operations on the high seas between September 2006 to October 2007 which caused the destruction of eight floating warehouses operated by the LTTE.

The military would do everything possible to thwart the LTTE from targeting the young Rajapaksa, authoritative sources said. The sources asserted the military would strive to restrict the public knowledge of his movement or deployment. The decision to withdraw Prince Harry from Afghanistan after the international media reported his deployment there along with allied forces was a case in point, the sources said. Eralier, the UK decided not to send him to Afghanistan as his presence would increase the al Qaeda threat on soldiers serving with him.

Recently The Telegraph reported Prince Harry has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant after serving the Army as a Second Lieutenant for two years and if he remained with the Army, he would be qualified to be promoted to the rank of Captain in three years.

Although governments the world over would insist the off spring of royalty and political leaders wouldn’t be given special treatment, the recent RAF decision to allow the second-in-line to the throne, William who recently won his air wings using a £10million RAF Chinook to fly to a three-day stag party for their cousin Peter Phillips in the Isle of Wight close on the heels of allowing him to land in his girlfriend Kate Middleton’s back garden in Berkshire caused embarrassment, the sources said.

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