October 28, 2016
The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) of the United States, an international humanitarian organization, has selected Sri Lanka Army demining team of Mine Detection Dog (MDD) Madjesty/Alvin and his handler Lance Corporal G.N.W.M Nawarathne of 7 Field Engineer Regiment, Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) as the Mine Detection Dog (MDD) Team of the Year in 2016.
Lance Corporal Nawarathne and Mine Detection Dog (MDD) Alvin were recognized at the Annual “Clearing the Path” Gala 2016 organized by the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) on Wednesday (26) at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C.
The Marshall Legacy Institute, an organization dedicated to removing landmines and promoting stability has been assisting the Sri Lanka Army Humanitarian Demining Unit in their humanitarian effort to clear landmines and explosive devices from affected regions in Sri Lanka. Over the years, the Virginia-based international humanitarian organization has provided 26 Mine Detection Dogs and training with the assistance of private donors and the U.S. Department of State.
At the gala event to celebrate the work of demining canines worldwide and to seek contributions for this purpose, the Sri Lankan Mine Detection Team led by Brigadier Amith Senevirathna, Brigade Commander of Sri Lanka Army Engineers Humanitarian Demining Unit, together with the mine detection dog Alvin and its handler Lance Corporal Nawarathne were recognized for their contribution to the successful demining efforts in Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Susan Rice, National Security Advisor of the United States, was the keynote speaker at this event, which was graced, among other dignitaries, by Senator Mike Enzi and General Gordon Russell Sullivan, manifesting commitment of the United States for mine clearing efforts.
Introducing the Sri Lankan Mine Detection and Removal Team at this event, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam said his country was heavily contaminated with mines and other improvised explosive devices due to nearly three decades of armed conflict between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, better known as the LTTE.
Although the conflict ended in 2009 with the comprehensive defeat of the LTTE, which has been identified as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States, uncleared mines and unexploded explosives have posed a formidable challenge to the well-being of the people, especially in the north of Sri Lanka, he said.