The US-based Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), engaged in provision of technical support for clearance of landmines world-wide, has selected the Sri Lanka Army’s Mine Detection Dog (MDD), Alvin and its handler, Lance Corporal G.N.W.M Nawarathne of 7 Field Engineer Regiment, Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) as the MLI’s ‘Team of the Year – 2016’ to receive the MDD Award of the Year – 2016 during the ‘Clearing the Path’ Gala celebration on 26 October 2016 in Washington, DC, the Sri Lanka Army stated.
The two-member Army de-mining team, Alvin and its handler, Lance Corporal Nawarathne has been working together to-date since 28 December 2011, having de-mined approximately a land area of 73,340 sqm in the North and East. Their operations have so far recovered 20 Rocket Propeller Grenades (RPGs), 48 grenades, 137 Anti Personnel Mines (APMs), 24 unexploded ordnance, 18 detonators and 243 ammunition and other explosive remnants of the war.
Their team work of de-mining, based on mutual understanding and devotion to the task has enabled 1945 displaced people of 415 families to return to their original places of habitation during the past five years after specific areas were cleared of all explosive devices by being one of the most dedicated de-mining teams of the Sri Lanka Army which achieved expected results in a commendable manner.
The MDD team has been invited to the US to receive the award in a ceremony due to be held in Washington DC.
In 2012, the MDD Ciro and its handler, Sapper D.K.N Rohana of the Army’s Sri Lanka Engineers were also selected for the same Award in appreciation of their commitment to clear a landmine-infested area of 9570 sqm, recovering 101 LTTE-made APMs, three LTTE-produced hand grenades, one 60 mm mortar bomb and two unexploded RPG bombs.