Anuj Poojitha Gunawardena, a Sri Lankan who was rejected by the Sri Lanka Army twice, is currently serving in the Advanced Attack Helicopter Divison in the US Army.
In a Facebook post, Anuj yesterday said, “I wanted to join the army when I was eighteen. I went for an interview to join as a Cadet Officer. But I was rejected because I did not have the required weight and chest size.”
“However, due to my love for the uniform, I went for the same interview a year later for the second time. I was rejected again. The interviewers laughed at me and said that I should eat well and build my body if I wanted to come back for another interview. I was very disappointed.” he said.
“On the third occasion, I applied to join the CID. But I received a letter stating that I would not be recruited, without even an interview.”
As a result of my continuous rejections, I stopped applying for jobs in the security forces. But I have always loved to wear the uniform. I never gave up on my dream of joining the Army.
In the meantime, I had the opportunity to come to the United States.
One day, while I was studying, a group of army officers came into the school and I saw them talking to students about the possibility of recruiting them to the army,” Anuj said.
Anuj said he too was invited to join the US Army by an officer and his instant reply was 'yes' without any hesitation.
He said that everything else after that moment felt like a dream. He passed from the written exam as well as the physical fitness test.
Anuj said he is currently working as a high-tech helicopter repairman in the Advanced Attack Helicopter Division which handles the AH-64 Apache, the most advanced multi-role combat helicopter in the US army.
Anuj is a past pupil of Ashoka College, Colombo and a graduate of the Colombo University. (DSB)