Rear Admiral (RA)Thusith Weerasekara has sent in his retirement papers. The Commandant of the Volunteer Naval Force announced his retirement plans in the immediate aftermath of RA Jayanath Colombage being appointed the 18th Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy.The eastern commander Colombage succeeded Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake. On his appointment as Commander of the Navy, Colombage was elavated to the rank of Vice Admiral, whereas Dissanayake was promoted to the rank of Admiral.RA Weerasekara skipped last Thursday’s change of command at SLN headquarters. Military sources told The Island that the former Deputy Chief of Staff was seeking to quit the service almost two years ahead of reaching the retirement age.Navy headquarters transferred RA Weerasekara from the Northern Command to Volunteer Force close on the heels of the disappearance of four SLN personnel on March 29, 2011. Although a subsequent inquiry cleared him of negligence on his part, the RA remained as Volunteer Force Chief until last weeks change of command. The missing personnel are believed to have been allegedly abducted and killed by Indian poachers operating off Mullaitivu coast.Before being appointed the Northern Commander, Weerasekara functioned as the Eastern Commander at the height of naval operations during Oct 2008 to Feb 2010 in support of the Vanni offensive as the Eastern Commander The posts of Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff has remained vacant since Jan 2011 and April 2011, respectively.With new commanders appointment, the Eastern Command, too, has fallen vacant. The SLN commands comprise northern (RA Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne), eastern, southern (RA Lakshman Illangakoon), Western (RA Rohan Amarasinghe), North Western (RA R. Perera), North Central (RA Kithsiri Weerakoon) and newly created South Eastern (RA D. E. C. Jayakody).