Prince Khaled bin Salman has been named as Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador to the United States, replacing Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki.
A younger brother to current Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Prince Khaled is a former F-15 pilot who graduated from Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. He had earlier, in 2014, participated in the international coalition to combat ISIS as an air force pilot.
“My sons, the pilots, fulfilled their obligation toward their religion, their homeland and their king,” Saudi Press Agency quoted King Salman - then Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince in 2014 - as saying.
Saudi Arabia, along with the United States, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan carried out the air strikes after forming a coalition along with dozens of other states to fight ISIS.
The young prince replaces Prince Abdullah bin Faisal, who had served in the post for over a year when he was appointed in October, 2015.
“Prince Abdullah bin Faysal bin Turki removed as ambassador to the US. Prince Khaled bin Salman bin Abdulaziz appointed ambassador”, the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a royal order.
Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), a private initiative to strengthen Saudi-US ties based in Washington D.C., said they believed Prince Khaled would help continue the Saudi-US relationship’s growth mutual peace, stability and prosperity.
Salman al-Ansari, a Saudi political analyst and president of SAPRAC, was quoted by AFP news agency as describing Prince Khaled as a “very organized personality, savvy, youthful, and active”.
“He is being seen as a modern-day version of Bandar bin Sultan, who also trained as a fighter pilot before dominating the US-Saudi relationship for more than two decades as ambassador in Washington,” Simon Henderson, Director of the Gulf & Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute, wrote earlier this year.
Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's career
Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been appointed as the new ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Prince Khalid received a Bachelor of Aero Science from King Faisal Air Academy. He continued his studies in the United States at both Harvard University earning a certificate for Senior Executives in National and International Security. He also studied advanced electronic warfare in Paris.
He began graduate work at Georgetown University pursuing a Master of Arts in Security Studies but his studies were suspended upon different job assignment and before his appointment as Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States.
Upon his graduation from King Faisal Air Academy, Prince Khalid joined the Royal Saudi Air Force. He started his career as a pilot on the Texan-6 and T-38 in Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.
He later began the F15-S Flying program as a pilot, and he was assigned as a Tactical Intelligence Officer in addition to flying F-15S in the 92nd Squadron for the 3rd Flying Wing at King Abdulaziz Air Base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Trained as a fighter pilot with almost 1,000 hours in total flight time, Prince Khalid has flown missions against ISIS as part of the International Coalition. He has also flown mission over Yemen as part of Operation Decisive Storm and Operation Renewal of Hope.
For his service in the Saudi Air Force, Prince Khalid has been widely decorated, including being awarded the Operation South Shield Medal; the Battlefield Medal; the Workmanship Medal; and Abdullah’s Sword Exercise Medal.
Prince Khalid trained extensively with the US military both in the United States and in Saudi Arabia, including at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. A back injury forced him to stop flying, he worked as an officer in the office of the minister of defense .
Prince Khalid was appointed to office of the Minister of Defense after his active duty ended. He subsequently became a senior civilian adviser in the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense upon the completion of his active military service.
Late 2016, he moved to the United States and served as an advisor to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States.
Prince Khalid becomes the tenth Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States since 1945