Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Saudi Arabian Prince and F-15 Fighter Pilot named Ambassador to the United States


(Photo : RSAF) Prince Khaled bin Salman in the cockpit of a fighter jet

Saudi Arabian Prince Khaled bin Salman, a son of the King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is Saudi Arabia's new Ambassador to the United States.

Prince Khaled was a former fighter pilot of the Royal Saudi Air Force. He flew the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle in bombing missions against ISIS and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

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He replaced Prince Abdullah Bin Faisal Bin Turki who has served as Saudi Arabian Ambassador for over a year. Prince Khaled was an adviser at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington D.C. since late last year.

"Prince Abdullah bin Faysal bin Turki removed as ambassador to the US. Prince Khaled bin Salman bin Abdulaziz appointed ambassador," said the royal order.

Prince Khaled took his flying lessons at the U.S. Air Force's Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. This base is home to the 14th Flying Training Wing (14 FTW) assigned to the Air Education and Training Command. The 14 FTW's mission is to provide specialized undergraduate pilot training for U.S. Air Force and allied officers.

Political analysts said Prince Khaled's appointment as Ambassador to the United States is another sign of the increasingly positive relations between Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump's administration. Prince Khaled's appointment is also part of a major political reshuffle intended "to bring new blood and dynamism to certain posts that are very critical, including the U.S. ambassador.

Prince Khaled, who is said to be in his late 20s, is described as a "very organized personality, savvy, youthful, and active." He studied briefly at Harvard University and Georgetown University, and trained at the U.S. Air Force's Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada that provides advanced combat training.

Prince Khaled's elder brother, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, is the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the youngest minister of defense in the world. Prince Mohammad bin Salman has been described as the power behind the throne of his father, King Salman.

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