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Military Career

Young officer

Those that remember Khalil from his years at the Army's Military School, recall his athletic capacities, his seriousness in studies, his generous nature, his culture and his pleasant sociability. He graduated from the Military School as an Infantry officer in 1960. After following a training at the École Militaire d'Application d'Infanterie in Saint-Maixent in France, he returned to Lebanon and mainly served in the South throughout the early years of his career.
In 1964 he was upgraded from Second-Lieutenant to Lieutenant, and in 1970 he earned the grade of Captain.
(Photo Gallery 2: Early Career).

Trainer and Champion

He served as a trainer in the Military school from 1968 to 1972 during which he taught and inspired many future remarkable army officers into the values of discipline, sacrifice and highest dedication to the country. (Personal notes from his orientations: part 1 - part 2 - part 3)

Throughout his youth and Army years he had spared important time for reading, becoming a remarkably cultured Army officer, always up to date with all recent military, history and political literature. His human qualities, felt and valued spontaneously by all those who knew him, are nicely expressed in the following two handwritten notes (In French) that family members retrieved from in his personal diary - just prior to the start of the Lebanese war years in 1975: Principles of life, Valuable advices for every person

As a sportsman he became an achieved champion in Horse Riding, participating in many national and international competitions and winning many medals for his country.
(Photo Gallery 3: Horse Riding)

In 1975 he earned the grade of Major, and in 1977 he became a Lieutenant Colonel. He served as an officer in the Arab Dissuasion Forces headquarters in 1977 and 1978 during President Elias Sarkis' mandate, then was named as the Army's Chief of Operation till September 1979.

High Military studies in France

From October 1979 till June 1980, he followed a course in the Lebanese Army's Academy of Command and Staff in which he brilliantly earned the first rank (read attestation) and was sent to the École Supérieure de Guerre in Paris for a 2-year Higher Command and Staff training, during which he exhibited exceptional qualities in leadership and command. In January 1982, while in France, he was named Colonel.
(Read an attestation from his French Army instructors).

In August 1983, upon his return from France, Colonel Kanaan married Mona Jeha whom he had chosen as a life partner.

In February 1984, and after a brief time as an instructor at the Academy of Command and Staff, he was named as the Commander of the 5th Brigade. It was the period in which the Army was engaged in military actions defending the 'Christian region' of the country still free from the Syrian presence.

Commander of the 5th Brigade

Colonel Kanaan headed the Army's 5th Brigade from February 1984 till the date of his assassination on 29 September 1986. In this short time, leading by example, he succeeded in creating an uplifted spirit in the hearts of his Brigade's officers and soldiers - among the officers that served with him was Officer (and fellow Martyr) François El Hajj, then commander of the 51st Batallion. At the time of Colonel Kanaan's assassination, the 5th Brigade was positionned in Souk El Gharb.
(Photo Gallery 4: Commander of 5th Brigade - part 1).

Colonel Kanaan truly excelled in his stance as commander and men leader, displaying a whole range of unique human and leadership qualities: He was an outstanding and enthusiastic motivator, showed exceptional courage in personally sharing his officers' and soldiers' toughest deeds at the military fronts, displayed a high level of lucidity and thoughtfulness in military planning and execution, and most of all he was the embodiment of nobility and complete dedication for his highest mission: To protect Lebanon from foreign interferences, and preserve and enhance the Army's dignity and legitimate superiority over all the power-seeking armed militias in the war torn country.
(Photo Gallery 5: Commander of 5th Brigade - part 2 ).