Sak Sutsakhan

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General Sak Sutsakhan (8 February 1928 - 29 April 1994) was a Cambodian politician and soldier who had a long career in the country's politics. He was the last Head of State of the Khmer Republic, the regime overthrown by the Khmer Rouge in 1975. Sak Sutsakhan formed a pro-US force known as the "Khmer Sâ" (White Khmer).

Early life

Sutsakhan was born in Battambang. He was the cousin of Nuon Chea, who would later go on to be a prominent member of the Khmer Rouge. He studied at the Royal Military Academy and the French General Staff School in Paris; his subsequent career with the small Cambodian army, the Forces Armées Royales Khmeres (FARK) resulted in his rapid promotion, and under the Sangkum regime of Prince Norodom Sihanouk he became the world's youngest Minister of Defence in 1957 at the age of 29.

The Khmer Republic

Following the Cambodian coup of 1970, in which Sihanouk was deposed by General Lon Nol, Sutsakhan continued his career with the army, now renamed the Khmer National Armed Forces (FANK) and substantially expanded. He served as Minister of Defence several times, was the commander of the FANK Special Forces, and had a reputation amongst US observers as a competent officer, as well as a capable and non-corrupt politician.

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