Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was born in Doha in 1950 as the eldest son of Sheikh Khalifa, who at the time was the heir apparent. Like his father, Sheikh Hamad received his early education in Qatar and later attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, United Kingdom. Upon graduation with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1971, he returned to Qatar and assumed the command of a mobile brigade. In February 1972, shortly after Hamad's return, Sheikh Khalifa deposed the ruling emir who was at the time on a hunting vacation in Iran and proclaimed himself the new ruler of Qatar. Sheikh Hamad became the Qatar's new army chief of staff with the rank of general. He was later appointed as the commander in chief of the military. Sheikh Hamad was also responsible for the formation of the engineer's corporation and the military police. In 1977, Sheikh Hamad was appointed as the crown prince and defense minister.