Garo Kahkejian (Armenian: Կարո Քահքեջյան; 24 March 1962 – 26 June 1993) was a famed Armenian military commander and participant in the Nagorno-Karabakh War. He was the founder and commander of the «Խաչակիրներ» ("Crusaders") volunteer detachment, and was known by his nickname "The White Bear".

Garo Kahkejian
Garo Kahkejian.jpg
The grave of Garo "the White Bear" at Yerablur cemetery
Nickname(s)"The White Bear"
Born(1962-03-24)24 March 1962
Aleppo, Syria
Died26 June 1993(1993-06-26) (aged 31)
Çardaqlı, Martakert Region, Artsakh
Allegiance Armenia
Years of service1991–1993
Commands heldCrusaders Detachment («Խաչակիրներ»)
Battles/warsNagorno-Karabakh War
Relationsgrandson of Sahak "Aslan" (bodyguard of Dro)

Kahkedjian was one of the Armenians from the diaspora who volunteered to go and fight in the Artsakh conflict.


Kahkedjian was born in 1962 in Aleppo, Syria. His grandfather Sahak, commonly known by his nome de guerre Aslan, fought in Western Armenia and Artsakh during the Armenian national liberation movement period and was the bodyguard of General Drastamat Kanayan. After being graduated from Armenian schools in Aleppo and Lebanon, he moved with his family to Nigeria. in 1978, he moved to Germany to receive a degree in architecture. He was graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Frankfurt Engineering University. After his graduation, he lived in Fresno, California.

After the devastating 1988 Spitak earthquake, Kahkedjian arrived in Armenia for the first time, where he assisted the affected communities and helped raise funds from the diaspora.

In the wake of the interethnic violence in Azerbaijan, Kahkedjian organized the "Crusaders" detachment and participated in the battles of Martuni, Hadrut, Martakert, Lachin and Kelbajar. During the battle for the height of "Pushkenyal" he fought with his detachment, thus keeping the height until the arrival of Armenian forces. Kahkedjian died on June 26, 1993 near Martakert in battles near the village Çardaqlı. He was killed by small-arms fire, according to his brother Tro Kahkejian, who was also a member of the Crusaders unit.[1]

Garo Kahkejian's body rests at the Yerablur military cemetery.


  1. ^ "Foreigners Fight Again in the Embattled Caucasus". The New York Times. 4 August 1993. Retrieved 24 October 2014.

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