Sleiman Salibi was born in Beirut, Lebanon on November 14, 1961. He was the first of four boys born to Wadad and Sami Salibi, creator of The Music and Art Teaching Center of Beirut. As a child, Sleiman realized many interests and dreams. He was introduced to agriculture as he learned the art of bee keeping and tending a vineyard alongside his father, producing some of Lebanon’s finest wines and honey. Sleiman was given the gift of music and the arts through study at home and in his parents’ school where he learned to play the trumpet and later the flute.
Sleiman had many goals in life. Two that stood in the forefront were to become a neurosurgeon like his namesake, paternal grandfather Sleiman Salibi, and to fly airplanes; he had seen many of these flying overhead as he and his family endured the wars and seemingly endless strife that faced Lebanon during that time. Sleiman began the quest to fulfill his dream as he began primary school in Beirut, Lebanon. On occasion, he was forced to attend boarding school for safety during wartime and with perseverance, completed his primary education on June 14, 1980, while often volunteering for the Red Cross first response team, rescuing injured victims of war. Simultaneously, he completed the third year of his baccalaureate degree in mathematics. In 1983, he obtained his bachelor of science degree at Syracuse University and returned to Lebanon to study medicine at the American University of Beirut. Upon completion of medical school in 1987, Dr. Salibi returned to the states as a resident of Research/ Vascular Neurology at Johns Hopkins University (1987-1989). After successfully completing the Educations Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Exam in 1989, Dr. Salibi was appointed as a resident of general surgery at the University of Boston (1990-1991). In July 1991 he continued in Neurology/Surgery as a resident at the Medical Arts Center Hospitals, Boston. During this rotation, Sleiman became a proud citizen of the United States (August 19, 1993). In 1994, he furthered his training as a resident of neurology at Louisiana State University/Charity Hospital in New Orleans followed by a residency in internal medicine at the same facility. In 1996, Dr. Salibi passed his medical boards and completed his training as a resident of clinical neurophysiology in St. Louis, Missouri (1996-1997). Finally, in 1998, Dr. Salibi settled in Lake Charles, Louisiana and began his practice in neurology.
While holding dual citizenship, Dr. Salibi felt that it was his honor and privilege to serve the United States of America and immediately began his quest to join the Air Force/Air National Guard. On November 18, 1994, he earned the rank of captain in the Louisiana Air National Guard and U. S. Air force Medical Corps. Captain Salibi was rated Top Knife Flight Surgeon and served with many deployments including: Honduras, Commando Sling, Singapore, Key West, Operation Cape Thunder, and Alpena. He soon earned the rank of lieutenant colonel and continued his service with deployments to Hawaii, Iceland, and finally New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Lieutenant Colonel Salibi worked diligently to reach another goal in life, to obtain his pilot’s license and experience the freedom and joy of flight. He earned his private pilot’s license in 1991, and his commercial license and instrument rating in 2001. In 1999, he purchased a CJ-6 A and began flying formation and later aerobatics. He purchased a T-28C in 2003, and continued formation flight. He felt privileged to honor veterans past and present as they were able to experience with him the joy of flight once again, and looked forward to serving in the Veterans Airlift Command. Lieutenant Colonel Salibi was tragically lost on October 21, 2006, during a solo flight in his T-28. May his zealous quest of carpe diem be contagious to others.