COL Albert Pianalto
U.S. Air Force, Retired
I proudly served 28 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Colonel. The most memorable moment of my Air Force career was my first visit to Wadi Kena when I was the Air Force Program Manager for the Southwest Asia Prepositioning Program (Harvest Falcon).
Wadi Kena was a desolate outpost and our first storage site for this equipment. It was staffed by a small but dedicated group from the 4449th Mobility Support Sq who maintained the equipment. They lived in underground bunkers built by the Russians in the 1950s. Every night they would gather at Sarah’s, their club. When the bar closed, one song was always played and as the music started everyone would stand up and move to the center of the room and sing with the music “I’m proud to be an American…” Even despite their harsh living conditions at this remote site, they were proud to be Americans. I have never been prouder to be an American than I was that night.