Family’s tribute to their soldier: S
erves country with honor & distinction

January 23, 2015
Santa Paula News

John A. Pineda son of Albino and 

the late Naomi Salas Pineda

John A. Pineda (Johnny Al) son of Albino and the late Naomi Salas Pineda was born in 1947. He graduated  from Santa Paula High School in 1965. He attended Ventura Junior College and UCSB graduating in 1970. In 1971 he joined the U.S, Army Intelligence Corps from where he retired after 36 years of service in the year 2007. During his retirement ceremony John was described by fellow officers as an officer that went to places where other officers would not dare go while in the field of operations.

At his retirement the ARMY RELEASED THIS BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Mr. Pineda Served in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 2007. He has 36 years of experience in management and operational Field-experience DOD clandestine intelligence operation, counterintelligence (counter espionage and counter-terrorism) investigations, personnel security investigations and operational-Security. He has authored operational proposals, investigative and intelligence information - reports, and external threat factor reports. During his tour in Baghdad, Iraq he worked with a multi-National Force as the Program Manager for Bilateral Agreement Program.

He enabled Iraqi Army Intelligence to develop Military Source Capability to conduct independent COIN operations. When he came to the Army Operation- Activity, he managed the development of the Advance Source Operations course and precursor to the JOINT HUMINTCenter of Excellence  at Fort Huachuca. Soon after his tour at Fort Huachuca, he was led to expedite his skills at Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S. Army Field Support Center where he exercised primary staff supervision of an equivalent Human Resources Command Career management -Program of soldiers to support long term intelligence operations. He had a phenomenal career, serving  at DIA - Albuquerque, New Mexico; combined Task Force Fervent Archer - US European Command, Stuttgart, Germany, Field Support Office Germany- Field Support Center, Mannheim, Germany, U.S. Army Operational Group- Hyattsville, Maryland Team VI, Chief of Staff Offices for Intelligence and Operations, Pentagon MDW; and Intelligence and Security Command, S. Korea. He was also involved in the Kosovo war. He made Many trips to that troubled spot. He also was involved in the Central America Contras war. In fact, Naomi and I had an interesting experience one day. We hadn’t seen John for a long time and one day we drove to the Ventura Target Store and as we drove to the parking lot, low and behold, there came John and another man coming out of the store. My first reaction was to yell at him, John!! But I immediately thought that perhaps he was doing his counter-intelligence work which later on I found out that he was. He was getting information from a Central America contact. Why he chose Ventura for that meeting I never found out.

Just prior to his retirement at the age of 60, John volunteered to a 6 month tour of the Iraqi War. After his retirement, John continued working for the Army as a civilian with office in Fort Meade, Maryland. But on April 26, 2014 while enjoying a sport he and his wife loved, bicycle-riding in Delaware, John suffered a fatal heart attack leaving behind his wife Mary, his son Jonathan a veteran of the Iraqi war and his daughter Rene Nicole her husband Richard and their six children. I learned of the tragedy a few minutes after it happened. 

I don’t think that anyone is ever prepared  to receive such news. I loved my son and his life since he was a little boy keeps coming back to me. Two days before his passing he had called me asking that I send him a picture of the Sycamore tree that has a plaque along Highway 126 west of Sespe Ranch. He wanted to make a painting of it. 

Behind all those achievements there was Johnny Al Pineda, faithful son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, cousin and friend of many. His Christian background meant a lot to him and to me as his father. John had many close friends throughout the country many of whom were at his funeral in D.C. It was interesting hearing one of his superiors say: “People will never know all the things that John did for our country.”

A celebration of life service was conducted May 3, 2014 at El Buen Pastor UMC in Santa Paula and his final resting place was at Washington’s Arlington National Cemetery WHERE OUR SOLDIER WAS LAID TO REST with Army honors.

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