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Albanian-American Pilot Faruza Kallaba Reflects on Historic NATO Mission to Liberate Kosovo


Born in Damascus, Syria, on November 3, 1956, to an Albanian father, Haki Kallaba, and a Ukrainian mother, Ana Senkiewicz, Faruza Kallaba’s life story is one of resilience, courage, and dedication. The Kallaba family moved from Syria and settled in Chicago, USA, where Faruza grew up and still resides today.

Twenty-five years ago, Faruza Kallaba took part in a historic mission that would forever link her to the liberation of Kosova. As a pilot in the NATO bombing campaign against Serbian forces, Kallaba played a crucial role in the effort to end Serbia’s occupation. This campaign was a turning point in the conflict, significantly contributing to Kosova’s path toward freedom.

Reflecting on the 25th anniversary of the bombing campaign, Kallaba shares her thoughts and memories with profound emotion. “Every anniversary makes me reflect on my father and the people of Kosova. I miss my father, but I find solace in being with both his family and mine,” she says. Recalling her missions over Kosova, she speaks of the significant challenges she faced, including nights spent in the air, refueling planes mid-flight from their base in France. “There were many important nights. We did everything we could to help Kosova, and to me, that was wonderful,” Kallaba recalls.

Kallaba also speaks about the unique opportunity pilots have to choose their missions, and how she immediately volunteered for the Kosova operation. “When the chance came, I was the first to sign up because it was very special to me. This was the pinnacle of my career, especially as I was nearing retirement,” she emphasizes.

Today, Kallaba’s military uniform is displayed in a museum in Kosova, a tribute that fills her with immense pride. The last time she was in Kosova was in 2004, a visit that was highly emotional, especially as her father passed away in 2008. Her personal sacrifices and contributions to the Kosova liberation effort are remembered and celebrated, marking her as a distinguished figure in both the Albanian-American community and beyond.

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