PEB Forum Veteran
From an article in today's New York Times:
By CHRISTOPHER DREW and DAVE PHILIPPS JUNE 16, 2015 CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — After a decade of waging longdistance war through their video screens, America’s drone operators are burning out, and the Air Force is being forced to cut back on the flights even as military and intelligence officials are demanding more over intensifying combat zones in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The Air Force plans to trim the flights by the armed surveillance drones to 60 a day by October from a recent peak of 65 as it deals with the first serious exodus of the crew members who helped usher in a new era of war by remote control. Air Force officials said that this year they would lose more drone pilots, who are worn down by the unique stresses of their work, than they can train. “We’re at an inflection point right now,” said Col. James Cluff, the commander of the Air Force’s 432nd Wing, which runs the drone operations from this desert outpost about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
This issue of impact of duty on drone operators has come up before several times on the forum. A common issue raised is whether conditions like PTSD or depression that might be a basis for a combat-related finding or award of a Purple Heart for someone in theater or directly piloting an aircraft should also be a basis for findings for drone operators. I think this is an important issue.