Drone Pilots Get Same Stress as Combat Pilots
Pentagon study sees evidence PTSD, even from afar
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2013 10:58 AM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2013 11:24 AM CST
File photo of a US Predator drone over Kandahar Air Field.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – This won't go over well with vets who think drone pilots don't deserve the same kind of medal as war-zone troops: A Pentagon study finds that those who operate drones from afar suffer combat-related stress at the same rate as pilots who fly into battle themselves, reports the New York Times. Doesn't seem to make sense? Consider that drone operators "witness the carnage" via video, says one of the researchers. "Manned aircraft pilots don’t do that. They get out of there as soon as possible."

Drone operators also often work in isolation, and they have to balance home life and military duties simultaneously, more so than troops in a war zone. Expect more such studies as drones advance: The story notes that the Air Force will have more drone pilots than bomber pilots (though not fighter pilots) by 2015. Click to read about how the drone photo illustrating this file came to be.

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Showing 3 of 48 comments
milosleubner
Feb 26, 2013 10:07 PM CST
Be aware - "uncle Paul " is another name for "Brush Man ' sharing the "moderating efforts" while utilizing 60 point IQ abilities joined toghether - most likely it is a Newser's censorship soft ware in use.
hugh
Feb 26, 2013 8:20 AM CST
You want stress then maybe I should send my grandson to visit you for the day and I wouldn't need my zanax! :-)
BuffaloJack
Feb 24, 2013 7:07 AM CST
Make the medal's worth be commensurate with the work associated with it. I agree that the stress to deliver is high, but it's no higher than a supermarket manager on the spot to deliver more sales. The drone pilot's life is not on the line and he isn't dodging bullets and shrapnel. It's fine that they give a medal for achievement, but a Bronze Star should rank way higher than the Silver Joystick.