As I read "The War Room" (Oct. 27), on the Air Force "difficulties" of flying the Predator/Reaper systems out of Creech Air Force Base, Nev., I could not help but feel disgust at the sheer twisted irony of the "difficulties" that Air Force personnel are having.
Must be nice to be home. The Army is in its fourth year of flight for the MQ-1B Warrior (a beefed-up version of the Air Force’s Predator), and has amassed 50,000-plus combat flight hours.
Enlisted personnel in the Army do the exact same job as the officers in the Air Force, and we do it without flight pay. We also do it deployed! We are in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not go home at night. We do not get to see our loved ones.
We do not have the option of going to a bar to chill with fellow pilots. We fly six to 10 hours a day, day in day out, for an entire year. A day off is a treasured luxury that is frequently canceled due to personnel shortages. Over half of our meals are brought to us — we do not have the decision to make of whom to call for pizza delivery or which restaurant to go to.
Don’t get me wrong — the Air Force serves many vital functions in the defense of our country, and it is greatly appreciated by the length and breadth of the Department of Defense. However, to hear them complain about how bad they have it at home when Army personnel are performing the exact same missions with the same airframe in far worse conditions for far less pay in a war zone is nothing more than a slap in the face to those of us deployed here and in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Joe A. Alexander IIICamp Speicher, Iraq