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I have little sympathy for airmen and officers who complain about the stress and operation tempo of piloting unmanned aerial vehicles stateside (“The War Room,” article, Oct. 27).

Perhaps it is stressful to watch rifle fire near U.S. troops on a video monitor halfway around the world, but I think it might be more stressful to see rockets explode from halfway around a wall of Hesco (barriers). If it is too stressful to say goodbye to their families every morning, or to commute 40 miles from their home every day, then the Air Force could load up the operations trailers on a C-17 and fly them over here. Then the pilots and other operators would only need to say their farewells once and could walk to work instead — like I’ve done every day for the past four months while building a new hangar for UAVs or improving runways without the option of visiting my family and friends in person every night.

I find it hard to believe Col. Pete Gersten’s comment (in the article) about rarely having contact with his family while deployed. Soldiers here have many options to remain in contact with family: cellular phone, DSN (military phone lines), SPAWAR, Voice over Internet Protocol, e-mail, video conference. I rely on the post office.

Regarding the lack of esprit de corps resulting from shift work, how would that improve with any other assignment? Shift work is unavoidable. Be grateful that the Air Force operates three shifts a day instead of just two, as my battalion does.

It would be nice to stop off for drinks with my platoon after work once in a while, but we’re spread out over four locations, drinking is prohibited, there are no clubs here and there certainly are better ways to deal with work-related stress than drinking it away in a bar.

First Lt. James S. SullivanSharana Air Field, Afghanistan


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