Experiencing both sides
I read “The War Room” (Oct. 27) and almost felt embarrassed on behalf of the Air Force.
I worked a similar mission involving the unmanned aerial surveillance drones at another base stateside, working the same shift revolving around the same theater-based support in Iraq/Afghanistan.
The article did describe the work atmosphere; long shifts, low morale, sleep deprivation, etc. However, as I am now deployed and working a different mission, I cannot help but think the previous mission with the UAS cannot even compare.
The hardships endured in the “war room” are nothing when you consider the basic amenities we take for granted stateside — privacy, good food, loved ones, etc. — are half a world away while deployed. Yes, the mission performed with the UAS can be time-consuming, but it is little different than any other intelligence-related career field in the Air Force.
I have no desire to downplay the importance of the UAS, and I feel obligated to refute anyone who has. The UAS has been the most widely requested intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance platform when I worked the missions dealing with several various ISR platforms. The mission I assisted with helped save lives and helped stop a lot of bad people.
The article, I feel, almost seemed to exaggerate our duties as if they could compare with the trials endured by those downrange who actually have to witness what we watched from a camera, miles in the sky. From someone in the Air Force who actually worked in the “war room” and someone currently deployed for a year with “in-lieu-of tasking,” I can say the UAS mission is a critical one, but not something that deserves this kind of publicity for being morale-destroying, traumatizing or stressing anymore than any other intelligence-related job in any joint service — especially when one considers what it’s like downrange.
Senior Airman Evan ClymerCamp Victory, Iraq