I recently read "The War Room" (article, Oct. 27), the sorrowing tale of officers and airmen stationed at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., detailing their struggles and hardships with operating the MQ-1 Predator.
I felt a lump in my throat and pain in my chest for these dedicated fellow unmanned aerial systems operators, but then it occurred to me that the lump in my throat and pain in my chest was today’s lunch coming back up in disgust toward their story.
Oh, how I wish my enlisted UAS operators had to deal with their environment and the awful task of having to go home at night. How do they do it? We need to give them a medal just for the heroism they display driving from Las Vegas to Creech. I bet they even get mileage pay.
Our soldiers thrive on the fact that they are making a difference conducting the exact same missions and actually being in the same environment that the supported units are in. In the Army, our UAS pilots and sensor operators are actually — please, Air Force, don’t get offended — enlisted soldiers doing the same job as your officers. That says something about the quality of soldiers we have!
We have been able to amass an amazing 52,000-plus hours without flight suits or flight pay. That is just amazing. But then again, this is what is expected of a soldier in support of his or her country. We go to the fight and conduct our missions without regard to our personal safety, because we believe in something bigger than ourselves. And yes, that just happened!
Warrant Officer Robert "Hillbilly" HillCamp Speicher, Iraq