Confessions of an American Drone Pilot

confessions-of-a-drone-warrior-gq-magazine-november-2013-02Chilling stuff from GQ. A drone pilot recalls his experiences as a member of America’s secretive drone program.

He kept the targeting laser trained on the two lead men and stared so intently that each individual pixel stood out, a glowing pointillist dot abstracted from the image it was meant to form. Time became almost ductile, the seconds stretched and slowed in a strange electronic limbo. As he watched the men walk, the one who had fallen behind seemed to hear something and broke into a run to catch up with the other two. Then, bright and silent as a camera flash, the screen lit up with white flame.

Airman First Class Brandon Bryant stared at the scene, unblinking in the white-hot clarity of infrared. He recalls it even now, years later, burned into his memory like a photo negative: “The smoke clears, and there’s pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee. He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it’s hitting the ground, and it’s hot. His blood is hot. But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast. It took him a long time to die. I just watched him. I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on.”

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7 Comments on "Confessions of an American Drone Pilot"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Oct 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm |

    Airman First Class (E-3)
    just above basic airman and below senior airman

    that dude wasn’t in more than 4 years
    a few weeks after his twenty-first birthday

    they’re now making trigger men
    out of people who’ve spent more time playing video games
    than in the military

    • Rhoid Rager | Oct 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm |

      That was the whole point of raising the latest generation on video games.

    • InfvoCuernos | Oct 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm |

      Like pretty much all of history-get the youth to fight the wars old men start. The joke here is that its to a point where the old men could actually be piloting these drones, and yet they still employ the youth. “Don’t get any of that red stuff on MY hands!”

    • goatonastick | Oct 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

      So you think people should be getting more practice killing people in real life before killing people…. in real life? No question as to wether we SHOULD be killing them, just on the people doing the killing. Typical U.S. soldier: follow orders, do not think for yourself, always assume those killed deserve it.

  2. luther_blissett5 | Oct 28, 2013 at 6:19 pm |

    Weaponized drone strikes are terrorism and they dehumanize everyone involved: the victims, pilots, bureaucrats, politicians etc.

  3. James Jenkins | Oct 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm |

    then the flat delivery of the phrase “missile off the rail.”

    *Seventy-five hundred miles*

    away, a Hellfire flared to life..

    try 7500 meters perhaps, 7500 miles would be twice across the US, a trip of over half a day at the speed of that ordnance, and well out of fuel by that time.

  4. God, how I am waiting for the day when some Russian sitting in his trailer sends a missile onto one of our politician’s convoys. Oh what a happy day. Grease spots everywhere!

    Enjoy your temporary dominance, boys. Your turn’s next.

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