Do combat drone pilots deserve to earn medals?

Reaper droneThe Washington Post is reporting that the Pentagon is weighing whether to award medals to pilots of unmanned combat vehicles. Designs have reportedly been prepared for approval should discussions progress that far.

Controlling such drones is doubtless a difficult skill that requires no little amount of training to master. But do you think these pilots, who are often nowhere near the battle, should be eligible for such decoration that once represented a risk of life and limb? Is this just an extension of traditional warfare and its recognitions into the remote-control age, or is it no different than video-game “achievements”? Or is it darker — is there something just unseemly about accolades for push-button devastation?

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About the author

Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.

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  • Yup. Only the generals (who stay way back from any danger) get to receive these top medals. All those Legion of Merit awards for senior officers who have never seen combat, but the guys doing the actual work – they are not entitled to recognition for their work? And flying a drone is actually harder than flying a plane – as they don’t get the benefit of actually seeing their surroundings and feeling the plane.
    We should let these chicken hawks fly the drones. After they are all flown into the ground, then the drone pilots will get their recognition.