Whiteman drone pilots receive new, more prestigious title
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE (AP) — The Air Force will now recognize drone pilots who conduct remote military strikes from Whiteman Air Force Base as "attack squadrons," a new designation with more prestige that could help with retention and recruitment.
The Springfield News-Leader reports that the Air Force made the decision last week amid increased national attention to the unique form of stress these pilots face.
Drone pilots aren't physically on the battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq, but they conduct deadly strikes on militant fighters abroad and can often see the resulting bloodshed on live video.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says the new designation recognizes the burden they bear in combat.
A Whiteman spokesman referred questions about the policy change to a Nevada's Creech Air Force Base spokeswoman, who didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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