I’m sure you are all familiar with the GI Joe line of military-themed toys and their associated cartoons from the 1980s. Internet comedians “Funny or Die” have created this hilarious spoof commercial for a drone operator action figure and associated vehicles. Much like the iconic comedy Office Space, which documents American work life, there is more than a gain of truth in this skit.The US Air Force in recent years has been producing more unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators–or as the service insists “remotely piloted aircraft” pilots–than aviators who fly manned aircraft. But while these operators have joined the USAF’s fraternity of rated officers, they are still clamoring for respect. Well, they’re not going to get that respect in this video.
This is what a real General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper ground control station looks like.
On a more serious note, in last year’s May-June issue of the service’s Air & Space Power Journal, Major David Blair makes the argument that UAV operator deserved to be recognized for valor during combat operations. You can read his arguments here. Nonetheless, UAVs remain a particularly dreaded assignment for most of the pilots that I know.
This is an older video probably prior to the invasion of Iraq, but it sums up their sentiments. The song is by the band Dos Gringos, who are two USAF F-16 pilots.