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Former Drone Pilot Talks Candidly About Attacks

Posted on May 11, 2013
Defence Images (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A veteran Air Force drone pilot has opened up about his unsettling experiences killing alleged militants and probable civilians from an air-conditioned trailer in the American West.

Brandon Bryant, 27, operated drones for several years. He now lives in Montana where he sleeps on the couches of friends and acquaintances while attending college. He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

In an interview aired Friday on NPR, Bryant described what happened after he was ordered to strike a group of insurgents who had not attacked American soldiers.

“We fired the missile, and 1.2 seconds after the missile fires, it sonic booms,” Bryant said. “And so the sonic boom gets there before the missile does. And the guy in the rear hears this, and he runs forward to the two guys in the front, and then the missile hits. And after the smoke clears, there’s a crater there. You can see body parts of the people.

“But the guy who was running from rear to the front, his left leg had been taken off above the knee, and I watched him bleed out,” Bryant continued. “The blood rapidly cooled to become the same color as the ground, because we were watching this in infrared. Then I eventually watched the guy become the same color as the ground that he died on.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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