"a joystick jocky sitting in a cozy air conditioned room and going home to a safe warm bed in the USA "
Back in 2009 I met a drone operator on leave from Iraq while travelling in Eastern Europe. He was on his third redeployment. He was stationed on-base in Iraq and was happy. At that time, weaponizing drones was a rumour. According to the media, they were surveillance devices. I would have *loved* to ask him all kinds of questions about his job, but that would be very, very, rude. I bought him a beer and we hung out meeting nice girls instead.
What he did tell me was that he was thankful that although he was redeployed so many times, he shared a double room with another operator and admitted there were much harder jobs he was glad he wasn't doing.
Does anyone *know* that these guys are operating from the U.S.? You would think that the expertise is slim and training scarce. It would be complex to train people on new equipment, innovations, details of maintenance, to collaborate with other teams, etc. without being on-site. In IT, we do teleconferencing because it's cheap, but I don't think the cost of flying drone operators to some safe base where the drones *are* is expensive... they're all earning the same pay and have the same obligations. There would be big advantages to being on-site.
Any drone operators want to comment?