Drone Pilots Experience Same Trauma as Soldiers on the Battlefield, Study Finds
Intelligence analysts and drone pilots experience the trauma of war like other soldiers on the battlefield, an Air Force study found.
Despite being stationed in the United States, far away from the front line, the military personnel that collect intelligence in the fight against terrorist groups, like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, struggle to process their experiences.
While they wage war remotely, their perception over what they are seeing turns out to be just as traumatic as their counterparts on the ground.
Analysts spend hours watching video feeds from drones hovering over violent conflicts, watching troubling events unfold from thousands of miles away. A recent Air Force study found that one in five witnessed a rape over the course of a year, while some reported seeing up to 100 acts of sexual violence or torture, according to NPR.
The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, which contains about 80 percent of the Air Force’s imagery analysts, keeps a team of medical professionals to help with the trauma on their base in Virginia.
Psychologists recommend adding more analysts to ease the psychological burden and rotating them to work on something less traumatic can help.