Drone pilots have been quitting the U.S. Air Force in record numbers in recent years — faster than new recruits can be selected and trained. They cite a combination of low-class status in the military, overwork and psychological trauma.
But a widely publicized new memoir about America’s covert drone war fails to mention the “outflow increases,” as one internal Air Force memo calls it. “Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Memories” chronicles the nearly 10 years that Brett Velicovich, a former special operations member, spent piloting unmanned aerial vehicles for the U.S. military. Conveniently, it also puts a hard sell on a program whose ranks the Air Force is struggling to keep full.
Velicovich wrote the memoir — about his time “hunting and watching in the cesspools of the Middle East” — to show how drones “save lives and empower