The Names Who Served
Drone or UAV technicians are termed "pilots". Using a joysticks and keyboard they manually 'fly' humanless air vehicles to observe or attack designated enemy positions. Drone 'pilots' are positioned far from their drone's target, never experience physical danger, never 'pilot' their drone in aerial 'dogfights', and never endure any personal risk of any kind. However, some drone 'pilots' are insisting they they, like real pilots who fly inside aircraft in harm's way, be awarded the same medals, such as the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross, that are awarded to human pilots.
QUESTION 1/2: Should a drone technician or 'pilot' be authorized the Air Medal?
QUESTION 2/2: Should a drone technician or 'pilot' be authorized the Distinguished Flying Cross?
QUESTION 3/2: Should a drone that is destroyed by enemy action be authorized the Purple Heart medal?
QUESTION 4/2: Should a drone technician or 'pilot' who may suffer emotionally from his or her duties be authorized the Purple Heart medal?
QUESTION 5/2: Should each drone be assigned the human name of its technician or 'pilot' so that the technician or 'pilot' can become qualified to receive a human award should the drone succeed in its mission or be destroyed by enemy action?
QUESTION 6/2: Instead of authorizing human awards to machines or remote-controlled machine operators, should a new Technician's Badge, the standard award for equipment proficiency, be created for award to accomplished drone technicians or 'pilots'?