'Did We Just Kill A Kid?' — Six Words That Ended A US Drone Pilot's Career
The New Mexico desert gets blistering hot, but inside the small windowless container where Brandon Bryant worked as a drone operator for the U.S. Air Force it stays a cool 63 degrees all year long.
Nicola Abé at der Spiegel spoke with Bryant, no longer in the Air Force, who relays a disturbing and tragic scene from his time inside that isolated container in the American desert.
Sixty-three finger numbing degrees and Bryant describes sitting with a group of other pilots looking at more than a dozen computer monitors. The crew are directing drones over Afghanistan 6,250 miles away and the screens jump with a two to five second delay, as infrared video sent from the UAVs whips through the air to New Mexico.
When the order to fire on a target arrives, Bryant paints the roof of a hut with the laser that will guide in a Hellfire missile fired by the pilot beside him.