Editor's Note: This article includes mature themes and may not be suitable for all readers.
A former member of the U.S. Air Force offered a rare perspective into the mind of a drone operator, explaining to GQ Magazine how he is now traumatized by his former life as a "remote killer."
Brandon Bryant, a retired airman tasked with operating Predator drones, explained to the publication in vivid detail some of the missions that torment him still today.
In one mission, he recalls firing a Hellfire missile and seeing the figure of what he is certain was a child. When he brought this up to a superior after the fact, he was told that "per the review, it's a dog."
Bryant, who killed 1626 enemies in combat, told GQ of the graphic images he saw after one attack.
“The smoke clears, and there’s pieces of the two guys around the crater," he told the magazine. "And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee."
"He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it’s hitting the ground, and it’s hot," Bryant continued. "His blood is hot. But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast."
[sharequote align="center"]"It took him a long time to die. I just watched him."[/sharequote]
"It took him a long time to die. I just watched him," he said. "I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on.”
Bryan, who left the Air Force in 2011, was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after seeing a therapist.
“I told her I wanted to be a hero, but I don’t feel like a hero," he said. "I wanted to do something good, but I feel like I just wasted the last six years of my life.”
(H/T: GQ Magazine)
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