Time Spent Playing Videogames Pays Off for Drone Pilots

June 7, 2010 -

Following last week’s story in which a United Nations investigator called for a ban on the use of CIA drone strikes on suspected Islamic militants in response to fears that such activities could lead to a “PlayStation mentality,” a reporter from the UK’s channel 4 visited an Arizona army base where members of the military are trained to use the unmanned aircraft.

At Fort Huachuca, reporter Sara Smith initially noted that, “You can teach almost anyone to use a joystick and fly these drones.” After stating that many young enlisted soldiers—as young as 18 years old—are being trained to pilot the drones, Smith talked to Staff Sergeant Brian Martin who said, “We like to use the younger generation because they’ve been playing the videogames, so they kind of have that mental capacity and their brain is already setup to think that way.”

Smith added that all the complaints that drone pilot trainees may have heard from their mothers about videogames warping their minds is now “actually paying off for these kids.”

Smith asked Staff Sergeant Nick Cantara if it was easier to pull the trigger using a drone if you’re “not there, you’re not looking at that guy on the ground, if it’s more like some kind of videogame.” Cantara answered, “No, I don’t think so. I think you still have that connection. You’re still there in the fight kind of. You don’t have that risk factor of being on the other side of that gun, but if you do make a mistake it won’t necessarily cost you your life…”

Smith added:

The US military are now so addicted to the use of these drones they call them "army crack". One hit and you are hooked they say. Ground forces now don’t want to leave their bases in Iraq and Afghanistan without those "eyes in the sky" above their heads.


Comments

Re: Time Spent Playing Videogames Pays Off for Drone Pilots

Say what you will, if there is a way for our military to fight an enemy without having to actually risk the livelihood of our soliders in the process, we should take it. If you disagree with using drones because it isn't as personal as staring someone in the eyes and filling them full of holes while they scream in pain and curse you, then you are just a moron. In a war, EVERY ENEMY DEATH SHOULD BE IMPERSONAL.

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Re: Time Spent Playing Videogames Pays Off for Drone Pilots

Here's a question for those who played COD: Modern Warfare, how do you feel about the gunship level? That's the one where you're targeting hostiles in an AC-130H Spectre, protecting the SAS.

Some people can't believe how 'detached' the pilots must feel - miles above in the air, raining down death on white shapes. I'm not saying it's wrong, but it does change the way warfare is conducted and how it is experienced by soldiers.

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