Predator: The Remote-Control Air War over Iraq and Afghanistan: A Pilot’s Story

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9780760338964: Predator: The Remote-Control Air War over Iraq and Afghanistan: A Pilot’s Story
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Predator The Nintendo generation has taken to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan where remotely controlled aircraft are killing America¹s enemies and saving American lives.Matt J. Martin is considered a "top gun" in the world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). For nearly four years, he has flown hundreds of missions on two warfronts in a new kind of combat that, until recently, was largely clas... Full description

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From ten thousand feet in the sky I peered down upon . . . a technical college taken over by insurgents in the heart of Baghdad. It was after midnight. Streets were unlighted or poorly lighted. . . . Using an infrared sensor to register heat signatures, I picked out machine-gun and rocket-propelled-grenade fire coming from top windows of the college, a blink-blink-blink of muzzle flashes that pinned down a squad of U.S. Army mechanized infantry on the wrong side of the Euphrates River.

I carried a pair of Hellfire missiles beneath my wings, but my task was not to engage the enemy directly. Instead, I was to coordinate with and mark targets for an AC-130U "Spooky.". . . As soon as the gunship reported on-site in the night below me, my sensor operator and I began to "sparkle" targets with our infrared marking laser, lighting them up for IR sensors to detect. The Spooky opened fire with the sound of skies ripping apart on doomsday. . . .

Hostile incoming suppressed, the army ground commander came on the radio and thanked me and the AC-130 crew profusely. . . . I stood up to stretch and regain my bearings in the "cockpit" of my aircraft. . . . Then I remembered that Trish had asked me to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home.

You see, I wasn’t in Iraq. Not yet. I was at Nellis Air Force Base, in Nevada, 7,500 miles from Baghdad.

About the Author:

Major Matthew Martin is a career U.S. Air Force officer currently based at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

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