Staff Sergeant Kyle Klapperich , a pararescueman, deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as the primary rescue specialist and sole medic attached to a combined U.S. Navy SEAL and Afghan Commando Team. On the night of September 7, 2011, Sergeant Klapperich inserted with a combined helo-assault force into a known insurgent stronghold which was full of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). As they moved 200 meters through multiple ditches and ravines, three members of the team were struck by an IED.
Read about the rest of what happened here. Suffice it to say, Staff Sergeant Klapperich acted without hesitation and with tremendous heroism, and was nominated for the Silver Star.
As the Air Force is slowly starting to figure out, the age of the fighter pilot, and, as I would argue, the pilot itself, is coming to an end. Until recently, a drone operator had to already be an actual pilot, wings and all. But as the demand for drones grow, the higher ups are realizing that taking two years to train a man to fly an actual airplane is a waste of time, when what they really want is someone to sit in front of a video screen.
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