From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — For years, the military’s drone pilots have toiled in obscurity from windowless rooms at bases in suburban America, viewed by some in the armed forces more as video game players than as warriors.
But in a reflection of their increasingly important role under President Obama, the drone operators will now be eligible for military honors akin to those given to pilots who flew over the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Defense Department on Thursday is scheduled to announce that it has created a designation to recognize service members who had a direct effect on combat operations even though they were operating remotely, Pentagon officials said. Drone pilots are likely to receive many of the awards, but they may also be given to operators who launch cyberattacks.
“It’s way past time,” said David A. Deptula, a retired three-star Air Force general who pushed the military to embrace drones. “People should be acknowledged and rewarded for their contributions to accomplishing security objections regardless of where they are located.”
Following this train of thought to its logical conclusion: