The US Air Force Is Trying to Fix Drone Pilot Burnout With Bad Memes 

By Kate Knibbs on at

US Air Force drone pilots are stressed out, burnt out, overworked and undertrained. But ain’t they got memes!

In August, the US Air Force launched a “Culture and Process Improvement Program” to combat how depressing piloting war machines can be:

“We’re seeing problems in the MQ-1/9 community at both the major command and base levels that can be solved quickly,” said Col. Troy Jackson, the command and control intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations division chief and CPIP officer in charge. “Airmen in this career field are being exhausted with no end in sight; we want to fix this.”

Jackson doesn’t explicitly mention the “problems” but the drone program has a history of causing psychological trauma for its pilots. Aside from, you know, mental torment, it’s also considered a dead-end job, with little room for career advancement.

So how are they fixing the generically titled “problems”? There will be visits to Air Force bases with drone programs to get real-life feedback. In the meantime, CPIC also has a social media outreach campaign. So far it’s a Facebook page and a bunch of grim memes designed to make the job of operating unmanned aerial war machines look like a lighthearted task:

The Air Force Is Trying to Fix Drone Pilot Burnout With Dank Memes 

The Air Force Is Trying to Fix Drone Pilot Burnout With Dank Memes 

The Air Force Is Trying to Fix Drone Pilot Burnout With Dank Memes 

The Air Force Is Trying to Fix Drone Pilot Burnout With Dank Memes 

If this isn’t evidence of how lost the Air Force is as it tries to make one of its least-appealing jobs anything other than dreadful, I don’t know what is. Or maybe the main personality requirement you need to survive a career in Air Force drone piloting is an equally high tolerance for dad jokes and remote killing. [Defense Systems, h/t Sultana Khan]

Image: Getty