The gritty combat in Afghanistan is thousands of miles away. But the analysts in the cavernous room at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia relive the explosions, the carnage and the vivid after-battle assessments of the bombings over and over again. The repeated exposure to death and destruction rolling across their computer screens is taking its own special toll on their lives.
The military has begun to grapple with the mental and emotional strains endured by personnel who may never come face to face with a Taliban insurgent, never dodge a roadside bomb or take fire, but who nevertheless may be responsible for taking human lives or putting their colleagues in mortal danger.
Now, for the first time, an Air Force chaplain and a psychologist are walking the floor of the operations center at Langley, offering counseling and stress relief to the airmen who scrutinize the war from afar.
Sitting at computer banks lining the expansive room, the Air Force analysts watch the video feeds streaming from surveillance drones and other military assets monitoring U.S. forces around the globe. Photos, radar data, full-motion video and electronically gathered intelligence flows across multiple screens. In 15- to 20-minute shifts, the airmen watch and interpret the information.
TVNL Comment: It's pretty late in the game for this assessment. The US has been in major conflicts during every decade since WWII. Not one has been a declard war, and yet young Americans are asked to kill and observe death and destruction nonstop. And only now is someone looking into the affects. Why? Just asking.....