Brandon Bryant, a Missoula man and former drone operator, spoke with a UN Security Council panel on drone warfare on Friday for roughly five minutes. Bryant has also been speaking with the media in an effort to shed light on the psychological impact drone operators face like any other soldier.
Bryant worked as a drone operator for the Air Force, and he told GQ Magazine that his first kill was a strike in Afghanistan. He eventually left his post in Spring, 2011, and dealt with alcohol and depression issues. Now, he’s trying to shed light on his experiences, to communicate that drone operation is not just a videogame, and that operators’ interaction with warfare is all too real.
His mother, LanAnn Bryant, tells NBC Montana she’s proud of her son for speaking about his experiences.
“Talking about it is something that is hard to do, but I think that it’s a healing thing…I know from his experience, it’s exhausting, what he’s done, but he’s a writer,” said Bryant.