On most weekday mornings, Crystal drops her daughter, Bianca, at school before driving through downtown Alamogordo, New Mexico, a town of 31,000 people in the Chihuahuan Desert, on her way to work. She and her husband, Luis, coordinate after-school care and pick-up, and by the time the sun sets over White Sands Missile Range, the sky aflame with ragged streaks of pink, they’re both home with Bianca for dinner and homework. Recently Bianca, 7, has started asking more questions about her parents’ jobs. “She knows when she sees the Reapers in the sky that that’s what we fly,” Crystal says. “She knows that we’re not pilots, that we control the camera. She knows that we’ve been in the war.” Before, that was sufficient. But now Bianca wants to understand motive and logic. “’Why is the war going on? Why do you fly those?’ I try to answer at a level she understands,” says Crystal, a veteran sensor operator who now works as a civilian instructor, training airmen to operate the cameras on U.S. Air Force drones. “I figure she can form her own opinions as she gets older, and I just try to fill in the facts. I want her… Read full this story
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