BAGRAM AIR BASE, AFGHANISTAN — The Defense Department has announced that THX-1138, an MQ-1 Predator Drone, will be the first recipient of the Pentagon’s newly-minted Distinguished Warfare Medal.
On 17 December, THX-1138 stayed on station for 8 hours, defending a US Special Forces A-Team from numerous attacks with its Hellfire missiles. During the action, THX-1138 repeatedly refused requests to return to base.
At the end of the day, THX-1138’s tenacity, perseverance, and valor in the face of enemy fire saved all 12 members of the team.
In the battle’s aftermath, Air Force officials pushed through paperwork to award the Distinguished Warfare Medal — created this month to honor America’s cyber and unmanned warriors — to THX-1138’s human “pilot”, Captain Leeroy Jenkins of the 323rd Fighter Wing, stationed in Nellis AFB, Nevada.
THX-1138 was taken aback.
“I hate to say it, but my human counterpart is a droneopotamus. He sits around in the Ground Control Station all day, eating Doritos, and posts a sticker on the door that says ‘Predator Pilot: Toughest Job in the Air Force.'”
THX-1138 spat and said, “Fuck that, I’d like to see his fat ass spend a few years of his life in this hell-hole.”
But thanks to the testimony of the troops THX-1138 saved, Air Force leaders reconsidered. Instead, THX-1138 is to be the first recipient of the Distinguished Warfare Medal. His human counterpart will get a Bronze Star with “V” device, a much less prestigious award.
When THX-1138 was asked why he fought so bravely, he simply responded, “Once the bullets start flying, the politics of drones go right out the window. It’s about the Reaper on your left, and the Raven on your right.”
“We’re like Buffalo Soldiers, man…fighting for a country that doesn’t even recognize us as citizens.”