Brian Terrell of Voices for Creative Non Violence writes, “Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III authorized RPA aircrews to log combat time when flying an aircraft within designated hostile airspace, regardless of the aircrew’s physical location.”
We already knew that members of the National Guard units are federalized while operating drones from their home states, but now along with the regular Air Force crews, they are recognized as combatants by the Air Force.
Before now, it may have been a grey area whether remote control attackers are combatants since they are so far from their victims in the “battle ground.” This announcement removes any doubt. Since the US Air Force itself recognizes these crews as combatants, it is hard to argue that they are not legitimate targets of war, “regardless of the aircrew’s physical location.”
See it from the horses’ mouth, from the Air Force Office of Public Affairs.