FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- The prospect of planes without pilots patrolling U.S. skies by the end of this decade is sparking a round of anxiety about Big Brother peering into backyards. We wanted to see how these drones are being used in Missouri right now.
An area of Fort Leonard Wood looks like a foreign war zone. Signs are written in Arabic; twisted metal is all around, and planes without pilots are in the air. Soldiers peer into shaded viewers. They play with joysticks and use laptop computers to connect to unmanned aerial vehicles.
"All we're trying to do is train soldiers and get them ready for their upcoming deployment," said Damian Johnson.
One day last month, Steven Luttrell was trying to get the hang of launching 13 pounds of foam, fiberglass and technology. Luttrell had two weeks to get it right because he and his fellow soldiers would soon be counting on that eye in the sky to spot danger for convoys. With the camera on-board, the operator can see disturbed dirt on the ground.