At The Battle of Bunker Hill, in Boston, Mass., in 1775, the famous order (to) “Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes” was reportedly given. It can be argued as to whether that command was given by General Israel Putnam, of Connecticut, or Colonel William Prescott, of Massachusetts. The idea, however, was not to use your gunpowder until the Enemy was really, really close. Remember that the Americans were a “Well-Regulated Militia” that brought their own weapons, ammunition and gunpowder to Fight.
Since then, our Military has continued to fight the Enemy in actual battlefields, generally in Foreign Venues, and they could definitely see the Foreign Troops–and sometimes fought in hand-to-hand combat. Nowadays, we have seen the widespread usage of remotely-controlled, unmanned Drones, in the Middle East. The linked article, by Elisabeth Bumiller, A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away, in today’s NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/us/drone-pilots-waiting-for-a-kill-shot-7000-miles-away.html?hp, provides a little insight into this New Face of War.
The pilot in the story, Colonel D. Scott Brenton, was an experienced F-16 Fighter Pilot, in Iraq. The officers who “pilot” the Drones are experienced Fighter Pilots and tend to feel comfortable with their current assignments. The Air Force, however, does make Chaplains and Medical Staff available, near the Drone Bases. It is too soon to understand what the true impact of firing rockets and missiles, at human beings, by remote control, will be over time.
One knock on the US Army’s web site has been the use of video games to attract recruits to play and, perhaps, enlist. That can be very dangerous, however, because War is Not a Game!