The ‘kill chain’: How Wichitans fight in combat from here

By Roy Wenzl, posted with permission by Wichita Eagle.

Maj. Janell Blaufuss poses for a picture near her office for the 184th Intelligence Wing of the Kansas National Guard on Wednesday. She led 425 combat missions while sitting at a computer at McConnell Air Force Base, where she provided real-time video intel using drones for troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Feb. 15, 2017) Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

Maj. Janell Blaufuss poses for a picture near her office for the 184th Intelligence Wing of the Kansas National Guard on Wednesday. She led 425 combat missions while sitting at a computer at McConnell Air Force Base, where she provided real-time video intel using drones for troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Feb. 15, 2017) Fernando Salazar The Wichita Eagle

From 2009 to 2012, while never leaving Wichita, in a secret room at McConnell Air Force Base, Maj. Janell Blaufuss took part in 425 combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places she won’t name.

She protected U.S. Marines and U.S. Army soldiers.

She led teams that helped kill senior Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, insurgent fighters in Iraq, and other combatants in other countries. “We’re considered part of the kill chain,” as she put it.

Her medal citation for outstanding service says her work involved “the neutralizing of 92 high value individuals and the finding of 398 improvised explosive devices – saving lives.”

From her video screen in Wichita, Blaufuss saw those enemy combatants die, blown up in Predator and Reaper missile strikes, or in artillery fire that she helped direct from Wichita.