I know that it is tough for the ground pounders in Iraq and Afganistan as we are not fighting/supporting our troops with a full deck so to speak. The same thing happened in Vietnam and the outcome may be the same.
I was with a Navy unit that performed EW surveys north of the DMZ up towards Yankee Station. It was interesting work and helped to reduce troop causailties to some extent.
You have an interesting and varied background and as you say, similar to mine.
I have been working with hobby level robotic rovers over the last five years, but wanted to establish surveillance from above, so to speak, as well as on the ground.
I spent most of my life in California where I was born, but just recently moved to TX. The area I live in is, unfortunately, impinging on the local wild life so I have been developing robot rovers to help drive off the occasional coyote or skunk without having to harm them.
UAV/FPV is relatively new to me and I am still learning to fly without crashing excessiverly. Hovever,according to my pilot friend across the street, I build great aircraft. My ultimate goarl is build and fly the Borjet Maja wihich will make a terirific UAV/FPV aircraft for keeping tabs on the surrounding area from above.