(Crafted for Mr. Christopher Valdez, MARTAC Inc.)

I’m a salty dog, a swash buckler, a bit of a survey bilge rat. I shiver my timbers. I have scuttled my butt. I don’t have the sea in my blood, but I fancy myself a measure of a sea-faring man nonetheless. When I think back to my Special Operations background, the first A-Team I set my fins in was a Combat Dive team. Yea though I wasn’t even yet qualified in the craft… but soon would be.

Even in Delta: I stepped out of my position with the Combat Diver cadre, straight into the only squadron that was inexplicably trying to promote a very ambitious waterborne capability. In fact it was because I was coming from the CDQC cadre that I was assigned to the up-and-coming waterborne squadron. Ahoy… there’s these guys called ‘SEALS’ who actually have the DoD-assigned waterborne charter, and are really quite snappy, by cracky!

Mais, cher bon Dieu aux cieux!! —will this waterborne mission gum ever come unstuck from my assault boots?

Enter the drone zone, the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) boom and the vast research and development test bed in Nevada, where I worked a dozen years post military service. Air and land robotics R&D projects were in a stack outside the door of the Nevada Test Site, and the next to last man was tapping the helmet three times with a salute. (1. vague SOF metaphor).

R&D… are you joking? First flight UAS… are you still joking? My company was an absolute work-free safety zone. R&D meant RISK; R&D stood for ‘Rollover and Die.’ There wasn’t an intact set of testicles in the entire 1,100-personnel work force. These people were so afraid that assumption of risk was life in the unemployment office, with no reasonable expectation of parole. (I have chosen to protect the name of my then company, the National Security Technology LLC, so shhhhh…)

Me, I’ll just sit on this old fence post and wait for the hyenas to stop, drop, and roll away from those scary crash and burn drone gigs. They all did, and thanks to those pusillanimous pussies I have a good deal of experience in the drone development realm, albeit mostly air, and then some land; nothing on or under water. It was the Nevada high desert after all.

Yea, though I have been to at least one massive drone trade show in Las Vegas. Anybody that thought they boasted an extent cool-guy drone technology was kindly invited to show it off. Quadcopter’s, sextocopters, octocopters were the sexy flavor of the day. Some of the Rube Goldbergs designs were ridiculous—more is better; more is more stable. It all sounded great to me, but I’m holding out for the picocopter, so I won’t get sucked into chasing the never-ending upgrade wasteland.