BETHESDA, MD—Waxing nostalgic about his early days driving around the Eastern seaboard “with a trunk full of Stinger heat-seeking missiles and a head full of dreams,” Lockheed Martin Vice President of International Sales Robert Fitzpatrick spent much of a Friday business lunch recounting his humble beginning dealing arms out of the back of his Chrysler LeBaron. “In the beginning, I just kept that old heap idling outside a Miami Stop & Shop waiting for an aspiring potential warlord to pass by,” said Fitzpatrick, who was eventually recruited by the defense contractor after the higher-ups at Lockheed took notice of the sheer volume of man-portable air-defense systems sold out of Fitzpatrick’s trunk. “I remember I used to sleep in that stupid car with all my inventory. Sure, it was tough, but at that point, you’re just doing it for the love of selling weapons. I set my own schedule, I set my own prices, and I didn’t have to answer to anybody or give lobbyists a cut. All the cash went straight into my pockets. Man, those were the days.” Fitzpatrick credits the flexible attitudes and quick-thinking skills he learned peddling instruments of death for his ability to broker shady arms deals between the U.S. government and foreign powers today.

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