You never know when that wartime experience will come in handy in the real world.
Take Lior Bregman, a former paratrooper with the Israeli defense force. Bregman, who helped set up a communications network that proved valuable in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, is now one of the most accurate pickers of takeover stocks in the arcane field of defense electronics and electronic warfare.
In February, Bregman told clients to buy shares in Electrospace Systems Inc. of Richardson, Texas, then trading for about $17.50, and Argosystems Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., priced at around $20.
In June, Chrysler Corp. bought Electrospace for $27 a share. Boeing Inc. scooped up Argosystems for $37 a share in July.
In August, Bregman issued a buy recommendation for Tracor Inc. of Austin, Texas, which makes software for military computers, when it was trading at $20 a share. One month later, Westmark Systems, an Austin company headed by Admiral Bobby Inman, acquired Tracor for $32 a share.
Can Bregman go four-for-four? His latest pick for a takeover is Avantek Inc., the Santa Clara maker of microwave component technology for defense and telecommunications markets.
Avantek, which is trading at around $14 a share, saw earnings drop 38 percent in the third quarter to $1.6 million. But Bregman says that Avantek's microwave business would make it a good catch for a larger company, such as Boeing, that needs to integrate components into larger defense systems.
Bregman, 30, who earned an MBA at Stanford University in 1986, likes to play down his military background in picking defense-electronics stocks. But he says that having used sophisticated military technology gives him a unique insight into the next growth areas in defens