Also a retired US army reservist. I was combat wounded in Viet Nam. I carry a bit of Russia around with me at all times; Bits of an RPG are still lodged in my right leg. Wounded during Tet 68 when 2 RPG's destroyed the M113A1 I was driving.
While in the US Army Reserve I, for a time, wore a Soviet Officers uniform and conducted classes on Soviet military equipment, especially armor while at Ft Benning, GA. Cold war stuff. Russians make some fine "affordable" military equipment. Even in Viet Nam we would have loved to carry AK's instead of the always jamming M16.