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The Baldwin Files – What Next?

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I did some walking around the homestead today. Specifically, I checked and did some minor clearing of an old logging trail that crosses a ridgeline on the “backside” of my property. I have about 56 acres of mostly steep hillsides, and the retirement home I am building is in a central bowl of about 10 acres. When I was a kid, I read about the Native American Tribes east of the Mississippi. They had semi-permanent settlements long before Europeans showed up. It was their habit to clear certain trails of debris to allow their warriors to move quickly and quietly when necessarily in or out of the villages. They used proper camouflage techniques so that those trails would not be obvious to potential raiders from other tribes. Likewise, they took pains to obscure the heavy traffic areas that led to their most productive fishing, hunting, and trapping, locations.

I always liked that idea. I have a one lane paved (public) road that leads to the edge of my property on one side. I do not own it and, therefore, cannot do much with the front door. However, I do like having a not so obvious private backdoor trail off my property that very few know about. Besides the work involved, I do my best thinking – at least I believe I do – when I am moving. Likewise, I have always preferred to give orders, guidance, praise, or admonishment, on the move – rather than in an office. So much so, that it was something of a running joke in at least one of my units. As in, “you know you screwed up if Major Baldwin invites you on a Wisdom Walk”! Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about where I want to take these articles. I already have some in the que in various stages of completion. The fourth and final chapter of the Fighting Load Continuum, something on the Airborne Tactical Assault Panel (A-TAP), and another on machinegun crew training that I am collaborating with Kirk on; just to name a few. Still, it seems appropriate that I also open this up to suggestions from the readers as well.

Of course, I have a one major caveat. I am not likely to attempt to write about a subject in which I have no expertise or that is too far outside my personal experience. I will talk about leadership, training, tactics, gear, and fieldcraft all day long. I have been practicing and trying to master those related skills all my life. That does not make me an expert, but it does make me more knowledgeable than average. I believe in self-reliance, preparedness, and have some experience with “survival skills.” However, my opening vignette notwithstanding, I am obviously not about to go “off the grid” and do not consider myself a Prepper or Survivalist. Therefore, I am not going to opine on how much seed you may need to stockpile in your bunker for the End Times. Although, just as clearly, I may talk about my homestead from time to time if it is germane to the subject.  

I do not talk about shooting. Not that I do not have an opinion, but there are others on this forum that are making a living and still doing that kind of training every day. I will generally defer that subject to them. I will take the opportunity to reinforce something that I have heard others say here; some of the recent shooting fads are just that – fads. In a year or two, they will be gone and some other shiny new technique will capture everyone’s imagination. I did make an exception a few weeks ago when someone mentioned that a shooter can use his thumb to “lock” a pistol slide forward when using a suppressor. Apparently, that is a thing and I was assured it works fine. OK. I am not ever going to try it myself so I will take their word on it. Still, using a part of your body to prevent a weapon from functioning as it is designed to work seems particularly ill advised. Indeed, an old fuddy duddy like me would call it an accident waiting to happen.    

SSD has been very accommodating with space here these last many months, and I appreciate that. Otherwise, I would just be another angry old man shouting at the neighbor kids to get off my lawn. Yet, I have a tough time gaging whether I am reaching what I consider my target audience or determining the level of interest in some of the subjects I have chosen to write about. Some individuals choose to comment and that is good, but I am assuming some number of others read the articles and remain silent. Many of the people who respond with any regularity are retired like me. That is ok, but it makes me wonder if more than a couple Active Duty guys and gals are reading these articles? If not, then I am clearly missing the audience I am most interested in engaging.

Therefore, while general comments are still welcome, I am hoping to get two specific types of responses after this piece. One, feedback from those that can give me some sense (hopefully) whether I am reaching that Active Duty target demographic – or not. Two, a sentence or two about what other subject matter readers might want me to explore or reattack in the future. All answers are welcome; even if the response is “Old man, your stuff does not appeal to me or is too dated to be useful.” Finally, I will be traveling to Fort Campbell (Sept 19th – 22nd) for the 5th Special Forces Group Annual Reunion. That is an opportunity for me to touch base with old friends – in and out of uniform – and younger guys still on the Teams. In years past, in between Group events, I have also been able to engage a few folks from the 101st as well. I am looking forward to it. De Oppresso Liber!

LTC Terry Baldwin, US Army (Ret) served on active duty from 1975-2011 in various Infantry and Special Forces assignments. SSD is blessed to have him as, reader, contributor and friend.

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Thanks !

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