One woman’s mission to help others takes her to Afghanistan

By Sgt. Scott Raper, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

In celebration of International Women’s Day kentuckyguard.com offers the following profile of one of its Soldiers.  Click here for more information on International Women’s Day.

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Spc. Emily Baldwin, a resident of Louisville, Ky., is serving with Kentucky’s Agribusiness Development Team 4, the first of its kind to operate in the Kandahar Province. Spc. Emily Baldwin, a resident of Louisville, Ky., (Photo by Staff Sgt. Paul Evans, Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team 4)

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – Mrs. Robbie Baldwin calls her daughter ‘fearless, but very smart’.  Spc. Emily Baldwin calls herself ‘a free spirit’.  And mom should be proud to know that her daughter demonstrates all of that and much more.  Emily is currently deployed to Afghanistan with the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team Four.  It certainly takes courage to volunteer to serve your country overseas, but the daughter has more honorable traits driving her.

“I want to help other people,” she said.  “You realize so many people take so much for granted and not understand how good they have it.  My goal is to help those less fortunate.”

A mission with the ideas of winning the hearts and minds of the people perfectly suits the socially concerned Baldwin.  National Guard ADTs have deployed to Afghanistan for several years to advise and assist locals in many aspects of farming and business.  Current and past members of the teams call the missions unique and worthwhile. Baldwin volunteered to deploy with ADT 3, but was not selected to go.  When the announcement for the fourth team came out she was determined to be included.

The women of Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team 4

The women of Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team 4: Front row (from left): Sgt. 1st Class Michele Owen, Bowling Green, Ky.; Spc. Emily Baldwin, Louisville; Spc. Courtney Stewart, Bardstown; Sgt. Cheryl Lorenzo, Elizabethtown, Ky.; Middle row (from left): Capt. Varinka Ensminger, Lexington, Ky.; Sgt. Tiffany Teegarden, Nicholasville, Ky.; Sgt. 1st Class Crystal Dunn, Lexington, Ky.; Sgt. Maj. Teresa Rea, Cadiz, Ky.; (Top from left): Sgt. 1st Class Catherine Corson, Nicholasville, Ky.; Sgt. Amanda Behling, Louisville, Ky.

Her tour in Afghanistan is not be the first time Baldwin has been motivated to do what she feels is right.  After high school, she worked as a special education teacher, supporting young lives here in Kentucky.  She also felt that there were worldly opportunities to help, so she flew to Africa where she spent eight months in Uganda.

“I didn’t volunteer with anyone, I just went,” she said.  “I made some contacts and offered my help wherever I could.”

Her contacts were with the Center for Disease Control, leading her to counsel parents and children affected by HIV.

Baldwin says she joined the National Guard to continue her love of humanitarian work.  She hopes to make it a career, always keeping the desire to deploy in support of the underprivileged.

Military trained as a supply specialist, Baldwin serves as a member of the team’s security forces.  She is among several drivers escorting agriculture professionals to Afghans in need of assistance.

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Spc. Emily Baldwin, a resident of Louisville, Ky., with Col. Tommy Barrier, before a mission in southern Afghanistan. Balwin is serving with Kentucky’s Agribusiness Development Team 4, the first of its kind to operate in the Kandahar Province. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Paul Evans, Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team 4)

“Baldwin’s got a great work ethic,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Arnold, Emily’s team leader. “She does anything that I ask and more. She knows her job very well, and keeps us mission capable. She’s a good, motivated Soldier with a great attitude.”

“I am very excited about this mission,” said Emily.  “I can’t wait to work with locals, work with my team and keep everyone safe.”

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