Archive for the ‘Morale’ Category

RE Factor Tactical – MACV SOG T-Shirt

Saturday, February 13th, 2016


This limited edition shirt commemorating the Military Assistance Command – Viet Nam Studies and Observation Group is available for pre-order until 19 Februrary with shipment 8 March. The front has the logo and the back has the mission set.

Post SHOT Show Wrapup – FlexSystems

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Like many in the firearms and tactical products industries, we turn to FlexSystems for our SHOT Show giveaway morale patches.  Their products are American made and they bend over backwards to get you your PVC patches on time.  They also make a wide variety of other PVC items such as key rings, tags and stickers.  We just received a sample of another project they accomplished for Primary Weapons Systems.

This clear mat has the image applied to the reverse side so it won’t come off while you are displaying your items.  It came out great and is just another example of the cool things FlexSystems can do to help you promote your business.

2016 Crye Precision T-shirt

Monday, January 25th, 2016

This year’s design is a redux of a classic.

The VA Life – A New Comicbook – Launches at SHOT Show

Friday, January 15th, 2016


That VA Life is a brand new, humorous, comic book drawn series drawn by Joshua Johnson, and written by Thirty Seconds Out and Violent Little Machine Shop. Join Bosco as he navigates life outside of the military…or will he just give up and go “back in”. Will the VA, proven to be a formidable foe of administrative labyrinths, best our hero as he tries to square himself away…or will our hero triumph against this faceless organization of nonsensical nonsense?


Join the crew at Shot Show from 2:00PM – 5:00PM on Wednesday, January 20th at S&S Precision’s booth (#8206) to get a signed issue, shoot the shit, and drink some FREE BEER. All proceeds will be donated to a charity…we haven’t picked which one yet.


Available now from:

Inglorious Amateurs – SHHH Hoodie

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

The SHHH Hoodie could only come from Inglorious Amateurs which was founded by former Intelligence Officers of the Central Intelligence Agency with the goal of providing accurate, valid and responsible reporting on the Intelligence Community. They occasionally offer shirts and other memorabilia to raise funds for projects. 

-5 oz Heathered Charcoal color is a poly/cotton blend
-Double-needle stitching for durability
-Front pouch pockets
-Soft, comfortable fabric
-SHHH logo on front right breast, IA Shield on back and “Nos Longe Inter Paucos” on the hood itself
-Said to run slightly small, so if you are between sizes, order the larger size
-Limited release!

This is a pre-sale item. The sale runs from 6 January 2016 to 15 January 2016. They expect to ship all hoodies by 1 February 2016.

Airborne Ranger – University Of Pineland Flags

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016



Airborne Ranger has released two new University of Pineland flags. The flags are constructed of 110g digitally printed knitted polyester, rated for indoor and outdoor use. They feature brass grommets for hanging, and are sized 3′ x 5′.

Gung Ho Commando Outfit by Marx

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

Man, I wish I had one of these as a kid.

Thanks Vince M!

Terry Baldwin – Leadership, Character and Basic Training

Friday, January 1st, 2016

I get asked about Military Service and Basic Training specifically quite frequently. The transformational impact of Army Initial Entry Training or Marine Corps Recruit Training on young people is often profound and undeniable. Yet the practical intent of the process is often misunderstood, shrouded in mystery and a source of confusion for civilians. Even those who have participated as recruits and trainers often mischaracterize what happens as “breaking down” the old and replacing it with something new. The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division even has a song that proudly declares “they are tearing me down to build me over again”. And young people who talk to me about serving often say they are most afraid of having their individuality stripped or “taken away” from them. That is simply not how the process works. Perhaps the following will better explain some of what goes on behind the curtain and help separate mystique from reality.

In the end it’s really all about character. I had a welcome spiel that I gave to Special Forces candidates when I worked at Camp MacKall years ago. In part I explained the role of the cadre and our expectations of the students by using this story. Supposedly late in his life someone asked Michelangelo how he created such life like statues from lifeless marble. The artist replied “the figure was already in the stone, I just chipped away the excess pieces”. My cadre and I were not in the business of building character. We were focused instead on revealing and assessing the students’ existing traits. To do so we would put them in stressful situations where the excess pieces – their public façade – would be naturally whittled away and their core qualities would be exposed. We weren’t going to give them anything or try to take anything away. In short, we simply wanted to see what they were really made of.

The exact same dynamic is at work in a basic training or commissioning program scenario. By 18 it is fair to say that the fundamental character and personality of a young person has formed and is largely solidified. Family, teachers, coaches, clergy and especially parents have had the prime opportunity in those earlier years to truly shape that young man or woman. The military services can and do encourage – and in some cases may accelerate – the natural maturation process. But the military cannot and will not “make a man (adult) of you” if you don’t have a solid character foundation to build on already inside of you. Of course, any program that is rigorous enough to reveal character strengths and weaknesses to an outside observer also serves to reveal those things to the individual as well. Often for the first time. Because by 18 a young person has also learned to effectively present an often false “public face” that serves to obscure, mask and protect their true nature even from themselves.

Not to get too Zen about it, but you first have to see yourself as you truly are in order to have a real opportunity to grow into a better person. Here is one well known but often misconstrued example of how it usually works in the military. By being required to adopt a common uniform appearance young people come to realize that their personality or their self-worth is not dependent on the stylishness of their cloths or the length of their hair or the cool clique they associate with. They often learn that they are stronger and more independent than they ever realized. This usually results in enhanced self-confidence and sense of purpose. In other words their existing character has been honed and strengthened by the experience. Nothing has been taken away. None of their individuality or personality has been erased or replaced or damaged in any way. That is how it is supposed to work.

That is not to take anything away from Drill Sergeants or anyone else tasked to make entry level Soldiers, Marines, Sailors or Airmen out of civilians. The art of successfully socializing these young people and introducing complex new skill sets is a daunting task under the best of circumstances. But there are also some important lessons here for the rest of us. First, as parents, teachers, etcetera, we have a duty to actively mold the foundational values of our children. That is an obligation that demands our daily attention. And that effort by responsible adults is vital to slowly but surely forge a young person’s core character. The strength of that character not only defines them as people but also shapes their individual destiny and our collective future. And even someone who has not served in the military can and should, over time, help them better understand lofty concepts like Patriotism, Duty and Selfless Service. Principally by setting a good example in our own lives of those virtues for them to emulate.

But military leaders and even parents need to be realistic when dealing with young adults. We can teach, coach, mentor, guide and lead but we can’t force change on anyone. We can be good role models and assist someone who is struggling. We might even be able to supply some helpful external motivation. And if we are lucky we may be able to inspire a positive evolution. But we also have to recognize our limitations. Because no matter how good our intentions, we cannot “fix” someone else’s character related issues. Serious personal problems like drug or alcohol abuse are not “leadership issues” that you can solve for someone else. Instead hurdles like those must be overcome and conquered by the affected individual. And likewise, none of us have the power to impose a sense of Civic Virtue, Honor or Citizenship in someone who is not predisposed to accept that responsibility. When leading others, we would all do well to remember “Oz never gave nothing to the Tinman he didn’t already have”.

Do you have a son, daughter, relative or family friend who is considering military service? Do they wonder if they can “make it” or have concerns and fears? I certainly did. I would suggest that it is best to avoid the temptation to embellish your own experiences or otherwise add to their natural anxiety. Just tell them the truth. That the experience will be a mental and physical challenge they need to prepare for realistically. But mostly it is a test of their character. Also tell them that millions have done it before them and tens of thousands do it successfully every year. Of course, if you don’t think they have what it takes tell them so and why. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why someone might not choose to serve in the military. But it should never be because they don’t have accurate information and are afraid of the unknown. Dispelling rather than perpetuating the myths of basic training is a good place to start. And we all benefit by enhancing the next generation’s propensity to serve our Nation in some worthy fashion.

LTC Terry Baldwin, US Army (RET) served on active duty from 1975-2011 in various Infantry and Special Forces assignments.