Major (Ret.) Darren Ryan Baldwin
8 February 1975 ~ 23 December 2021
Major (Ret) Darren Baldwin (USASF) won his war peacefully at home on 23 December 2021 after over 16 years of a courageous and valiant battle with Traumatic Brain Injury which he sustained from two IED explosions while serving as a team leader with 10th Special Forces Group in Operation Iraqi Freedom on his second deployment in 2005.
Darren was born in Chicago Ill, raised in Worthington, Ohio where he graduated Worthington Kilbourne High School in 1993. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering.
He was first commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer to Giessen, Germany during which he was sent into combat in Kosovo as part of Task Force Falcon. Following his deployment, Darren continued his military training in the Special Forces Officer Qualification School in Fort Bragg, NC and was selected to serve in the US Army Special Forces in 2003. He was awarded the Bronze Star (2OLC) and the Purple Heart for injuries received in Iraq. He served three tours in Iraq, one in Kosovo and travelled to many other countries while serving as the aide de camp to the US Army Special Forces commanding general at Fort Bragg, NC.
Darren was known for being a loyal, caring, and superior leader. He served with a great sense for duty and with honor. Darren was the epitome of true grit, dedicated to his brethren, always had a “get it done” attitude and most definitely had their “six”. He was a fast tracker in his military career, but his true legacy left with us is that of love, kindness, and perseverance.
Darren grew into a “God, Country, Family” man and over the years he became a devout and faithful Christian. His faith would lead him to find peace and help heal his unseen wounds. His increasing faith deepened his bond with family and friends even further. He became an even more loving son to his parents Fran and Tim, brother to Mark and Veronica and friend to many.
The person Darren loved the most was his adored wife, Bianca. He loved her deeply and referred to her as “the one” whom he met while stationed in Germany. He married the love of his life, his best friend in 2002. Their faith journey together led him to experience a marriage and love in life that made the two become one. He never seized to be grateful to God for having this unconditional and devoted love.
Prior to injury, Darren enjoyed being active in the great outdoors, he liked the mountains and oceans alike. He was an outstanding athlete. He played Lacrosse throughout high school continued to for both West Point and the German national league in Frankfurt, Germany while stationed overseas.
Darren always loved social gatherings whether it was a big party or a small circle of friends. He would light up the room with his electrifying presence and his infectious smile. Music was his soul food and if there was an opportunity to sing karaoke and hit the dance floor, he took it. He was a fun to be around entertainer giving him the nicknames “Hollywood” and “Elvis”.
Darren knew how to embrace quiet times with a good book, classical music, drawing, and would always delight in deep conversations about God and the world. Darren had much appreciation for traveling the world, learning about different cultures and customs.
Post injury some things changed forever but he never lost his faith, courage, witty humor and continued to be a great mentor for many. Quitting or giving in was not an option; his determination to live life was unmatched. A mighty warrior with a brave and kind heart. He never lost the sparkle in his beautiful blue eyes and most importantly, his million dollar smile became a trade mark for encouragement and inspiration. Darren and his wife became “Team Baldwin” making it possible for him to continue to travel, gather with friends and family, go to concerts, theaters, stay active and on the go, was always up for a good shopping spree and full fill his dream to take his bride to visit West Point with him in 2018.
Although, the world lost an incredible man, leaving a void which cannot be filled who is missed so very much every second of every day, Darren would want us to walk on the bright side of life as he did no matter the challenges.
He’d always say, “I am doing good for the shape I am in!”
Darren would want us to remember about him that his spirit and joyful demeanor has never been confined to a wheelchair. Despite of losing him all too soon, in his 46 years here with us he became larger than life, loved deeper, laughed more, touched and changed thousands of lives all over the world and made us richer and better human beings.
He never lost his zest for life or his desire to serve. For those who truly knew Darren also know he wouldn’t change a thing and do it all over again for God, Country, Family.
Darren is survived by his devoted wife, Bianca Baldwin; his mother, Frances Wesseling (James); his father, Timothy Baldwin (Linda); his twin brother, Mark Baldwin (Meghan); his sister, Veronica Frollini (Dave); his mother-in-law, Rosmarie Kahl; his nephews and nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, many friends and brethren.
He was proceeded in death by his grandparents, CPT (USMC) Frank “Yank” and Margaret Baldwin, Frank and Mary Handsel, cousin, “Army” Baldwin, and many brothers in arms.
The family will greet friends at 6:00 Pm to 8:00 Pm on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1:00 Pm Wednesday, January 5, 2022, with Pastor Dan Stanley officiating (Darren’s favorite color was blue to honor his wish attendees are encouraged to include blue in their attire).
In lieu of flowers please consider to donate to the following foundations of Darren‘s choice:
http://www.the98fund.org(Please state it is in memory of Darren Baldwin)
The family invites all attendees to join them as they will celebrate Darren’s life after the service at Charlie Mikes, 195 Starpoint Drive, Fayetteville, NC 28303.
For Recording of Service visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-PyyPBVMrL9w9WOSQzt-SkXx_QaUJi4A/view?usp=sharing