US captain in army intelligence went on his own to Libya to help train rebels
"Gadhafi was a real bad guy," he thought. "Why don't I get a passport and head over there?"
With little luggage and a lot of theoretical knowledge, Erwin left his home in the northwestern United States (he did not want everyone to know where he lives), arrived in Turkey, made his way to Egypt and eventually crossed the border into eastern Libya. He arrived in Benghazi May 13. He found what he had expected -- and worse.
There he watched doctors, engineers, students, teachers, fathers, sons learn how to fire anti-aircraft guns. They were taught how to assemble and reassemble weapons almost every day.
But Erwin noticed they were lacking training in combat survival. Forget special forces, he said. The rebel fighters had not even gone through what every teenage recruit goes through at basic training for the U.S. Army.
"They didn't even understand the need to dig a foxhole when grad missiles are coming in," Erwin said. "You need something to jump into when you are under fire. They didn't know that."
In July, Erwin returned home mainly out of concern for his wife, who worried about her husband, a lone American on the battlefields of Libya.
More here: An American soldier journeys to the 'good fight' in Libya - CNN.com
Back at home, Erwin ponders the consequences of the experience.
He's a survivalist, and as such, has paid off his debts and stockpiled supplies in case U.S. civilization, as he knows it, comes to an end. He began a part-time business over a year ago as a preparedness consultant.
But now things seem even more uncertain.
Erwin knows that because he was a captain in army intelligence, the military might be irked about the fact that he traveled to Libya without its knowledge.
On his way to Libya, he said the FBI questioned him at New York's JFK airport.