Alexander Barnes and Kevin Born have published a new book that educates readers about the nuances of desert uniforms. The generosity of service members, who sometimes literally gave their uniforms off their backs, enabled Barnes and Born to compile their 344-page reference book, according to an Army press release.
"Desert Uniforms, Patches and Insignia of the U.S. Armed Forces" features more than 1,000 mostly color photos with detailed descriptions of a multitude of uniforms, unit patches, insignia and more. Barnes and Born had help tracking these down — both locally and around the globe.
Barnes, who served in the Marine Corps and the National Guard, and Kevin Born, a retired Army major and chief of the Collective Training Development Division at the Combined Arms Support Command often just needed to walk around the command for help.
"Working in a building with so many military veterans," said Born, "one is bound to run into some who had served during the desert period. Retired Col. Charles (Charlie) Brown, director of the Battle Lab, gave me his six-colored uniform from Desert Storm and three-colored Desert Combat Uniform from Afghanistan. And on the day he retired, he loaned me his Army Combat Uniform off his back, which is in the book illustrating the transition to the ACU uniform."
Together, Barnes and Born have more than 50 years of military service combined. They spent 10 months collaborating with other collectors to accumulate all the insignia and uniforms needed for the book.
Born said that "writing the book was about two things for us — recognizing the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the armed forces who wore the desert uniform as well as advancing this area of military collecting. Whenever a reference like this is published, there is an increased interest among collectors."