Michael D. "Mike" Beaver was one of the core contributors to modern collector knowledge on uniforms and acoutrements of the SS. Mike's dedication to the hobby is evident in the spectacular volumes he wrote, including Camouflage Uniforms of the Waffen-SS (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.). Mike was one of those rare collectors who had to know everything about the hobby he was pursuing. He thoroughly examined and researched every detail of SS textiles, insignia, distribution systems, design and manufacturing specifications and the like. His meticulousness paid off in the superb quality of his uniform series, thus leading to the fortunate circumstance that every serious collector of the SS items is the most solid, factual, and authoritative information he or she could possibly have. This is by far the greatest compliment a man can pay his fellow collectors, to contribute in this way to their professional understanding of this intensely historical pursuit. Mike was taken from us in May 2005, after a long but heroic battle with cancer. Right to the end, Mike stayed on course with his research and collecting efforts, pausing only during the worst effects of his disease. Mike will be long remembered by those who knew him for still appearing at local military shows whenever he had the strength to do so. In some ways, it was this act that further strenghtened bonds of friendship and respect for Mike across the collecting community. He is sorely missed by the community and by his dear family, but his contribution to the collective knowledge of the collecting community will live on for many years to come.
Kelly Hicks retired from U.S. Army Special Forces in 2000 and now performs security and intelligence work in the private sector. He began collecting World War II militaria at age eight in 1964, when he bought his first German helmet from George Peterson and Jim Atwood's "Stallhelm" ad in "Shotgun News." At the time, a no-decal combat helmet was $5.95; "with decals" was $7.95. Since that time, Kelly has focused on collecting SS regalia, specializing over the last two decades in SS helmets. His three publications, SS Helmets, Volumes 1 and 2l and more recently, SS Steel, show the progression of conventional collecting knowledge as it applied to all known types of SS helmets. This latest work, in partnership with Michael D. Beaver, mainly represents an effort to help realize the vision of Michael's excellent SS uniforms series, as well as his compilation of period photographic and documentary sources, photos and helmets. It is to Michael's family that Kelly dedicates his portion of the effort.
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