Former Marine Jon Barton has a new assignment. Seasoned technical advisor for Hollywood productions (JAG, NCIS) and celebrities – including Tom Cruise, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth – coordinated the shipment of military equipment to aid Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Russia.
Briefly, the Iraq War veteran considered volunteering for the International Corps for the Defense of Ukraine’s Territories. But when his friend, seasoned stuntman Shawn Balentine (Birds of prey), suggesting that he might spend more of a camouflage uniform, his focus changed. “One light bulb went out,” says Barton, whose consulting and rental company Night-Fire is. “I can do more from here [in the U.S.], with my professional network of veteran entrepreneurs, scattered across the country. The Ukrainian government requested these and we were able to supplement from the private sector. “
According to his account, he abandoned 80% of his inventory from his Ventura County warehouse – hundreds of uniforms, knee pads, boots, rifle slings and load-bearing tactical vests – for the war effort, working with LA’s Ukrainian Cultural Center to send it through Warsaw and then to the crowded country through logistics company Meest Group. “They assured me it would reach Kyiv,” he said, noting that he was limited to transporting defensive materials, meaning no weapons parts.
Since rumors of his attempt, he has been receiving tactical boxes and other equipment (emergency blankets, fire kits, etc.) Veterinarians are desperate to help Ukrainians in any way they can. In return, he has so far provided 30 American volunteers with the International Corps, from Washington State to South Carolina, with a range of gear sent via FedEx: cold suits, binoculars , radio, flashlight. “I got it by accident,” he said. “They don’t expect that from someone in Hollywood.”
Now Barton hopes that the bigger players will follow suit. “I know what the studios have,” he said. “I’m just a little guy. Imagine what they can do. They may think what they have is the costume. They are uniforms. “