U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In 1975 Soldier of Fortune magazine hit magazine racks everywhere. It was unabashed pro-gun and pro-military when it wasn’t cool to be either. The direct involvement of the US military in the Vietnam War ended two years earlier, and Saigon would fall in April of this year. At home, the radical student terrorist group, “The Weather Underground”, was still bombing US government buildings.
No one thought this type of magazine would find success the 1970s except the magazine’s founder, Lieutenant Colonel Robert K. Brown.
Lt Col. Brown was an Army Green Beret, a Vietnam vet, and a Bronze Star winner. He knew war, and he knew publishing which gave him a unique skill set that would serve him well. He combined those talents to create one of the most famous and sometimes infamous magazines in the history publishing.
Pop culture references Soldier of Fortune are scattered throughout movies, TV, books, and even video games. I often would wonder what the founders of Soldier of Fortune thought of the magazine’s lasting impact on society. When Ammoland offered me the opportunity to interview Lt Col. Brown I knew I had to do it.
John: First is all, let me thank you for your service to our country. As a spouse of someone who served in the Military, everyone who served means a lot to me.
Lt Col. Brown: Thanks mucho!
John: You served in the Special Forces during Vietnam. What made you want to join the Green Berets?
Lt Col. Brown: I was involved in supporting Castro back in the day and, subsequently assisted anti-Castro Cubans in trying to overthrow him. Consequently, I developed an interest in and an appreciation of unconventional warfare.
John: In your book, I Am Soldier of Fortune: Dancing with Devils, you talked about being kicked out of the Green Berets twice. What caused you to be kicked out and how did you get back into the Green Berets?
Lt Col. Brown: The first time was because the Army failed to update my security clearance…Top Secret…before assigning me Special Forces when I volunteered to go to Nam. When the Army found out that I had returned to Special Forces in Nam due to my pulling some strings, they kicked me out the second time.
John: You became a publisher in 1970 by founding Paladin Press and then in 1975 you founded Soldier of Fortune magazine. How did you go from Green Beret to a publisher?
Lt Col. Brown: I founded Panther Publications in 1963 in the course of self-publishing “150 Questions for a Guerrilla,” authored by “General” Alberto Bayo, who trained Castro and his initial band of revolutionaries who then invaded Cuba on 6 December 1956. I became Special Forces qualified in 1966 after completing the Special Forces Officers Course at Ft. Bragg. After returning from Nam, I joined with Nam vet Peder Lund to form Paladin Press in 1970. In 1974, I sold my interest in Paladin to Lund…and headed to the bush war in Rhodesia.
John: Soldier of Fortune had a huge impact on popular culture. Countless books, movies, and TV shows reference that magazine. Does it surprise you how well known it became?
Lt Col. Brown: SoF was the subject for best-selling video games with Activision, had a TV series that lasted 40 episodes, had a Russian edition for a few years as well as publishing 20 some adventure novels with the SoF logo. When I kicked off SoF, people in the publishing industry said I was crazy! If somebody would come to me with a similar project knowing as little as I did about publishing, I would tell them the same thing.
John: You live in Boulder, CO. The Boulder City Council just passed an “assault weapons” ban. It has to pass twice more before it becomes an ordinance. Do you plan to give up your semi-automatic guns if it becomes an ordinance?
Lt Col. Brown: Surely you jest!
John: How do you plan on resisting the push to take the guns?
Lt Col. Brown: Never give the enemy an insight into your plans.
John: You have lived in Boulder a long time. How has it changed since you first moved there?
Lt Col. Brown: For the worse. Too many fucking people…with an anti-gun,” progressive” mindset. I swear the City Council, is in the pocket of the developers as its build, build, build.
John: Councilwoman Jill Adler Grano claims that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect rifles such as the AR15. What would you tell her if she that comment to you?
Lt Col. Brown: JA Grano’s arrogance is only exceeded by her ignorance. She, and the rest of the City Council, as well as the weasel-like City Attorney, have failed to demonstrate how banning Modern Sporting Rifles and extended magazines is going to prevent active shooters from attacking our schools. All these loathsome, wretched little trolls are doing is creating criminals out of honest citizens…stroking their stunted, immature egos by attempting to deceive the public that they are “…doing something.”
John: Do you think that the anti-gun crowd is exploiting the tragedies such as the Parkland shooting to push gun control, or do you think that care about the kids?
Lt Col. Brown: If they were serious about protecting the children, they would put armed security in the schools.
John: Do you think these gun bans will eventually go nationwide?
Lt Col. Brown: No.
John: What can we do to fight back against the encroachment on our Second Amendment rights?
Lt Col. Brown: Get involved in the political process…vote…get your family and friends to the poles. Join the NRA!
John: Where can people buy your book?
Lt Col. Brown: SOFMAG.COM
John: Anything else you would like the Ammoland readers to know?
Lt Col. Brown: “Those who turn their guns into plowshares will plow for those that don’t.” Thomas Jefferson. And, as long as you can pull a trigger, you are relevant.
Even though Soldier of Fortune ended its print addition in 2016, it still can be found online at sofmag.com.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.