Interview with Lt Col. Robert K. Brown of Soldier of Fortune

Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown
Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown

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!

Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown Vietnam circa 1969
Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown Vietnam circa 1969

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.

Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown Afghanistan circa 1989
Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown Afghanistan circa 1989

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!

Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown on a recent successful Bear Hunt
Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown on a recent successful Bear Hunt

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.

  • 10 thoughts on “Interview with Lt Col. Robert K. Brown of Soldier of Fortune

    1. John I re–read your article after all tis time, and I have a comment re homophones: it’s plow-shares not pow shears. I did not catch it the first time around.

      Cheers,

      Durabo
      Chandler, AZ

    2. Ahh,… the clearance….Ft. Benning, The brigade, Patrick H., Steve W,. Lil John, Dicky Chapelle, Ferry, No Name island, the boats… forgotten and all long gone.
      Except …you.
      Cheers Bob.

    3. I began reading SOF back in the 70’s. My SF Group had a subscription to it using the fictitious name Col. Biff Billings, so that it came to our battalion HQ every month. Back then the mag was all about Rhodesia, SA, Cambodia and some L.A. locations. As time passed, it covered every hot spot in the world. LtC Brown inspired me and my contemporaries. I trained to deploy during a period when I never did as a member of the US Army. But something else he taught us was to be strong, stay fit, and that age is just a number. So, in 2004 I deployed as a private security contractor on DoD contracts to Iraq at the age of 50. I spent the next 2 1/2 years protecting people and sensitive item convoys, and LtC Brown was one of the inspirations that led me to do that. He is a man who doesn’t try to put himself out there are some sort of demigod. Read his book, “I am Soldier of Fortune,” and you will see that he has no problem pointing out his own mistakes and how often his endeavors didn’t achieve what he hoped they would.

      But he never quit. Something our society would be so much better off keeping in mind, especially the snowflakes who seem to be shaping the social structure these days. So, here’s to you, Sir! Enjoy life and know that you have touched a lot of lives in a very positive way.

    4. The Second Amendment exists to protect Americans against a tyrannical government.
      Every day we get closer to the time when tyranny by an over reaching government will require action by dedicated Patriots. Sounds like Boulder is crossing the line as we speak…

      1. I subscribed to it when I was in Mannheim , Germany in 82 – 83. It had. Lot of stories about what was going on in the world. A lot you wouldn’t see in Time Magazine. After I brought things up to a Colonel in MI , he wanted to borrow my magazines. Lol

    5. 1. I’m glad I moved away from the People’s Republic of Boulder, Colorado’s communist enclave, and returned to Arizona (No, NOT Tucson, Arizona’s communist enclave!)
      2. Congratulations to the voting members of the NRA, who reelected Lt Col Brown and dumped Grover Norquist.

    6. Bravo! As a long-time citizen of the Boulder Demokratik People’s Republik, I completely agree with his assessment of the current political situation here in the BDPK. His comments are spot-on. No one that owns a MSR will register then with the city’s politburo, and we await a constitutional test case.

    7. We also thank the Col. for his dedicated and continued service to our country. Great interview Crumpy… let’s hope NoVa doesn’t turn into another Boulder. We can keep it from becoming so…

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