HEAR YE! HEAR YE! SoF’s endorsements for the 2017 election to the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors. Your ballots will be arriving in the mail in the next few days. Once again, SoF is endorsing a number of highly qualified, experienced individuals to the NRA BoD. I have worked with all these individuals and […]
About Soldier of Fortune
As a misfit Vietnam vet, Lt. Col. and SoF publisher Publisher Robert K. Brown, searching for more adventure, went to Africa to find some action in the bloody Bush War in Rhodesia. While there he hung around with an American, Bruce Campbell – a member of the Rhodesian police. Over Lion Lagers one evening, in the upscale Monamatapa bar, one of Campbell’s buddies admitted,
“When our contracts are up with the Rhodesians, some of my mates and I are going to sign on with the Sultan of Oman.”
At the time, Oman was suffering a low-grade insurgency sparked by Yemeni rebel tribes. The British Army and the Royal Marines had been in Oman off and on to protect the Sultanate from tribal rebellions and invasions. A number of mercs of different nationalities supplemented a number of British officers “seconded” to the Sultan.
“Mitch, can you get me the address for the Sultan’s Defense Minister?”
“No problem mate,” he replied.
When the Colonel got back to the states, he sent an inquiry letter with his resume and DD214 to the Defense Minister of Oman and received a reply in a couple of weeks. Along with a contract he received 40 mimeographed pages describing the pay, benefits, the insurgency, culture, climate, etc.
Although in between odd jobs including private investigator, cement foreman, freelance author, roofing laborer and other unsavory jobs, he really didn’t fancy running around the desert after some “rag heads”. But, just but, he thought,
“Maybe this info can be turned into a money maker,” Brown thought.
He put together a cheap ad that ran in Shotgun News about four column inches long, which read something like,
“BE A MERCENARY IN THE MIDDLE EAST! All necessary info including pay and benefits. Forty pages. Send five dollars to…”
The orders started pouring in from all over the U.S.
Then Newsweek published an article, included in the international edition, featuring Vinnell, the first U.S. Corporation that had signed a contract with the by now oil rich Saudi Monarchy to train the Saudi Arabian National Guard. The feature included a sidebar on mercs. Some editor with a sense of humor ran RKB’s printed ad as it appeared in Shotgun News for a graphic, with no intention that it be taken as an ad. When Newsweek hit the newsstands worldwide, the response was overwhelming. RKB received requests from Greece, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Australian, and of course the Anglo file countries of United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Many of the Americans were Vietnam Vets.
SoF was born! He decided to take a big jump and go from selling packets of merc info to publishing a magazine. He kicked the concept around with his Nam buddies and finally decided to roll the dice. He started running small classified ads in gun magazines and spreading the word by mouth.
He sold the merc packs for a profit that came to about $5000.
He started selling subscriptions. In no time, he reached his goal of 4,400 subscriptions at $8.00 apiece for $35,200, which would allow him to publish four issues of SOF during the year. He did not have to send back the uncashed checks he stashed in a shoebox that he was going to return if he didn’t meet his goal.
The adventure magazine, which focused on military, professional soldiers and guns and gear was born. SoF soon became the voice of the military troops and law enforcement members and an spokesman for the 2nd amendment. After 40 years, SoF continues to roll, bringing monthly accounts of military and global adventure.