Soldier of Fortune Turns 35 – Part 3

(See Part 1 and Part 2.)

The history of SOF is replete with such examples (re. Hind helo’s) – too many to mention. Brown himself has received numerous awards and citations for his contributions by governments far and wide. His unique staff of reporters recalls the “warrior philosophers” of ancient Greece. Fearless, highly intelligent, well-read and well-educated, (many without benefit of a college degree), they provided, on deadline, crisp, clear, straightforward analyses of complicated political/military issues that still vex ivory tower political scientists.

Some paid the ultimate price. Lance Motley was mentioned earlier. Three others were killed in action. These men reflected the dedication and ability of SOF’s unique staff.


Lt. Col Robert MacKenzie was SOF’s contributing editor for unconventional operations. A truly gifted soldier, MacKenzie was retired from the Army 70 percent disabled two years after enlisting, due to a wound suffered in Vietnam. Not to be deterred, in 1970 he joined the Rhodesian Special Forces (SAS) and served 10 years, receiving both the Bronze and Silver Crosses of Rhodesia for bravery and leadership in action. He later served as second-in-command of the Transkei, South Africa Special Forces.

Hired as an SOF journalist in 1985, MacKenzie reported on conflicts all over the globe, including Bosnia and Croatia, African hot spots, Russia, South America and Southeast Asia, to name a few, and was responsible for rescuing seven Westerners held hostage in Africa. He was hired by the Sierra Leone government in 1995 to train government forces, and was killed in an ambush by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) guerillas while trying to assist another wounded soldier.

Mike Echanis was a US Army Ranger, renowned martial artist and martial arts editor for SOF in the mid-1970s. . In 1978 he was he was working in Nicaragua as a contractor for the CIA, and was killed in a helicopter crash after a bomb planted on board detonated. Foreign correspondent George Bacon III was another highly-decorated soldier, who received the CIA Intelligence Star for his work in Laos. He was killed in Africa while fighting for the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA). Motley, MacKenzie, Echanis and Bacon share a special place on the SOF masthead, along with a list of other noteworthy contributors who have since passed on.

Keep in mind that these men all died in the line of service fighting enemies borne of the worldwide communist movement, which has prospered largely because the incompetent, cowardly and sometimes treasonous activities of the US government have allowed it to. This fact has never been underscored so clearly as with this President and current crop of radical leftist legislators. Fortunately, a record number of veterans are running for national office this November. Please check them out at Veterans for Freedom, Iraq Veterans for Congress and Combat Veterans for Congress and do all you can to lend support.

SOF founder Brown spends little time behind a desk. He was one of the first journalists to enter Kuwait City following its liberation by American forces in 1991 and SOF provided extensive on-the-ground reporting of the first Gulf War. It continues to provide cutting-edge coverage of operations in Iraqi, the conflict in Afghanistan, and other conflicts large and small throughout the world. Through its unique network of contacts, SOF continues to scoop the mass media on major stories involving military and intelligence issues, and brings a refreshing, insightful perspective that you will not find in the militarily-illiterate, anti-American mass media.

Finally, SOF and its editor are tireless advocates for gun rights. Col. Brown has been on the NRA Board of Directors for decades. Over the years, the magazine has featured reviews on new firearms and equipment and columns by noted gun experts such as John Farnam, Maj. John Plaster, Jeff Cooper and others.

In summing up his attitude toward life, Col. Brown says, “Slay dragons, do noble deeds and never, never, never, give up.” That attitude is certainly reflected in the storied history of Soldier of Fortune magazine, 35 this year and going strong.


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