November 10, 2023
Robert “Bob” Taubert was a true hero. If I remember correctly, he did two tours of Vietnam as a USMC officer. Also, if I remember correctly, he met his wife at that time. He later joined the FBI and was assigned to the Minneapolis Office and from that office was sent to the American Indian Movement’s Wounded Knee Occupation in 1973 where 200 Oglala Lakota Indians took over the town of Wounded, Knee, South Dakota. He had an interesting adventure there, but I don’t feel I can relate it as he told me about it in confidence.
FBI, the Founding of the Hostage Rescue Team, and Police Training
Later in his career, Bob was a firearms instructor at the FBI Academy—I think he told me he taught submachine gun usage. He was also one of the founding members of the HRT and was later assigned to DEA. Bob helped organize and train other US hostage rescue teams. I remember Evan Marshall telling me Bob was involved when the Detroit SRT was formed. After retirement, Bob assisted foreign counterterror units in training and some cases advising during incidents. For example, Bob was advising the Peruvian Chavin de Huantar unit during the takedown of the Japanese Embassy in Peru after its seizure by elements of the MRTA in April 1997. Bob also advised and helped train the Jordanian Special Forces, at one point having an office just down the hall from King Abdullah.
Bob’s book Rattenkrieg! The Art and Sciences of Close Quarters Battle Pistol is one of the best works on the subject ever written. When he was reading my book; The World’s First SWAT Team: W. E. Fairbairn and the Shanghai Municipal Police Reserve Unit, he told me how important it was to remember the debt that he owed Fairbairn as he had read Fairbairn’s books multiple times, and I replied, “I guarantee you Fairbairn would have read RattenKrieg! multiple times if he had the chance.” Bob shared his knowledge and experience in articles written under the pen name “Bob Pilgrim”. He wrote for dozens of gun magazines for decades including Firearms News.
Executive Editor David Fortier had this to say about Taubert, “I first met Bob at a training event at SIG Arms Academy when my career as a writer was just getting underway. Dave Brennan from ‘The Accurate Rifle’ had sent me on assignment there and I found myself surrounded by well-known names in the firearms industry. Bob stood out from the crowd, he was a genuinely nice guy who took an interest in my thoughts, and I remember having some great conversations with him. He was very down-to-earth despite his impressive background, and he was quick to share his knowledge and insights. He was someone I always enjoyed being around and talking to. He was blessed with the gift of teaching and had accumulated so much knowledge in so many far-flung places he was always interesting to talk to. A quiet professional, he will be missed.
Defense Industry Consultant
Editor-in-Chief of Firearms News Vincent DeNiro recalls when he met Bob in 2000; “I was on the National Defense Industrial Association Small Arms Committee back when a lot was going on over 20 years ago. Picatinny Arsenal, CRANE, the USMC, and the Army were all looking for a replacement for the “M16”, or ways to continue improvement of the relatively new M4 rifle. The committee had many heavy hitters on it like Mark Westrom [ArmaLite], Reed Knight, Ronnie Barrett, Sal Fanelli [FN, HK], Col. Tom Brown [US Army, ret.], Dan Shea [Small Arms Review], Steve Faintich [General Dynamics, St. Marks Powder], Lt. Col. Jim Diehl [CBQ & PM of Infantry Weapons, USMC], Jim Schatz [HK], Phil “Doc” Dater [Gemtech], Charlie Cutshaw, [JANES Defence], as well as many others. Bob was also a standout and VIP. I remember his love for small arms as well as the many conversations we would have in meetings and on the range discussing the Ultimax machinegun as well as the SAR-21 assault rifles I was importing for Singapore Technologies. When I learned of his background founding the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, I made sure to listen very carefully regarding any suggestions or comments about the SAR-21 rifle which he seemed to like very much. I remember when he told me that he was secretly “Bob Pilgrim” and I laughed and told him that I always enjoyed his gun articles. A couple of years later, I would be involved in a private test and evaluation of weapons for USSOCOM held at Blackwater. I was there representing Singapore Technologies with the Ultimax 100 MK3 machinegun and SAR-21 rifles. Bob was there as an evaluator for special operations. He of course dove right in and shot the Ultimax off of his chin on full auto which was a way I would demonstrate its controllability – he wasn’t taking a backseat! A few years ago, we came into contact again and Bob wrote a couple of articles for us. As is always said when someone special passes on, I wish I spent more time talking to him.”
Bob also served as the FBI liaison for the USMC and US Navy special operations. He also is credited with the development of SEAL Team 6 and the US Navy’s Development Group. He was considered to be an expert on terrorism and was recognized as a national counter terrorism asset by the US military. Bob also had a sense of humor of the “dry” type. One story I remember from when he was with DEA involved the Squash Bags that agency had made up to carry an SMG or short carbine. Bob was flying and had his bag with weapon stowed in the overhead compartment. As he was deplaning, he was removing it when a fat, obnoxious fellow passenger came shoving by causing Bob to bang the bag against the seat. The passenger sarcastically quipped, “What’ve you got in there a machine gun?” Bob just grinned. I grin when I think of him. He will be missed!
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