Our Fighting Forces
by John Wells
Note: Characters are grouped by the War in which they fought. (i.e. Sgt Rock is grouped with the WWII heroes).
The Revolutionary War
The Convict Corps (created by Bill Finger, Fred Ray and Bob Brown) was a group of Revolutionary War-era prisoner commandos. The group consisted of condemned pirate Redbeard, the murderous Weasel, a Native American outcast named Dark Cloud, the sinister recluse known as the Hermit and temperamental strongman Wee Willie. Dark Cloud, the Hermit and Wee Willie all perished on their mission to defeat a "Gator God" and an 18th Century incarnation of the War Wheel. Inspired by the sacrifice of their teammates and the example of Tomahawk's Rangers, the newly pardoned Weasel and Redbeard vowed to enlist in the army and continue the fight against the British. The former buccaneer Redbeard had aspirations of joining Captain John Paul Jones (Tomahawk # 105).
Daniel G. Hunter was the cousin of famed time master Rip Hunter, who decided to stay in the Revolutionary War-era United States after traveling through time to 1770 (Time Masters # 4). Alongside freedom fighter Tomahawk (Tom Haukins a.k.a. Thomas Hawke and Tom Hawk), Dan Hunter achieved legendary status in American history, with dozens of adventures over the course of the war (Star Spangled Comics # 69-30, World's Finest Comics # 33-35, 65-88, 90-101 and Tomahawk # 1-92). Dan came into his own after Tomahawk had begun to accumulate a group of allies known as the Rangers. Hunter's involvement with the unit became less frequent (Tomahawk # 95, 99, 100-101, 105, 113-114, 116, 119) as he was called upon to carry out solo missions.
Despite the belief of his friend, Tomahawk, that Dan had been tied to a tree and skinned alive (Swamp Thing # 86), Dan apparently survived to an unnaturally old age (a possible side effect of his time traveling), living long enough to provide his heirs with a fortune of treasures that included an inscribed copy of "A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court," published in 1889 (Time Masters # 1).
The Ghost Patrol was a band of orphaned young freedom fighters during the Revolutionary War. Their members included Jack Birch, Jim Bell, Joe Carson and Johnny Little. Johnny later discovered that his parents were still alive and returned to his home. The other members of the Patrol were "promoted...to drummer boys in the continental army" (World's Finest Comics # 69).
Tomahawk was one of the most renowned heroes of the Revolutionary War, participating in dozens of wartime exploits alongside Dan Hunter and a crew of freedom fighters known as the Rangers (Star Spangled Comics # 69-30, World's Finest Comics # 33-35, 65-88, 90-101 and Tomahawk # 1-130). Perhaps his greatest foes were a Redcoat known as Lord Gerald Shilling (Tomahawk # 28, 43, 44, 52, 56, 64, 68, 75, 86; Unknown Soldier # 262-264) and Lady Shilling a.k.a. the Hood (Tomahawk # 96, 110, 111). Though most accounts indicate that Thomas Haukins (otherwise known as Thomas Hawke or Tom Hawk) had begun to carve out his legend as Tomahawk by the latter 1760s and joined forces with Dan Hunter in 1770 (Time Masters # 4), one legend tells of Haukins not taking his famous persona until a spiritual awakening in the winter of 1773-1774 (Vertigo Visions - Tomahawk # 1).
Upon the resolution of the Revolutionary War, Tomahawk headed west
for a time (Tomahawk # 134) but eventually returned to the original American colonies. In a deep state of depression, Tom had a final clash with Lord Shilling in the first hours of January 1, 1800 and agreed to accompany Moon Fawn and her brother Wise Owl to their village in Echo Valley. They eventually became the parents of Hawk (Swamp Thing # 86) and Young Eagle (Tomahawk # 131). Although the circumstances of his death are unrecorded, Tomahawk lived long enough to see his eldest son grown to manhood and often fought at his side (Tomahawk # 131-140). Perhaps the most accurate account of the hero's life can be found in his son's autobiography, "Hawk, Son of Tomahawk" (Swamp Thing # 85-87).
Tomahawk's Rangers (created by France Herron and Fred Ray) was a team of frontiersman and warriors united under the leadership of the famed Tomahawk during the Revolutionary War (Tomahawk # 83). They included Big Anvil (Tomahawk # 83), Bill Howell (Tomahawk # 120), Jud "Brass Buttons" Fuller (Tomahawk # 85), Horace "Cannonball" Calhoun (Tomahawk # 83), Dan Hunter (Star Spangled Comics # 69), "Frenchie" Duval (Tomahawk # 83), Healer Randolph (Tomahawk # 128), Horseshoe (Tomahawk # 128), "Kaintuck" Jones (Tomahawk # 83), "Long Rifle" Morgan (Tomahawk # 83), Matt Willis (Tomahawk # 116), Rip "Ranger" Van Ribber (Tomahawk # 94), Sgt. Witch Doctor (Tomahawk # 87), Leroy "Stovepipe" Johnson (Tomahawk # 97), "Suicide" Simms (Tomahawk # 108) and Wildcat (Tomahawk # 92).
Matt Willis and Horseshoe both died in action (Tomahawk # 116 and 128, respectively) but most of the other Rangers survived to see the end of the war before going their separate ways (Tomahawk # 134). Sadly, Big Anvil had been left mentally disabled when "his skull was creased by a cannonball" during the war. In the postwar years, he retained a degree of independence while being cared for by his friend, Stovepipe (Tomahawk # 132).
The Civil War
"The Deserter" (created by Gerry Conway, Dick Ayers and Romeo Tanghal) was Aaron Hope, a Union soldier who was so sickened by his experiences in the Civil War that he fled the Army, now "rid(ing) the West unarmed, having vowed never to take a man who life" (as described in The Comic Reader # 158). Hope was relentlessly pursued by a man determined to "bring him to justice dead or alive."
"The Deserter" had been slated to debut during the fall of 1978 in Showcase # 107-109. Instead, in June of that year, the decision was made to give him an ongoing title. In the wake of the "DC Implosion," June 22's purge of the DC line-up, all untested new titles were uniformly cancelled and The Deserter # 1 was shelved. The contents of the first issue appeared only in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade # 1.
Jonah Woodson Hex (created by John Albano, Joe Orlando, Carmine Infantino and Tony DeZuniga) was a lieutenant in the Confederate Army during the Civil War (Jonah Hex # 8, 30, 35, 37; Weird Western Tales # 29) but reached a crossroads after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
Jonah decided to surrender to Union officials at Fort Charlotte without betraying his fellow Confederate soldiers, but his innocent plan went spectacularly wrong. The Union soldiers were able to locate and capture the Confederates because of clay on Hex's horseshoes and manipulated Jonah into breaking them out of prison, enabling the Union Army to gun them down.
Jonah was not killed but survivors would forever blame him for the "Fort Charlotte massacre" (WWT # 29-30). For years to come, Jonah Hex was pursued by agents of Quentin Turnbull (WWT # 22-23, 26, 29-30; JH # 2, 4, 35-36, 47, 54-55, 76-82), the father of Jonah's best friend, Jeb, who perished at Fort Charlotte. There is some evidence that Hex may have actually rejoined the Confederacy for the duration of the war, based on a reported sighting on him in 1864 (The Kents # 8).
In his post-war years, Jonah became a legendary bounty hunter, still clad in his Confederate grays (All-Star Western # 10-11; Weird Western Tales # 12-14, 16-38; Jonah Hex # 1-92; DC Special Series # 16, 21; Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such # 1-5; Jonah Hex: Shadows West # 1-3; Jonah Hex: Two-Gun Mojo # 1-5) and sporting a hideous facial scar that was inflicted on him for killing a sinister Kiowa named Noh-Tante (JH # 8). Though he tended not to leave his opponents alive, Hex did have a few recurring foes beyond Turnbull and the Fort Charlotte Brigade, notably the Chameleon (JH # 4, 15) and El Papagayo (JH # 2, 9-10, 54-55, 71-72, 81-82).
In time, Jonah met (JH # 23) and married Mei Ling (JH # 45), who subsequently gave birth to their son, Jason (JH # 51). Appalled by Jonah's inability to leave his bounty-hunting days behind, Mei Ling eventually left her husband (JH # 53). In 1875, Jonah vanished from the town of Red Dog (JH # 92) and was transported to the mid-21st century (Hex # 1-18). Eventually, Hex was able to return to the 19th century and remarried to a young woman named Tall Bird. Born on November 1, 1838, Jonah Hex was 66 years old when he was shot and killed by George Barrow in 1904. In the aftermath, a ghoulish sideshow owner stole Hex's body and had it stuffed for an exhibit (DC Special Series # 16). The history of Jonah Hex was subsequently recorded in a book by a Princeton University professor named Lawrence (Secret Origins # 21). In recent months, there has been evidence to suggest that Jonah's spirit is being channeled through a fashion model named Hex (Superboy [current] # 54-55, 70-75).
Matt Savage (created by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Joe Giella) was an Army scout in the Civil War who served as trail boss over a series of cattle drives beginning in December of 1866 (Western Comics # 77-84). By the end of the decade, Savage had assembled a diverse crew made up of a number of veterans, among them Clay Dixon (who served with the Confederacy) and Jim Grant (who was with the Union). Former Confederate soldier Jebediah Kent also passed through Savage's company in 1869 (The Kents # 11). Matt has occasionally been confused with an older relative for whom he was named. The other Matt Savage, father of Brian "Scalphunter" Savage and Samatha Savage, died in 1862 (Weird Western Tales # 39).
Nathaniel and Jebediah Kent (created by John Ostrander, Timothy Truman and Michael Bair) each served in the Civil War -- but on opposing sides. Nate, long an advocate of abolishing slavery as was his father Silas, fought on behalf of the Union, while Jeb, a troubled soul who'd become an outlaw, served with the Confederacy (The Kents # 5-8). The feud between the brothers didn't reach its end until years after the war. On September 5, 1874, Jeb rode into Smallville, Kansas with his gang, including his son, Taylor. Nate, now the town's sheriff, pointed a gun at Jeb but ultimately lowered his weapon, recognizing that he couldn't open fire on his sibling. The murderous Taylor had no such reservations and fired at his uncle, leading to a gun battle in which the boy mortally wounded his father. Details of Nate's later life are largely unrecorded but he is known to have survived until at least 1894 (The Kents # 12). His family history was later pieced together by his descendant, Jonathan Kent, adoptive father of Clark (Superman) Kent (The Kents # 1-12).
Captain Jeff Graham (created by Alex Toth and Bernard Sachs) followed up on his Army service in the Civil War by becoming a Texas Ranger. During the late 1860s, the Roving Ranger rode a horse named Fury throughout Texas, reporting to a commanding officer named Major Hawks (All Star Western # 58-61, 63-65). Among the villains that the Roving Ranger brought to justice were El Dorado, a costumed bandit who was revealed to have served under Graham during the war (# 59), the Robber Rangers and the Commander (# 60) and the Rio Kid and Laughin' Joe Sully (# 61). When last seen, Graham had been temporarily pulled into the 20th Century thanks to the time-distorting events of the Crisis On Infinite Earths (All-Star Squadron # 54-55).
The Trigger Twins (created by Bob Kanigher, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella) were the outgoing, rowdy Walt and his quiet, scholarly brother Wayne. The siblings fought in the Civil War, with Wayne settling in as a Private while Walt soon became a Lieutenant. Walt's exaggerated exploits during the war (based on actions that Wayne had taken) eventually catapulted him into the position of sheriff in Rocky City while his brother ran a general store. Rather than risk seeing his brother killed and the town overrun by outlaws, Wayne agreed to a charade. Thought Walt was officially the sheriff, Wayne impersonated him whenever the need arose (Secret Origins # 48). Their collective actions became the stuff of legend (All Star Western # 58-116).
World War One
"The Balloon Buster" (created by Bob Kanigher and Russ Heath) was Lt. Steven Henry Savage of the Army Air Corps. The son of the 19th Century legend Brian "Scalphunter" Savage, Steve was actually raised by a poor farmer named Jennings, who constantly urged the boy to concentrate on his gift for marksmanship. "When yuh shoot -- forget you've got eyes -- arms -- legs ... forget about your heart beatin' -- yore lungs breathin. Yore not a human any more -- yore th' gun!" Steve took those words to heart when he flew over the trenches during World War One, his adoptive father's words ringing in his ears as he broke ranks to blast German combat balloons. Depending on the official, the so-called Balloon Buster was alternately threatened with a discharge and praised as a maverick hero (All-American Men of War # 112-114, 116). During his time in Europe, Savage even fought a few inconclusive battles with Germany's "Enemy Ace," Hans von Hammer (Star-Spangled War Stories # 181-183; Unknown Soldier # 262-267).
Following the end of World War One, Savage returned to the United States and opened an aerodome named Rochelle Field (in honor of his fiancée, who had been murdered during the war). During a fever outbreak several years later, Steve Savage flew into the clouds to investigate an alleged "dragon" that was said to caused the epidemic. Savage was never heard from again. Rochelle Field was subsequently renamed Savage Field and a book, Harold Jennings' "I Am a Gun: The Biography of Steve Savage, Balloon Buster," recounted the history of the war hero (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual # 7).
Charles "Doiby" Dickles (created by Bill Finger and Irwin Hasen) was born circa 1900 and was old enough to have served in World War One. His tour of duty worked to his advantage in December of 1941 when he attempted to re-enlist in the Army to join his pal, Alan Scott (whom he'd first met, as the Green Lantern, earlier in the year in All-American Comics # 27). Doiby was rejected as unfit until he met an old comrade that he served with in the Great War. Doiby's special skills, including his ability to contact GL whenever the army needed him, guaranteed him a spot in the army (Green Lantern [first series] # 4). After Alan's discharge later in 1942, Doiby was determined to stay by his friend's side. By faking weakness, the roly-poly cab driver was booted out of the army for being overage (GL # 7).
Doiby, along with his cab Goitrude, remained a staunch ally of Green Lantern throughout the 1940s but his whereabouts over the next several decades are unaccounted for. One theory (mine!) even places him in Keystone City at the point that a trio of villains placed the community into an ageless limbo for generations (as seen in Secret Origins # 50). In any event, Doiby was at Green Lantern's side about a decade ago when the Emerald Warrior encountered visitors from the world of Myrg. A mutual attraction sprang up between Doiby and the planet's Princess Ramia and they decided to marry (Green Lantern [second series] # 45). After years on Myrg, Doiby was briefly forced to return to Earth after a planetary revolution and participated in the formation of a team of ex-sidekicks known as Old Justice. With the help of his team's teen counterparts, Young Justice, Doiby was able to return to Myrg and his beloved "Princeress" (Young Justice # 16-17, 19; YJ: Sins of Youth # 1-2; YJ # 20, 25-28).
"Enemy Ace" (created by Bob Kanigher and Joe Kubert) was the appellation placed on Germany's World War One aerial ace, Rittmeister Hans Von Hammer (Our Army At War # 151, 153, 155; Showcase # 57-58; Star-Spangled War Stories # 138-150, 152, 181-183, 200; Men of War # 1-3, 8-10, 12-14, 19-20; Unknown Soldier # 251-253, 260-261, 265-267; Christmas with the Super-Heroes # 2). With an astonishing 70+ kills to his credit, the Enemy Ace shunned accolades and followed a strict code of honor and conduct in his aerial duels.
Von Hammer's immediate post-war activities are largely unknown, save for a 1927 adventure on Dinosaur Island, involving Bat Lash and Biff Bradley (Guns of the Dragon # 1-4). In May of 1942, the famed Enemy Ace was convinced to fight on Germany's behalf in World War Two despite his personal disgust with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement (Enemy Ace: War In Heaven # 1). A crash landing at the Dachau concentration camp had a profound effect on Von Hammer and he, along with those in his command, surrendered to Sgt. Frank Rock in the spring of 1944 (EA: WIH # 2). The former Enemy Ace spent his final days in a German rest home, where he recounted his World War One exploits to a reporter. Von Hammer died in late 1969 (Enemy Ace: War Idyll). Millionaire Bruce Wayne later bankrolled a film project about the legendary flyer, but it's unknown whether the sabotage-plagued project was ever completed (Detective Comics # 404).
The Hangman (created by Bob Kanigher and Joe Kubert) was Andre de Sevigne, a French ace who fought a series of aerial battles with German pilot Hans von Hammer during World War One (Star-Spangled War Stories # 138-140; Swamp Thing # 83). The Hangman seemed to perish in a battle with his German counterpart, inspiring his sister, Denise, to attempt to avenge him as the Harpy (SSWS # 142). Though he survived, the Hangman seemed to have become mentally unbalanced as a result and appeared to die once again at the hands of von Hammer (SSWS # 145).
The Hunter (created by Bob Kanigher and Joe Kubert) was a Canadian flying ace who perished after German pilot Hans von Hammer caused his plane to crash (Showcase # 57).
The One-Eyed Cat (created by Bob Kanigher and Joe Kubert) was a French ace who was blasted from the sky by Germany's Hans von Hammer, presumably to his death (Showcase # 58).
Rip Graves was "reported dead in the first World War (and) learn(ed) he is honored as the Unknown Soldier." Now based out of his crypt, Graves took the costumed persona of the Ghost of Flanders (created by George Brenner) during late 1941 and 1942 (Hit Comics # 18-25).
Sgt. John Michael Rock (created by Bob Kanigher and Russ Heath), who was glimpsed in Our Army At War # 275 and Sgt. Rock # 414, was killed by a sniper in France in 1918 (Sgt. Rock # 419). He was survived by his wife, Mary (OAAW # 231), and six children, Amy (SR # 417), Ann (SR # 417), Eddie (OAAW # 231), Josh (OAAW # 158), Larry (Our Fighting Forces # 95) and John Franklin, who was destined to become a second-generation Sgt. Rock in World War Two (OAAW # 81).
World War Two:
Lt. Tex "Spitfire" Adams began his comics career as a stateside transport pilot (1941's Crack Comics # 15) but his patriotism soon induced him to the sign up as a pilot with U.S. forces, where he attained the rank of lieutenant. When last seen in late 1942, he was based in China and had just captured a Japanese major, whom he strapped to the wing of his plane (Crack # 27).
Alan Wellington Ladd Scott (created by Martin Nodell and Bill Finger) had been Green Lantern for more than a year and a half when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. Previously, he recalled, he'd "registered for the draft but they deferred me -- Class 2-1! I'm a radio engineer and they marked that 'essential industry.'" After thwarting a post-Pearl Harbor invasion of the U.S. mainland, Alan once again tried to enlist and successfully joined the Army, followed shortly thereafter by Doiby Dickles (Green Lantern [first series] # 4). Near the end of 1942, Alan was honorably discharged. "You're one of the finest engineers in America...and America needs you. Therefore, you're appointed as a 'trouble shooter' attached to civilian radio...to see to it that radio always gets thru and is kept working" (GL # 7). Alan remains active today, now under the new alias of Sentinel, in the pages of JSA and elsewhere.
The Americommando (created by Bernard Baily) was Harry "Tex" Thomson, an oil millionaire (Action Comics # 1-32). Seemingly killed in a 1940 shipping disaster, Thomson kept his survival a secret for months while operating under the guise of Mister America (Action # 33). Within months of joining the All-Star Squadron (A-SS # 31), Thomson was asked to become a spy for the United States by President Roosevelt and take the new codename of Americommando. In late June of 1942, Americommando resigned from the Squadron and headed for Berlin (Secret Origins # 29; Young All-Stars # 27; Action # 54-74), where he posed as Nazi officers in an effort to sabotage their war machine.
Thomson was believed to have been killed in February of 1945 during the bombings of Dresden (National Comics [second series] # 1) but, as in 1940, he had survived. At an indeterminate point some years later, Thomson (as "The Coordinator") created an agency staffed by metahumans known as Hero Hotline, his real name ("Harry") known only to World War Two-era Hotline member Stretch (Action Comics Weekly # 637-640; Hero Hotline # 1-6). The Coordinator nearly revealed his true identity when the agency was attacked by an Americommando robot and Harry emphatically insisted that it wasn't the genuine article (HH # 4).
Lt. Commander Don Kerry and "Red" Murphy (created by Fred Guardineer) were Naval officers under the command of Admiral Allen who starred in "Anchors Aweigh!" beginning in 1938 (New Adventure Comics # 28). Although their greatest victory was against the forces of South American revolutionary/Nazi El Diablo (New Adventure # 28 to Adventure # 37), Don and Red continued to fight wrongdoers and defend their country through at least May of 1940 (Adventure # 52).
The Anvil (created by Bob Haney, Dick Ayers and Gerry Talaoc) was a female Russian resistance leader (Unknown Soldier # 242).
Corporal Archie Atkins (created by Frank Frollo) was a desert scout with the Royal Australian Air Corps, operating under Major Douglas and the Light Battalion in the Libyan Desert. He was generally joined in fighting Nazis by Britain's Sergeant Jack Bailey and Sudan's Private Achmed -- as well as a cantankerous mascot, a goat named Billy (Military Comics # 1). Atkins and company were last seen in August of 1941, when they freed the city of Benghazi (including Light Battalion) from Axis control and retaliated against Nazi forces in Sollum, Egypt (Military # 3).
Sergeant Jack Bailey (created by Frank Frollo) was part of Britain's Royal Fusliers, operating under Major Douglas and the Light Battalion in the Libyan Desert (Military Comics # 1). Bailey and company were last seen in August of 1941, when they freed the city of Benghazi (including Light Battalion) from Axis control and retaliated against Nazi forces in Sollum, Egypt (Military # 3).
Private Achmed (created by Frank Frollo) was part of the Sudanese Camel Corps, operating under Major Douglas and the Light Battalion in the Libyan Desert (Military Comics # 1).Achmed and company were last seen in August of 1941, when they freed the city of Benghazi (including Light Battalion) from Axis control and retaliated against Nazi forces in Sollum, Egypt (Military # 3).
Lt. Armstrong of the Army (created by Ed Moore) was a member of U.S. Army Intelligence (Star Spangled Comics # 1). In the late fall of 1941, Armstrong found himself in the Central American country of Costa Blanca, where he faced sadistic Nazi animal trainer Mannfred Otto Jung (Star Spangled Comics # 6). Armstrong's activities during World War Two have yet to be chronicled.
Lt. Cassius "Black Eagle" Bannister (created by Bob Kanigher, Dick Ayers and Romeo Tanghal) was an African-American pilot (All-Out War # 1-6) who was soon joined in the sky by a squadron that included Boxer, Hot Rod and Mississippi (# 3-6).
The Blackhawks (created by Chuck Cuidera, Will Eisner and ) were an elite team of multi-national pilots formed in 1939. Led by Polish flyers Janos "Blackhawk" Prohaska, the original team included Stanislaus Drozdowski and Kazimierc Zegota-Januszajtius. The squadron grew to include Carlo "Chuck" Sirianni, Boris Zinoviev, Ian Holcomb-Baker, Ritter Hendricksen, Andre Blanc-Dumont, Olaf Friedriksen, Weng "Chop-Chop" Chan and Natalie "Lady Blackhawk" Reed by 1941 (Secret Origins # 45; Blackhawk [second series] # 1).
Post-war additions to the team included Pomeroy, Paco, Grover and, in the 1960s, Jimmy. The Blackhawks remained active until at least 1975 (Blackhawk Special # 1) but had evolved into Blackhawk Express by 1980 (Blackhawk Annual # 1).
Of the individual members, Boris, Ian and Zeg died early on (Secret Origins # 45) while Stan was killed when his plane exploded in 1943 (Blackhawk [second series] # 2).
Hendricksen was lost in a helicopter explosion in the spring of 1948 shortly after discovering he was the father of Natalie Reed's son, Jimmy (Blackhawk Annual # 1). Shortly after discovering a plot to kill President Kennedy, Andre was killed on November 11, 1963 by the assassin Hardwire (Blackhawk Special # 1). In the midst of the fall of Saigon on April 29, 1975, Olaf disappeared, his whereabouts still unknown (Blackhawk Special # 1). Blackhawk himself was still around as recently as a decade ago when he participated in the short-lived second Seven Soldiers of Victory (Silver Age: Showcase # 1; Silver Age 80-Page Giant # 1).
Accepted into the Blackhawks on March 13, 1948 (Blackhawk [third series] # 2), Grover Baines was still a part of the group as late as 1968 (Blackhawk Special # 1). Part of an expedition to China that was intended by the government to be a suicide mission, Pomeroy remained with the Blackhawks upon their return to the U.S. He was captured by renegade government agents on June 29, 1948 and sent to a cryogenics vault. Unseen since that day, his survival remains in question (Blackhawk [third series] # 4-8).
A former member of Air Force Intelligence, Paco Herrera was tapped by Blackhawk on February 20-21, 1950 to join him on a mission to rescue the rest of the Blackhawks (Blackhawk [third series] # 10). He remained with the team at least through mid-1975 (Blackhawk Special # 1). Born in 1945, Jimmy Reed, the son of Ritter Hendricksen and Natalie Reed, joined the squadron as a young adult. He first served with the ground crew (circa 1963) and eventually as a pilot, sometime prior to 1975 (Blackhawk Special # 1).
In 1980, Weng Chan (who despised the nickname Chop-Chop) formed an elite air courier service, Blackhawk Express, with a secret board of directors that may include other former Blackhawks (Blackhawk Annual # 1). The company survives to the present.
In the same general time frame, a new team of Blackhawks was formed, assuming the names of Blackhawk, Andre, Chop-Chop, Chuck, Hendricksen, Olaf and Stan and fighting crimes in an era largely without active super-heroes. With the dawn of a new heroic era spearheaded by the Justice League of America, the new Blackhawks briefly considered following suit but soon thought better of the idea (JLA: Year One # 2, 8, 11). This team's ties to Zinda "Lady Blackhawk" Blake, who materialized in the present after the "Zero Hour" incident, is unclear, particularly given the implication that she originated in the 1940s (Guy Gardner: Warrior # 24, 29).
The Blue Tracer (created by Fred Guardineer) was an astonishing flying tank conceived by Captain "Wild Bill" Dunn, an American engineer with a British scouting division in Ethiopia. Dunn was left for dead in a brutal attack that took the lives of all his comrades but was rescued and nursed back to health by a native tribe and an Australian named "Boomerang" Jones, himself the sole survivor of the 25th Anzacs. Using material from confiscated fascist weaponry, Dunn and Jones constructed the Blue Tracer over the course of several months, culminating with its first flight in the summer of 1941 (Military Comics # 1). Impressed with Dunn and Jones' creation, military officials opted to turn a blind eye to the fact that the men were technically AWOL (# 2). Following a report by war correspondent Lola Thomas (# 5), the two men worked openly with British and U.S. military forces (# 6-7). The Tracer would eventually face Japanese and German counterparts of itself, as well (# 12-13). In its final recorded mission in late 1942, the Blue Tracer slammed into the U-1, "Hitler's greatest submarine," literally breaking it in half (# 16).
"Boomerang" Jones (created by Fred Guardineer) was an Australian who joined forces with a tribe of Ethiopian natives to fight fascist forces after "my company, the 25th Anzacs, was wiped out. I'm reported dead, so why go back." As his name indicates, Jones was also an expert with the boomerang. Working with American engineer "Wild Bill" Dunn, Jones helped create the futuristic flying tank known as the Blue Tracer and served as Dunn's co-pilot in their subsequent missions (Military Comics # 1).
The Boy Commandos (created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby), led by Captain Rip Carter, were formed around the time that the United States entered World War II. A collection of multinational orphans, their original roster consisted of Alfred "Alfy" Twidgett, Andre Chavard, Daniel "Brooklyn" Turpin and Jan Haasan. In 1945, just after the war's end, Jan left the group to rejoin his Uncle Peter in Holland. Alfy and Andre returned with Rip and Brooklyn to the United States (Boy Commandos # 13).
In 1947, Alfy returned to England to attend college and was replaced in the group by a young man named Tex (Boy Commandos # ). Andre left the group in 1949 to help his brother on their farm in France (Boy Commandos # 35). His replacement was Percy Clearweather, who had substituted for Andre on an adventure in 1947 (Boy Commandos # ). The collective 1940s adventures of the team can be found in Boy Commandos # 1-36, Detective Comics # 64-150 and World's Finest Comics # 8-41.
Andre Chavard worked his way up in the military, eventually becoming the commander of the spy agency, Department Gamma (Teen Titans Spotlight # 11). Alfy formed Statistical Occurrences, Limited, a specialized insurance company targeting "risks that somehow presume the involvement of so-called super-heroes and super-villains or other such para-normal forces." (Blue Beetle # 19).
Jan became a professor with the Center for Strategic Studies in the Hague. Rip Carter eventually reached the rank of General (Blue Beetle # 21). Daniel Turpin traded his "Brooklyn" nickname for that of "Terrible Turpin" (Who's Who '87 # 5), eventually joining Metropolis' Special Crimes Unit (Adventures of Superman Annual # 7).
"Brother With No Wings" (created by Howard Liss and Russ Heath) flew into "The War That Time Forgot" on Dinosaur Island (Star-Spangled War Stories # 129, 131).
Captain Bruce Blackburn, Counterspy (created by Harry Francis Campbell) was "the ace of Military Intelligence," whom cosmetic surgery had transformed into a double for his sometime-partner, Lt. Jackson. In late 1940, Blackburn was briefly caught up in the mystery-man fad when he took the persona of the Destroying Demon (Feature Comics # 39-40) but he soon returned to more practical garb. The Captain's exploits were chronicled from 1940 through early 1942 (Feature Comics # 32-56).
Captain Flagg, Leatherneck (created by Alex Blum) represented the Marines in Hit Comics # 22-24 during mid-1942.
Captain William Storm (created by Bob Kanigher and Irv Novick) was a P.T. boat commander (Captain Storm # 1-18) who, eyepatch and wooden leg aside, bore a striking resemblance to war hero John F. Kennedy, whom Storm later claimed to have known personally (Unknown Soldier # 257-259). Storm was part of the U.S.-sanctioned special force known as the Losers (G.I. Combat # 138; Our Fighting Forces # 123) but . was presumed dead in an explosion shortly after the group's formation (OFF # 135). Despite losing his right eye and suffering temporary memory loss, Storm survived (OFF # 141). A vision of the Losers' collective demise in the spring of 1944 notwithstanding (Crisis On Infinite Earths # 3), Storm survived until the spring of 1945. It was then that Captain Storm died as he shielded the rest of the Losers from an exploding grenade (Losers Special # 1).
Captain X of the Royal Air Force (created by Jon L. Blummer) was secretly Richard "Buck" Dare, a London-based newspaper reporter who flew in a futuristic plane made of a clear plastic alloy and "powered by Uranium 237 - atomic energy" will clad in a colorful red, green and yellow flight suit (Star Spangled Comics # 1). The unofficial member of the R.A.F. flew six missions in the latter half of 1941 (SSC # 1-6).
Chat Noir (created by Joe Kubert) was a French resistance leader whose real name was Steve Robinson. The black freedom fighter frequently allied himself with the Unknown Soldier over the course of World War Two (Star-Spangled War Stories # 151-152, 155, 163, 179, 204; Unknown Soldier [first series] # 206-207, 212, 216, 222, 224-226, 231-232, 237, 258, 262, 268; [second series] # 6). Chat Noir was gunned down by Nazi soldiers on April 29, 1945 (Unknown Soldier # 268).
The Death Patrol (created by Jack Cole) began in 1941 with fired airline exec Del Van Dyne, who decided to leave the U.S. on the spur of the moment and head to England to help fight in the war. Discovering several escaped convicts aboard (Butch O'Keefe, Gramps, Hank, Peewee and Slick Ward), Del appealed to their patriotism in joining him in his mission. After watching the plane mow down several Nazi planes, the R.A.F. agreed to sponsor the men. Peewee died during their first adventure and Del sadly observed that "something tells me this is gonna be a death patrol... Say! That'd be a good name for us: The Death Patrol!" (Military Comics # 1)
Garbed in matching striped outfits (recalling most of the group's prison origins), the Patrol saw more members die in later episodes, sometimes new recruits (# 2), sometimes originals (like Slick, in # 3). After missing issues # 13-19, the Patrol returned in Military # 20, remaining through the comics' post-war re-christening as Modern Comics. The Death Patrol was last seen in mid-1946 (Modern # 52).
The Flying Boots (created by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito) were siblings Henry, Steve and Tommy Frank, who flew missions over Dinosaur Island (Star-Spangled War Stories # 99, 100, 104, 105).
Force Three (created by Bob Kanigher and Jerry Grandinetti) was composed of Leonidas, Dickson, and Stefan Fredric Berg, three guerrillas assigned by British Military Intelligence to complete a mission that had spelled doom for two previous teams (Force One and Force Two). The squad succeeded and went on to complete at least fve more assignments (All-Out War # 1-6).
"Frogman" (created by Scott Edelman and Fred Carrillo) was Robert Starr, a Navy diver who went AWOL after his squad of frogmen had perished on a mission. In 1942, Starr located in the Philippines and forced back into service to stop a threatening Japanese sub (Unknown Soldier # 219-221).
The Ghost Patrol came into being when their mortal forms were killed while in action with the French Foreign Legion early in 1942. Now capable of flying, becoming invisible and/or intangible, Fred, Pedro and Slim lived on as the Ghost Patrol, thwarting the Axis until the end of World War Two and fighting crime at least through the end of 1948 (Flash Comics # 29-65, 69-104; Flash Comics Miniature). Fred's connection, if any, to the invisible being in Hero Hotline # 1-6 is unknown.
G.I. Robot (created by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito) was a mechanical man who was built in the laboratories of Project "M" in the spring of 1942 (Young All-Stars # 12, 28). Two early models were destroyed on missions to Dinosaur Island (Star-Spangled War Stories # 101-103, 125) before a third unit, Jungle Automatic Killer - Experimental 1 (or JAKE-1). He, too, survived only a short time before being destroyed (Weird War Tales # 101, 108, 111).
JAKE-2, proved the most durable of the G.I. Robots, carrying out at least seven recorded missions (Weird War Tales # 113, 115-118, 120, 122). In a perhaps apocryphal account, JAKE-2 and the Creature Commandos were spared from a government-directed death sentence to man a rocket aimed at Berlin. Instead, the rocket went radically off course and headed deep into outer space (Weird War Tales # 124). The skull of one G.I. Robot was subsequently seen in the trophy room of Nelson Strong (Swamp Thing # 145) while the entire body of another was on display in 30th Century Earth's Time and History Museum
(Legionnaires # 68)
Gravedigger (created by David Michelinie, Ed Davis and Romeo Tanghal) was a black soldier named Ulysses Hazard in World War Two. Racism resulted in Hazard being prohibited from combat and assigned to the graveyard detail. Realizing that the exceptional physical skills he'd developed over a lifetime were being wasted, Hazard went AWOL and made an appeal to high-ranking officials in Washington. Now a so-called "one-man commando unit," Gravedigger went on to headline the entire 26 issue run of Men of War. He has not appeared since.
Guerrilla was Mike Gibbs, a reporter in the Paris office of the New York Globe when the Nazis invaded the city in June of 1940. Moved by the courage of the French in the face of such brutality, Gibbs vowed to use his skill at disguise and vocal mimicry to wage "a one-man guerrilla war." (Adventure Comics # 84). As the war in Germany began to wind down, Gibbs moved his operations to China, where he assisted in fighting the Japanese. His final recorded mission in the weeks before Japan's surrender was the capture of Captain Namura (Adventure # 102).
Gunner MacKay and Sarge Clay (created by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito) were part of a Marine unit assigned to a Japanese-held island (All-American Men of War # 67-68; Our Fighting Forces # 45-94), occasionally joined by a dog named Pooch (beginning in OFF # 49). Gunner and Sarge were later part of the U.S.-sanctioned special force known as the Losers (G.I. Combat # 138; Our Fighting Forces # 123-181). Despite a vision of the Losers' collective demise in the spring of 1944 (Crisis On Infinite Earths # 3), the duo survived until the spring of 1945. In a final battle, Gunner and Sarge died within minutes of one another after being gunned down by enemy troops (Losers Special # 1).
The pair of soldiers was later immortalized in Jonathan Lord's 1949 film, "Gunner and Sarge" (Silverblade # 5). It could be argued that the events of the recent Creature Commandos # 1-8, which posit a third fate for the duo amidst divergent versions of various Justice League villains and the Commandos themselves, is itself a science fiction film retooling of the fabled war heroes.
"The Haunted Tank" (created by Bob Kanigher and Russ Heath) gained its nickname thanks to its commander, Jeb Stuart, who openly communicated with the spirit of his namesake, Civil War general J.E.B. Stuart. Though gunner Rick Rawlins, driver Slim Stryker, and loader Arch Asher were unable to see the ghost, they humored their commander's eccentricities (G.I. Combat # 87). Indeed, the spririt seemed to be the tank's guardian angel. Eventually, though, their luck ran out. In 1943, Arch was killed as he saved from a German tank that was about to explode (GIC # 162). His replacement was Gus Gray, a soldier that the crew had first met only days earlier (# 160). Early in 1945, Slim Stryker also perished and was succeeded by Bill Craig (# 244). Soon after, Craig's son, Eddie, joined the crew, relieving Gus as loader so that could join Rick as a second gunner (# 251).
Jeb Stuart went on to become a General in the years following World War Two. Following the deaths of his cousin, Sharon, and her husband, Rick Flagg, Stuart also became the guardian of their son, Richard (Secret Origins # 14). The fates of Rick Rawlins, Gus Gray, Bill Craig and Eddie Craig remain unknown although the four men (or their spirits) and Stuart returned to action in the midst of the recent supernatural "Day of Judgment" (Anarky # 7).
An early manifestation of the time distortion incident known as "Zero Hour" brought the Tank's original crew back to life in the present, where Jeb's partners were now identified as Arch Stanton, Rick Parsons and Slim Kilkenny (The Demon # 46-48). Once the time stream was corrected, the Tank's history presumably reverted to its original state.
Lt. "Hop" Harrigan (created by Jon L. Blummer) was a famous pilot as a teenager before he ever joined the Army Air Corps. The orphan was already a gifted amateur aviator when he met mechanic Ichabod "Ikky" Tinker and test pilot "Prop" Wash. It was the latter who gave young Harrigan his nickname All-American Comics # 1). A fight with his girl friend, Gerry Nye, led Hop to storm off in Prop's experimental new plane in early 1940 and fly directly towards the site where Chinese refugees were trying to flee invaders. At the urging of a missionary, Hop agreed to undertake a series of flights that would eventually bring all the homeless people to safety. Accompanying Hop on one of those flights was a New York reporter who turned the young man into an international celebrity overnight. A ticker tape parade greeted Hop Harrigan when he returned to the U.S. (All-American # 12).
Riding the crest of fame associated with his new plane, Prop Wash formed the All-American Aviation Company. Prop was President, Hop was Vice-President and Ikky was Treasurer. The company quickly racked up an impressive list of domestic and military accounts (All-American # 13). Hop's fame also attracted the attention of his abusive former guardian, Silas Crass, who went to court demanding that the boy and the money associated with his name be put in his custody. Thanks to Ikky, evidence was provided that Crass had never truly been authorized to be Harrigan's guardian and had forged papers to the contrary. In the aftermath, Prop Wash became Hop's new legal guardian (All-American # 14).
Like many others of the era, Hop was tempted to become a costumed adventurer and took the guise of Guardian Angel for a brief time in 1941 (All-American # 25-28). He soon decided to leave such activities to folks like the Justice Society of America, whom he met later in the year (All-Star Comics # 8). In 1945, Hop had one more dalliance with costumed crimefighting as the Black Lamp (All-American # 78).
When the U.S. entered World War Two, Hop, Tank (formerly Ikky) and Prop each joined the Army Air Corps, taking on both Nazis and Japanese forces between 1942 and 1945. At one point, in May of 1942, Hop was even called upon to ferry several members of the All-Star Squadron to Alaska (Young All-Stars # 8). Once he'd returned to the homefront, Hop continued to find adventure in stories chronicled through May of 1948 (All-American # 99).
"America's Ace of the Airways" made an astonishing number of comics appearances between 1939 and 1948, specifically All-American Comics # 1-99, The Big All-American Comic Book # 1, Comic Cavalcade # 3-9, 11-26, Flash Comics # 66-68, Green Lantern (first series) # 8-11 and World's Finest Comics # 4, plus prose two-pagers in All-Flash # 1-15, All-Star Comics # 7-22, Comic Cavalcade # 1-2, Green Lantern # 1-7 and Wonder Woman (first series) # 3-10. All this and a newspaper comic strip, a radio series and a movie serial, too! The whereabouts of Hop Harrigan, Tank Tinker, Prop Wash and the All-American Aviation Company since 1948 are unknown.
Lt. Ben Hunter was assigned the task of heading up a squad of ex-cons that was soon dubbed Hunter's Hellcats (created by Howard Liss and Jack Abel) who operated in both Europe and Japan (Our Fighting Forces # # 106-123). The Hellcats included Alley Cat (OFF # 118), Brains (OFF # 106), Brute (OFF # 106-122), Buzzard (OFF # 118), Cracker (OFF # 107), Hard Head (OFF # 106), Heller (OFF # 121-123), Juggler (OFF # 109-111, 113-119, 121-122), Light Fingers (OFF # 106-107), Little Joe (OFF # 120; deceased), Long Shot (OFF # 107), Snake Oil (OFF # 106-122), Whisper (OFF # 118) and Zig Zag (OFF # 107). Though the fate of the individual Hellcats is unknown, Hunter himself survived and attained the rank of Colonel. His twin sons, Phil and Nick, subsequently served in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars (OFF # 99-106).
Lt. (later Captain) Johnny Cloud (created by Bob Kanigher and Irv Novick) was a famed naval pilot (first seen in All-American Men of War # 82-117) whose pride in his Navajo heritage was reflected in the name of his squadron, the Happy Braves (AAMoW # 82). Cloud was later part of the U.S.-sanctioned special force known as the Losers (G.I. Combat # 138; Our Fighting Forces # 123-181). Despite a vision of the Losers' collective demise in the spring of 1944 (Crisis On Infinite Earths # 3), Johnny survived to fight in December of 1944's Battle of the Bulge (Sgt. Rock Special [second series] # 2). In the spring of 1945, Johnny was shot and killed by enemy troops, dying moments after his comrades in the Losers (Losers Special # 1).
Johnny Cloud lives on in the present in the form of a namesake descendant, S.T.A.R. Labs' scientist John Cloud (Hawkworld # 24, 26).
Judomaster was Sgt. Ripley Jagger (created by Frank McLaughlin), who spent much of World War Two stationed in Japan during 1944 (Special War Series # 4), the secret of his costumed alter-ego known only to his commanding officer General Hawkins (Judomaster # 89-90). Early in his career, Judomaster took a partner, an American youngster of Japanese descent whom Jagger nicknamed Tiger (Judomaster # 91-98).
In December of 1945, angry at being denied the right to return Tiger to the United States, Jagger quit the military and he and his partner became drifters across the Asian continent. After an angry parting with Tiger in 1953, Rip discovered the mystical land of Nanda Parbat, whose unique environment kept him from aging (The L.A.W. # 4). Commanded to stop "a monstrous evil" that he had unwittingly unleashed, Judomaster again entered the outside world (The L.A.W. # 1) and faced the threat of a now villainous Tiger (The L.A.W. # 1-6).
A body of conflicting evidence casts some doubt as to whether the events of The L.A.W. are canonical, notably the facts that Nanda Parbat was destroyed prior to Judomaster's return (Deadman [second series] # 4), Tiger's role in training Nightshade (Captain Atom # 89) and the inference that Tiger was the second Judomaster (Justice League Quarterly # 12).
Kana (created by Bob Kanigher and E.R. Cruz) was a ninja who had offered his services to the O.S.S. during World War Two after a Japanese official ordered the death of his parents (G.I. Combat # 232, 239, 246-247, 252, 255, 264-266, 272, 279). His post-war status is unrecorded.
Lady Jade (created by Bob Haney, Dick Ayers and Gerry Talaoc) was a Chinese pirate reminiscent of the Dragon Lady. An encounter with the Unknown Soldier in the latter half of World War Two led to the couple becoming lovers and Lady Jade agreed to join the battle against the Japanese (Unknown Soldier # 254-255). The Soldier and Jade had only one documented later encounter, when he rescued her from Nazi captivity (US # 261).
Larry and Charlie (created by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito) made two assaults on Dinosaur Island during World War Two (Star-Spangled War Stories # 90 and 92).
Lt. Bob Neal of Sub. 662 (created by B. Hirsch and Rusty Lehman) and his friend Tubby Potts found adventure in seaports around the world from 1938 to 1940 in More Fun Comics # 36-63. The sub was commandeered by Admiral Grant, whose daughter, Patricia, dated Bob. As other Americans evacuated war-torn Moravia in late 1940, Bob and Tubby remained behind to help the beleaguered country's King Peter (More Fun # 61-63).
Lt. Larry Rock (created by Bob Kanigher and Irv Novick) served with the Marines on the island of Bataan and had a steel splinter imbedded in his forehead thanks to an exploding grenade. After months of refusing medical treatment, Rock was sent to a Swiss hospital for treatment after a chance encounter with General MacArthur. Larry was abducted by Nazis, who sought information on MacArthur's strategies, but was rescued by his brother, Sgt. Frank Rock. Still in shock, Larry leaped from a cable car above the Alps to his apparent death just as he and Frank were about to reach safety (Sgt. Rock Annual # 2). Larry was later discovered alive in a small hospital in Villiers, France. Left catatonic by his plunge from the cable car, Larry was returned to the United States for treatment, accompanied by his sister, Amy (Sgt. Rock # 421). No details have been revealed regarding his subsequent rehabilitation.
"Loops" McCann and Lt. "Banks" Barrows (created by Bud Ernest) were test pilots at a Marine base in China until they took a U.S. fighter aircraft into the sky for a joyride. Unaware that the plane had been saboataged by Japanese soldiers, Barrows ended up making a crash landing and the two men were discharged from the spot and left to their own devices. They initially hooked up with the Black Dragon Squadron, a unit of Chinese aviators (Military Comics # 1) but soon ended up back with the Marines as pilots based out of the Philippine Islands (# 2). For their heroic efforts in thwarting a major Japanese invasion of Alaska in the fall of 1942, Loops and Banks were awarded the Medal of Honor (Military # 13). Their subsequent activities have yet to be recorded.
Mademoiselle Marie (created by Bob Kanigher and Jerry Grandenetti) was one of the most legendary figures in France's resistance movement (Star-Spangled War Stories # 84-91. Despite the claims of a Parisian woman that Marie was shot on August 24, 1944, the eve of the city's liberation, and later gave birth to a baby (Detective Comics # 501-502), the heroine is known to been active at least through Sgt. Rock Special [second series] # 2). Her subsequent activities, including the status of her romantic relationship with Sgt. Frank Rock (Sgt. Rock # 412, 421) is still unknown.
Captain Marie Hwart was a Polish freedom fighter who arrived in Paris just weeks before the June 1940 Nazi invasion to begin organizing an underground movement. She soon found herself allied with reporter Mike Gibbs, who vowed to fight the fascists himself as "Guerrilla" (Adventure Comics # 84). After her second meeting with Gibbs in 1943 (# 87), Marie dyed her blonde hair black and infiltrated the Ovra (the Italian secret police) while her younger sister Sonia assumed her identity. Mike learned of the identity exchange in late 1943 when he rescued Sonia (whom the Axis believed was Captain Hwart) with the secret assistance of the disguised Marie. Insisting that she had "much work still to do as an Ovra agent," Marie asked Gibbs to tie her up so that the Axis wouldn't suspect her of being a double agent. Thanks to the receipt of plans stolen by Marie, Polish guerrillas were able to bomb a Nazi troop train and the U.S. Army Air Force successfully destroyed an enemy convoy (Adventure # 90). It's unknown whether Marie Hwart survived her dangerous role as a double-agent.
Sgt. Patrick Martin of the Marines (created by John Daly) saw fierce action in the south Pacific during the first half of 1943, aided by the kids who bought the war bonds that paid for his company's mortar shells (World's Finest Comics # 9) and his girl friend, who donated blood which saved his life when he was critically wounded by enemy fire (# 10). Martin's status in the wake of being wounded is undocumented.
The Minute Commandos were Sarge and Corp (created by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito), a pair of soldiers who were shrunk to the dimensions of Doll Man (All-American Men of War # 74).
Monsieur X (created by Al McWilliams) was a mysterious Frenchman in a domino mask who terrorized the Nazis throughout France during 1941, leaving his mark in restricted areas to convince the Axis that they weren't secure anywhere. After rescuing more than 100 British soldiers from a Nazi prison ship in November of 1941, Monsieur X refused to sail with them back to England. Insisting that this was not an option ("There is work for me to do in my beloved France"), Monsieur X dived into the ocean and was reported dead. In Calais, the resistance fighter's nemesis, Commandant Schteig, read the news with delight only to enter his office and find a huge "X" painted on his desk (Military Comics # 6).
Nick Carstairs (created by Cary Burkett, Dick Ayers and Dan Adkins) was an airman alongside pilot Captain James Gregory, and crew members Perry Winters and Chris Gordon aboard the Ruptured Duck. The aerial counterpart to the land's Haunted Tank and the sea's Phantom Clipper, the Ruptured Duck was a seemingly enchanted flying fortress which served as its crew's guardian angel (Unknown Soldier # 246-248).
Nightingale (created by Bob Haney and Joe Kubert) was Chat Noir's band of resistance fighters (Star-Spangled War Stories # 155, 232, 262).
The Office of Strategic Services (series created by Bob Kanigher and Ric Estrada) was a government-sanctioned espionage agency during World War Two (G.I. Combat # 192-199, 201-241, 243, 245-248, 250, 252, 255, 257, 259, 264-265, 269, 272; Our Fighting Forces # 181; Showcase # 104; DC Special Series # 22). Coordinated by Control, the O.S.S. included his wife Dina (Showcase # 104), Falcon (Our Fighting Forces # 181; G.I. Combat # 231, 246, 265), Kana (see individual entry), Shadow, Sprinter (DC Special Series # 22), Mongoose (G.I. Combat # 219), Phoenix (# 225), Raven (# 228), Kana (# 232), Bluejay, Dove, Gull, Sorcerer (# 238), Lark (# 240) Eagle (# 250), "Iron" Munro, Phantom Lady (Damage # 12), Minute Man (The Power of Shazam! # 35), Cyril "Speed" Saunders (Sensation Comics [second series] # 1) and many more non-codenamed operatives. Carlo "Chuck" Sirianni served as the group's liaison to the Blackhawks during World War Two (Blackhawk [second series] # 1-2).
A notable ally of the organization was Fleur (G.I. Combat # 233).
Following the dissolution of the O.S.S. in October of 1945, President Truman replaced it with the C.I.A. in 1946. The Blackhawks accepted funding from a covert branch of the C.I.A., the Office of Special Operations, in 1947 (Action Comics Weekly # 630-631) only to be targeted as subversives in 1948 (Blackhawk [third series] # 4). After a disastrous chain of events, Blackhawk finally severed his ties with the O.S.O. in 1950 (Blackhawk # 16).
In 1951, seeking to fill the void left by the retired Justice Society, Truman created Task Force X. Its domestic branch, Argent, was headed up by Control while the international branch, the revived Suicide Squad, was put under the command of General Jeb Stuart (Secret Origins # 14). After confronting and arranging the murder of a government official indirectly responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy, Control ordered all records of Argent destroyed and pulled the organization deeply undercover. Eventually Control died but his granddaughter maintained the pretense that he was still alive to keep the group operating. A confrontation with the Suicide Squad exposed the deception and an embattled Argent disbanded. At the end, only six members, including Falcon, were still active (Suicide Squad Annual # 1).
Ona Tornsen (created by Bob Kanigher and John Severin) was a Norwegian resistance fighter who joined the Losers after the death of her father and the destruction of her community. She served with the Losers during two separate intervals (Our Fighting Forces # 135-145 and OFF # 173 to Unknown Soldier # 265). Although she was not present in the battle that took the lives of her fellow Losers (Losers Special # 1), Ona's fate is unknown.
The Phantom Clipper (created by Fred Kida) was, in a sense, the Navy's equivalent of the Army's "Haunted Tank" and the Air Corps' "Ruptured Duck" but there was nothing truly other-worldly about the ancient-looking sea vessel. In the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack, elderly Captain Seth Perkins had donated the sailing ship to the Navy, evoking laughs from Lt. "Tiger" Shark and his crew -- until Perkins revealed the modern armaments and engine beneath its humble exterior (not unlike Captain Foghorn's "Q-Boat," the Albatross).
Adding to its impact was a smoke machine that cloaked the Clipper and created an eerie sight as it sailed out of the fog. When the crew's Destroyer was stolen by Nazis, Lt. Shark realized that the Phantom Clipper was the only vessel that could catch it. After the successful trial run, Lt. Shark took command of the Clipper (Military Comics # 9). In its last recorded mission at the end of 1942, the crew of the Phantom Clipper took on a so-called "ghost fleet," a pack of Nazi subs that the Nazi believed to have been sunk but which had survived to inflict further terror (Military # 16).
PT Boat-1 was the unlikely setting for the friendship between two wildly different Annapolis graduates, thrill seeking, fun-loving Ensign Perry Tobias and serious, altruistic Ensign Paul Harvey (no relation to the famous broadcaster). Unlikely not only because of their disparate personalities but because Perry had stolen Paul's girl friend on the day they graduated.
The two men snapped at each other continuously until they found themselves forced to run a gauntlet of Japanese destroyers that took the lives of everyone else on PT-1. Paul carried Perry's wounded body to a base hospital and paced the halls until his friend regained consciousness. Miraculously, a bullet that would have pierced Perry's heart was deflected by a wooden frame in his pocket -- containing the picture of the girl he'd stolen from Paul (Military Comics # 17). The Ensigns and the rest of MTB Squadron Six remained in action through the end of World War Two (late 1945's Military # 46). Their post-war activities are unknown.
The Q-Boat (created by Henry Carl Kiefer) was an innocuous-looking four-masted schooner manned by the grandfatherly and equally unimposing Captain Foghorn and three youngsters, Dick Martin, Marmaduke Van Weyden and Bob Wayne. In fact, Foghorn's son-in-law had equipped the vessel with state-of-the-art engines, armor and weapons, enabling the good ship Albatross to sink the Nazi battleship "Kaiser Adolf" in the summer of 1941. Captain Foghorn, a descendant of John Paul Jones, and his crew were not seen again after thwarting a Nazi attack on Iceland (Military Comics # 1) but the concept of the Q-Boat lived on in the form of the Phantom Clipper, a craft piloted by Captain Tiger Shark (Military # 9).
The Red Dragon (created by Bud Ernest) was General Cheng, a Chinese aviator who fought the Japanese invaders alongside his Red Dragon Squadron. Cheng recruited able pilots whenever the opportunity presented itself and his unit was graced by disgraced test pilots Loops McCann and Banks Barrows in the summer of 1941 (Military Comics # 1).
Red, White and Blue were Marine "Red" Dugan, Army man "Whitey" Smith and Naval officer "Blooey" Blue, three friends from rural Oakville who crossed paths with government agent Doris West in February of 1939. The trio proved to be so resourceful that G-2 put them "on special duty to work as a unit to ferret out spy activities" (All-American Comics # 1). After dozens of exploits over the next several years, usually alongside Doris (All-American # 1-69, 71; All-Star Comics # 1-2; Comic Cavalcade # 1-2, 5-7, 11-12; New York World's Fair 1940; World's Finest Comics # 1-7), Red, White and Blue completed their final recorded case in early 1946 (All-American # 71).
Captain Richard Montgomery Flag (created by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito) had been the only member of his flying squadron to survive an attack on a Japanese flat-top. Haunted by the memory of his comrades, Flag became a tough taskmaster, demanding the best out of those in his command. Rick's qualities led the War department to assign him to lead the Suicide Squadron on its missions to Dinosaur Island and, despite some tense moments, the Captain turned the unit around. "Their effectiveness increased and their mortality rate dropped." After the war, Rick married Sharon Race, the cousin of his friend and Haunted Tank commander Jeb Stuart, and they soon had a son, Richard Rogers Flag.
The elder Rick was subsequently tapped to head up a revived Suicide Squad during the Korean War. Tragedy overtook his life, though, when Sharon was killed in a car accident. It's since been speculated that her husband took on a rather fatalistic outlook in his subsequent Squad missions, thus explaining his fatal dive into the War Wheel two years after Sharon's death. Years later, Richard Rogers Flag would lead two new incarnations of the Suicide Squad (Secret Origins # 14).
Robert Boothe (created by Bob Rozakis and Dan Spiegle) was an operative of the Army Secret Service. In 1941, he discovered the existence of a device that enabled Nazi spy Hans Kruger to channel his spirit into the bodies of others and possess them. On Sept. 22, an American experiment to duplicate the device went awry and Boothe was killed. The agent's spirit survived, however, and gained the power of possession that the United States had sought. On Sept. 24, Boothe prevented the assassination of President Roosevelt, killed Kruger's immaterial form and destroyed the Nazi facility that gave birth to the project (Weird War Tales # 97). Boothe's subsequent activities remain unrecorded.
The Scarf (created by Bob Haney, Dick Ayers and Gerry Talaoc) was a French resistance leader (Unknown Soldier # 240).
Sgt. Mule (created by Hank Chapman and Jack Abel) was named Millie and she was exactly what her name indicates -- a Nazi-fighting mule who went through a succession of keepers. They included Pvt. Smith (Our Army At War # 117), Pvt. Skinner (G.I. Combat # 104) and Pvt. Mulvaney (OAAW # 149, 160; Star-Spangled War Stories # 136).
Sam Shot and Slim Shell (created by Klaus Nordling) were each refused by the Air Corps in the summer of 1941: Colonel Shot, a veteran of the "World, Spanish-American and Indian Wars," because he was too old and Slim Shell, a gangly teenager, because he was too young. Noting that the young man had rebuilt an old plane, the wily Colonel, prone to exaggeration and tall tales, convinced Slim to fight the Axis on their own (Military Comics # 1). Despite a steady stream of misadventures around the globe, Shot and Shell established an impressive string of victories. When last seen in the spring of 1943, the duo had thwarted a troop of Nazis in Norway (Military # 19).
Lt. Skip Schuyler (created by Tom Hickey) was a well-regarded U.S. Intelligence agent affiliated with the War Department. The West Point-graduate investigated trouble spots at home and abroad in adventures documented over the course of 1939 (Adventure Comics # 37-46).
The Sniper (created by Ted Udall and Vernon Henkel) might well have passed for an archer in his khaki-green vest, pants and feathered hat. His weapon of choice, however, was a rifle, and began placing members of the Gestapo and other Nazi officials in crosshairs in 1940 (Military Comics # 5). In August of 1943, he decided to shift his sights from the European Theatre to Japan, declaring in a note that "you Nazis have dug your own graves too well to need further help from ... the Sniper" (# 23). In this new venue, the marksman found himself frequently opposed by Suratai, an assassin of the Black Dragon Society (# 24-25, 28-30). The Sniper made his last recorded appearance in September of 1944 (Military # 34).
The Sparrow (created by Bob Haney, Dick Ayers and Gerry Talaoc) was a resistance fighter, arguably associated with the O.S.S. (Unknown Soldier # 210, 230, 231, 239, 249, 250, 258). He was executed as a saboteur by Nazi soldiers on April 29, 1945 but his final mission was completed by the Unknown Soldier (US # 268).
Captain "Spin" Shaw (created by Rex Smith) was a troubleshooter and pilot who was part of the Naval Air Corps who had a healthy run in Feature Comics from # 29 (1940) to 100 (1946). His whereabouts since the spring of 1946 are unknown.
The Suicide Squad (created by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito) was a wartime unit assigned to only the most perilous missions, notably those on Dinosaur Island in the Pacific (Star-Spangled War Stories # 110-111, 116-121, 125, 127-128).
Hoping to provide the men with "a fighting chance to survive," the Army assigned Captain Richard Montgomery "Rick" Flag to lead them. The unit was retired at the war's end but revived in 1951 as the military arm of the United States' Task Force X (Secret Origins # 14). Members of the wartime unit included Ace High, the Beast, Blowhard, Gyp, Nickels and Shiv. The Beast perished on a mission in Qurac (Suicide Squad # 26) but the status of the rest of the Squad remains unrecorded.
The Swordfish was Ensign Jack Smith (created by Fred Guardineer), who used a one-man submarine of his own creation to take on America's enemies in mid-1942 (Hit Comics # 22-24).
The Tank Killer, otherwise known as "T.K." (created by Bob Kanigher and Joe Kubert) was a marine who took on Japanese forces with his bazooka in All-American Men of War # 69, 71,72 and 76.
Lt. Tex Browne (created by Bob Kanigher and Irv Novick) was Johnny Cloud's wingman (All-American Men of War # 83-104, 106-111, 115, 117) but, through unknown circumstances, he'd left Cloud's side by the time Johnny joined the Losers (G.I. Combat # 138).
The Three Aces were "Whistler Will" Saunders, "Gunner" Bill and the British-accented "Fog" Fortune (Action Comics # 18), three soldiers of fortune who signed up with the U.S. military at the onset of America's entry into World War Two as aviators aboard the U.S.S. Roosevelt (Action # 47). When last seen in the summer of 1943, the Aces had helped free dozens of Marines from a Japanese prison island (Action # 63).
The TNT Trio (created by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito) was composed of marines Big Al, Little Al and Charlie Cigar, who fought Japanese invaders in G.I. Combat # 83-85 and 86 before joining Gunner and Sarge's squad (Our Fighting Forces # 86, 92 and 93).
Unit Three (created by Bob Kanigher, Joe Kubert and Jack Abel) were "kid guerrillas," mostly French boys whose parents had been killed by the Nazis (Our Army At War # 189, 191-192, 194-195, 197). Led by Henri, the freedom fighters also included Claude, Paul, Raoul, Rene, Yves (OAAW # 189), Charlemagne, Danton, Jacques, Jon, Pierrot (# 194) and Yves' sister Edith (# 197).
The Unknown Soldier had been a man disfigured in the Pacific Theatre during 1942 who made the best of fate, becoming a renowned master of disguise who worked as a spy on behalf of the government (Star-Spangled War Stories # 151-204; Unknown Soldier # 205-268). In late April of 1945, the Soldier stumbled upon a final desperate plan of the Nazis to unleash vampiric creatures known as the Nosferatu across Europe. On April 30, 1945, the Soldier learned the details of the plot from Adolf Hitler and, during a struggle, the fuhrer accidentally shot himself in the head. Impersonating Hitler, the Soldier successfully assured the destruction of the Nosferatu. Hours later, as he saved the life of a youngster, the Soldier appeared to have been killed in a bomb blast. There was evidence to suggest that the Soldier may have simply taken the opportunity to retire his wartime persona (Unknown Soldier # 268) and, indeed, the master of disguise made his presence known to Sgt. Rock on May 1, 1945 (Swamp Thing # 82).
The subsequent history of the Unknown Soldier was been clouded in contradiction. An elaborate disinformation campaign tells stories of assassinations and other questionable missions carried out on behalf of the United States. One account states that the Soldier severed his ties with the government after orchestrating the death of Joint Chiefs chairman Wintley Roth in 1989 (Unknown Soldier [second series] # 12) while another claims that the Soldier, mentally unstable since World War Two, suffered a complete breakdown in 1991 and spent the next several years setting up an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to create a successor (Unknown Soldier [third series] # 4). It's entirely possible that neither chronicle is accurate.
The Viking Commando (created by Bob Kanigher and George Evans) was Valoric, a Viking who'd been taken before his time and, at Odin's command, returned to Earth in post-D-Day World War Two. Fey, the Valkyrie who loved him, was sentenced to shadow Valoric until he truly perished. Recruited to fight the modern equivalent of the Huns, the Viking Commando became a force to be reckoned with (All-Out War # 1-6; Unknown Soldier # 266 and 267). It's unknown when (or if) Valoric finally met his end.
Wayne Clifford (created by Cary Burkett and Jerry Grandenetti) was an American war correspondent ("Dateline: Frontline" ) whose adventures took place in a variety of venues over the course of 1940-1942 (Men of War # 4-6, 9-11, 21-23 and Unknown Soldier # 243-245 and 254-256). In his final recorded appearance, Clifford was forced to endure the horror of the Bataan Death March, escaping with his life thanks to a handful of soldiers.
Captain "Wings" Wendall (created by Vernon Henkel) was an operative of Military Intelligence first seen in 1939's Smash Comics # 1. As his nickname suggests, Wings was an accomplished pilot whom the text billed as "the world's greatest flyer." Once the United States entered World War Two, Wendall began flying missions over Germany, most notably an impromptu bombing raid of Reich headquarters in Berlin (Smash # 36). His last recorded appearance was in the fall of 1942 (Smash # 37).
X of the Underground was a possible successor to Monsieur X. Never seen by Axis forces in Paris, the mysterious X had begun to create a sensation by early 1942, her mystique increased further by the reports of the New York Globe's Bob Gray. He eventually discovered that X was a woman but agreed not to reveal her secret (Military Comics # 8) and later discovered that the Underground was a multi-national force of women.
Fiercely protective of their secret, X and the Underground executed anyone who learned of their true faces and gender. Indeed, the bodies of a traitorous member of the Underground and two Gestapo agents were found hanging from rafters with an "X" painted behind them (# 9). Inevitably, the truth about X's gender became public knowledge and they believed that they'd killed her in the fall of 1942. A note found next to the corpses of two Nazi officers told otherwise: "Notice, German murderers: X is not dead! She will live to see the last Nazi dog sent to his grave" (Military # 13). Her subsequent wartime activities remain undocumented.
Yankee Eagle (created by John Stewart and William A. Smith) was Jerry Noble, privileged son of Senator Walter Q. Noble, a member of the Senate Naval Committee. Jerry had an almost Doctor Doolittle-esque rapport with animals, including his pet eagle, Sam, and he used those gifts to fight Nazi and Japanese saboteurs in the months leading up to America's involvement in World War Two, usually intersecting with Naval officers in the process (Military Comics # 1-7). By January of 1942, Jerry was officially a member of Naval Secret Service with the codename of Yankee Eagle. He literally left his stamp on every saboteur he faced from that point on, placing a facsimile "Yankee Eagle" postage stamp on their foreheads (Military Comics # 8). After a several month hiatus, Yankee Eagle's adventures resumed in October of 1942 with the hero now known as Larry (Smash Comics # 38). The final recorded mission of Noble was reported in August of 1943 (Smash # 47).
Yankee Guerrilla was United States operative Franklin Darrow (created by ), who donned fatigues and took a codename while helping rebels in Serbia fight Nazis during mid-1942 (Crack Comics # 26). His whereabouts since his initial skirmish are unknown.
The Korean War
King Savage (created by Carmine Infantino, E. Nelson Bridwell and Frank Springer) was captured by Communists during the Korean War and cracked under their interrogation. Thanks to the intervention of a mysterious stranger, Savage was able to escape and warn his comrades of the impending attack. Only Savage and the stranger -- later identified by the codename of Mockingbird -- knew that the soldier had turned traitor (Secret Six # 1, 4). In 1968, King Savage, now a stunt man in Hollywood, and five others were gathered by Mockingbird to form the shadowy team known as the Secret Six. Should they refuse, Mockingbird would expose their secrets (SS # 1). In 1988, the Secret Six were revived to help train a team of successors only to be marked for death by opposing forces. Most of the original Secret Six, including Savage, was killed (Action Comics Weekly # 602).
Jonathan Joseph Kent (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) spent a year as a prisoner of war in Korea (alternately identified as Japan: World of Smallville # 1 and updated in Adventures of Superman # 500), during which time his friends and family in Smallville, Kansas believed him dead. Jon's girl friend, Martha Clark, eventually married local businessman Daniel Fordman, a piece of news that deeply disappointed the young soldier when he finally returned to the United States. Fordman, however, was dying of cancer and, recognizing that Martha and her old boyfriend belonged together, he asked Jonathan to marry her after he died. Though stunned by the request, Jonathan was still in love with Martha and, a year after Fordman's death, they were married (World of Smallville # 1-2). Years later, the Kents would make a chance discovery that changed their lives when they discovered a spacecraft carrying the infant Kal-El, whom they named Clark and who would one day achieve far-reaching fame as Superman (The Man of Steel # 1).
Sarge Steel also served in the Korean War.
The Vietnam War
The Bravos of Vietnam (created by Bob Kanigher and Trindad) consisted of Douglas, Gomez, Kiley, Luney, Pilsudski, Somers, and Wallis (G.I. Combat # 254). They were subsequently joined by Sgt. Bullett (GIC # 267, 269, 270, 273, 275, 277, 281).
Other heroes who served in Vietnam include:
CAPTAIN ATOM (Allen Adam; also see DOCTOR MANHATTAN: E5): E4: Space Adventures (1) # 33
CAPTAIN ATOM (Nathaniel Christopher Adam a.k.a. Cameron Scott): C: Captain Atom (3) # 1
CAPTAIN HUNTER I (Phil Hunter): Our Fighting Forces # 99
CAPTAIN HUNTER II (Zachias Lucius Hunter): Secret Files & Origins Guide to the DC Universe 2000 # 1 (text); Creature Commandos # 1
DALE GUNN (see STEEL II SUPPORTING CAST): E1: Justice League of America Annual # 2/ C: Justice League of America # 246
STEVE TREVOR (Stephen Rockwell Trevor; also see THE PUNISHER: E496): C: Wonder Woman (2) # 2
WARLORD I (Travis Morgan): E1: First Issue Special # 8/ C: Warlord (1)
Operation Desert Storm
Tommy "HITMAN" Monagahan is the only known character to have served in the Gulf War.
John "Mikishawm" Wells, the pride of Batavia, Iowa, is a lifelong comics fan, working his way forward from Disneys in 1969 to newspaper strips in 1973 to SHAZAM! and the rest of the DC Universe in 1974. During the 1980s, he began compiling a lists of DC character appearances, a massive database that he's tapped into when writing articles for publications such as the DC Index series, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer’s Guide, Comic Effect, Comic Book Marketplace, It’s A Fanzine, The O‘Neil Observer and, of course, Fanzing. He is Kurt Busiek's unofficial reference guide, as the keen-eyed may have noticed in Power Company #2.
All characters are DC Comics
This piece is © 2001 by John Wells .
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