Here we are at the end of May – Memorial Day – looking back on brave men and women who have fought for America and looking forward to future generations of soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, guardians (hey, I prefer spacemen, but I’ll go along with the official name of our Space Force volunteers), God bless them and help them.
My father served in the US Air Force at the tail end of the Vietnam War, and my grandfather took care of the survivors of Hiroshima in the U.S. Army. I would have loved them no less if they hadn’t, but I’m proud of their service.
Apparently, more than a few young men and women were inspired to serve in the military, police and as firefighters and paramedics by the antics of America’s highly trained special missions force, G.I. Joe. I remember the first time I saw those action figures in the basement toy department at Sears – they were a combination of my two favorite things at that age, Star Wars and “army stuff”. They were at the top of my list for my birthday that year, and Christmas as well.
About a month ago, I was helping my father clear out his garage, preparatory to selling his house. This wasn’t the house I grew up in, but there were still lots of childhood things in it – my mother saved everything. Lo and behold, there was the box with toys, sitting where we’d stored it 30 years ago. Honestly, I didn’t know what I’d find in it, it had been so long. I won’t reveal all of that boxes treasures now, but today seemed like a good time to show off the old G.I. Joes that survived childhood, garage sales and 30 Las Vegas summers in a hot garage.
And here’s the crew … well, most of it.
There are a few figures not present, as I know I had Stalker and Rock n Roll. None of the equipment appears to have survived except Doc’s stretcher, but I still have the troop carrier/carrying case, the motorcycle (without the sidecar-gun), the artillery piece and the jetpack and its platform.
All of the Joes there had just one owner – me – and they’re in pretty good shape for their age. You’ll note the twin Cobra Commanders; I know I got one of them by sending in my flag points and ordering him through the mail. I think there are two Grunts, in different colored uniforms. There are also a couple figures who I think came from the Sgt. Rock line.
I’m pretty sure the data cards are stuffed away elsewhere. Those cards were an inspiration to me when I wrote GRIT & VIGOR. One could probably stat out the Joes for G&V pretty easily using these cards. You’d have to fudge the ability scores a bit, but you could use rank as level (i.e. E-5 is 5th level, O-3 is 3rd level), or maybe double if you want the Joes to be more “badass”. Their training can determine their feats and skills – for example …
COMMANDO, CODE NAME: SNAKEYES
10th level commando
Abilities: Str 16, Int 13, Wis 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Cha 11
Proficiencies: Auto Pistol, Dagger, Knife (large), Knife (small), Machine Gun (light), Military Rifle, Pistol, Submachine Gun, Sword (Katana)
Skills: Bend Bars, Break Down Doors, Communicate, Demolitions, Endure, Hide in Shadows, Jump, Lift Gates, Move Silently, Ski, Sky Dive, Survive Outdoors, Treat Injury (knack)
Feats: Cleave, Expertise, Jujutsu Master, Karate Master, Power Attack, Pugilist, Trip