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Context

This profile is meant to be read after the Suicide Squadron organisation profile, otherwise it won’t make sense.

Reading the Suicide Squad (Mission X) organisation profile can also be considered.

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Background

  • Real Name: Captain Richard Montgomery Flag (eventually Colonel Flag).
  • Other Aliases: “Captain Kill”.
  • Known Relatives: Depending on the specific continuity : Sharon Race Flag (wife, deceased), Richard Rogers Flag (aka Rick Flag, Jr., son), Peter Flag (brother, deceased), and a grandson.
  • Group Affiliation: U.S. military – presumably the Navy. Multiple versions of the Suicide Squadron and the Suicide Squad ; Task Force X.
  • Base Of Operations: Southern Pacific war theatre.
  • Height: 5’11” (1.80m). Weight: 172 lbs. (78 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Blue. Hair: Brown.

Attention !

Normal writeups.org policy for published characters is to stick to the facts, and clearly label any speculation as being hypotheticals. Such speculation is normally limited to continuity issues that might cause problems if the character is used in a RPG campaign.

This general policy is in effect here – but it’s running on fumes. We know about the character and his role, we know which stories the writer refers to… and that’s about it. We have to guess how non-continuity, non-DCU stories would have been retconned to fit into Mr. Ostrander’s Suicide Squad backstory.

We have the bits, some nails and a hammer but no clear idea of how it’s supposed to be built inside. Some bits require a lot of banging on so they will fit in. And we’re not certain they’re supposed to go in there in the first place.

So the material and stats are way more speculative than our normal fare.

Rick Flag Sr. - DC Comics - Suicide Squad - World War Two - Korean parachuting

Powers and Abilities

Rick Flag is a cowboy-like American ace pilot, war hero and two-fisted troubleshooter.

He’s extraordinarily determined and versatile. Flag demonstrated superior skill as a pilot (competent with fighters, bombers, transport planes…), sailor, small-boat commander, brawler, infantry commando, airborne trooper, etc..

He has a far higher Hero pointsDC Heroes RPG concept expressing narrative importance/immunity. total than anybody else. This reflects both his amazing ability to survive missions that killed hundreds of highly skilled soldiers around him, and his greater-than-life vibe.

The fearless, astonishingly assured Flag came across as the hero of a 1930s war movie starring Errol Flynn  who accidentally ended up in the real world. He seemed aware that he enjoyed a significant degree of narrative immunity.

The ultimate DI ?

The soldiers trained by Rick Flag learned their trade in record time, and achieved a high degree of competence.

He turned a rag-tag band of headcases into a US Army Rangers  unit within a year.

And he didn’t stop there. Many Suicide Squadron men became qualified to operate an extraordinary number of vehicles and weapon systems. The best troopers were at once elite infantry, tankers, sailors and pilots – just like Flag himself.

During the 1950s, he again turned headcases and burnouts into elite soldiers, pilots, etc. for Task Force X. Again within a fraction of the time it would normally take to learn just one such military speciality.

Additional data

Though it’s probably not the authorial intent  , it’s hard to shake the sense that something abnormal was going on.

Perhaps he can somehow “leak” his mindset and skills to the persons he trains, imprinting them with his own essence.

It also seemed that the more people died around Flag, the more unstoppable he became. Perhaps he can harvest the mindset he planted into his men when they die in combat.

Task Force X’s Suicide Squadron apparently collapsed right after Flag died. If something abnormal was involved, perhaps all men trained by Flag suddenly lost their skills and/or their extraordinary drive when he died.

Black and white photo of Captain Flag and his Suicide Squad (DC Comics)

History (part 1)

It is likely that Richard M. Flag was born circa 1911 and met Sharon Race, his future wife, as they were both teenagers.

Mr. Flag and Miss Race had a son, also named Richard, circa 1930. Atypically for the times, they married about 15 years later.

Military families ?

It seems possible that R.M. Flag was from a family traditionally serving in the US military. That would help explain him being a military polymath.

His brother Peter, who seemed slightly older, also served in the US Navy. Furthermore, Miss Race was a cousin of one of Flag’s friends, J.E.B. Stuart, who also became a war hero.

Rick presumably enlisted as soon as possible or slightly underage, as was the style of the day.

Richard M. Flag’s branch was never specified. Though he probably was a Naval aviator, it is also plausible that he was a US Marines Corps Aviation  fighter pilot.

Presumably he studied at Annapolis  for three years. 1932 to 1935, give or take.

When he graduated, the US Navy was deploying a brand new generation of torpedo bombers, the XTBD Devastator  . LT Flag became a Devastator pilot, and some years later a TBF Avenger  pilot.

Damn the torpedoes…

During World War Two, Flag served in the Pacific.

Early on, torpedo bombers couldn’t deliver. They also were too vulnerable against Imperial Japanese fighters. Experience and revised techniques eventually fixed the situation. LT Flag undoubtedly played a role in this process.

By late 1942 or early 1943, Flag was presumably a Lieutenant-Commander. While on patrol, his TBF squadron chanced upon an under-protected Imperial Japanese aircraft carrier.

Flag decided to attack. He considered that a decent shot at damaging a flat-top was worth their lives.

… full speed ahead

As expected, the diving squadron was torn apart by Imperial flak. However, their sacrifice allowed the last Avenger to get close enough. LCDR Flag scored a direct hit with his 2,000 pounds torpedo.

During the attack, his pilots urged him to carry on in their stead as they were shot down one by one.

Shaken by the incident, Flag became an unusually determined fighting man. Haunted by his men’s sacrifice, Flag was inured to fear and unhesitatingly took great risks. Many thought that he had a death wish.

(In the timeline used in Secret Origins vol. 2 #14, Flag had enlisted underage. He was put at the back of the formation by his squadron leader to improve the odds of the youngest man surviving the attack).

Suicide Squad (War that Time Forgot version) - a PT Boat charges a dinosaur

Death of Peter Flag

It was presumably in 1943 that one of the submarines lost near Dinosaur Island was found by Navy men. It had been crushed and torn by a gigantic monster.

CDR Richard Flag was detailed to sail a PT boat retracing the route of the lost submarine. His brother CDR Peter Flag followed the same route at the same time, but underwater.

Presumably, the Navy didn’t believe the incredible USMC and US Army reports about Dinosaur Island. They likely assumed that the problem was a new Japanese anti-sub weapon – which they wanted found and destroyed.

Like its predecessor, Peter’s submarine thrashed and sunk by an absurdly huge, amphibious, tyrannosaurus-shaped beast. Rick and his PT crew killed the monster, but it was too late.

Furthermore, their boat ended up in a lake on Dinosaur Island. They therefore had to fight their way back to the ocean as they sailed down a river.

They killed an absurdly immense chimpanzee, then dodged a number of gargantuan crocodiles. But they were finally sunk by a monstrous pterosaur.

Flag’s revenge

Flag avenged his brother and both crews by manually steering the last torpedo. He used it to kill both the pterosaur – and a sort of mega-mosasaur that had finished off his brother’s submarine.

After Flag’s report, the Navy carpet-bombed the monsters-saturated area. Though they were satisfied that they had solved the giant monsters issue, this had little lasting effect.

(The published feature involves generic characters Petey March the PT Captain, who looks like Rick Flag, and his brother Nick. We swapped the first names since “Nick” is closer to “Rick”. In the original version the submarine-commanding brother somehow survives.)

(This story is the sole source behind our description of Rick Flag, Sr. having a brother. We kept it since brothers serving together is a constant theme in War That Time Forgot stories.).

Rick Flag Sr - DC Comics - WW2 Suicide Squad - torpedo vs dinosaurs

One of the interchangeable, identical-looking war hero characters we’ve folded into Rick Flag, Sr..

The painting is on the wall

CDR Flag was later tapped to post a Navy observer on Dinosaur Island. This volunteer had agreed to report about enemy movement at great risk to himself.

This soldier was a drafted academic, presumably an anthropologist. He was willing to brave such odds in order to study extraordinary cave paintings on the island. One piece featured a colossal white gorilla protecting low-tech humans from dinosaurs.

(The published adventure has the professor being familiar with the island from before the war. In a tighter continuity this becomes impossible. But the man could be the same person as a US Army Ranger also nicknamed “the Professor”.)

(Jesse “the Professor” was part of the earliest documented Ranger Mission X – the code name for missions to Dinosaur Island. He might have briefly observed the cave paintings during this deployment. If so, the men sent on the first Mission X likely weren’t officially Rangers yet since their units were still in training.)

Flag and his new PT crew frantically fought off numerous dinosaurs as they navigated a Dinosaur Island river. They also saved the crew of another PT boat that had accidentally ended up there after a storm.

The observer found more paintings depicting the benevolent giant gorilla. And when Flag and his crew ended up boxed up within a cavern, they met with the beast.

The white ape

The gigantic primate, taller than even a giant dinosaur, fought the reptiles off with the help of the American troops.

The mission was therefore successful. Unfortunately, the alabaster-haired ape was fatally wounded in the fray.

Though this was not chronicled, it would seem that Flag later returned to Dinosaur Island to pick the observer up. He then helped the academic set up another camouflaged observation post.

This one was right on an island occupied by Imperial Japanese forces, not too far away from the Mission X perimeter.

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Son of the white ape

Flag and the Professor provided excellent intelligence. But CDR Flag wanted to return to Dinosaur Island as he felt that he owed the gargantuan but gracious gorilla a debt.

This did happen, albeit accidentally.

As Flag and the Professor were being flown out of the Japanese-held island in a glider, the tether was cut by attacking pterosaurs. Thus, they had to crash on Dinosaur Island.

The two men confirmed that the ape had died. But after repelling dinosaur attacks, they were rescued by an identical gorilla.

The prodigious unpigmented primate returned the Americans to their glider. He cleared the sky of a flock of angry pterosaurs, then hurled the glider into the distance so they could fly home.

On their way, Flag and the Professor spotted a fleet of Imperial Japanese bombers. They made it possible for US forces to intercept those.

(In the published stories, these two adventures happened to a generic PT captain looking very much like Rick Flag).

Thanks for all the giant fishes

More subs were lost in the Dinosaur Island area. Therefore, a new two-pronged approach was tried.

This time a submarine would be backed by a B26 Marauder  bomber piloted by Flag. A sailor who had been a friend of Peter Flag volunteered his submarine.

The sub was attacked by a mega-fish while the B26 was beset by mega-pterosaurs. Flag and his elite crew were forced to parachute out. However, using lifeboats and bombs tied to floating logs, they then killed the monster attacking the sub.

Almost everybody made it out alive. Howbeit, they had made but a small dent in the number of local animals capable of destroying a military submarine.

(In the published story, the Rick-Flag-looking protagonist is a pilot called Nick and the submarine commander is his brother Jim. Robert Kanigher  , my eternal enemy, often wrote very similar stories with but small variants.)

Rick Flag Sr - DC Comics - WW2 Suicide Squad - PT boat captain

History (part 2)

By that point, the rag-tag Squadron S of the US Army — aka the Suicide Squadron — was presumably already stationed on Dinosaur Island.

It wasn’t doing well, and the casualty rate was terrible.

One General decided to turn this unit around. He wanted Flag to take charge of Squadron S’s lamentable, undisciplined troops and turn them into real soldiers. Flag soon returned to Dinosaur Island to take this command.

(Flag was apparently Navy and Squadron S was apparently Army. Therefore, the decision was presumably taken at the Combined Chiefs of Staff level after a General shoved this into some meeting’s agenda).

(Flag was presumably transferred to the US Army. Since by the next time his rank is mentioned he’s a Colonel.)

Suicide Squad

Flag transmogrifiedMagically transforming something into something else. half-psychotic rabble into an elite group of soldiers with impossibly broad qualifications, and within an impossibly short time.

He also hand-picked Suicide Squadron vets to form his personal commando unit, which he led on raids worldwide. One such special operation took place in Qurac  , within the Jotunheim Nazi fortress.

Most notably, this successful operation destroyed prototype Nazi atomic bombs.

(If using elements from the New Frontier continuity, it chronicles Flag’s last adventure during the war. See the Suicide Squadron article).

(Secret Origins vol. 2 #14 has a brief but complex joke when Amanda Waller recaps Rick Flag’s career for then-POTUS Ronald Reagan  . President Reagan remarks that he could have played Flag in a movie. This riffs on 1960s Rick Flag characters being the same archetype that Reagan played in many older war movies, and how those roles contributed to his image).

Death of Mrs. Flag

Soon after returning to the US Rick Flag married Sharon Race.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Flag died weeks later when she saved her teenaged son from an out-of-control car.

This death devastated both Mr. Flag and his son.

Something broke within Col. Flag when he heard the news. From then on and until his death, he came across as empty and soulless.

Rick Flag Sr. - DC Comics - Suicide Squad - World War Two - two-fisted discipline

History (part 3)

The Squad was re-formed during the Korean War. It seems to have been one of the very first US units to deploy after receiving early intelligence.

The Korea version of the Squad was apparently about ten men strong. They performed airborne infantry raids against strategic objectives.

It was active from June of 1950 to, presumably, early 1952.

Korea

During the Korean operations Flag was a Captain again. He had presumably left the military for a time after the death of his wife and reenlisted with a lower rank. But by 1952 he again was a Colonel.

The one documented operation of Flag’s Suicide Squad during that time was to parachute into a raging battle.

From there they rallied American troops who had been cut off when Chinese troops crossed the Amrok  . He then led them to safety through Korean wilderness. The Squad apparently got most of the soldiers out of the death-trap.

Among the rescued squaddies was a young Jess Bright.

Suicide Squad (War that Time Forgot version) - in cold weather and toboggans

Task Force X

Circa 1956, Col. Flag was picked by Gen. J.E.B. Stuart to head a new version of the Suicide Squadron. It would be part of President Truman  ’s newly-created Task Force X.

This unit was apparently quite similar to Flag’s WW2 Suicide Squadron. They could operate all sorts of jet fighters, tanks, boats, subs, etc. to face unusual threats.

Flag reportedly trained and led wave after wave of crazies and men with nothing left to lose. They fought 1950s Atomic Horror menaces such as giant robots, space aliens, the military of hidden civilisations, etc..

The casualty rate was horrendous, but the Squadron did defend an America that had rejected its super-heroes during the Second Red Scare  .

This is the end

Circa 1956, a new version of the War Wheel was fielded by unrevealed parties.

Crushing everything in its path, the immense rolling wheel shrugged off even the heavily-armed F-86 Sabre fighters  of the Suicide Squadron. And it reached urban areas, preventing a tactical atomic strike.

Experiencing a traumatic flashback about both the loss of his TBF squadron in 1942 and the death of his wife, Col. Flag spotted a small weak point in the War Wheel. He crashed his Sabre right into it, knocking the Wheel down.

Though reports established that the Colonel could have ejected in time, he had chosen an heroic death.

Description

In two of the flashbacks written by Ostrander circa 1990, Rick Flag is visually reminiscent of Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds 2009 film. Though in hindsight it means that this example is of a wife-beating actor in a movie directed by an abuser and produced by Harvey Weinstein.

Lt. Raine looked like this :

Brad Pitt in the Inglorious Basterds movie as inspiration for DC Comics' Rick Flag Sr of the Suicide Squad

Personality

Flag is harsh, haunted, and gradually became fearless.

At first he still had to overcome his fear and nervousness when faced with extraordinary danger. But that was slowly burned away until all he was left with was a sort of amused, cavalier contempt toward danger.

Flag only cared about results. He didn’t give a damn about procedures – or consequences.

All he wanted to know from the teams returning to base was whether the mission had been accomplished. Details would be handled by military intelligence officers.

At points he came across more like a rogue Golden Horde warlord than a proper military commander. He was there to crush any opposition through any means, against any odds and at any cost.

Quotes

“Out of shells and belts, maybe ! But we’ve still got a couple of punches left ! Ready all torpedoes !”

(Addressing the Suicide Squadron for the first time after beating up a rogue soldier) “You listen to me. All of you. Out there, good men are dying so scum like you can have a chance. You don’t deserve it. But you will. Starting now, you will look like a unit, you will act like a unit, you will fight like a unit, and only with the enemy ! You’re back in the Army now ! Or, so help me, I’ll put you in the graves myself ! Understand ?!”

“Relax, kid. You’ll foul your foxhole. Captain Richard Montgomery Flag’s the name, and I’m more or less on your side.”

Captain Flag and his Suicide Squad with a captured German vehicle (DC Comics)

DC Heroes RPG

Rick Flag I

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 04
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06
Init: 021 HP: 055

Skills:

Martial artist: 05, Military science: 07, Thief (Stealth): 05, Vehicles: 06, Weaponry: 07

Advantages:

Scholar (Military equipment and protocols, Military training and instruction), Iron Nerves, Leadership, Rank (Captain).

Connections:

US Armed Forces (Pacific Theatre, Low).

Drawbacks:

None demonstrated.

Motivation:

Responsibility.

Occupation:

Military officer.

Wealth:

004

Equipment:

  • Colt .45 M1911A1 [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 07, R#03].
  • Thompson M1 Submachinegun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#02, Advantage : Autofire] with four or five extra magazines.
  • Defensive grenades (x8) [BODY 01, Bomb: 08, R#03, Grenade drawback].

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Universe… in a loose sense.

Helper(s): Frank Murdock.

Writeup completed on the 2nd of October, 2011.