This article covers a lot of ground, so it’s presented as a series of smaller chapters.
The series starts with this entry, which explains it all.
The Andrews Sisters are one of my go-to bands to evoke the 1940s in the US. They had yet another huge hit in 1945, with “Rum and Coca Cola”.
As a bonus the lyrics of that faux-calypso song are exceptionally terrible, in a very 1940s way. So that works as a view into those times, I guess.
History (part 5)
Shortly after the disbanding of the Suicide Squadron, Rick Flag lost his wife to an out-of-control car. This greatly affected him.
In his damaged psychological state he again volunteered for the most dangerous, quasi-suicidal missions.
Meanwhile, a CIA volunteer in China had his men deliver a posthumous report about an imminent invasion of Korea . This is likely when Flag was cleared to assemble a new Suicide Squad, since his unit was among the very first US ones to be active in Korea.
This version seemed to actually be squad-sized. The simplest hypothesis is that Flag had WWII Suicide Squadron veterans reenlist or transfer to his new team as needed.
This squad presumably deployed in late June, 1950, within days of the invasion. Larger American forces started to arrive on the first of July.
Since the new Squad had to be assembled, equipped, and flown to Japan, it presumably was greenlighted circa the 15th of June, within days of receiving the CIA report.
The one documented operation depicts the Suicide Squad of the Korean War operating as an airborne commando team.
After parachuting in the middle of an artillery bombardment, Flag and his squad rallied some American soldiers pinned under enemy fire. One of these squaddies was Jess Bright.
Other operations of the Squad during the Korean War remain unchronicled.
They were summoned back stateside in the middle of the war – presumably in early 1952, after about 18 months of service.
Task Force X
Other heroes followed.
This left the US bereft of defenders against paranormal menaces. Such as giant monsters, dinosaurs, giant robots, giant octopi, aliens, giant insects, giant arachnids, prehistoric amphibious humanoids and other 1950s threats.
This hastily-created agency was called Task Force X. It had two sides – a pattern that would be reused decades later by the UN’s Checkmate agency.
Side #1 – Argent
The civilian side was code-named Argent. It dealt with unusually dangerous criminals.
Argent was headed by Control – the former director of the OSS, who had been ousted in political struggles during the creation of the CIA.
Control and his agents had dealt with many of the strangest espionage cases during World War Two. They proved able to handle the more subtle 1950s menaces such as aliens, vampires, Communist super-spies, Satanist witches, low-powered super-villains such as the Sportsmaster, etc..
Side #2 – Suicide Squadron
The military side was a new Suicide Squadron.
It was commanded by Gen. J.E.B. Stuart – famous as the commander of the Haunted Tank during World War Two. Richard M. Flag, by now a Colonel, was his second-in-command and field leader.
Like the Suicide Squadron of the 1940s, Flag’s troops were qualified in a bewildering variety of military skills. They operated both as infantry commandos and as pilots (flying F-86 Sabre jet fighters). One assumes that they could also deploy tanks and maritime assets.
(In the New Frontier continuity, the casualty rate of the new Suicide Squadron was awful. Flag was one of the very few men who lived through it all. The troops were once again chosen among the dregs of the armed forces and full of burn-outs, psychos and men who had lost everything. Yet Flag somehow turned them all into elite fighting men.)
(Col. Flag was described as a harsh, haunted man leading to their death wave after wave of his country’s broken and crazy in the name of freedom. He was nicknamed “Captain Kill” behind his back, due both to his intensity and the devastation left in his wake).
This is the end
Several years later — presumably in 1956 — Colonel Flag was lost in action. He sacrificed himself to stop the War Wheel, a weapon of mass destruction about to raze an American city.
Task Force X apparently fell apart within years – or even months. Argent vanished to pursue Control’s private agenda, and it would seem that only Colonel Flag could run the Suicide Squadron.
In our proposed timeline — we’ll discuss that later — the Task Force X version of the Squadron was completely gone by 1959.
This is the end, but in sliding time
The official DC Universe has super-heroes perennially return “twelve years ago”. So this creates an ever-widening empty ground between the disbanding of the 1950s Suicide Squadron and the modern heroic age.
This suggests that there were further versions of the Suicide Squadron to handle, at great human costs, the menaces of the 1960s, 1970s, etc..
These efforts might have eventually culminated in the creation of the Human Defense Corps.
The stories being formulaic, most Squadron troopers had similar stats. And as a military unit, they normally used the same equipment.
Here are short descriptions of the known Suicide Squadron troopers.
Almost all ranks are guesses – weirdly enough, these are seldom mentioned in the War That Time Forgot stories.
An Army Ranger named Mac
The handler of the first-generation G.I. Robot (aka “Joe”) was a Suicide Squadron soldier. See the G.I. Robot Mk1 profile on writeups.org.
Mac was apparently lost in action along with the “Joe” robot.
Formerly a brakeman on the US bobsled team at the Winter Olympics.
Andy Mace’s pilot told him to release before a dangerous turn in the track, in a desperate attempt to get the gold. An order that Mace shouldn’t have followed, as it resulted in the pilot’s death.
Millions witnessed the death of Bill Morgan on live TV. They blamed Mace for the accident that deprived the US of its best chance at medals in the discipline for years.
When Mace was drafted, his bad luck struck again. The brother of the bobsled pilot served in the same unit, and seeped with contempt toward Mace.
Though he was reviled for being unreliable and panicky, Mace evidenced well-above-average intelligence, intuition, courage and resourcefulness. In DC Heroes RPG terms, he also had an Expertise in Winter Sports and Mountaineering.
Brother to the deceased bobsled champ, Vic Morgan was a hard, aggressive, cold man with an extraordinary sense of duty. He also was a competent veteran.
While perennially described as having ice water in his veins, Morgan was filled with hatred and contempt toward Mace.
He usually operated with his Colt M1911A1 drawn and pointed at his “partner”. Since Flag paired them up to have Morgan keep an eye on Mace. Morgan cared about nothing but accomplishing missions by any means necessary and verbally abusing and threatening Mace.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, Morgan also had the Iron Nerves Advantage.
A veteran law enforcer from the American West, still wearing his tin star. The Sheriff was one of the volunteers who joined the Squad after transferring from another unit.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, he had Lightning Reflexes and Weaponry (Handguns): 05.
The Wild One
The Wild One had been arrested by the Sheriff after rustling cattle. But the rancher had himself swindled that livestock from the Wild One’s father.
The two men had a high noon showdown in Dusty Hollow. But the Sheriff shot the Wild One’s revolver out of his hands so as not to kill him.
Convinced that it was but a lucky shot and lusting for revenge, the Wild One transferred to the Suicide Squadron after the Sheriff did. He made it clear that they would have another duel to the death so he could wipe out the humiliation.
After the two men fought dinosaurs to recover an abandoned tank, the Wild One triggered the duel and shot the Sheriff’s pistol out of his hand. He then left him behind at the mercy of dinosaurs.
However, the Wild One soon realised that the Sheriff had fought with a wounded leg without telling him. He doubled back to rescue the lawman.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, he had Lightning Reflexes and Weaponry (Handguns): 05.
Officer Stoner was part of the escort transferring his brother toward his execution site. But Manny escaped during a train crash and took his pinned brother’s pistol.
As a result, everybody suspected that Officer Stoner somehow had facilitated his brother’s escape.
Feeling that he was a stain upon the police’s honour, Stoner spent months tracking down his brother – but failed. He joined the Suicide Squadron to make amends.
Stoner again ran into his brother during the war. Manny had enlisted as “Bill Anderson” and was now a redoubtable Navy frogman with nerves of steel.
The Stoner brothers saved a sub against several attacks by giant monsters, but CPL Stoner still intended to arrest his brother. In the end it was Manny who got the drop on his cop brother, but found himself unable to fire.
Manny Stoner died as he saved his brother from a dinosaur.
The Hickey brothers
These were quadruplets. Jake and Jim the two-fisted brawlers became tankers, and Jess and Jinx the adept swimmers became undersea demolition divers.
The quadruplets were among the few survivors of a disastrous Squadron attempt at establishing a beachhead. It ran in quick succession into :
- One of the largest mega-dinosaurs ever seen on Dinosaur Island.
- A strange and gigantic cross between a sea spider and an insect (perhaps an ant or a scarab).
- Imperial Japanese Zeros .
- Another gargantuan mega-dinosaur.
Jordan was sent with three PT boats on a do-or-die mission to recover or destroy a prototype bomb sight from a crashed PBY plane.
Though very few men made it out alive, the sight was destroyed as ordered. By blowing up the giant monster who had just eaten it.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, Jordan had Expertise (SCUBA operations).
A veteran jungle fighter as well as a karate black belt and a Suicide Squadron veteran.
He was the handler of “Mac”, the second-generation G.I. Robot, which sacrificed itself to save another soldier.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, SGT Reed had Martial Artist: 05 and had both stock Familiarities (below) as Expertises.
One of the Suicide Squadron men who also qualified as an underwater demolition commando.
He was driven insane after being swallowed by an immense fish and blasting his way out with TNT. His partner, CPL Peters, managed to bring him back after they destroyed the Kuruna, an Imperial Japanese battleship. Talbot was presumably Section 8’d.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, Talbot had Familiarity (SCUBA operations).
CPL Tim Granger
Granger led a search party looking for a crashed Naval Aviation trooper. This man knew the location of a powerful Imperial Japanese fleet hiding in the clouds near the Mission X area.
The aviator, Arnie, found refuge in a cave where he discovered a huge diamond. Having been poor all his life, Arnie became paranoid with greed. When CPL Granger found him Arnie held him at gunpoint and wanted to kill him to protect the secret of his giant diamond.
Tim repeatedly risked his life to save Arnie and make sure that the enemy fleet’s location would be known to high command, saving thousands of US lives.
Ashamed at his behaviour when contrasted with Granger’s selfless heroism, the wounded Arnie opted to stay behind to cover Granger’s exfiltration. He held dinosaurs off to his last bullet to make sure that the enemy fleet’s location would be reported.
LT Tommy Smith
Smith, aka Brother-with-no-wings, was probably a Suicide Squadron pilot and trooper.
Grey was sent on an intelligence mission, commanding a mini-sub tasked with locating a hidden bomber base.
Grey was the only survivor. This survival was only possible because he and an elite Japanese spy agreed to collaborate to face the dangers of Dinosaur Island.
PFC Jim Lucas
Originally a paratrooper, Lucas was serving in a squad of what I assume was the Squadron’s training company.
On the same squad was PVT Buster March, who — stop me if you’ve heard that one before — hated Lucas. He blamed him for the accidental death of his brother Peter during a parachute drop.
Their transport aeroplane was — stop me if you’ve heard that one before — wrecked by a mega-pterosaur. They were forced to parachute to Dinosaur Island.
Lucas repeatedly saved March’s life, hoping that it would convince the younger man that Peter March’s death had been an accident.
After fighting off numerous monsters, including — stop me if you’ve heard that one before — dinosaurs who had boarded an abandoned landing boat, the two men patched their differences and returned to duty.
A PT boat commander, plagued with an overambitious ensign named Frye.
Running into a Japanese destroyer in one of the thick fog banks of the Mission X area, PT 221 was beset by a mega-crab then a mega-octopus. Meanwhile a colossal sea serpent destroyed the enemy.
Blake’s PT then checked a beach for enemy presence. They did find an Imperial Japanese squad – perhaps the survivors of a shipwreck. The sound of combat attracted a mega-dinosaur, who killed the Japanese soldiers and nearly killed the Americans.
Then a giant pterosaur swooped in and snatched Ensign Frye.
Afraid that his men would think that he had purposefully abandoned Ensign Frye to get rid of him, Lt. Blake took unreasonable risks to recover Frye from the pterosaur’s nest. He finally earned the ensign’s loyalty in so doing.
LT Bill Brooks
An air ace flying a Corsair in the Mission X area. He eventually ran into his opposite number, LT Yasuo Kiwara, flying a Zero.
A mega-pterosaur destroyed both planes as they fought, and they parachuted out on Dinosaur Island. Respecting each other as pilots, the two aces collaborated to survive the dangers of Dinosaur Island, agreeing that the truce would be over once they had managed to leave.
The American and the Japanese repeatedly saved each other’s life. But it was LT Kiwara who made the last sacrifice. Eager to fight as a true warrior, the ace felt increasingly dejected that he owed his life several times over to an enemy pilot.
As they were paddling away, Brooks was knocked out by an attacking sea monster. Kiwara threw himself at the monster with live grenades – so he wouldn’t have to live in dishonour, but also would save his respected foe one last time.
SGT Rick Terry
Terry was being flown out on Dinosaur Island on an aeromedical evacuation plane when he recognised the Army pilot as one Joe Weldon.
SGT Terry was convinced that LT Weldon had caused the death of his father in an auto accident six years prior. However, there was no solid proof.
Soon after departure, the flying fort was attacked by mega-pterosaurs and forced to crash. A half dozen men and a nurse named Robbie survived. They were beset by deadly dinosaur attacks.
The fighting reinforced Terry’s certainty that Weldon was a psychopath, remorselessly letting other men die to improve his own chances.
Terry, the nurse and the pilot were the only ones who made it to the beach. Many of the casualties resulted from Weldon’s conduct. Weldon then knocked Terry out from behind, telling Robbie that he had been devoured by monsters.
Terry recovered quickly, a mega-crab killed Weldon, and the sergeant and the nurse narrowly managed to leave the island to be recovered by a PBY.
In DC Heroes RPG terms, SGT Terry had Weaponry (Machete): 05, STR 04 and BODY 05.
SGT Frankie Clary
Clary had been, as a boy, the leader of Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue gang. His group of violent urchins often clashed with a rival set led by Tim Scott. Scott once soundly defeated Clary in a brawl to force a truce.
When SGT Clary and his Suicide Squadron commando team rendezvoused with a US Navy sub after a successful intelligence mission, he discovered with dismay that the skipper was Scott, now a LT.
Something looking like Fin Fang Foom’s brother wrecked the submarine. Escaping, the commandos and sailors tried to find a spot of relative safety on Dinosaur Island. This didn’t work and eventually only Clary and Scott were left.
Using supplies from the submarine, they finally made it out alive and declared a permanent truce.
Other Suicide Squadron troopers that appear very briefly are Woods, Hale and Kenny.
Members killed in action include Green, Fitz, Kent and Frobish.
None of the men were ever seen again, and given the casualty rate of Suicide Squadron troopers it is quite possible that none survived the war except for Rick Flag.
Flag’s Suicide Squad commandos
The members of Flag’s personal Suicide Squad during the raid on Jotunheim were nicknamed Gyp, Beast, Blowhard, Lawless, Nickels, Shiv and Ace High.
Beast died during the mission.
DC Heroes RPG
Typical Suicide Squad elite trooper
|Dex: 04||Str: 03||Bod: 04|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 04|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 03||Spi: 04|
|Init: 012||HP: 020|
Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Medicine (First aid): 03, Military science (Camouflage, cartography, danger recognition, demolition): 04, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 04, Thief (Stealth): 03, Weaponry (Infantry weapons, Heavy weapons): 04
Familiarity (Military equipment and protocols, Jungle survival), possibly Rank.
US forces in the South Pacific (Low).
Often a signature Drawback such as a weak form of Mistrust.
- Submachinegun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, R#03, Advantage : Autofire] with five extra magazines. Either a M3 “Grease Gun” or a M1 Thompson. The R# was lowered by 1 compared to stock WW2 SMG stats to represent meticulous maintenance.
- Special grenades (x6) [BODY 01, EV 09 (Area of effect 0 APs), R#02, Grenade drawback]. These special plastic grenades are intended for use against tanks – particularly WWII light armour, which was considerably less durable than modern armour. They also have an excellent track record against giant dinosaurs, especially if they can be thrown into the maw, and will function flawlessly underwater.
- Demos (x3) [BODY 02, Bomb: 10, R#03, Grenade Drawback]. These demolition satchels – always referred to as “demos” – are prepared explosive charges with a detonator, within a handy bag.
Though there’s presumably a timer, they are almost used as thrown weapons and impact-detonated.
Demos are normally packed to destroy enemy installations, but the Suicide Squad troopers soon started carrying them on any assignment to Dinosaur Island.
The demos used by the Squadron were smaller than standard US military equipment, also hinting at powerful experimental explosives.
- Colt M1911A1 .45 Pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 07, R#02]. The standard sidearm, seldom used outside of special situations.
- Suicide Squadron troopers qualified for combat diver duty are sometimes armed with special rifles shooting powerful micro-torpedoes, which were also tested by UDT8 during their Dinosaur Island mission. Tin Fish Rifle [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 09, Ammo: 01, Drawback – Long Reload Time, R#03, Misc.: this weapon is fully useable underwater, but its Range becomes 02 (with a Diminishing Limitation) outside of water].
- Flare guns. The one-shot flare pistols stored aboard vehicles were always depicted as being very powerful – perhaps the Suicide Squad had special long-range, high-intensity flares since normal ones would be useless under the thick cloud cover of the Mission X area.
Basic stats are [BODY 01, Flame project: 07, Ammo: 01 (No Reload In the Field]. With a standard Trick Shot — shooting dinosaurs in the face — it is possible to add a Combined effect – Flash (Visual): 08, Sharpness (Flash): 09. Essentially, a target large enough that a soldier can Trick Shoot it will almost certainly be dazed by the flare, no matter how tough it is.]
Source of Character: DC Universe. This article covers the 1960s stories in Star-Spangled War Stories, but doesn’t yet include later material from later stories such as Weird War Tales which could be rewoven into Ostrander’s Suicide Squadron framework. The material reviewed so far is the relevant Star-Spangled War Stories era (#90-137) plus the Ostrander material.
Helper(s): The list of appearances in Star-Spangled War Stories found at cosmicteams.com helped with the earliest research. Also Taschoene, Cessna, Per Andersson, Darci.