Fifty years ago today, the toy company Hasbro released that American icon, G.I. Joe. Three prototype dolls—whoops, we mean “action figures”—were created: Rocky the Marine/Soldier, Skip the Sailor, and Ace the Pilot.
Wondering about the scar? Neatorama explains that as the human figure cannot be copyrighted, the scar acts as a trademark. (Wikipedia adds that another, “unintentional” trademark was the “placement of the right thumbnail on the underside of the thumb.”)
So, how many pilots or astronauts have had a G.I. Joe figure created in their likeness? The list may surprise you. There are obvious choices, like Buzz Aldrin, honored for his status as the second man to walk on the moon. But World War II heroes like Jimmy Doolittle and George S. Patton (who earned his pilot’s license in 1940) are also represented.
Robert Crippen, pilot of the first space shuttle flight (as well as STS-7, STS-41-C, and STS-41-G), has an action figure. So do Dwight Eisenhower (he got his private pilot’s license in 1939) and Douglas MacArthur.
Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams (commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps as a naval aviator in 1944) is honored, as is journalist Ernie Pyle (the country’s first aviation reporter with a daily column).