The 6 Most Utilitarian G.I. Joes

G.I. Joe was one of my favorite cartoon/toylines in the 1980s, second only to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I loved all the unique Joe soldiers, their epic battle against Cobra and all those wonderful toys! The Rolling Thunder was my pride and joy, though a cousin of mine had the Defiant Space Shuttle Complex, and I was quite jelly.

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So many Real American Heroes

While doing my usual internet surfing recently, I came across a bunch of lists of the weirdest G.I. Joe characters — as one does. And while reading those lists, I came up with one of my own, one far more interesting: utilitarian G.I. Joes. Not everybody can be a silent ninja or a bazooka master or a deep sea specialist. Sometimes there at G.I. Joe members who serve a pretty ordinary and boring function, one not necessarily suited for laser warfare with international snake-themed terrorists.

Sometimes there are G.I. Joes like these guys!

6. Colonel Courage

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One of the few Joes out there with an actual rank in his name, and it pays off, because Colonel Courage is a master of administration! Despite his crazy amount of guns, Colonel Courage sits behind a desk and has to brush off concerns that he’s just a pencil pusher. He’s known for being meticulous in his appearance and dress, which is a good trait to have for a desk jockey. Just look at picture! He’s wearing a tie!

5. Dial-Tone

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Dial-Tone is probably the most famous Joe on this list because he had a solid role in the cartoon. He’s a communications expert, which is a fine role to have in an army, but that’s nonetheless a pretty utilitarian job. In a world where the Dreadnoks exist, Dial-Tone seems rather ordinary. And his name is a pretty clear indication that he’s only operating with ’80s-era communications equipment. Surely radios nowadays are smaller than that giant thing he wears on his back in the bottom right of that picture.

4. Altitude

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Altitude is a recon scout, which can be a pretty important job. He leaps out of planes and scouts the scenery for G.I. Joe. That’s a key job. But the thing about Altitude is he’s an artist…and he draws the scenery. He’s a failed cartoonist whose career was cut short by the collapse of the syndicated cartoon industry. And he uses his drawing skills and photographic memory to sketch everything he sees while parachuting to the ground. That’s…pretty useless, time consuming and a waste of resources. Also, the collapse of the syndicated cartoon industry? Sounds like a character created out of spite to me!

3. Tollbooth

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Damn straight those are traffic cones! Tollbooth is a combat engineer and he drives the Toss n’ Cross bridge-laying vehicle. He pretty much just does construction for G.I. Joe. You know, when they need their construction projects. He gets right on that! What that has to do with tollbooths is anybody’s guess. At least he’s got a hardhat and an active duty sledgehammer.

2. Bullhorn


Bullhorn is the hostage negotiator for the Joe team. Does Cobra even take hostages? And aren’t they terrorists? Do the Joes negotiate with terrorists? Bullhorn comes equipped with a giant military-grade bullhorn. Look at that thing! You know he had the Joe team build that for him just so he could seem more important. Granted, Bullhorn knows all sorts of other fighting techniques and military stuff. But I think he glommed onto this loudspeaker thing just to have a gimmick.

1. Scoop

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Scoop is near and dear to my heart. Being a journalist myself, I find it wonderfully fun that G.I. Joe has their own in-field cameraman! He’s got a degree in journalism and could have gone into the news anchor business, but he decided to go where action/breaking news is! I can’t find any evidence that he published a Joe newsletter or read the morning announcements or anything. Just that he had a video camera when he went into battle. Talk about action news! I bet he did all the time!


About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on May 30, 2018, in Lists of Six!, Toys and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Cool, another thing we have in common! G.I. Joe still inspires a lot of the things I do creatively.

    I had that Dial-Tone figure and really loved it. I gave him way more important jobs when I played with him.

    I think I remember Scoop from the comics, but I didn’t know there was a figure. I don’t think I remember any of the others here.

    • I wish I could remember which ones I owned. I think I had a Gung-Ho. My cousin, the one with the space center, had a ton. He was real big into them. I know I had some…I had Law & Order, I can remember. My favorite was Snake Eyes, but I’m pretty sure the only Snake Eyes I had was one of the later day neon ninja ones, with, like, ninja chopping action, which ruined the whole figure.

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