Before Cobra started to have more specialized personnel, there were the Cobra Troopers. These men served as the basic infantrymen of Cobra. Each man swore absolute loyalty to Cobra Commander. While serving as the infantrymen of the organization, they are also cross-trained to be proficient in at least two other support skills. Cobra Troopers are mercenaries, criminals and people who are angry at the world who have taken up Cobra's offer of wealth and power.
Types of Cobra Troopers
Most Cobra Troopers resemble the typical "blue-shirt" as seen in the above picture, but throughout the years, some specialized troops have appeared. It should be noted that some Cobra Troopers have been seen in colors other than blue, that offers more camouflage based on the environment they are used in.
Regular: These are the basic troops within the Cobra Organization.
Night Watch: They make-up the night-time patrol. They appear in black and blue camouflage.
Desert Assault: They are like Gunners, but tan uniforms.
Python Patrol: They are highly skilled and trained in stealth. Their distinctive Python-patterns provide them with enhanced stealth verses electronic detection. (see: Python Patrol)
Night Stalkers: (called: Night Stalkers Shock Troops) They are an all-female force of assault troopers. They rely on the confusion of large battles to infiltrate enemy bases, to secure their objectives. Their uniforms are black with red trimmings. They have a light protective corset vest covering only the front-side of their torso, and is held-up by the collar and straps. They sport a black German-styled helmet with goggles, and bound their long hair into a ponytail.
Gunners: They operate vehicle-mounted weapons, like the auto-cannons of a H.I.S.S. tank, or the Stinger missiles of a Stinger jeep. They are recognized by their medium-gray uniforms, black shoulder-harness with red shoulder pads (much like a Stinger Driver).
Paratrooper: (formally called: Viper Pilot) They are the paratroopers and glider-pilots used since the early years of Cobra. They resemble regular Troopers, without any distinctive features to set them apart.
Anti-Armor Trooper: (also called "Bazooka Troopers") They are anti-armor specialists. They resemble regular Troopers, but with netted helmets, and tall pouches on the shoulder-harness to store additional rockets.
Explosive Specialist: They are equipped with a mine-detector and a Viper's vest.
Flamethrower Specialist: They are equipped with a flamethrower, a fire-retardant suit, and a Viper's helmet.
Hostile Environment Specialist: They are trained to used chemicals and other hazardous materials. They are equipped with a hazmat suit and a chemical dispenser.
A Real American Hero continuity
Marvel Comics continuity
When Cobra kidnapped Dr. Adele Burkhart, Cobra Troopers were implemented to defend the Caribbean island base. In order to better defend the island, they killed the indigenous people to prevent any uprising. When the Joe Team came to rescue Burkhart, they proved to be no match to America's elite team. During a G.I. Joe raid on a Cobra stronghold, a half dozen troopers thought they had cornered and outnumbered Snake-Eyes. They didn't expect he had something in his boot to get him out of this tight situation. Cobra Troopers were to be deployed once the location of the Pit was known. Cobra Commander's Trojan robot plan fizzled and they were forced to go head back to base. Several troopers masquerading as a bugle corps attempted to steal the Joes' M.O.B.A.T. during an Armed Forces Day parade. Although unarmed, the Joes bluffed them into surrendering.
Cobra Troopers surrounded the fighting forces of the Joe Team and Oktober Guard and took the R.T.V. from them. Two particular Troopers were left behind to execute both Joes and Cobra, their sadistic nature both Clutch the time he needs to train the V.A.M.P.'s guns on them. Troopers in the Cobra stronghold in Iran managed to keep up the masquerade long enough before the Cobra Commander in their midst is actually a doppelganger.
Devil's Due Comics continuity
G.I. Joe Reloaded
G.I. Joe vs. Transformers
Action Force (British) Comics continuity
Cobra Troopers were regularly deployed on missions including:
- The attempted kidnap of Ahmed Hassan, the first Ishmali ambassador to the United Kingdom. They actually captured a disguised Shipwreck. They fought off a rearguard Action Force rescue mission but Shipwreck eventually escaped.
- An attack on the Action Force Weapons Testing Range in Stonebury to steal secret plans.
- An attempted kidnap of Flint which instead took Scarlett.
- An attempted recovery of a fallen spy satellite in an Asian jungle.
- A supposed conflict between Cobra and the Mafia in Venice, though the whole thing was a smokescreen to cover an alliance between the two.
- An operation in the Middle East.
- The attempted capture of a Northrod B2 bomber crew who crashed on an island with top secret information
- The attempted theft of the new Broadcast Energy Transmitter from a tropical island.
- An attempt to prevent Action Force agents from smuggling out information on Cobra operations in Italy.
- The stealing of a huge diamond in Amsterdam to power a laser.
- An assault on London to free Destro who was held prisoner at Action Force's headquarters.
They were also stationed at a variety of locations including:
- Cobra HQ
- Cobra Island
- Destro's castle
- Destro's oil rig
- Cobra's base in Morocco
- Cobra's supply base in the Amazonian jungle
- The headquarters of Military Armaments Research Systems
- A Cobra rocket launch base hidden in the Australian outback
- Cobra's undersea base in the Atlantic Ocean off the north west coast of Africa
- Grave Island in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, where a group of American soldiers were tricked into thinking they were still flighting the Vietnam War, but were actually undertaking missions for Cobra.
Notable individual Troopers included:
- Tony Lander. A childhood friend of Heavy Metal, he later joined Cobra but was driven mad by the things he saw and did. Stealing lethal nerve gas canister he planned to open it in the atmosphere. An Action Force team tried to stop him peacefully, but Destro arrived and shot Lander dead.
Blackthorne Comics continuity
Dreamwave Comics continuity
Hasbro Comics continuity
Sunbow animated series
Destro had a platoon of Cobra Troopers teleported to a secret US military base to steal a hi-tech satellite. They had the advantage of surprise and locked the Joes out of the silo. A bold plan by Duke enabled his team to take the fight back in and it's the Troopers to be surprised and, afterward have to surrender. They were able to escape capture when Destro teleported back to Cobra base along with Duke. As tough as they are, it took several Troopers to overwhelm Duke. Cobra Troopers joined Major Bludd in a mission to the Arctic to obtain red crystals. Troopers in the Cobra Temple tried to prevent Duke from escaping but to no avail. Destro led a contingent to take the final catalytic element for the MASS. While they are successful in taking the meteor from the Joes, they proved to be no match in a one-on-one fight with the Joes. Many were taken into custody in the battle at the Ring of Fire that what little number there are left in the Cobra Temple offered little resistance.
|A Real American Hero (1982)|
Appearance: blue helmet, shirt, gloves, and pants; black face-mask, straps, kneepads, and boots; red Cobra insignia on chest.
Accessories: black Dragunov sniper rifle
Variations: the 1982 release had red-brown eyebrows; the '83 swivel-arm version had black eyebrows
|Python Patrol (1989)|
Appearance: black helmet with "V" on front; black face mask; yellow-green shirt with yellow crisscross pattern; grey straps, gloves, belt, knife, and gloves; black pants
Accessories: black "Cobra Officer" AK-47.
|The Real American Hero Collection (1998)|
|G.I. Joe Convention exclusive (2007)|
|A Real American Hero 25th Anniversary (2007)|
|Senior Ranking Officers (2008)|
- Larry Hama made no distinction between the Vipers and the regular Cobra Troopers. He sent a note to Hasbro saying "Vipers can be the generic term for all Cobra Troopers. Tele-Vipers being the comm specialists, HISS-Vipers being attached to the armored branch, Air-Vipers to flight ops, etc." However, most fans consider the Vipers to be the next step up the ladder from the starting-level blueshirts.
- It's pretty obvious these basic raw recruits are meant as cannon fodders since sometimes even a dozen of them can't bring down a single Joe.
- In 1989, the Cobra Trooper's mold was used for the Python Officer, while the Cobra Officer's mold was used for the Python Trooper. As if there wasn't already enough confusion between the two.
- The Python Trooper's prototype filecard called him a "Wraith Viper" and compared him directly to the 1986 Vipers.
- In the 1991 trading cards, Cobra Troopers are identified as Vipers.
- The helmet the troopers wear is heavily stylized based on the Soviet infantry helmet of the 60-70's from the front and from the side, Nazi Germany Wehrmacht "Stahlhelm" steel helmet from World War II. Respectively, the Soviet Union was the main opponent of U.S. during the Cold War, especially the 1980's height, where the Sunbow cartoons took place. Of course, Nazi Germany was one of the most famous opponent U.S. faced in its history.