When Duke is in command, he bellows his orders like that of a seasoned general. The troops follow him without question. He is capable of assessing situations and come up with quick solutions. Even high-ranking officers who know him well respect him and would even listen to his orders. And to think that he is only an enlisted man is to underestimate him.
Duke enlisted in the United States Army in 1967 and graduated at the top of his class at the US Army Airborne School ("Jump School") at Fort Benning, Georgia. After graduation, he studied Han Chinese and Southeast Asian dialects at the US Army Language School and opted for Special Forces ("Green Berets") in 1969; while serving in Vietnam he received the Medal of Honor and two Bronze Star Medals after singlehandedly rescuing 34 POWs from a heavily-guarded enemy compound. He was a senior instructor at four SF schools before turning down a field commission in 1971. While still serving with the Green Berets, he served with Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dashiell R. Faireborn and Specialist Marivn F. Hinton. He joined Special Counter-Terrorist Group Delta in 1983 as its acting first sergeant, and was selected as the team's field commander when Hawk was designated Commanding Officer.
A Real American Hero comics continuity
Marvel Comics continuity
Duke came in at a time when the Joe Team is at their lowest point. The Pit is destroyed and their commander, General Flagg is dead. He took over field duties and brought the team a major victory over Cobra: The capture of Cobra Commander.
However, that victory was short-lived as the Cobra ninja Storm Shadow rescued the Commander.
He also took part in the invasion of the Cobra-controlled town of Springfield. He also played second-in-command to Hawk during the Cobra Civil War. He was also involved in the mission to push Cobra out of Trucial Abysmia, but intelligence vastly underestimated Cobra's presence there and resulted in the deaths of several G.I. Joe members. He would recover from that experience and lead the defense of the Joe headquarters, the Pit, against Cobra. He continued working with G.I. Joe until its disbandment.
Devil's Due Comics continuation
After the disbandment, Duke went to take on black ops assignments for a secret government agency for a few years. It was during one of his missions that he discovered Cobra's attempt to make a comeback. He helped rally the effort to have G.I. Joe reinstated. By this time, Duke had a different edge to him, taking more risks and sometimes putting teammates in danger. But when Hawk was incapacitated in a Cobra assassination attempt, Duke took up his injured mentor's causes, fighting the corrupt Jugglers while holding the team together in the wake of the loss of their leader.
When Cobra enacts a plan that put them at the forefront of providing security for the United States, the Joes are declared renegades and are hunted down. Duke is the among the first Joes to resurface. Upon instructions from Hawk, he meets with other Joes for a rendezvous and leads a strike team into the Silent Castle. With help from Roadblock and Rock 'n Roll, he buys Mainframe the time the latter needs to hack into Cobra's computers and provide evidence of Cobra's goal and clear the Joes of charges.
G.I. Joe vs. Transformers
Action Force (British) Comics continuity
Battle Action Force
Duke performed well enough as a member of the US Airborne Rangers to be offered an officers commission. Duke turned down the promotion when Major Flagg offered him a Top-Sergeant position in Action Force to fight the new enemy Cobra.
Duke was based with the US branch of Action Force and rarely undertook missions in Europe. In later years he was put in charge of a new unit called Tiger Force. The team was prematurely put into action when a Phantom X-19 stealth plane crashed in the Jordanian desert sparking a race by Cobra, Destro and local warlords to discover its secrets. Despite compatibility problems Tiger Force succeeded in rescuing the crew and destroying the plane before its secrets were discovered.
Blackthorne Comics continuity
Dreamwave Comics continuity
Hasbro Comics continuity
Sunbow animated series
- Voiced by Michael Bell.
Duke was overseeing the testing of the new Skystriker XP-14F jets when Cobra assaulted Joe HQ. After a brief dogfight that saw Cobra retreat but not before laying waste to much of the Joes' fighters, Duke orders his men on full alert. Later, General Flagg had Duke have his men test the security of a military installation housing a spy satellite. Duke was caught in the energy wave of the MASS Device when Cobra teleported in the base to steal the satellite. He is soon a prisoner forced to take part in Cobra Commander's Arena of Sport where he faces off with a giant. Initially getting beat by the giant, Duke regains his will during a brief spat between Cobra Commander and Destro. He is aided by the slave girl, Selina, and gives him a gold strip that he uses to short the headband's control over him. After a spectacular escape, Duke makes his way back to civilization and to G.I. Joe HQ. However, due to the trauma, effects of the headband and fatigue, Duke can't remember anything that happened during his imprisonment and the location of Cobra's main base. Although, Duke only remembers his meeting with Selina. Despite that, there is no apparent mental effect on him and Doc declares he is fit to return to duty. However, Duke did go through a session with the Doc to help him remember where Cobra base is located but still could't recall it and that he only remembers Selina. He personally leads the mission to obtain heavy water from one of the world's deepest trenches. Duke organizes a mission to South America for the final element. He leads the squadron of Skystrikers in the hopes of driving Destro's squadron back. However, the Cobra squadron held their position and successfully takes the meteor. Duke lands his Skystriker on Cobra's heli-carrier and becomes part of the massive boarding party. He finds the extraterrestrial element onboard but Scarlett is taken hostage by Destro. Desperate to stop Cobra, Duke undergoes one more effort from Doc to remember Cobra's HQ location by undergoing a session in a sensory deprivation tank. He remembers giving his ring to Selina which everyone realizes has electronic properties that the Joes can home in on. Along with many other Joes, he is teleported by their own MASS Device and begin their assault on the Cobra Temple. The aftermath reunites him with his friend Scarlett and the slave girl Selina.
By the beginning of the first season, the role of commanding officer frequently alternated between Duke and Flint. Duke and Flint were almost interchangeable throughout the first season, though Duke tended to be more stern than Flint. As a leader, Duke always put himself forward as the commanding officer first and the friend second, but sometimes he would let his softer side shine through, such as when he let Dusty take time off to take care of his mother.
In the second season, Hawk replaces Duke as commander of G.I. Joe. Duke becomes second-in-command, while Flint is the third man down.
DiC animated series
Voice Actor: Ted Harrison
Duke was almost absent for the first season, appearing in five episodes. Three were silent cameos and 2 major episodes. He resembled his appearance in the earlier seasons except with lighter colors.
Season 1 Major episodes:
In the episode 22 "Mind Mangler" Duke is captured by the Mind Mangler (in reality a robot) where Zarana disguises herself as his daughter. while the Mangler tries to interrogate Duke, Gnawgahyde must stop the attack of G.I. Joe but Skydive and the Sky Patrol comes to Dukes rescue. Zarana accompanies them, but she is discovered and has to retreat.
In the episode 24 "Stuck on You" Pathfinder and Cobra Commander attempt to escape a Jungle safely when both crash during a battle. Its up to Duke, Big Ben and Lady Jaye to come his rescue.
He appeared more frequently in the second season with a much different hairstyle for the second season rejoining his reckless maternal half-brother Falcon. He looks younger and retains the same personality.
|A Real American Hero (1983)
Appearance: yellow hair; beige shirt with rolled-up sleeves; gold eagle on right chest; green diagonal strap; green belt and pants; brown boots
Variations: a very small number of Dukes have cuffed sleeves
|Tiger Force (1988)
Appearance: brown hair; green shirt with rolled-up sleeves and red collar; brown diagonal strap and belt; light brown pants with black stripes; dark grey boots
|Version 3 (1992)
Appearance: yellow hair; red short-sleeved shirt with beige vest; brown holster, straps, and gloves; beige and red camouflage pants with red belt and shinguards; beige boots
Accessories: beige helmet; brown submachine gun with retracted stock, short angled grip, and long, thick magazine; brown knife with angled quillen and slight curve at tip; beige spring-loaded missile launcher station with red trigger and detachable red seat and brown tripod; red missile with cylindrical bulge on tip; black figure stand.
|Battle Corps (1993)
Appearance: beige helmet with goggles; brown hair; beige short-sleeved jacket with brown camouflage; brown straps; beige pants with brown camouflage; brown holster and boots
Accessories: black "Muskrat" shotgun; black "Tracker" submachine gun; black "'91 Grunt" machine gun; black "Muskrat" machete; L-shaped, gold missile launcher with thick, round barrel and black trigger; two black missiles; black figure stand.
|Star Brigade Armor Tech (1993)
Appearance: yellow hair; blue armor on left torso and leg; black armor on right; silver armor in middle and on right arm and lower legs; silver left missile launcher arm with blue barrel
Accessories: silver full-head space helmet with clear visor; bright red "Cloudburst" submachine gun; bright red "'91 Flint" laser rifle; bright red "'93 Beach-Head" knife; two bright red "Backblast" missiles; bright red figure stand.
|A Real American Hero 25th Anniversary|
|Senior Ranking Officers (2008)|
- The Incredible Shrinking Joes (1988)
- 12" Target Exclusive (1992)
|Series 1 (2008)
Duke was included in the Combat Heroes preschool line of action figures in a two-pack with a Cobra Trooper. He's wearing his classic 1983 uniform.
- Duke mini-bust
- Duke's original name was going to be "Carl," not Conrad.
- Duke is a natural artist.
- As part of Marvel's Secret Wars II event in 1985, a soldier with a similar look to Duke and only referred to as "Sergeant" made an appearance.
- Based on his known service record, Duke's awards would include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Army Parachutist Badge, Medal of Honor, Bronze Star Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster and "V," National Defense Service Medal with two bronze stars, Vietnam Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Probable awards include the Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal with silver clasp and three loops, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, as well as perhaps the United Nations Medal and NATO Medal. While on duty with G.I. Joe, he would be authorized to wear the Army Presidential Unit Citation.
- Before the figure debuted, Hasbro and Larry Hama debated what rank Duke should have: whether he'd be an officer or a high-ranking enlisted man.
- His preliminary dossier said he enlisted in 1960 and suggested he trained the Montagnard to fight against the Viet Cong. He would have received a battlefield promotion in 1967, been captured by the North Vietnamese Army and escaped six months later.
- Also on the dossier was this quote from Duke:
|“||I don't believe in gadgets. I believe in the infantry. They can throw all that high-tech hardware 'til the sun don't shine no more, but the battle isn't won until a walking, breathing, rifle-toting infantryman plants his size-ten combat boots on the other side's turf and claims it with his blood, sweat and all the ammo he can carry.||”|
—Duke, The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe, page 54
- The writers' guide for the Sunbow series explicitly identified Scarlett and Duke as being romantically linked.
- The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe, page 33
- Steve Gerber, G.I. Joe Writers' Guide (Sunbow Productions, Inc., 1985), 14. Available as a PDF at http://joeguide.com/pm/writersguide/