They fought for freedom wherever there was trouble—and by god, there were a lot of them. Over 150 soldiers, from common infantry to terrifying cyborgs, made up the GI Joe: A Real American Hero team in the ‘80s (and early ‘90s), and we’ve ranked every. Single. One.
Note: There are no members of Cobra here, but every GI Joe: ARAH figure that was an genuine member of Joe from 1982-94 should be included. Also, this list would not have been possible without the existence of YoJoe.com, the best damn GI Joe fansite on the internet.
1) Snake Eyes (Commando)—The one, the only. A commando-turned-ninja whose face was scarred and throat wounded in battle, rendering him unable to do anything but kick ass? Nothing but cool.
2) Scarlett (Counterintelligence)—I still don’t know exactly what she’s wearing, or how it helps her take out spies, or why she uses a crossbow, but she’s still the first lady of GI Joe.
3) Roadblock (Heavy Machine Gunner)—A big dude with a big personality carrying a big machine gun. GI Joe’s biggest badass.
4) Duke (First Sergeant)—The true leader of GI Joe, despite the fact he’s outranked by many, many people on this list.
5) Shipwreck (Sailor)—He looks more like a member of the Village People than a sailor, but somehow Shipwreck is the heart and soul of the original Joes. It’s probably because he speaks like Jack Nicholson.
6) Lady Jaye (Covert Operations)—She was cooler on the cartoon than as an action figure, and she was pretty awesome as an action figure
7) Stalker (Ranger)—One of the earliest Joes and, as a Ranger, one of the deadliest.
8) Wild Bill (Helicopter Pilot)—Compared to many of the Joe vehicles, the Dragonfly helicopter was pretty mundane, but Wild Bill’s large personality made up for it.
9) Gung Ho (Marine)—Many Marines would probably look askance at Gung Ho’s shirtlessness, but he’s always at the forefront of any battle.
10) Barbecue (Firefighter)—The ideal GI Joe specialist, and he had an excellent, sensible outfit to boot.
11) Cover Girl (Wolverine Driver)—She’s such a beloved GI Joe character that people forget she original came with an armored semi-tank that fired 12 missiles. This only makes her cooler.
12) Tunnel Rat (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)
13) Sci-Fi (Laser Trooper)—The only GI Joe to actually pull off wearing a neon color, which is saying something.
14) Low-Light (Night Spotter)—This guy dressed in all black and looked terrifying, but was one of the good guys. Very cool.
15) Flint (Warrant Officer)
16) Jinx (Ninja/Intelligence)—Believe it or not, Jinx is GI Joe’s first authentic, 100%, non-military-trained ninja.
17) Beach Head (Ranger)—So surly, he never takes off his skimask.
18) Bazooka (Missile Specialist)—Like a casual Friday version of the bazooka soldier below, he gets points for personality, which consists entirely of wanting to blow expensive things up.
19) Storm Shadow (Ninja/Intelligence)—He briefly joined GI Joe for a while in the ‘80s, which is why he’s so low.
20) Doc (Medic)—The reason GI Joe isn’t just a pile of corpses? It’s Doc, who patches up the entire team battle after battle.
21) Hit & Run (Light Infantryman)—A terrible codename, but this dude was ready for action, and camo’ed from head to toe.
22) Snow Job (Arctic Trooper)—The first and best of Joe’s many, many winter warriors.
23) Dusty (Desert Trooper)—Lawrence of Arabia, but with awesome camo facepaint.
24) Hawk (Commander)—Before he was General Hawk, he was a normal soldier who happened to control a giant, remote missile launcher, which was still very badass. But he was no Duke (or even Flint.)
25) Sgt. Slaughter (Drill Instructor)
26) Fast Draw (Mobile Missile Specialist)—Oh, just an awesome guy who walked around with a backpack with missiles on it that somehow looked reasonable and not absurd.
27) Shockwave (SWAT Specialist)
28) Countdown (Astronaut)—An astronaut who actually dressed somewhat like an astronaut.
29) Torpedo (SEAL)—The most practically outfitted of Joe’s underwater specialists.
30) Red Star (Oktober Guard Officer)—Leader of the USSR Joe team.
31) Chuckles (Undercover)—Joe basically hired Joe Piscopo to be their James Bond, and yet he managed to become a fan-favorite anyway.
32) Thunder (Self-Propelled Gun Artilleryman)—He never appeared on the cartoon, and his Slugger vehicle was kinda goofy. And yet his outfit was very stylish.
33) Payload (Defiant Pilot)—Piloted the spaceship, but unfortunate codename.
34) Recoil (Long Range Recon Patrol)
35) Ambush (Concealment Specialist)—Had an amazing camouflaged tent to hide in.
36) Spirit and Freedom (Tracker)—He was a pile of Native American clichés, but at least they weren’t negative ones. Plus, he had a rifle that shot arrows!
37) General Flagg (GI Joe General)
38) Footloose (Infantry Trooper)
39) Tripwire (Mine Detector)—He basically just carried a metal detector, but he looked pretty cool while doing it.
40) Lifeline (Rescue Trooper)
41) Crazylegs (Assault Trooper)
42) Big Ben (SAS Pilot)—Despite his goofy codename and Britishness, Big Ben never looked like someone to mess with.
43) Mainframe (Computer Specialist)
44) Big Bear (Oktober Guard Anti-Armor Specialist)—A huge, terrifying Russian guy with a huge, terrifying missile launcher.
45) Freefall (Paratrooper)
46) Clean-Sweep (Anti-Toxin Trooper)—Points for wearing an actual hazmat suit and not just bright colors.
47) Alpine (Mountain Trooper)
48) Heavy Duty (Heavy Ordnance Trooper)—The only Joe to pull off wielding comically large guns.
49) Quick Kick (Silent Weapons)—You’re using martial arts to fight people with guns and missiles. At least put on a shirt.
50) Stretcher (Medical Specialist)
51) Mutt and Junkyard (Dog Handler)—GI Joe was never very clear on why they needed a dog, let alone a dogsitter.
52) G.I. Joe—Yes, there was a GI Joe named, GI Joe, released in 1994 for the 30th anniversary of GI Joe toys. This is the dude Bruce Willis played in the last live-action movie.
53) Clutch (VAMP Driver)—Another generic Joe, who came with the VAMP jeep.
54) Steeler (Tank Commander)—Boring soldier who came with the cool (and realistic-looking) MOBAT tank.
55) Airtight (Hostile Environment)—He doesn’t clean up toxic and radioactive waste, but he’s happy to go in there and shoot people.
56) Cutter (Hovercraft Pilot)—He had a sweet hovercraft, but he dressed like a TV fisherman.
57) Keel-Haul (Admiral)—In charge of one of the greatest playsets of all time, the USS Flagg, and even Joe fans have a hard time remembering this guy.
58) Ace (Fighter Pilot)—He came with the amazing Skystriker jet, but looked liked the unholy union of an astronaut and deep sea diver.
59) Dial-Tone (Communications)—In the early ‘80s, cellphones were the size of backpacks, and he had to carry one.
60) Blocker (Eliminator Driver)
61) Airborne (Helicopter Assault Trooper)
62) Rock ‘n Roll (Machine Gunner)—The first Joe to wear bandoliers of bullets as a fashion choice.
63) Short-Fuze (Mortar Soldier)
64) Steam Roller (Mobile Command Center Operator)
65) Recondo (Jungle Trooper)—A flamboyant mustache and not much else.
66) Lift-Ticket (Tomahawk Pilot)
67) Slip-Stream (Conquest X-30 Pilot)
68) Zap (Bazooka Soldier)
69) Ripcord (HALO Jumper)
70) Airwave (Audible Frequency Specialist)
71) Altitude (Recon Scout)
72) Drop Zone (Weapons Specialist)
73) Skydive (Sky Patrol Leader)
74) Static Line (Demolitions Expert)
75) Breaker (Communications Officer)—Didn’t even come with a gun.
76) Starduster (Jetpack Trooper)
77) Crankcase (AWE Striker Driver)
78) Frostbite (Snow Cat Driver)
79) Heavy Metal (Mauler MBT Driver)—His tank was bigger than the MOBAT, but not as cool.
80) Iceberg (Snow Trooper)
81) Leatherneck (Marine)
82) Wet Suit (SEAL)
83) Cross-Country (HAVOC Driver)
84) Charbroil (Flamethrower)—A knock-off Barbecue.
85) Windchill (Arctic Blast Driver)—A knock-off Snow Job, but he had a sweet mustache.
86) Law & Order (MP and K9)—A knock-off Mutt and Junkyard, except much squarer.
87) Hardtop (Crawler Driver)—Maintenance dude in the space shuttle HQ set.
88) Back-Stop (Persuader Driver)
89) Rumbler (R/C Crossfire Driver)
90) Blaster (Vindicator Hovercraft Pilot)
91) Dodger (Marauder Driver)
92) Knockdown (Sky Sweeper Driver)
93) Lightfoot (Explosives Expert)—I don’t know why this guy essentially had Ant-Man’s helmet.
94) Blizzard (Arctic Attack Soldier)
95) Repeater (Steadi-Cam Machine Gunner)
96) Ghostrider (Phantom X-19 Stealth Fighter Pilot)
97) Hot Seat (Raider Driver)
98) Long Range (Thunderclap Driver)
99) Pathfinder (Jungle Assault Specialist)
100) Salvo (Anti-Armor Trooper)
101) Sub-Zero (Winter Operations Specialist)
102) Topside (Navy Assault Trooper)
103) Major Storm (General Mobile HQ Commander)
104) Updraft (Retaliator Pilot)
105) Cloudburst (Glider Trooper)
106) Skymate (Glider Trooper)
107) Barricade (Bunker Buster)
108) Budo (Samurai Warrior)—Budo marks the point when GI Joe really started reaching.
109) Ozone (Ozone Replenisher Trooper)—He fights a very lonely battle.
110) Gears (Invention Technician)
111) Tracker (SEAL)—This is just a dude in a sleeveless t-shirt.
112) Space Shot (Combat Freighter Pilot)—This is basically a space pirate. Cool, but not particularly Joe-like.
113) Rampart (Shoreline Defender)—Looks like he fought on Hoth for the Rebel Alliance.
114) Nunchuk (Nunchaku Ninja)
115) Cold Front (Avalanche Driver)
116) Rapid Fire (Fast Attack Expert)
117) Dogfight (Mudfighter Pilot)—The knock-off Wild Bill.
118) Maverick (Vector Pilot)—You have to be quite the douche to call yourself this after 1986.
119) Bushido (Snow Ninja)
120) Snow Storm (High-Tech Snow Trooper)—Looked like a creamsicle.
121) Dojo (Silent Weapons Ninja)—Someone at Hasbro was clearly running out of recognizable Japanese words to name ninjas.
122) Deep Six (SHARC Diver)—His scuba suit looks more live a B-movie robot.
123) Psyche-Out (Deceptive Warfare)
124) Backblast (Anti-Aircraft Soldier)—Like Fast-Draw, he carried his own missiles. Unlike Fast-Draw, he looked ridiculous.
125) Blast-Off (Flame Thrower)
126) Long Arm (First Strike Specialist)
127) Mirage (Bio-Artillery Expert)
128) Armadillo (Rolling Thunder Driver)—Dresses like a dude who willingly calls himself “Armadillo.”
129) Lt. Falcon (Green Beret)—A replacement Duke that absolutely no one wanted or accepted.
130) Blowtorch (Flamethrower)—Easily the first worst-dressed GIJoe ever.
131) Flash (Laser Rifle Trooper)—Sorry, buddy. You know who else is good at firing laser rifles in GI Joe? Everybody.
132) Downtown (Mortar Man)
133) Bullhorn (Intervention Specialist)—Cobra never negotiated with anybody, and his bullhorn was comically large.
134) Effects (Explosives Expert)
135) Major Altitude (Battle Copter Pilot)
136) Grand Slam (Laser Artillery Soldier)—Not a baseball-themed Joe, somehow.
137) Skystriker (Tiger Rat Pilot)—Part of Tiger Force. Tiger Force sucked.
138) Tollbooth (Bridge Layer Driver)—I’m sure his “make a small bridge” vehicle is useful in real life, but for kids it was lame.
139) Skidmark (Desert Fox 6WD Driver)—Most unfortunate Joe codename ever.
140) Colonel Courage (Strategic Commander)—Douchiest Joe codename ever.
141) Claymore (Covert Operations)—I do not know why this guy is dressed like a bootleg Kraven the Hunter.
142) The Fridge (Physical Training Instructor)
143) Muskrat (Swamp Fighter)—Dumbest hat in GI Joe? Yes!
144) Wildcard (Mean Dog Driver)
145) Spearhead and Max (Pointman)—Max is a bobcat. ‘Nuff said.
146) Sneak Peek (Advanced Recon)—Had a big telescope. This did not provide children hours of fun.
147) Mace (Undercover Operative)—Had a helmet with a missile on it, and yet was supposed to be undercover.
148) T’gin-Zu (Pile Driver Operator)—A ninja who drove a dune buggy. Let me repeat: A ninja who drove a dune buggy.
149) Avalanche (Dominator Driver)—A snow trooper whose brown camo highlights were verrry unfortunate.
150) Super Trooper (Infantry Trooper)
151) Airborne (Parachute Assembler)—I know this is an important job, but still… most boring Joe ever.
152) Hardball (Grenadier)—We get it. You like baseball. But it’s a hobby, not something to base your entire military career on.
153) Bullet-Proof (Urban Commander)
154) Banzai (Rising Sun Ninja)—No shirt, pink mask, bad ninja.
155) Outback (Survivalist)—This is a just a crazy hermit that GIJoe cuts checks to.
156) Scoop (Information Specialist)—Sole job was filming Joe war atrocities and turning them into propaganda.
157) Dee-Jay (Comm-Tech Trooper)
158) Capt. Grid-Iron (Hand-to-hand Combat Specialist)—An asshole who wore a football helmet into battle.
159) Windmill (Skystorm X-Wing Chopper Pilot)—This dude is a disaster on every level.
160) T’Jbang (Ninja Swordsman)—Also a disaster on every level, but in a ninja-ier way.
161) Robo-Joe (Jet-Tech Operations Expert)
162) Grunt (Infantry Trooper)—The Joe so personality-less that he goes by the name for all infantry soldiers everywhere.
163) Ice Cream Soldier (Flamethrower Commando)—There is no way any Joe wanted to even talk to this lunatic, let alone go into battle with him.
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