Leatherneck (G.I. Joe)

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G.I. Joe character
Leatherneck as seen in the Sunbow/Marvel G.I. Joe animated series.
First appearance1986
Voiced byChuck McCann
AffiliationG.I. Joe
File nameMetzger, Wendell A.
Birth placeStromsburg, Nebraska
SNRA 368-10-0025
RankE-7 (Gunnery Sergeant)
Primary MOSInfantry
Secondary MOSDrill Instructor

Leatherneck is a fictional character from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, comic books and animated series. He is a Marine with the G.I. Joe Team and debuted in 1986.


His real name is Wendell A. Metzger, and his rank is that of gunnery sergeant, USMC (E-7). Leatherneck was born in Stromsburg, Nebraska.

Leatherneck's primary military specialty is infantry, and his secondary military specialty is drill instructor. Before joining the G.I. Joe Team, Leatherneck was a corporal in Gitmo, a tech sergeant in the 1st Recon Bn in Viet Nam, a drill instructor on Parris Island, and a gunny at Camp Lejeune. He earned a reputation for toughness in all of these places, and while he may not come off as likable, he has proven himself trustworthy.[1]

As a drill instructor, Leatherneck assumes the role of an enemy when training Joes, turning himself into an insurmountable obstacle. He's proof that you don't need to like your fellow soldiers, in order to fight beside them. Leatherneck is ill-tempered, obnoxious, and holds irrational grudges against those who don't fit his definition of "worthy". The only teammate he seems to connect with is Wet Suit, and according to rumor, the two can't stand each other. Their rivalry stems from the tradition of competition between the Navy and the USMC, but their constant bickering conceals a shared respect.[2]


Leatherneck was first released as an action figure in 1986.[3]

A new version of Leatherneck was released in 1993 as part of the Battle Corps line.


In the Marvel comics G.I. Joe series, he first appeared in issue #49. He is a featured supporting character in the next issue, as the focus of an assault team going through the Cobra held-town of Springfield. His squad battles holding-forces led by the newly created Serpentor.[4] Leatherneck is one of the ground troops storming Cobra Island beaches in the second Cobra civil war.[5]

Animated series[edit]


He first appeared in the Sunbow/Marvel G.I. Joe second-season episode "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!: Part I".[6] He was often arguing with fellow Joe Wet-Suit (who was a Navy Seal). He was known for being uncouth loud and hot headed. Leatherneck was voiced by Chuck McCann.[7]

Leatherneck played a part in the episode "Let's Play Soldier," where he has an encounter with street orphans in an Asian town, at the same time that Doctor Mindbender and the Dreadnoks are harvesting a special sap, which causes anyone who comes in contact with it to act like mindless zombies. Doctor Mindbender tries twice to offer Leatherneck a piece of gum, which contained the sap as one of the ingredients. Once Doctor Mindbender's plot is thwarted, Leatherneck is able to get the local innkeeper to take the street orphans in as fellow workers much to the objection of the other Joes (who wanted the street orphans to end up in American foster care).[citation needed]

In the episode "The Rotten Egg," it is shown in flashbacks that Leatherneck worked at the CEC Military Academy, where he had problems with a tough cadet named Buck McCann. For instance, when the drill instructor witnessed him injuring a fellow cadet with sadistic glee, Leatherneck immediately punished him by withdrawing his recommendation for him for Officer Candidate School. One night, Leatherneck caught Buck and two men smuggling weapons, but was knocked out during the conflict. Some years later, Leatherneck returns to the military academy only to discover that Buck has taken over the CEC Military Academy (renaming its acronym to Cobra Elite Corps) and has allied himself with Serpentor with Buck being served by cadets Mike P. Randall and Sheila McDermott. Leatherneck is trapped following a hunt on him (where he was knocked out by Sheila McDermott despite rescuing her from the river) and Buck leads the cadets to attack the Parris Island Military Academy. Leatherneck escapes and manages to borrow one of the Dreadnoks' motorcycles. Upon claiming an outfit from one of Buck McCann's soldiers, Leatherneck helps the Joes fight the soldiers which ends with Leatherneck defeating Buck McCann. Buck and his soldiers are then arrested by G.I. Joe with Mike P. Randall ripping off the CEC patch from his shoulder and Sheila McDermott still claiming that Cobra will be victorious.[citation needed]

Leatherneck was featured in a PSA where he explains to two girls the horrors of not applying suntan lotion when at the beach.

G.I. Joe: The Movie[edit]

Leatherneck also appeared briefly in the 1987 animated film G.I. Joe: The Movie.[8]

Other works[edit]

Leatherneck's figure is briefly featured in the fiction novel 6 Sick Hipsters. In the story, the character Paul Achting spent four years collecting G.I. Joe figures to set up a battle scene between the Joes and Cobra. As he imagined the characters in his head, he described four of the Joes on front lines of the battle: Hawk, Leatherneck, Wet Suit, and Sci-Fi "stood in procession, weapons raised, adrenaline pumping feverishly. Anxious for another victory over the dreaded Cobra." He described how Leatherneck, "always the traditional soldier, stood just behind Hawk, his gray rifle at his side".[9]


  1. ^ Hama, Larry (1987). Howard Mackie (ed.). G.I. Joe Order Of Battle. Marvel Entertainment Group. p. 65. ISBN 0-87135-288-5.
  2. ^ Hidalgo, Pablo (2009). G.I. Joe vs. Cobra: The Essential Guide 1982-2008. Random House. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-345-51642-8.
  3. ^ Santelmo, Vincent (1994). The Official 30th Anniversary Salute To G.I. Joe 1964-1994. Krause Publications. p. 107. ISBN 0-87341-301-6.
  4. ^ G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #50 (August 1986)
  5. ^ "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" Vol2 #24
  6. ^ "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!: Part I". G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
  7. ^ "Roll Call". G.I. Joe Roll Call. Joe Headquarters. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
  8. ^ G.I. Joe: The Movie (Motion picture). De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. April 20, 1987.
  9. ^ Casablanca, Rayo (2008). 6 Sick Hipsters. Kensington Publishing Corp. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7582-2283-1.

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