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Special Missions #3- "Burn-out"
Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Herb Trimpe

Summary:
In the Middle East, a small team of Joes pick up some topo maps of missile silos from an American mercenary pilot named Deke. As the Joes make their escape, Deke is captured by Colonel Sharif's men and tortured. Deke gives up enough information to put the Joes in trouble. The Joes call in a squad of US warplanes (led by Ace, no less) to attack the missile silos. But if was all a cover for the Joes' real mission: they intended to steal a Russian YAK warplane from Sharif. Col. Sharif's men fire up an un-mapped missile silo and aim to blow the Joes out of the sky. However, Deke had escaped and crashes into the missiles, sacrificing himself so the Joes can escape safely.

Notes:

  • Probably the first issue in a LONG time that didn't include or even mention Cobra. Might have to go back to issue 2 for that (the Russians and Kwinn).
  • Also the first time we've seen Col. Sharif since issue 1. He'll be back.
  • No specific country is cited, but Sharif is definitely the "revolutionary". The Joes are unexpectedly aided in their escape by "royalists", loyal to the "emirate". I'll put this on my radar for future reviews, but I believe this story could have taken place in Benzheen (the stand-in Middle Eastern country for many of the Joes' escapades).
  • Sharif declares that he doesn't support "terrorists", rather "Freedom Fighters".
  • Deke is one member of a group of US mercenary pilots that Sharif employs in this issue. They're doing it simply for the money, since most had been jobless or desolate back home. When Ace leads the air raid on Sharif's airport, they all remain inside their quarters, not wanting to fight their home country. So it appears that it was strictly business for these guys.
  • Deke himself was a POW in Vietnam for several years. Once home, the military ruled him "unstable", so he had to look elsewhere to fly jets. Again, it's another recurring theme in the series: where the average front-line US grunt is jerked around by bureaucrats.
Appearances:
Characters (figures):Stalker, Leatherneck, Crankcase, Slipstream, Ace

Characters ("comic-only"): Col. Sharif, Captain Habib (killed), Sgt. Abdul, Deke (killed)

Vehicles and stuff (toys): None. Tough to tell if Ace is flying a Skystriker or not.
Vehicles and stuff (not toys): none to speak of. Warplanes, Sharif's tanks, etc.

Firsties:
Characters: Capt. Habib, Sgt. Abdul, Deke
Vehicles: none

Rating: Rating: 3 Flag Points

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