Helicopter Assault Trooper (Code Name: Airborne)
If you needed an all-around, useful anywhere trooper follow-up to Grunt, Airborne was your man. This cat could jump out of a perfectly good Dragonfly and pound the ground with the best of them. What’s not to love about the accessories, color and specialty here? Just compare that backpack and rifle to what came just one year before.
Sleekly designed yet highly detailed, Airborne’s uniform and accessories reflect the stepped-up second series production quality. The Real American Hero series was hitting its stride in its sophomore year, and Airborne led the charge in many of my backyard battles. Often teamed up with Gung Ho, he was a bane to my Cobra troops, and they’d turn tail when they’d see him dropping out of the sky. And once the Skystriker joined my air forces, it was game over, as Franklin Talltree was a fixture behind Ace in the cockpit.
As much as 80s would seem to be populated with traditional looking heroes, the Joe team again was working in a diverse group of individuals, reflecting the US military itself. Airborne’s skin tone and features add representation to the ranks, without beefing into my stereotypes. Good on you, 80s Hasbro.