Airborne (1983)

If you asked ten year old me who my favorite Joe figure was, I probably would have said the name of the latest figure I had gotten. Yeah, even back then I could find something to like about each one. For a while around Christmas 1983, Airborne was my favorite. ’83 was the year that I really got into Joes, moreso even than Star Wars.

Airborne came to me that year along with Snow Job, Doc, and Destro via a JC Penney multi-pack. You may remember the kind, three or four figures packaged in a white mailer box, each one individually bagged with accessories and a red backed file card. My forces expanded greatly that year, going from a couple Joes and one Cobra to the entire ’83 lineup. Airborne stood out among that group, even though it contained other great figures. Snow Job was really fantastic in terms of accessories, but he wouldn’t be in every battle. Airborne fit that bill perfectly. He stood together with tan Grunt as my Joe team’s go-to ground fighters.

The figure encompassed the ’82 to ’83 transition perfectly. What was a simpler look was now more elaborately sculpted and painted. Accessories were more plentiful and well detailed, and the military specialties were expanded. I loved the backpack, even though it had already been included with Duke. The M-16 with bayonet was simply the coolest new weapon of the year.

Airborne made his fair share of comic, and a few Sunbow episode appearances. His animation model however bore little resemblance to this figure, and so Sunbow Airborne stands alongside Steeler as another strange deviation from the toys.


  • And yours is goofy foot looks like. (grip tape wear on rt foot gives this shredder away as a goofy foot skater–just like me!)

  • Airborne was the figure that ended Star Wars as my childhood toyline of choice. He was just too amazing with the sculpted details and extended accessories. Once I had him, Star Wars was done and Joe ruled the remainder of my toy playing days.

  • I found Airborne along with Gung-Ho and Doc at a Montgomery Ward’s in 1983. What a magnificent figure he turned out to be! Airborne stands as a great transition point between ’82 and ’83 due to the reasons you mention. I had his backpack before receiving the mail-in Duke the following year, so he was all new to me. Airborne’s file card was interesting (a Native American lawyer) and his specialty guaranteed that kids would associate him with the Dragonfly. I quickly partnered him up with Will Bill as the copter’s gunner, just like in the comics. Everyone remembers Airborne’s cartoon highlight being the episode where Cobra captured his psychic younger brother. He looks nothing like the figure there but a later ep which shows him alongside other Joes corrects this mistake. The Hub is airing the early stuff right now, so check it out.

  • Now if only they hadn’t named that one Sky Patrol member Airborne.

  • One of the few 25th updates that is almost as good as it’s vintage version.

  • One of the best G.I.JOE ever.

  • His name seems so generic now. Like calling someone RANGER.

    But he was a great figure…is a great figure. I’d buy him if they reproduced him in his 1983 glory. Well, maybe a little improved, I think mine’s crotch broke at some point.

  • Pingback: Joe A Day » Sgt. Airborne (2013)

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