LEATHERNECK RAIDERS

Membership: Lee Baker, Rolfe Harrison, Jacques LaRocque, Jay Little Bear, Captain Simon Savage, Roy "Blarney" Stone, Sam "Yakkety" Yates

Purpose: To engage in marine/commando operations in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II

Affiliations: Chaka, Lt. Erikson, General Ten Per Cent, Captain Griggs, Ben Grimm, Howling Commandos (Isadore "Izzy" Cohen, Timothy "Dum-Dum" Dugan, Nick Fury, Eric Koenig, Gabe Jones, Dino Manelli, Percival "Pinky" Pinkerton, Robert "Reb" Ralston), John Kennedy, Gweny Lee, Manuel, Morton, Red Fox, Terry Reiker, Samurai Squad, General Theresa, Father Thompson

Enemies: Antonio, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, Herbert Cholmondeley, HYDRA, Japanese soldiers, Jake Malloy, Major Nagasha, Nazis, Colonel Sakata

Base of Operations: Mobile aboard the U.S.S. Sea Wolf, usually in the Pacific Ocean; barracks at an American base in Australia

First Appearance: Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#1 (January, 1968)

History: (Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Leatherneck Raiders were a team of marines brought together under the leadership of Captain Simon Savage, who ended his career in the U.S. Navy in order to lead them.

(Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#1) - The Leathernecks assaulted a Japanese base on Tarawa, battling scores of Japanese soldiers during the mission. The Leathernecks destroyed the munitions the Japanese had on Tarawa, and were then picked up by the Sea Wolf alongside the Howling Commandos.

(Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#2) - The Leathernecks invaded a Japanese building and stole documents about the "phantom submarine" which had been sinking American and Japanese vessels, and the information led them to Hydra Island, where they encountered the Japanese Samurai Squad. The two teams fought each other, only to be ambushed and captured by HYDRA, with only Captain Savage and the Samurai Squad's Sgt. Morita remaining free.

(Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#3) - While Savage and Morita fought their way through Hydra Island, the Lethernecks and Samurai Squad escaped their cells and confronted HYDRA's leader, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, but he showed them that the forces of HYDRA were so great that they had no hope of escape, and showed them Savage and Morita about to be attacked by HYDRA agents.

(Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#4) - When the Leathernecks and Samurai Squad were distracted, Strucker dropped a cage from the ceiling on top of them, then arranged to have them all killed by firing squad. However, Savage and Morita came to their rescue. Strucker set the island to self-destruct, but the Leathernecks and Samurai Squad escaped together in one of HYDRA's submarines. When they had escaped from the exploding island, they met up with the Samurai Squad's rendezvous ship, and allowed their counterparts to depart on friendly terms.

(Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#5) - The Leathernecks helped manipulate Rolfe Harrison into an arm-wrestling match with Little Bear, which led to a barfight between the American and Australian troops who had been watching. Harrison was forced to assist the Leathernecks in order to avoid a court martial, and was placed undercover as an engraver in order to halt the operations of Herbert Cholmondeley, who was making fake money for the Japanese. While Harrison sabotaged the presses from the inside, the Leathernecks captured Cholmondeley, and they turned him over to commander Morton, who forced Cholmondeley to leave Australia. As Little Bear and Harrison resumed their arm-wrestling, Savage awarded all of the Leathernecks with a three-day pass.

(Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#6) - The Leathernecks went on an obstacle course run underwater, during which Little Bear's bow caught on one of the phony mines, setting it off. They failed the practice, and Sgt. Yates was furious with Little Bear for making him look bad. On their next mission, the Leathernecks teamed with a hundred marines in an assault on Burma, where they liberated a P.O.W. camp that had been holding Isadore "Izzy" Cohen of the Howling Commandos. They succeeeded in their mission, and saw Private Cohen off as he went to rejoin the Howlers.

(Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#7) - The Leathernecks were on leave at Hawaii when they were ordered to rescue Lt. Ben Grimm, who was a prisoner of Colonel Sakata. They invaded Sakata's island on surfboards, and escaped the island aboard a plane flown by Savage under directions by Grimm. They finally met up with a squad of American planes, who escorted them home.

(Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#8) - The Leathernecks held a wrestling match between Little Bear and Moose Barclay, but were discovered by Captain Savage, who was not amused. On their mission, they were sent to an island where two important Japanese generals were holding a conference, and told to capture them both without causing any casulties. The Leathernecks failed in their mission, but were then informed by Commander Morton that the entire mission was a training exercise, and that all of the Japanese soldiers they had fought were members of Nisei Squadrons. Morton revealed that this was in preparation for an upcoming mission alongside the Howling Commandos.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#9) - Savage was forced to shave his beard off because he looked too much like Jake Malloy, a gunrunner in Burma. Savage had some problems maintaining authority over the Leathernecks because he looked younger without his beard, and he took them on a training exercise before their next mission, which was to capture Malloy himself. The Leathernecks journeyed to Burma and met Malloy and his men, who welcomed them heartily into their camp. Even though Malloy was supplying arms to pro-Japanese guerillas, he considered himself a patriot, and had the utmost respect for the marines. When the Japanese invaded Malloy's camp, he led his men alongside the Leathernecks against them. However, the Leathernecks still had to complete their mission, and took Malloy into their custody. As they returned to Australia with Malloy, he began to file through his bonds.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#10) - The Leathernecks were present on an island where an American base was when it was attacked by the Japanese. Little Bear was struck down by a falling tree during the bombardment, and Yates stayed with him while the others returned to their base. The Leathernecks fought back against overwhelming Japanese forces, but were finally reinforced by Yates, Little Bear and newly-arriving American marines, and the Japanese were pushed back.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#11) - The Leathernecks were teamed with the Howling Commandos for a mission to a Pacific island where the Japanese had employed the American scientist Terry Reiker, exploiting her anti-war beliefs. The Howlers and Leathernecks fought their way past scores of Japanese soldiers in the jungle of the island. When the Leathernecks finally reached the castle where Reiker was, a sniper shot Lee Baker, killing him.

(Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#64) - As the Leathernecks mourned for Lee Baker, Sgt. Fury reminded the Leathernecks that they had a mission to complete, and they carried on. The Leathernecks and Howlers broke into the fortress where Dr. Terry Reiker was being kept, and forced her to leave with them, despite her protestations.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#12) - The Leathernecks stood side-by-side as Baker's coffin was loaded into a plane bound for Los Angeles. To help the Leathernecks deal with their grief, they were assigned to spy on the Japanese fleet aboard the Sea Wolf. Unfortunately, they were sighted by the fleet, and were struck by depth charges that resulted in Savage hitting his head and passing out. Command fell to Captain Griggs, who surrendered the Sea Wolf to the Japanese. The Leathernecks were sent to the prison camp of Major Nagasha, where they met the American priest Father Thompson. Thompson helped the Leathernecks escape the camp, and get to a boat and off the island.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#13) - The Leathernecks were sent on a mission to Italy to help the Partisan General Theresa protect Castello Rizzi from the Nazis. They used the obsolete weapons of war found in the castle to hold the Germans back, and ultimately destroyed a German air base, while American forces moved in and defeated the Germans.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#14) - The Leathernecks were sent to Manila Bay in the Philippines to rescue American scientists who had been made prisoners of the Japanese. They were aided in their mission by Manuel, a local boy with many resources. To help move the scientists along, they dressed them in their uniforms so that they would be held in a P.O.W. camp. The Leathernecks then dressed up as women to get into the camp, then rescue the scientists. They were picked up by PT 109 boat officer John Kennedy after succeeding in their mission.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#15) - The Leathernecks journeyed down the Mekong River to destroy the rubber being gathered by the Japanese, and made a deal with the pirate General Ten Per Cent to give him 10% of the rubber. They were aided by the guerilla Red Fox in finding the rubber, which had been hidden inside of a Buddhist temple to keep the Americans from bombing it. The Leathernecks moved the rubber back to its original warehouse, and the American bombers destroyed it.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#16) - The Leathernecks were trained for winter combat by Lt. Erikson, and journeyed to Alaska to help drive out Japanese invaders. With the aid of the Inuit Chaka, they discovered that a Japanese professor had buried gasoline in key points in Alaska so that a short-range bomber pilot could refuel there, and launch strikes on American soil. The Leathernecks and Chaka fought the Japanese, and Chaka gave his life to destroy the Japanese with a grenade.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#17 (fb) - BTS) - Yates and Stone were sent to help Little Bear get into a Japanese camp and destroy it. Unfortunately, Little Bear was captured before he could complete his mission.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#17) - Yates and Stone returned to the Sea Wolf, and were ultimately forced to depart without Little Bear, unaware that he had escaped the Japanese and went on to complete his mission then escape the island.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#18) - The Leathernecks were reunited with Little Bear, and met Gweny Lee, the Chinese woman who had helped him escape the Japanese. They returned to their barracks, and the other Leathernecks teased Little Bear for being in love with Gweny Lee. Just before their next mission, Captain Savage received a letter from his wife asking for a divorce, and he became consumed with anger. The Leathernecks then went on a mission to rescue an American officer from a Japanese camp, and succeeded.

(Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#19) - While the other Leathernecks celebrated the new year's with Gweny Lee and a pair of Jacques' ladyfriends, Captain Savage went back to the Sea Wolf for a recon mission. Although Savage had difficulty dealing with the sub's Captain Wilhite, Savage succeeded in his mission, and brought the Sea Wolf home.

Comments: Created by Gary Friedrich, Dick Ayers and Syd Shores.

The Leathernecks received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#13.

Captain Savage#14 was titled "Savage's First Mission," and yet Lee Baker was absent, and Savage hadn't grown his beard yet, even though he had worn it in all of his Sgt. Fury appearances-- including those immediately before Captain Savage #1. But the main reason why I've left it in publication order instead of the 1942 date given in the story is because Kennedy didn't command a PT boat in World War II until 1943.

Although the title changed from "Leatherneck Raiders" to "Battlefield Raiders," the team were called "Leathernecks" throughout.

The Leathernecks' colorful mix of headgear and accents was derived from the Howling Commandos. The Howlers could be recognized from each other because Pinky wore a beret, Izzy wore a helmet, Dugan wore a bowler, Reb had a southern accent, etc.

The Leathernecks' trademarks were: Jay Little Bear (mowhawk, red skin, bow and arrow); Simon Savage (navy cap, beard; later helmet); Sam Yates (campaign hat); Roy Stone (sailor hat, freckles); Jacques LaRocque (ball cap, mustache); Lee Baker (service cap, slicked back hair).

Jay Little Bear went on to join the Deadly Dozen, and Captain Savage was still active during the Korean War as a submarine commander (per Sgt. Fury Annual#1), but the fates of the other Leathernecks is not known.

Captain Savage#17 opened with Jay Little Bear being interrogated by the Japanese, and a caption reading "You didn't miss an issue...we just skipped a mission on you! But, bear with us for a few pages and all will be made clear!" And yet, the story never explains why Gweny Lee is on the island, or how Jay already knows who she is. My guess is that Friedrich wrote an issue that went unused. I wonder if it's still out there?

Captain Savage#19 proposed to readers a new title: "Captain Savage of the Silent Service." Under this title, Savage would presumably have continued on as the skipper of the Sea Wolf, but nothing came of this proposal.

Ben Grimm's presence in Captain Savage#7 is one of those Marvel-time problems for which there is no explanation as of yet. Given Grimm's references to his ever-lovin' Aunt Petunia, it's hard to rationalize this as an appearance by one of his ancestors. Perhaps Grimm was traveling through time?

by Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Leatherneck Raiders should not be confused with:


Images taken from:
Captain Savage#1, cover
Captain Savage#9, page 3, panel 3


Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#2-6 (March-September, 1968) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Syd Shores (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#7 (October, 1968) - Archie Goodwin (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Syd Shores (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders#8 (November, 1968) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), Syd Shores (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#9-10 (December, 1968-January, 1969) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#11 (February, 1969) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#12 (March, 1969) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Syd Shores (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#13-15 (April-July, 1969) - Arnold Drake (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Syd Shores (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#16 (September, 1969) - Arnold Drake (writer), Don Heck (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders#17-19 (November, 1969 - March, 1970) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#64 (March, 1969) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Dick Ayers (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)

Last updated: 05/21/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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