It’s Monday, which is always a dicey proposition, and a Holiday Monday (Observed) to boot.  While we’re remembering those who served in the real world, it’s interesting to consider those who have served in fictional realities as well.  In my youth, it was considered de rigueur for a true tough-guy character to have served in Vietnam, a concept that lasted well into the 1990s, until the time-frame became untenable, as septuagenarian badasses can sometimes be hard to write.  As emblemized by the legendary A-Team, though, the REAL hard-cases were always former “Green Berets.”   (Though the general public loved this term, especially circa the sixties, members of the Special Forces have been quoted as saying that a Green Beret is nothin’ but a hat.)  Also, I’m pretty sure that the concept of the hyper-competent Green Beret-wearing soldier went south when Baywatch’s Mitch Buchannon debuted back in ’89.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) throws its mighty shield, and all who chose to oppose the shield must yield, asking: Who’s the toughest soldier in all of pop culture?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. This is a fun one.
    In the movies, Audrey Murphy, who is a real life hero and movie star.
    In comics, Sergent Rock who has fought in the trenches for 50 years.
    In books, Mack Bolan has fought bad guys and terrorist in over 600 books.

  2. Sargeant Slaughter. No question. He was so bad @SS that he was both a Pro Wrestler AND a G.I. Joe!

    Doesn’t get much cooler than that.

  3. Hands down, Mr. Miyagi, from The Karate Kid (the 1st one!). Joining the US Army, from an American internment camp, and going to Europe with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (the most decorated unit of the war), he wins the Medal of Honor, while his wife dies in childbirth at home. And although he gets a little depressed each year on that anniversary, he isn’t embittered by his losses. Oh, and he schools the Cobra Kai sensei, who’s 25 years younger and outweighs him by 100 lbs.

  4. Soukichi Banba, A.K.A. Big One. I don’t know if he’s technically a soldier (he was an officer in a semi-military-ish organization as well as becoming a Ranger), but he’s tough AND can pull off a rainbow accented costume and still look manly.

  5. Chesty Puller!

    Pop Culture includes real dudes as well as fictional. Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller went from the lowest rank in the marines and clawed his way up to the highest and is famous for such quotes as “Take me to the Brig. I want to see the real Marines.” And “We’re surrounded. That simplifies our problem of getting to these people and killing them.”

    The record of his combat history reads like it was written by a screenwriter for soap operas whom cares nothing for believability. He gets ambushed, only to turn the situation around before falling into a -second- ambush and doing it again. He gets wounded in the middle of fighting, even being twice shot by enemy snipers, which he of course just shrugs off. Heck, during WWII, to rescue some of his marines, he even went so far as commandeering an U. S. Destroyer that was nearby. Something which, being a Marine and not a Naval Officer, he had no authority to do.

    These are the kind of exploits that you’d imagine comic books being written about. Stories to be adapted for, say, Captain America’s backlog of exploits.

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