When we hear the phrase “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero!”, most of us think about the original cartoon series from the 1980’s. Others might refer to the original 12-inch action figures that were first introduced by Hasbro in 1964 and the extensive toy line decades following. But the true story of G.I. Joe originated much earlier than both of those references.
G.I. Joe was hatched in 1943 and eventually was awarded the Dickin Medal for most outstanding flight made by a United States Army homing pigeon in World War II.
Yes you heard that right. G.I. Joe was a originally a pigeon. And not just any old pigeon. A homing pigeon that helped saved over 100 U.S. soldiers by carry vital information to the air base when radio systems were down.
‘G.I. Joe’ went from being a critically important communication tool in war to eventually a billion dollar toy and entertainment brand. It’s purpose switched from saving lives to entertaining them.
This isn’t a moral report against Hasbro using the name for profit. Someone from the U.S. Army signed off authority to use the name. It’s more about how some things we set out to do may end up having another purpose that could be equally as important.
Where some may just see a plastic action figure, others know how much joy Hasbro’s G.I. Joe brought to kids who in their particular situation (illness, family issues, etc.) needed something to smile about.