Hauser, C.

First Sergeant

File Name: Conrad S. Hauser

St. Louis, Missouri
Rank: former First Sergeant

Primary Military Specialty:
Airborne Infantryman
Secondary Military Specialty:
Artillery; Small-arms

Status: Active

First Appearance:
G.I. JOE #22 (April 1984)

"They tell me that an officer's job is to impel others to take the risks--so that the officer survives to take the blame in the event  of total catastrophe. With all do respect, sir... if that's what an officer does, I don't want any part of it."
— Duke, turning down an officer's commission

   Conrad Hauser was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His father Max was an artist, and encouraged Duke to be the same. At a young age, Duke's mother died from a long illness, leaving his father to raise Duke on his own. Max was active in the protest movements of the 1960s and often took young Duke with him to demonstrations. By age 17, Duke was lined up to attend art school, but upset his father by asking permission to enlist in the Army. Grudgingly, Max gave Duke permission, but their relationship was strained for decades..

    Duke was already fluent in English, French and German when he enlisted in the army. Once there, he enrolled in various schools including the U.S. Army Special Language School and airborne school at Fort Benning. With his extensive background in Chinese and Southeast Asian dialects, Duke joined Special Forces and worked with native South Vietnamese tribesmen. Afterwards, Duke returned stateside where he became an instructor in four different Special Forces schools.

    When Duke was running a training exercise while an instructor at the Army's Ranger School along with Marvin "Roadblock" Hinton, a soldier named Eric Freistadt was expected to be a wash out due to losing his temper after psychological tests. Officers suggested Duke be extra tough on Freistadt in the "evade and escape" test, which showed soldiers the bad treatment they could receive if captured. Tied up in a darkened room, he refused to give in, though he all ready knew he had washed-out of the program. After seven days of the soldier simply giving his name and serial number, Duke filed a report and Lt. Colonel Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy was called in. He was so impressed with Freistadt, he signed him on to the newly-forming G.I. Joe team under the codename "Short-Fuse". Duke and Roadblock would join him on the team years later.

    Before joining the G.I. Joe team, Duke had several other assignments. It was at this time that Duke became acquainted with Flint, whom he would later recommend for the G.I. Joe team.
Duke joined the Joes in 1984, making his first appearance at the funeral of the Joes' commander, General Flagg. Cobra Commander sent a Cobra Rattler jet to buzz the proceedings to test out its capabilities. As the jet approached, Duke and Roadblock appeared and shot the Rattler out of their sky with their firearms. When he first joined the team, Duke told the team, "Things are going to be different from now on... I'm gonna make the sorry lot of you into soldiers!" He gained a reputation for being tough on the Joes, but they soon respected him and the team was better for his joining. When Hawk took over General Flagg's old post as commander of the Joe team, Duke became the Joes' field commander.

    Duke's first official assignment on the team was surveillance of the Bern Institute of Reconsrtuctive Surgery in Switzerland. Major Bludd was tracked to Bern when he brought the Baroness there for plastic surgery following a major battle. Eventually, several members of Cobra arrived and a wild car chase followed, resulting in the capture of Cobra Commander. The Joes knew how important it was to hold on to their prisoner and took the commander to a plateau in the Rocky Mountains, where a pre-fab fortress was set up to defend the location if Cobra decided to retrieve the commander. Unfortunately, Storm Shadow made a surprise rescue in a Cobra CLAW glider. Unable to carry both men adequately, Storm Shadow let Cobra Commander leave him behind. Duke pursued in a small Sky-Hawk aircraft, but a firefight with two Cobra FANG helicopters occupied him long enough to let the prisoner get away. Back on the ground, Roadblock and Gung-Ho got the jump on Storm Shadow. Now the Joes had a new prisoner to replace the commander. Knowing their site had been compromised, Duke, Roadblock and Steeler took Storm Shadow to a cell in Alcatraz. They underestimated Storm Shadow and Duke was shocked to find Storm Shadow had somehow escaped. Even as the ninja escaped, another group of Joes found Zartan's swamp shack hideout in the Florida Everglades. Duke traveled down to Florida where he and Roadblock met up with Cutter and Deep Six, taking the Whale hovercraft and attacking the hideout. During the attack Destro arrived in a Cobra Rattler. Duke and the others were injured during the attack, but they all survived. Destro had escaped only to return with Firefly and steal the Whale. Returning to the G.I. Joe freighter, the Jane, Duke and Wild Bill took the Dragonfly 'copter to go after Destro. Duke wasn't about to let Cobra get their hands on a Joe vehicle. The Dragonfly was disabled by Destro's wrist-rockets, but they succeeded in recovering the Whale.

    Months later, the Joes discovered a residential house in New Jersey was actually home to an undercover Crimson Guardsman. The Joes, lead by Duke, stormed the house but the Cobras weren't taken by surprise. Tomax and Xamot were there to rescue the Guardsman. Shooting Duke and Lady Jaye as the approached the front door, the Cobras destroyed the Joes' vehicle and escaped. If Duke and Lady Jaye had not worn bulletproof vests, they may have both died from their injuries. The Cobras had escaped, but they left behind clues to a secret Cobra operation in the Gulf of Mexico. Though the particulars were vague, Hawk sent Duke and a large team of Joes to the Gulf with a new G.I. Joe Battle Platform to investigate the area and defend it should Cobra attack. After a major battle with Cobra hydrofoils, the Joes discovered an underwater Cobra bunker that was using soundwaves to kill off the sea life in the Gulf. Due to the importance of the fishing industry, the Pentagon ordered the bunker destroyed. What the Joes didn't know was that the bunker was sitting on an undersea faultline. Cobra had tricked the Joes into aggravating the faultline, which thrust a massive portion of the ocean floor, creating Cobra Island. Though many of the Joes were injured and weary from the previous battle, Duke had no choice but to force Cobra's army off the island before Cobra could claim the island as their own. Duke personally led the assault, but as the tide of battle turned in favor of the Joes, the word came down from the Pentagon: Cobra's lawyers and diplomats in Washington, D.C. had gained official recognition for Cobra Island as a sovereign state. The Joes were forced to turn around and go home. Other major operations followed and Duke continued to lead the team into battle.

    When Hawk was promoted to General, he exercised his option to return to the field. Duke remained the team's first sergeant, still commanding his own missions from time to time. When the Joes invaded the Cobra-controlled town of Springfield, Duke commanded the security team, assisting in keeping the operation and the town secure. When the Joes entered the Cobra Island civil war on the side of Serpentor, Duke was Hawk's second-in-command, even taking charge when Hawk was temporarily captured and stayed in command until he rescued his commander. After that mission, Duke spent some time training new members of the Joe team and running tests on new vehicles and equipment.

    Duke's most difficult mission started as a routine raid on Cobra Terrordromes in the desert nation of Trucial Abysmia. The mission soon turned disastrous when the team, led by Lt. Falcon and Duke, discovered that Cobra was involved more in the Middle East then was first believed. Trying to retreat into friendly territory, the group was overrun by Cobra soldiers led by Tomax and Xamot. Surrounded on all sides, Duke knew it was suicidal to fight on and surrendered to save his troops. Duke reacted angrily to the treatment the team was given by the Cobras and was badly beaten by the twin brothers. When Tomax and Xamot reported to Cobra Commander, they misunderstood his orders and sent a SAW-Viper to kill the prisoners. Four Joes were shot in cold blood before the rest of the group could escape in a captured Cobra tank. The escaping Joes were followed and the tank exploded, killing the all of the Joes except for Duke, Falcon and Cross-Country. When a Joe rescue team arrived, Duke went after the SAW-Viper, but he couldn't bring himself to shoot the now-unarmed man. The discoveries made by Duke's team led to the Joes biggest operation, fighting against Cobra and the nearby nation of Benzheen. It was some time before Duke recovered from that tragic mission.

    Duke returned to duty to help the original G.I. Joe defend the government's top secret laser installation against Cobra's attempt to steal the technology hidden there. Shortly afterward, Duke was at the Pit (Joe HQ) in Utah when Cobra Commander tried to invade his enemies' base. Duke successfully defended the Pit and subsequently led a mission into Cobra Island, which was discovered to have been abandoned by Cobra. Later on, Duke led the newly-formed Star Brigade in a joint mission with the former Soviet unit, the October Guard. Soon after that mission, the Joe team was disbanded and Duke helped "retire the colors" at the ceremony that closed down the Pit and the team.

: G.I. JOE Yearbook #2; G.I. JOE #41 (interior) by Rod Whigham and Keith Williams