Abernathy, C.

G.I. Joe Commander

File Name: Clayton M. Abernathy

Denver, Colorado
Rank: Lieutenant General

Primary Military Specialty:
Secondary Military Specialty:

Active / Advisor

First Appearance:
G.I. JOE # 1 (July 1982)

"We're soldiers...our job is to follow orders...to do the impossible -- and make it look easy."
— Hawk

   Hawk comes from a wealthy family whose influence got him into West Point where he graduated at the top of his class. During the war in Vietnam, Hawk was stationed at home as an officer at a headquarters unit. During that time it was Hawk's sad duty to greet Snake-Eyes when he returned home from the war and inform him of his family's death. Years later, Snake-Eyes was one of the first members of the G.I. Joe team, personally chosen by Hawk.

    Prior to the creation of G.I. Joe, Hawk was a lieutenant colonel commanding security forces during a peacekeeping mission in Borovia. His men uncovered explosives that had been set in a refugee camp and would have killed a number of children if they had gone off. Hawk was upset to discover that they learned of the bombs' locations after beating up a terrorist found in the camp, carrying bomb-making equipment. The interrogation was carried out by Lonzo "Stalker" Wilkinson, a sergeant under Hawk's command. Stalker had known the explosives had to be found quickly, and did whatever he could to get the information to find them.
The major general who Hawk reported to was livid over what had happened, and became even more upset when Hawk refused to give up Stalker and took responsibility for what had occurred. He admitted that it had been wrong, but he would have done the same thing in Stalker's place. Hawk believed that the blame for such a necessary evil should be placed at the top of the chain of command, and wanted to see who was willing to accept it. Hawk was court-martialed for the incident, but his principaled stand impressed General Lawrence J. Flagg. When Flagg learned that Hawk's commanding general had hired mercenaries to have Hawk killed, Flagg threatened to expose the general's actions unless he dropped the charges against Hawk. Hawk did not learn about the incident until some time later.

     As a full colonel, Hawk was appointed field commander of the new Special Counter-Terrorist Group Delta, code-named G.I. Joe. Directly under the command of General Flagg, Hawk first recruited Stalker to the team. Stalker helped Hawk choose Snake-Eyes and many more of the original thirteen Joes. Though he spent much of his time running operations from Joe headquarters, Hawk quickly gained the respect of his soldiers and participated in a number of early missions, including the rescue of Dr. Adele Burkhart from Cobra. He later personally commanded a rescue team when several Joes were stranded in Sierra Gordo. During a battle in the streets of Washington, DC, Hawk was shot in the back by Cobra Commander as he fought with Destro. Luckily, Hawk recovered and was able to apprehend Major Bludd.

    Hawk was eventually promoted to full commander of the team after the death of General Flagg, but was still advised by General Austin. He relegated field command to Duke while he was commanding officer of the Pit. When General Austin later suffered a heart attack, he retired and promoted Hawk to Brigadier General, giving him command of the entire G.I. Joe operation. After the disastrous invasion of the Cobra-controlled town of Springfield, Hawk accepted full responsibility for the affair. The secret committee of generals, "The Jugglers", suspended the team pending an investigation. The Pit was shut down and used for the investigation by Generals Ryan and Hollingsworth and Admiral Dyson, accompanied by Hawk. Cobra took advantage of the suspension and attacked the Pit. Ryan and Dyson were killed and the Pit was destroyed. Hollingsworth reactivated the team, putting Hawk back in command.

    After battling Cobra around the world in nations like Sierra Gordo and Frusenland, Hawk was sent by the Army to enter the Cobra Island civil war on the side of the Cobra Emperor, Serpentor. Hawk personally led the Joes into battle and was captured briefly. He was rescued by his teammates and continued the campaign. Serpentor was killed in battle and Dr. Mindbender made a deal with Cobra Commander's forces. After being embarassed by the incident, "The Jugglers" arrested Hawk, Hollingsworth and Roadblock. The committee of generals denied all responsibility for the operation, claiming Hawk and Hollingsworth acted without authorization. The Joes involved were arrested, but Roadblock escaped and organized a rescue mission with the help of the Joes who hadn't been arrested and Dr.Burkhart. Appalled by the generals' dishonorable actions, Destro showed up at the rescue and on live television proved Hawk's innocence.

    In the Joe team's first non-classified mission, Hawk led nearly the entire team into the middle east and the Battle of Benzheen. There, Cobra alied itself with a corrupt leader in the region. During the operation several members of the G.I. Joe team were killed. Hawk once again dealt with political corruption when the operation ended thanks to a deal their "allies" made with Cobra Commander. During a mission into Trans-Carpathia, Hawk nearly died before other members ofthe Joe team could rescue him. He later personally led missions into the Cobra-controlled town of Millville and later returned to fight Cobra in Eastern Europe, among other trouble spots in the world. Hawk's final duty as commander of the G.I. Joe team was to preside over the ceremony to "retire the colors" after the G.I. Joe team was disbanded in 1994.

    A few years after the Joe team was shut down, Hawk was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and became a member of The Jugglers, hoping to weed out corruption from the inside. He soon found it necessary to keep The Jugglers in the dark about many things, preventing them from manipulating events to their own political advantage. The men under his command nicknamed him "The Tomahawk", due to his reputation for being a tough commander. In 2001, it was discovered that Cobra Commander had returned and had been spotted in the United States. Hawk led the charge to reinstate the G.I. Joe team. He placed Duke in direct command of the team, despite his former first sergeant's time working for a top secret government agency. Like Generals Flagg, Austin and Hollingsworth before him, Hawk does his best protect the Joes from being political pawns. Some Joes have noticed a harder edge to Hawk's personality, as he's taken a more active role in dealing with the Jugglers. He assigned the team's computer specialist Mainframe a side project to dig up dirt on the members of the committee. When he discovered evidence that General Winters was somehow involved with Destro, Hawk used that evidene to blackmail Winters into getting G.I. Joe the funding needed to expand the team and set up a new Pit headquarters, in addition to a number of smaller, secret branches of the team. When the team learned Serpentor had been revived and gathered together several young children who were clones of himself, Hawk revealed that he had helped hide the children and cover up their existence years earlier. When Serpentor's forces captured a group of Joes after killing several of the team's young recruits, Hawk personally led the invasion of Cobra Island, feeling partly responsible for hiding the truth about the clones. A number of Joes were killed in the battle that followed, but Serpentor's forces were defeated.

    In the wake of the battle on Cobra Island, the team continued to expand, but Hawk found that the team was beginning to get out of his control. He found it difficult to maintain the moral high ground over the Jugglers' corruption while allowing the Joe team to act as independently as it had in the past, and came into conflict with some of his most loyal team members. Snake-Eyes and Scarlett were put on probation after again taking matters into their own hands after Snake-Eyes sent former Joe T'jbang on an unofficial mission to infiltrate the Red Ninjas. Just afterward, Duke authorized a mission that was really an elaborate ruse to capture Destro in Sierra Gordo, but put a number Joes in danger to do so. When the United Nations struck a deal with Destro to help them capture Cobra Commander, Hawk personally led the operation to bait Cobra Commander. They let him believe that Destro was being transported on a train defended by the Joes. This led Hawk to a one-on-one fight with the Commander. The terrorist leader eventually got the better of Hawk, and shot him in the back at point blank range. The Commander was then shot by the traitorous Baroness and captured by the Joes. Hawk was tended to by medics, but as he was taken away on a stretcher he realized he couldn't feel his legs. The bullet had lodged close to his spine and doctors told Hawk that it would be extremely dangerous to remove the bullet. Hawk would remain paralyzed until they could, if they could at all.

    With Destro once again free and in command of Cobra, the Jugglers began cracking down on the Joes, intent on reigning in the team or disbanding it all together. Meanwhile, Hawk was seemingly despondent and unwilling to retake command, remaining in his hospital room and ignoring any attempts to contact him. Duke did his best to keep the team together with the help of General Joe Colton, though the Jugglers cut down their roster to about a dozen Joes and arrested a number of them. They also placed General Philip Rey in command of the team. Rey and the remaining Joes fought Cobra Commander's plans to unleash the deadly superweapon known as the Tempest. At the same time, the Joes faced a new threat in the group called the Red Shadows, who had begun targeting and murdering Joe and Cobra agents. Hawk himself nearly became their next victim before being saved by Snake-Eyes, Scarlett and Kamakura. The Red Shadows also sparked violence and instability around the globe, hoping to take control of the world. Hawk returned to the team after his rescue and helped in their plans to defeat both Cobra and the Red Shadows. The battle with the new organization became shockingly personal when while attempting to save her husband Flint from a Red Shadows agent, Lady Jaye was killed. In the end, Hawk, Duke and Rey's small team defeated the schemes of the Red Shadows and Cobra. Shortly after these threats were neutralized, the G.I. Joe team was again disbanded by the military.

    Cobra Commander's fate was unknown following his confrontation with the Red Shadows. Hawk, still hospitalized, was becoming obsessed with finding the Commander. He sent Spirit on a secret mission to track him down, though he eventually lost contact with him months after he embarked on that mission. One year after the defeat of the Red Shadows, the Joe team was reformed with a smaller roster of active members under the command of Joe Colton. It was the first time Hawk had no involvement with an incarnation of the team. When two orbiting satellites crashed to the Earth in Chicago and Silicon Valley, killing thousands, the new Joe team mobilized to discover who was causing the crashes. Hawk was certain Cobra Commander was behind the incidents and asked Duke to go on a personal mission to find the Commander. Duke reluctantly agreed and cut off all contact with the Joes. Though Duke did gain information about Cobra activities on the mission, he found no connection between Cobra Commander and the satellites. The Joe team eventually learned Vance Wingfield was behind the crashes and stopped them. Later, Colton visited Hawk in the hospital and asked him to return to the team. He eventually agreed and arrived at the new Joe headquarters, The Rock, just before a military commando team named the Phoenix Guard lead by General Rey had arrived with orders to take control of the base. A battle followed, and a number of Joes including Hawk were captured and placed in holding cells. Rey was under orders from the president's chief of staff, Garret Freedlowe, but it soon became evident that unbeknownst to Rey, his team was made up of disguised Cobra agents. When General Colton managed to contact the president, he learned that Freedlowe had been replaced some time ago by Cobra Commander. The Joes defeated the infiltrators, but not before they had killed many members of the base's support staff. After that mission, the Joe team took some time off to regroup and recover from the assault on The Rock. Hawk is now an active advisor for the team, but he remains a changed man. His experiences have made him certain that Cobra must be stopped, but he continues to struggle with his obsessions and his disability.

Artwork: G.I. JOE #46 (interior) by Rod Whigham and Andy Mushynsky; G.I. JOE #1 (interior) by Herb Trimpe and Bob McLeod; G.I. JOE vol. 2 #25 (cover); G.I. JOE vol. 2 #34 (cover) by Tim Seeley.


  • G.I. JOE: #1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 30-33, 41, 45-47, 49, 50, 52, 54-61, 63, 65, 67-70, 73-78, 83, 86, 88, 89, 90, 93-96, 98, 101, 103-105, 107-111, 113, 115, 119, 120, 121, 123 (dossier), 128, 129, 135, 137-141, 143-151, 155
  • G.I. JOE Special Missions: #1, 5, 16, 24, 27, 28
  • G.I. JOE Yearbook: #4
  • G.I. JOE: Order of Battle: #1
  • G.I. JOE and the Transformers: #1-4
  • Transformers - Generation 2: #2
  • G.I. JOE vol 2: #1-4, 6-11, 13, 15, 22-29, 31-35, 42, 43
  • G.I. JOE: Battle Files: #1
  • G.I. JOE: Front Line: #1-5
  • G.I. JOE: America's Elite: #0, 1, 2, 5, 13, 15-18, 20
  • G.I. JOE: Data Desk Handbook
  • G.I. JOE: Declassified: #1-3
        (compiled with help from Bryon Hake)
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