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By Thomas Wheeler

Two new 12" G.I.Joe figures showed up at the very tail end of 2002, after Christmas in fact, and I am personally inclined to consider them the first of the 2003 line. Interestingly, they were both sufficiently impressive for me to decide to buy.

Both figures are from the second-most basic assortment, and I found them at Target with a retail price of $14.73. Pretty good for what you get. First up we have a GREEN BERET.

What I especially liked about this figure was the uniform. It's a camouflage pattern that I don't believe Hasbro has done before, except on one of the lever-action figures a couple of years back, and that sort of ruined it for me, personally. It's designated as a "tiger-stripe" camouflage that was used by the United States military during the Vietnam conflict. Obviously its intended purpose is a jungle environment. Here's the profile for the figure:

The U.S. Army Special Forces, nicknamed "Green Berets" because of their distinctive headgear, are uniquely trained to serve as both unconventional warfare experts and instructors. When they are not carrying out dangerus missions across the globe, they are serving as teachers to the fighting forces of allied nations. Their unique beret dates back to the early 1950s, but was not formally recognized as part of the uniform until the Kennedy administration. In a memo to the U.S. Army, the president called the beret "a symbol of excellent, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom." Today these superb "warrior diplomats" continue to wear their green berets with pride as they serve their county and devote their lives to the motto of the U.S. Special Forces: de oppresso liber - freedom for the oppressed.

This figure depicts a Special Forces soldier from the Vietnam era. The Special Forces entered Vietnam as advisors in the 1950s and remained throughout the war, training civilian and military forces to become effective fighters. They also distinguished themselves in battle, with many receiving awards for their heroic actions. One of the weapons used by the Special Forces and earning their praise was the 5.56mm weapon system, a machine gun capable of different configurations to adapt it to varyind needs.

Then and now, the Green Berets are individuals of exceptional physical and mental caliber who use their elite training and skills to help others free themselves from repression and tyranny.

The G.I.Joe Green Beret is an excellent figure. He comes with the tiger-camo uniform, a plastic green beret, pistol with holster and ammo clip, an adjustable belt, and the machine gun. The figure I have does not use the Super-Articulated body, although there are online reports that some of these figures do have this body, and this is the first G.I.Joe I've picked up in a while that doesn't seem to have too bad a case of "Loose Neck Syndrome", which I have encountered frequently.

Of note is the fact that I have seen two different card backs for this figure and the SWAT Team Sniper. One has a green border and a somewhat different American flag pattern across the top. The other does not have a green border and has the American flag pattern that's been used for G.I.Joe packages for a while now. Whether there's any correlation between the card back and the body type to be found within I do not know. For what it's worth, the ones I bought did not have a green border around the card.

This G.I.Joe figure is both impressive and distinctive, which is what I tend to look for when choosing to buy a new G.I.Joe. Too many 12" military figures these days tend to look a lot alike. This one stands out, and I definitely recommend the G.I.JOE GREEN BERET.