Like the vast majority of the GI Joe team, Sergeant Franklin E Talltree is merely a normal human, not gifted with superheroic powers, sorcerous knowledge, or even high tech gear - unless you count his 'cartoon variant powers' below. For a 'lowly' human, he's a highly skilled combatant, effective as both a paratrooper and as a helicopter gunner / pilot, and he uses these skills in the defense of freedom!
Natural Psionics (Psipathic Powers, cartoon variant):
Danger Sense (a) (w): one of the psionic abilities that Airborne has demonstrated is the ability to sense whether or not he - or people he feels a strong bond to - are in immediate or imminent danger. While using this power (it is not automatic), Airborne can get an advanced notice of direct or potential danger to himself or his comrades up to thirty seconds before it manifests. This is an intensity 4 power.
Nonapparent Vision (t) (w): in addition to being able to sense danger in the environment around him or his friends, Airborne is rumored to have the so-called 'far-seeing look'. Of course, this is no mere rumor, and that's not just because of the way Airborne seems to be looking through you all the time. He can use this psipathic talent to dispel illusions, should he believe something is such, with intensity 10 skill.
Natural Psionics (Psimotive Powers, cartoon variant):
Telelocation (s) (w): Airborne has also shown that he has the ability to 'tune in' to the general location of people or things. When attempting to get a fix on something he's very familiar with, Airborne need only make an average difficulty telelocation action. Less familiar and almost unknown items require actions of daunting and superhuman difficulty, respectively. This in an intensity 10 power.
Limitations / Enhancements:
Assault Rifle (a): Airborne's trusty firearm, this modified M-16 rifle can be fired in combat as a +5 weapon in a semi-automatic burst, +6 in a fully automatic hail of magazine-burning lead. This implement of destruction also has a convenient bayonet mounted on the front, one that can be used by Airborne in a pinch (i.e., sudden melee) as a +2 edged weapon if it comes down to that.
Colt M1911A1 Pistol (a): should Airborne find himself in extended combat, and expend all the ammunition he's carrying for his assault rifle, he also carries a backup piece, one he holsters on his right leg. This standard issue military firearm can be fired as a +4 weapon in a single shot, +5 in a semi-auto burst of ammo, and has a magazine that can be accessed eight times before it needs to be swapped out.
Grenade (i): like most of the Joes, Airborne carries at least one grenade on his person at all times, allowing him to blow up something really big should Cobra throw it at him. This grenade, most likely fragmentary in nature, can be thrown at a target to inflict intensity 10 physical damage to it, as well as every other exposed person and object within striking distance of ground zero.
Helmet (s): since he jumps out of airplanes for a living, Airborne can use all the protective gear he can get his hands on. This headgear only offers him intensity 8 (+2) protection against head shots, which does nonetheless give Airborne a chance of survival in such an event. Furthermore, the attached goggles provides him +2 screened senses senses (sight) while he wears them.
Knife (s): in the event that he's got to cut his parachute straps in an emergency, or should he have to fight an opponent without the benefit of his guns, Airborne always carries a blade with him, usually strapped onto his vest. He can use this serrated blade as a +3 implement of impaling with each deadly strike, or he can cut through items made from up to strength 13 materials.
Parachute (a): being a paratrooper, Airborne naturally has a parachute on his person while he's on missions - this is because he's usually assisting in the execution of an airborne combat mission. When he's falling through the sky, Airborne can open the 'chute to break his fall, reducing the speed of his descent to a non-lethal velocity - assuming it has proper time to open.
Aerial Combat (a): Airborne's primary claim to fame, this skill represents his ability to effectively battle the forces of evil while in the air, whether he is a gunner in a helicopter, piloting a glider, or even parachuting in on a foe from above. While fighting in the air, Airborne can utilize either his Strength or Agility to resolve combat actions - whichever is more convenient.
Boxing (s): another of Airborne's required combat skills is his basic training in hand-to-hand fighting. If unarmed, Airborne can divide his pre-card play action score between two attacks, the last of which will occur as a contingent action. He can also lower the difficulty of throwing punches, dealing out kicks, flinging head-butts, or even perpetrating knee or elbow smashes by one difficulty level.
Guns (a): one of Airborne's essential Army-given skills is his ability to competently wield a gun or rifle in battle, whether it be a standard, semi-automatic, or fully automatic weapon. While firing a pistol or rifle, Airborne may do so at one difficulty level lower than would otherwise be required, which makes him particularly deadly when combined with his other skills.
Law (i): before he actually signed up with the Army, Airborne went to college at Arizona State, where he studied law for years. He managed to pass the Arizona Bar exam, though he doesn't actually practice law right now; he IS a Joe, after all. While he doesn't use this skill actively, any legal maneuver Airborne attempts does reduce the legal difficulty of getting his client released by one difficulty level.
Military / United States (w): though he could have easily remained a lawyer and gotten relatively rich, Airborne decided that he'd rather jump out of airplanes for a living, and as such, he hooked up with the only outfit that would pay him to do so - the Army. In addition to his knowledge of basic military protocols, this skill has given Airborne the ability to lead a body of fighting men if the opportunity arises.
Piloting (a): in addition to being a competent aerial combatant, Airborne is also quite good at operating aircraft all by his lonesome. While he does excel in regards to being a pilot's assistant, gunner, etc..., he has the ability to fly various air vehicles, such as helicopters and gliders, with ease. When he does so, Airborne makes all flight actions at a reduced difficulty level.
Having been a member of the GI Joe team for years, Airborne can easily count on that group for aid should he need it - the Joes have simply been through too many near-death experiences together to leave each other to the wolves. In addition to the Joes, Airborne can always depend on several additional Army contacts, as well as his ridiculously rich relatives, to give him assistance in a pinch.
Thrill-Seeker: a calling he shares with few other Joes, Airborne simply thrives on adrenaline, and the greatest thrill of his life comes when he leaps head first out of an airplane. Oh, sure, he's all business while jumping on the job, especially when he's got his gun in hand on a mission, but he nonetheless loves the excitement he feels when in free-fall above the earth.
While in action with the Joe team, Airborne wears a tan jumpsuit, one that he couples with black boots, brown kneepads, brown gloves, and a brown parachute harness. On top of this, he wears a blue vest, green straps to hold various essential supplies and, most strikingly, a green helmet with a pair of wind-resistant goggles mounted on top. This, of course, doesn't include his tan backpack.
Airborne is generally known as something of a joker while he's hanging out with his fellow Joes, being good-natured and quite the team player. However, he's got the tendency to get serious in combat - deadly serious - a trait that spooks those not prepared for his 'far-seeing look'. This isn't a bad thing, though; those that have fought beside him in the past actually tend to appreciate this in a firefight.
Real Name: Franklin E. Talltree, Grade E-5
Occupation: Airborne Infantry, Helicopter Gunner
Legal Status: American citizen with no known criminal record
Marital Status: single
Alias(es), if any: none
Group Affiliation: GI Joe
Weight: 170 lbs
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: none
Airborne was born on the Navajo Reservation in Nevada to exceptionally oil-rich parents. Being the eldest son of this family, his parents tended to indulge all of his odd whims, which included oodles of sky-diving lessons. Going through college, he passed the Arizona State Bar exams, though he quickly found that the life of a lawyer wasn't one he wished to pursue. He wanted to jump out of airplanes.
Of course, there are very few people who will pay a body to do this, one of which happened to be the Army. So, discarding his legal career, Airborne enlisted and attended the Airborne School at Fort Benning, graduating at the top of his class. In fact, his exceptional performance in school and in the field gained him the notice of his superiors, and he was offered a position on the GI Joe team.
Finally hooking up with the group during its second year of operation, Airborne's first mission involved his helping various Joes to prevent the villainous Destro, who'd recently joined Cobra, from sabotaging the Alaska Pipeline. After proving himself during this operation, Airborne saw action in several subsequent operations against that clandestine terrorist organization.
One such mission involved rescuing Snake-Eyes from an assault launched by Destro, Firefly, and Crimson Guardsman Fred I, during which Airborne was wounded in action - even if his ally, Spirit, managed to slay his would-be killer, Fred I. Though their enemies managed to destroy Snake-Eyes' log cabin home in the mountains in the High Sierras, they ultimately failed to kill the Joe commando.
Several of Airborne's subsequent missions involved activity on or around Cobra Island, that chunk of Caribbean sea floor that Cobra Commander had managed to raise from the depths to serve as a real, legitimate nation from which he could conquer the world. These missions took place before, during, and after the rising of this island nation, and included the infamous Cobra Island Civil War.
Most of Airborne's missions are highly classified, of course, and have yet to be revealed to the general public. However, he continued to serve the Joe team for the duration of its existence, despite the appearance of a second paratrooper using his code-name. When the GI Joe team was disbanded back in '94, it is presumed that he returned to regular service with the Army.
When the Joes were re-activated just a few years later however, Airborne returned to the fold, rejoining the battle against Cobra that rages to this very day. Even with Cobra seemingly defeated (the third such instance of such), Airborne has no problem chasing down remnants of Cobra's forces that escaped the Joes during their defeat, and protecting the world from other terrorists like them!
Spy Troops Disguise (s): shortly after resuming his membership in the GI Joe team, Airborne was given a special disguise that he could use on missions where he would be dropped into Cobra territory. While it provides him no special combat perks, per se, Airborne's Spy Troops disguise allows him to pose as Copperhead, one of Cobra's elite, water-based operatives.
Airborne adopted a new uniform when he returned to the GI Joe team after its temporary deactivation. His second field uniform includes green trousers with blue padding in places, brown boots with extra blue padding on the ankles, a green jacket over a green T-shirt with brown shoulder pads, blue webbing for his gear, and a green helmet with blue goggles strapped on top.
Of course, once he's on the ground, Airborne occasionally makes use of his Spy Troops disguise to confuse and befuddle Cobra forces. This gear includes a green and yellow helmet, a green vest, and various other accessories that allow him to pose as Copperhead, one of Cobra's water moccasin pilots. Most people don't pay attention to Copperhead much, so this disguise is perfect for spy work!
the Sky Sweeper (i): though he was mainly a helicopter pilot in the past, Airborne has taken to flying the Sky Sweeper, a miniaturized stealth plane that the GI Joe team uses in its espionage missions against Cobra operations. Whether he's manning the main stick or flying the stealth craft inside, Airborne really loves this ride, which is detailed further in its own vehicular entry.
Upon adopting the Sky Sweeper as his own implement to torment Cobra goons, Airborne adopted a darker version of his second uniform while on the job. This outfit consists of black leather trousers with gray padding here and there, dark gray leather boots, a black leather jacket with dark gray shoulder pads, gray webbing for his gear, and a black helmet with black goggles strapped on.
GI Joe directories featuring a version of Airborne:
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