Cobra Troopers are the endless foot soldiers of the COBRA organization from G.I. Joe: A real American hero.
The Cobra Troopers were introduced in 1982, with the code name "The Enemy". These are the original "blueshirt" infantry soldiers equipped with conventional military gear (as opposed to the more hi-tech accouterments of the later Vipers). They were prominently featured on both the cartoon and comic series, and depicted as unintelligent and slightly cowardly.
Introduced in 1986 as a replacement for the Cobra Soldiers, the Cobra Viper infantry soldiers complement the Cobra Soldiers in both the cartoon and comic series. The concept, originally introduced in 1985 with the introduction of "Tele-Vipers" (communication experts) quickly evolved into a catch-all suffix for all future Cobra troops (such as Air-Viper, Ice-Vipers, Desert-Vipers, Techno-Vipers, etc.). Hasbro has often alternated between establishing the Vipers as the entry-level position into Cobra's legion, or for them to be the elite of Cobra's ground troops, as far as them being equal to or above the regular blue shirt troops.
Cobra infantry troopers are issued a combination assault rifle and grenade launcher, with advanced night vision, telescopic sight and range finder. Multi-layered body armor and composite helmets with built-in communications gear are standard issue. Vipers are superbly trained, formidably equipped and highly motivated.
Vipers can opt for additional training that enables them to transfer to specialized units, focusing on specific military specialties. These units are considered elite and are constantly examined for effectiveness. Some are renamed and reorganized, absorbed into other units, or sometimes completely phased out. Some units customize their chain of command, allowing for unique Viper designations with distinct leaders.
Other Cobra troopers
Later, Cobra troopers consisted of communications troops, computer specialists, security, and soldiers. Some of the more prominent include:
The Cobra Eels are the underwater demolition specialists of the Cobra legions. They undergo a rigorous two-part training program, first in the shark and pirate infested waters of the Caribbean, and then in the frigid depths of the North Atlantic. Their training regimen includes marine engineering, explosive ordnance, underwater fighting techniques, and marine geology. Eels are responsible for manning and operating Cobra marine outposts disguised as off-shore drilling rigs, and for augmenting the crews of large Cobra naval vessels.
Snow Serpents are the Arctic Specialist branch of Cobra. They must undergo the same rigorous training program as the Eels, with the addition of a six-month cold weather course, somewhere above the Arctic Circle. Other aspects of their training include airborne operations under arctic conditions, anti-tank procedures, and the use of snow-shoes, skis and kayaks.
Vipers are Cobra Troopers with additional infantry training, and better equipment. They are equipped with armored helmets and vests that can mask heat signatures, and assault rifles with built-in grenade-launchers.
Originally, Vipers were to replace the poorly equipped, but highly skilled "Blue-shirts", but it eventually became established that "Blue-shirts" are the basic level soldiers, while Vipers are advanced infantry.
The Cobra Troopers were the foot soldiers of Cobra in the Sunbow G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon. They were voiced by several voice actors including: Michael Bell, Arthur Burghardt, Peter Cullen, Pat Fraley, Buster Jones, Chris Latta, Bill Ratner, and Frank Welker.
The Cobra Vipers made their first animated appearance in Arise Serpentor Arise!, which began the second season of the Sunbow produced series. They were used as common infantry for the remainder of the season, primarily replacing the blue and black masked Cobra soldiers of the first season (although those soldiers would still appear from time to time).
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