You'd be hard pressed to find someone with more pride in his career than Ettienne R. LaFitte. A ragin' Cajun from the Louisiana bayou with a specialty in hand-to-hand combat, LaFitte found a place where he truly belonged in the United States Marine Corps, serving his country with unparalleled pride and skill. Even now that he's a member of the elite G.I. Joe under the codename Gung-Ho, he carries a reminder of his past service wherever he goes in the form of a gigantic tattoo across his perpetually shirtless chest.
(No, really. He's apparently psychologically incapable of wearing a shirt for a prolonged period of time.)
Ettienne was one of 9 children born to the sizable LaFitte family in Fer-de-Lance, Louisiana. Always abnormally big and strong for his age, Ettienne enjoyed his sometimes rough-and-tumble but still loving childhood out in the bayou, constantly exploring deeper and deeper into the swamps and getting into fights with family and friends, though those fights were always reconciled in the end.
After getting his GED at age 16, Ettienne dropped out of school and packed his bags for New Orleans. However, he soon discovered that the skills he'd picked up on the bayou weren't necessarily applicable out in the city and had to make do working as an underground fighter. Though he was good at it, by 18 he'd gotten fed up with beating people up in dark, seedy alleys and joined the Marines in hopes that they could show him a better way. Luckily, LaFitte got what he was looking for in spades.
Excelling in recondo training, jungle warfare, heavy ordinance, and especially hand-to-hand combat, LaFitte took great pride in his status as a marine, even going so far as to get a gigantic tattoo of the USMC logo on his chest. Despite that pride, LaFitte still couldn't resist when the top secret G.I. Joe team invited him to join their ranks, his can-do attitude earning him the codename Gung-Ho. Gung-Ho profile
Gung-Ho was part of Force Hammerdown, a team made up of members of other Joe teams grouped together to stage an assault on and rescue Joe Team Bravo from Cobra's Section Five mining facility in Patagonia. Deep Terror, Part 3 After the Joes managed to take the facility, Gung-Ho taunted the Cobras they took prisoner by telling them they had nice, warm cells waiting for them. Deep Terror Conclusion
Gung-Ho was one of the three Joes with a background in the Marines that Scarlett had accompany her and Copperback as they went to investigate Castle Destro in Patagonia. Taking point for the group as they approached what was left of the castle, Gung-Ho asked Scarlett why she thought bringing Marines along for this mission would be a good idea before accidentally tripping an automated defense gun. Though the gun was out of ammo, the possibility of more traps like that led to Scarlett putting their ex-Cobra prisoner on point instead, which in turn led to her betraying the group and ditching them in the castle's dungeon. Destro Must Die, Part 1
Years later, sitting down with Cover Girl and Lady Jaye in the Lemuria's mess hall, Gung-Ho begged Scarlett to do something about the lack of meat being served on board the ship. While Scarlett couldn't change Shipwreck's environmentally friendly menu, she did have a mission for him and Jaye: going undercover as a pair of backpacking lovers to infiltrate a group of anarchists in Athens, Greece. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #1 As they arrived at the meeting for the anarchists, Gung-Ho worried that he stuck out too much, though Jaye assured him he was just feeling weird because he was wearing a shirt for once. As the leader of the anarchists revealed that they were organizing under the symbol of the (supposedly) defunct Cobra, Gung-Ho assumed that they were just trying to get a rise out of people and didn't have any actual ties to the organization but Jaye felt there was something deeper going on. Calling in a report to Scarlett, Gung-Ho shared his feelings on their use of the symbol with his commander but she agreed with Jaye that they shouldn't take something involving Cobra lightly. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #2
At the next meeting, Gung-Ho and Jaye were given cloaks that bore the logo of Cobra. As the anarchist leader spoke in serpentine metaphors, he revealed that not only was he appropriating the symbols of Cobra, but he and several other members of the group were Dire Wraiths as well! He then revealed that he was aware of Gung-Ho and Jaye's infiltration and sicced the other anarchists on them. With their cover blown, Gung-Ho was now free to rip that pesky, restricting shirt off and fight back against the enthralled Greeks. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #3 Though the anarchists were no match for Gung-Ho, the Wraiths were a bit more troublesome. As they fired off their mouth lasers at Lady Jaye, Gung-Ho dove between them and took the hit. Shortly thereafter, the back up Lady Jaye had called in for arrived in the form of Helix and Snake Eyes, who took out the Wraiths before helping them escape from the burning building. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #4
Back at the Lemuria, Gung-Ho attended an all hands meeting regarding the giant monsters that had begun emerging from beneath the earth. G.I. Joe vol. 5 #5
When the reborn Cobra began raiding several museums in St. Petersburg, Gung-Ho was among the hastily chosen Joes selected by interim commander Shipwreck to counter them. Joining Shipwreck in the Silver Mirage, Gung-Ho fired upon Ice Queen and Stiletto from the motorcycle's side car until the two V.E.N.O.M. agents used their transforming vehicles to get away. After that embarrassing display, Shipwreck refined his team and kept Gung-Ho on, feeling that his size and strength would come in handy. To bolster those assets, Shipwreck also had Grand Slam construct a pair of super powerful, technologically enhanced brass knuckles for Gung-Ho. As V.E.N.O.M. returned to attack another museum in New York City, Gung-Ho used these knucks to take on Thunderflame and his Rhino, charging right at the rampaging semi truck and knocking it into a nearby building with a single punch. G.I. Joe First Strike After V.E.N.O.M.'s vehicles combined into the gigantic King Cobra, Gung-Ho began trying to wrangle it like he had countless snakes back home but ended up getting flung from it's tail into Central Park. As the serpentine mech made its way over to the park, Gung-Ho grabbed back on and began fighting back again until Shipwreck gave him more specific orders to take his grappling hook and use it to climb inside the hole Salvo had burned through the mech's armor and take it down from the inside. After sharing a congratulatory chest bump with his commander and returning to the Lemuria, Gung-Ho placated Shipwreck's rage at finding out Dial-Tone had ordered real beef in his absence by giving him a pea-protein burger instead. M.A.S.K.: First Strike
- Given Gung-Ho's rather... flamboyant appearance, it has been theorized many times over the years that he's gay. While there has yet to be any explicit confirmation, IDW Joe writer Aubrey Sitterson has dropped several hints that this might actually be true for the character under his pen. Perhaps the two most notable pieces of evidence are the Gung-Ho centric retailer incentive cover for G.I. Joe vol. 5 #7 (which was drawn by gay cartoonist Ed Luce and was originally meant for release in June, which serves as LGBT Pride month in the US) and an answer written by Sitterson to an inquiry about LGBT characters in G.I. Joe (that specifically references Gung-Ho) in the letters page of G.I. Joe vol. 5 #5.
- Gung-Ho at YoJoe.com
- Gung-Ho at the TFWiki