Mike Duffy was a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army during World War II, holding the rank of Sergeant. He was in charge of Camp Lehigh in New Jersey and was known as a stern taskmaster. He was commonly found chewing out the junior enlisted men for "goldbricking" and was particularly fond of tormenting Private Steve Rogers and camp mascot James "Bucky" Barnes. Often times, other soldiers would play pranks on Duffy, who would instantly blame it on Rogers and Barnes. It is unspecified if Duffy was aware of Steve Roger's double identity of Captain America, as it was later revealed that many military officials were secretly aware of Cap's secret identity and were charged with helping to maintain it.
Following the birth of Captain America, Steve Rogers was assigned to Camp Lehigh, where he was first introduced to Mike Duffy. Rogers' first assignment given to him by Sgt. Duffy was to guard General Ellsworth. However, Rogers reported for duty too late to stop Ellsworth to be eliminated by a Nazi spy. Steve would later catch this spy as Captain America. This job bungle set the record for Duffy, and likely fueled his future dislike of Rogers.
Shortly after, Duffy assigned Steve to K.P. duty to peel potatoes, and gave the private grief for flirting with FBI agent Betty Ross. When Duffy checked back later to see that Steve was not done peeling potatoes, unaware that Steve was out fighting the Oriental Giants as Captain America. Duffy would soon become a competitor for Miss Ross' affections. Shortly after this, Duffy assigned Steve Rogers to stable duty for abandoning his post to secretly battle the Wax Man as Captain America. When the soldiers at Camp Lehigh were hired to play the role of extras in a film titled the "Tyrant", Duffy was served a great indignity when he was casted as the court jester. Following Captain America's battle with the Hunchback, Duffy berated Steve Rogers after overhearing him calling Captain America "overrated".
Duffy was quick to blame and punish Steve Rogers for a number of infractions at this time: Giving Steve onion peeling duty for supposedly putting sneezing powder in his pipe and then later abandoning post during drills; K.P. duty for putting frogs in his bed and then leaving camp after taps. Later, when Sgt. Duffy led his troops in trying to find an escaped German prisoner of war named Wolfgang, he had Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes removed from the battle by medics unaware that they were responsible for stopping Wolfgang from making off with a new experimental "Vanishing Ray" as Captain America and Bucky. Once more Duffy punished the two soldiers when in New York City they abandoned their post to battle Zombies as Captain America and Bucky. For those, Duffy assigned them to boot blacking duty. Duffy assigned Steve Rogers K.P. duty for various infractions, while fighting Axis threats such as the original Circus of Crime and the Dragon of Death in Hawaii. Duffy also assigned Steve to protect a Chinese diplomat in San Francisco who was later captured and rescued from the Fang by Captain America.
Later that year when Camp Lehigh was putting on a play to boost soldier morale, Duffy was in charge of its organization. The play was briefly interrupted by an attack by the Red Skull. Around this time the troupe was invited to witness a violin performance. Duffy would warn Rogers and Barnes. Yet, at the performance the hypocrite ended up falling asleep and began snoring loudly. Following Captain America and Bucky's clash with the Nazi spy known as the Fiddler, Duffy informed Steve and James that they won a draw for a pair of violins. When the two fainted in front of him, Duffy could not understand why.
Beginning to win Betty Ross with his apparent charm, Duffy had a lunch meeting with her in which he was struck in the face with a pie by one of his men. Duffy believed that Steve Rogers was responsible and was led away by Betty to be cleaned up. He vowed to Rogers that he would give him K.P. duty for a month in response to his pieing. Later, when an itching powder prank in the troop barracks created too much racket, Duffy storms in to find out what's going on. He became the butt of another prank: A bucket of water placed above the door and was doused with water. Duffy blames Steve Rogers when he arrives shortly after and sends him to the guard house. On another morning, Duffy came to berate Steve and James for sleeping in late, unaware that they were out late the night before battling the Black Witch as Captain America and Bucky the night before. Steve Rogers was not the only soldier that Duffy gave a hard time to however, soon Duffy was giving flack to Private Bobby "Shrimpie" Shaw who was nearly a physically ill prepared for the military as Steve Rogers was before Operation Rebirth.
As 1941 came to an end, Duffy was still just as critical as ever with Steve Rogers. Sending him to the guard house for being AWOL while he was out fighting criminal Nick Pinto as Captain America. Later when Steve and James returned late for tap out while at an art gallery, he assigned them to painting duty. This was a bittersweet bit of punishment on Duffy's behalf as Steve clumsily slapped him in the face with a full brush of green paint by accident.
1942 saw no change in Duffy's demeanor as he continued to give Steve Rogers a hard time. Believing that Steve had put pepper in the sugar shaker he put Rogers on marching duty, telling not to stop until he commanded. Later when showing his flower garden to Betty Ross, Rogers (literally following Duffy's orders) marched right into him causing all his flowers to get crushed. Angered by this, Duffy ordered Rogers to the guard house once again. Duffy would give Rogers a stern talking for his poor performance as a soldier. When James Barnes rushes in with a letter from Betty Dean, he ended up accidentally tripping Duffy.
Soon after this, Duffy assigned Steve to K.P. duty for going AWOL, unaware that he did so in order to stop a family feud in the southlands. When overhearing Steve and James talking about the arrest of French actor turned murderer Jacques Laval, Duffy scolds them for not being as great as Captain America and Bucky -- seemingly oblivious to the fact that was exactly who they were. Later, Duffy once more caught Steve and James attempting to sneak back on base after listening to one of the rabble-rousing speeches of the Reaper and gave them onion peeling duty. When they went AWOL for a number of days battling the Reaper as Cap and Bucky, Duffy assigned them to wash the floors around the base. Around this time, Sgt. Duffy almost discovered Captain America's double identity, however Steve Rogers hid in the shadows when Duffy burst into his tent.
The next time Rogers and Barnes went AWOL, they had irked Duffy to the point where he decided to heap humiliation on top of punishment. To this end, he forced the two recruits to dress up as showgirls and participate in a dance number being performed for the other soldiers. When the two wayward soldiers snuck off during intermission to battle Dr. Crime as Captain America and Bucky, they did not return in time for the end of the show, earning even more of Duffy's fury.
With American forces entered World War II following the attacks on Pearl Harbor, it was only a matter of time before Duffy and his troops were deployed on various missions both within the United States and overseas. Even in these situations, Duffy was constantly having to punish Steve Rogers for apparent acts of insubordination and cowardice.
The first such instance happened when they were posted overseas, he allows Steve Rogers and Barnes to attend a magic show. However he berates them for being AWOL during a Imperial Japanese air raid (as they were busy helping as Captain America and Bucky)).
Duffy showed some uncharacteristic remorse when it appeared that Steve Rogers and James Barnes were killed during a Japanese ambush on their convoy transporting explosives to Camp Mojave. He quickly changed his tune when the two turned out alive, as they had bailed out and stopped the Japanese spies as Captain America and Bucky. Later, when Captain America and Bucky defeated the Vulture, their alter egos absence landed them once more in hot water with Duffy who assigned them to K.P. duty once again. Later, Duffy would allow his troops to take a trip to New York City, upon their arrival Duffy was accidentally struck on the head when Steve Rogers fumbled and dropped his duffel bag. To punish his clumsiness, Duffy forced Steve to carry all the bags of his fellow soldiers. Shortly after this, when James Barnes returned from a trip to Gotham City with stories about how the city was being invaded by Martians, Duffy did not believe the lad until the base was attacked by the creatures -- who were later revealed to be Nazi spies staging an elaborate hoax. Duffy soon became frustrated as to how to deal with Steve Rogers as punishing him appeared to have no effect on his constant desertion of post. Soon after, Duffy was attacked by the Japanese agent known as the Vampire and rescued by Captain America and Bucky.
The ongoing happenings and Steve Roger's constant insubordination did not help Duffy's demeanor. When participating in a troop football game, Duffy proved that he was a sore loser by assigning Steve to K.P. duty for some as simple as having more football skill than he did. Later when giving Rogers sweeping duty, Duffy found it necessary to remind Steve how worthless he thought he was. This backfired on Duffy when he ungracefully tripped over Steve's cleaning supplies. During Steve's next absence, he assigns Rogers and Barnes to dig trenches. When the base was attacked by Fifth Columnists he then berates the two for not being there to help stop the spies. Later, when Rogers and Barnes returned from a furlough, Duffy immediately put them on painting detail. Back at Camp Lehigh, Duffy's inferior sportsmanship was once more brought to the fore when he was humiliated by Steve Rogers who shows off his superior bowling skills. He once more assigned Rogers to K.P. duty for it later. When the Mock Mikado invaded California, Sgt. Duffy led the counter attack to find that the Mikado was already defeated and tied up by Captain America and Bucky.
Following this, Duffy gave Steve and James stable duty and was accidentally knocked into a watering troth. He got the last laugh when he assigned the pair to test out a new two-man parachute. After this Duffy and his command were deployed to England. When they arrived on shore, he berated Steve Rogers and James Barnes for reporting late and was accidentally knocked into the Channel. He assigned the pair to K.P. duty for this. Duffy and his men are next relocated to Egypt where Rogers and Barnes slept in too late following their battle with the Cult of Black Magic and were put on K.P. duty once more. Redirected to India, Duffy continued to give Rogers a hard time, mocking his posture. Rogers then pointed out, much to Duffy's humiliation, that his uniform blouse was missing a button.
Returning to the United States, Duffy catches Steve and Bucky trying to sneak back to their tents after once more clashing with their foe Dr. Crime. Following this, when Steve and James are once more late for drill duties Duffy becomes angry. When the two truant soldiers show up, they bump into Duffy, knocking him over and causing his head to get stuck between some bedposts. For this humiliation he assigns the two K.P. duty and later orders them to clean General Lang's house. Duffy continued his tradition of discipline for the various infractions carried out by Rogers and Barnes. When the two were late reporting for duty while battling Izan, he gave them dish washing duty. While sending his troops on a march through the swamps of Louisiana, Duffy is knocked into the swamp by escaped con Killer Bane. When Rogers and Barnes disappear to capture the crook as Captain America and Bucky, he assigns them to wash his uniform. This punishment backfires when James "accidentally" uses too much starch, making the uniform uncomfortably itchy. Another grueling detail goes awry when he orders Steve Rogers to remove a tree stump from the camp property. Duffy gets caught up in the stump and dragged in the dirt by tractor. Angry at this humiliation, Duffy then assigned Rogers to 5 hours of marching duty.
Later, as mean spirited as ever, Duffy attempted to delay Steve and James going on leave by assigning them to K.P. duty once more. Having pressing business as Captain America to attend to, Steve used his enhanced abilities to peel the potatoes as quickly as possible, leaving Duffy puzzled how Rogers managed to complete his task so quickly.
When stationed in New Guinea, Duffy prepared his troops for the arrival of General Douglas MacArthur, when Steve Rogers and James Barnes went AWOL once again (this time to stop a Japanese plot to blow up MacArthur) Duffy once more reams them out. Back stateside, Rogers and Barnes once more try to sneak back into camp after their nighttime battle with Karr the Mummy, Steve accidentally steps on Duffy's hand. The painfully awoken Duffy then sends Rogers to the guard house.
As 1943 began drawing to a close, Duffy's interactions with Steve Rogers and James Barns began to diminish as the pair became more busy with various activities in their costumed identities. Duffy shows his lack of sympathy when he and Rogers are deployed to the Russian front by openly mocking Rogers for missing his pal James Barnes who was not sent along with them. Later, back in the state, Duffy assigns the pair to tank drills that are soon attacked by Nazi agent. Sometime after this, Duffy assigns James to mail duty. Later after giving Steve and James various cleaning duties, he would show them newspaper reports about the Headless Monster including a challenge from the creature issued to Captain America.
In 1944, Duffy was assigned to oversee the construction of an American based on an island recently liberated from the Japanese. He scolded Rogers and Barnes for "goldbricking" on the job. Later, when a military base on the Pacific was attacked by Japanese forces, Duffy fought them alongside Captain America and Bucky. After the battle ended, Duffy noticed the sudden departure of Captain America and Bucky followed by the sudden appearance of Steve Rogers and James Barnes. Duffy briefly contemplated the possibility that his two worst soldiers were really the nation's greatest heroes, but quickly dismissed the idea as impossible.
Back in the United States, Duffy caught Steve and James reading about Captain America's latest battle against the Vulture and put them on floor scrubbing duty, he would later yell at the pair for "goldbricking" on guard duty.
Deployed to Turkey, Duffy and Steve witnessed minions of Nazi agent Ali Baba murder a fellow soldier. Despite their chase they failed to catch the killer. After Captain America defeated Ali Baba and his men, he was forced to sucker punch Duffy so that he and Bucky could sneak back onto base and change back to their civilian guises. Relocated to a base in Europe, Duffy then ordered Steve and James to mop the floor, unaware that as Captain America and Bucky they assisted French gorillas against the Nazis. When Steve began daydreaming about the female freedom fighter he met on that mission, Duffy began yelling at him for slacking off on the job. Deployed along the border between China and Burma, Duffy and his unit were attacked by Japanese forces led by Chinese double agent Mother Wong. Back in the United States, Duffy read about Captain America's latest victory over the Red Skull, and chastise Steve and James for not being "as great" soldiers as Captain America. Later, Duffy is part of a unit deployed to India to act on a security detail for the viceroy to India, who is murdered by Indian worshipers of Kali being manipulated by a Japanese spy. Back stateside, Duffy was antagonized when began asking for privileges for hitting bulls eyes during target practice.
Duffy later gave Steve grief when Rogers was sent to France to retrieve information vital to an Allied invasion of France. When Steve and James have gone AWOL during this mission to act as Captain America and Bucky, Duffy threatens to report them to General Matson. Duffy's threats are greeted with laughter from the two. Later, while flying over an arctic region, Duffy and his troop are captured by the Red Skull who seek to unleash a weapon that uses aurora borealis to immobilize Allied weapons and vehicles. When Captain America defeats the Red Skull, Cap turns him over to Duffy to bring to justice. Back in the United States, Duffy sends Steve and James to guard an oil pipeline in Death Valley that has been tapped by Japanese spies, which they stop as Captain America and Bucky.
Returning to England, Duffy leads his troops on a mission into Nazi occupied France. When they are penned in by Nazi forces, they are saved when Captain America and Bucky launch V2 rockets at the Nazis troops saving the life of Duffy and his unit. Elsewhere in Europe, after Duffy assigns Steve and James to KP duty, he orders them to stand guard as he and other military brass have a dinner with the Baron of Horror Castle. The Baron turned out to be a Nazi spy attempting to capture them to learn military secrets, but they were rescued by Captain America and Bucky. Sent off to the Pacific, Duffy boasted his ability to not get seasick. However, his true stripes showed after Captain America and Bucky saved the ship from Japanese forces using a sub designed as a sea monster. Following the battle's conclusion, Steve and James catch Duffy being sea-sick over the side of the ship.
In 1945, Duffy assigns Steve Rogers and James Barnes to guard duty at the Wickard War Plant. The two are happy with the detail when they realize that Duffy did not charge them with guarding the plant itself, but the daycare attached to it.
By this time, Duffy had established a girlfriend back home named Flo. While on assignment in India, Duffy had received a letter from Flo. His girlfriend was upset that Duffy was not a big war hero like Captain America and considered him to be a coward. Duffy blamed his constant babysitting of Steve Rogers and James Barnes. Believing that whenever there was action he was too busy trying to track down where the pair had went and vowed to the two that he would show them what he was made of. With reports of the supposed resurrection of the Prophet of Hate rallying the people of India against Allied Forces, Duffy rushed off to try and stop the Prophet alone. Duffy was soon captured, and then rescued by Captain America and Bucky. The trio then clashed with the Prophet and his forces. During the fight, Duffy was knocked out when a vase fell on his head. Cap and Bucky then defeated the Prophet and revealed him to be a Japanese spy. When Duffy came around, Captain America convinced him that he played a large part in capturing the phony prophet, which helped redeem Mike in the eyes of his girl back home. Once more overhearing Steve and James talking about Captain America's latest exploits, Duffy again reamed the pair out for not being as great soldiers as the celebrated hero.
Put on duty on the New York pier, Duffy was caught in the explosion of a bomb planted by Nazi operative Professor Todt. With Duffy's fate unknown, General Haywood sent Steve and James to the morgue to try and identify any of the bodies of soldiers who went missing in the blast. While the pair stopped Todt's plan to convert corpses stolen from the morgue into sea mines, they did not find Duffy's body among the dead. Duffy was later discovered alive and well and placed in the hospital for his injuries. Duffy seem no less mean when Steve and James went to visit him in the hospital.
Sgt. Duffy's subsequent activities following World War II are unknown, it's possible that he spent the remainder of the war recovering in hospital.
Post World War II
Steve Rogers always wondered what happened to his former superior officer as he had not kept in contact. Years after this recollection and after Bucky Barnes took up the role of Captain America, he came upon Duffy's gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery. His cause of death is unknown.
Sgt. Duffy was a physically strong man with great stamina, but had little in the way of athletic skill and in fact was often shown to lack coordination. He did not exhibit any particular tactical ability either, although he had extensive military training, but could train other soldiers in combat drills and even lead them in actual battle. He was familiar with and could utilize standard military weapons and equipment, which he regularly carried while in combat. His main strengths appeared to be a knack for barking out orders and being terribly intimidating.
- Mike Duffy's tomb stone as depicted in Young Allies Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 has most of the dates obscured, although the year appears to be "2010". This suggests that Duffy likely survived well into old age. The facts of his death are unknown, and the date in question would be considered to be topical given the sliding time scale of the Earth-616 universe.
- While the Golden Age often portrayed Steve Rogers as acting independently in his costumed identity, it has since been retconned that many military officials were secretly aware of his double identity and were charged with helping to maintain it. It has not been specified, however, if Duffy was aware of Steve Rogers' secret double identity; it can be safely presumed that he was genuinely unaware if his Golden Age appearances can be taken at face value and not fictionalized retellings of actual events within continuity.
- 71 appearance(s) of Michael Duffy (Earth-616)
- 3 minor appearance(s) of Michael Duffy (Earth-616)
- 2 mention(s) of Michael Duffy (Earth-616)
- 1 image(s) of Michael Duffy (Earth-616)
- 4 quotation(s) by or about Michael Duffy (Earth-616)