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Rex Griffin was a childhood friend of Karl Kaufman, with whom he flew in a flying circus. Even though they had been rivals for the affection of Paula Jackson as kids, he became much closer to her after a flying accident and eventually, they became engaged. During WWI, Griffin worked a desk job for the US air force. When General von Ronstadt attacked the US with a giant dirigible, Rex took command of a plane squadron, despite the fact that his injury still prevented him from flying. When the Phantom Eagle destroyed von Ronstadt's dirigible, Rex's plane was damaged and crash-landed. Rex was killed and Karl, the Phangtom Eagle vowed to avenge his friend.[citation needed]



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