During World War II, while working as a circus strongman, Dugan helped Nick Fury and Sam Sawyer escape the Nazis during a mission. Dugan later joined the British Army, and when Sawyer was charged with creating Fury’s First Attack Squad, also known as the Howling Commandos, Sawyer invited Dugan to become second in command. His exceptional strength saved the day in several of his adventures with the group. During his time with the Howlers Dugan became skilled on all Allied small weapons and gained experience in all forms of hand to hand combat, especially Judo. With his trademark derby, Dum Dum frequently struck fear into the Nazi and Japanese enemies in mission after mission. The Howling Commandos were so feared by the Third Reich that a counter squad of elite fighters, the Blitzkrieg Squad was formed, and among their number, bar room brawler Siegfried, whose story of defeating six men with his bare hands made it to the ears of Von Strucker, was chosen to stand against Dum Dum Dugan.
Among the foes Dum Dum squared off against was Colonel Klaue, stepping in for Fury on a one-on-one match with the iron-handed officer. Following this incident, Dugan was brought up on court martial charges, but Fury soon revealed that it was a plot by the Agent of a 1,000 Faces. Perhaps one of his most daring moments was his face off against the Sea Shark, during which he lead a group of prisoners to take over the German ship. Foreshadowing his future experiences in SHIELD, Dugan also faced a number of supernatural and super-human menaces during the war, including Baron Blood.
Dugan had many opportunities to take command of the Howlers himself. On one occasion, trapped behind enemy lines during Allied bombings of a German town Dum Dum took command and lead a demoralized team back across heavily fortified enemy territory with a wounded Fury in tow. His experience with the Howlers lead to Dugan to being assigned to train the similar task force known as the “Deadly Dozen” by Sawyer. Promoted to sergeant, Dugan along with fellow Howlers Pinkerton and Maneli trained and fought alongside the Dozen on their first missions. Dugan was reassigned to the Howlers just prior to the Battle of the Bulge where he fought alongside not only his Howler teammates, but also the Deadly Dozen with their new commander and Captain America and Bucky1.
Serving Fury well as second in command of the Howlers during not only W.W.II but also later during missions in Korea, it took little indecision as to who Fury wanted seconded to him as sub director of SHIELD.
Dugan served at the front lines of many of SHIELD’s battles with the likes of HYDRA, A.I.M., the interplanetary Wraiths, a robotic clone of the Yellow Claw, Scorpio and the Zodiac, the Druid, the Maggia, the villainous duo of Mentallo and the Fixer and many other foes. Dugan also came to know and befriend many of the world’s heroes, including the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Falcon, Black Widow, Quasar and of course Captain America, whom he first met during World War II.
The late 1970’s saw him take command of the special helicarrier named Behemoth IV to track down the Japanese monster Godzilla, an assignment he became somewhat overzealous on in the opinion of others, including Gabe Jones. Nicknamed “The Godzilla Squad”, the group headed by Dugan, and including Jones and Jimmy Woo, followed Godzilla across his many exploits in the United States, including along the Alaskan pipeline, Seattle, and San Francisco where the interference of the Champions of Los Angeles led to the crashing of the original helicarrier. This mission to neutralize the threat of the beast left one of the few blemishes on Dugan’s career, as he nearly lost SHIELD’s mobile headquarters. Following the crash, Dugan was assigned the Behemoth IV carrier and the Red Ronin drone to apprehend the monster. In time however the creature returned to the sea on its own, never seen since.
His loyalty was tested to its limits during the Deltite Affair when his close friendship with Fury endangered his position in SHIELD and nearly cost him his life. With Fury on the run, Dugan was expected to assume command of SHIELD, however the Deltite-controled oversight council that ran the agency cited Dugan’s heart condition as a specific reason not to choose him. Following that turn of events, Dugan was among one of the few agents who suspected something wrong with the hunt for a rogue Nick Fury and together with fellow Howler Gabriel Jones and the Contessa, they uncovered the corruption at the heart of the Deltite Affair, leading to the dissolving of SHIELD.
After SHIELD disbanded he retired to a civilian life with his wife and children, however a bizarre plot involving the Death’s Head and the Yellow Claw unwittingly him and his family their lives. The death of Dugan spurned Fury to return to the world of espionage and avenge the death of his trusted and life-long friend. As events later revealed, Dugan was in fact still alive, frozen by the Yellow Claw and allowed to be found by Fury. The motivations behind the Yellow Claw’s elaborate ploy remain a mystery unsolved.
Returning to active duty, Dugan served as a firm bedrock for Fury during the formative months of the new SHIELD and later the traumatic events of the massacre at SHIELD Central in 1991 and the subsequent fiasco involving the brainwashing of long thought dead agents of SHIELD. Once again Dugan was at the front lines alongside Fury, most notably on a mission with to thwart the theft of a long lost Soviet nuclear submarine. Together with the mutant Wolverine, Fury and Dugan put a minor dent in the growing HYDRA arsenal. Dugan was in command of the helicarrier when it was hijacked by a cadre of super-terrorists lead by Mad Dog and bankrolled by AIM, enduring considerable torture at the hands of the hijackers.
Dugan briefly served as director of SHIELD in 1993, however the position was nearly in name only as Fury still ran SHIELD. Fury took back the mantle later that year in time to lead an invasion against Von Strucker’s base in Iceland.
Feeling his age, in the years that followed, Dugan served more in an administrative sense, always close at Fury’s side to offer consultation and advice. Among the crises SHIELD faced were the subterranean Tantalus and the terrorist organization known as DANTE. Despite his age, Dugan was not opposed to some field work, taking a shot in the leg following his escorting of former KGB officer Dmitri Panshin, which eventually led to a rogue band of SHIELD agents taking over the helicarrier.