Head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Nick Fury was the eldest of three children born to an American pilot who died in battle during the last year of World War I. Fury grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City. In 1941, with the start of American involvement in World War II, Fury enlisted in the Army. Fury underwent basic training at Fort Dix under the command of Sgt. Charles Bass, a stern taskmaster who chose Fury to be the company scapegoat. Shortly after completing basic training, Fury proved himself an excellent soldier and capable leader, and rose quickly to the rank of sergeant. In the European theatre of operations during World War II, Fury commanded the “Howling Commandos”, a specially-trained band of soldiers whose exploits gained them fame for their brave and apparently foolhardy combat style).
On one mission in France, Fury came under the emergency care of Professor Berthold Sternberg, who first inoculated him with the “Infinity Formula”, a serum Fury has taken annually since then, which has slowed the processes of aging in his body. Sgt. Fury remained on active duty through the Korean War, during which the Howlers were reunited for a special mission to surreptitiously cross the 38th parallel to blow up an enemy MIG base. This mission earned Fury a battlefield commission and he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. Spy work Fury performed for the French government in Viet Nam in the 1950’s earned him a promotion to Colonel, and eventually a full-time appointment to the Central Intelligence Agency. Fury remained there for several years, until he was contacted by the Board of Directors of the newly organized international espionage organization SHIELD (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division) and offered directorship.
Fury has served as SHIELD’s public director, both in administrative matters and in the field, ever since. His leadership has seen the organization through countless crises and he was instrumental in thwarting major threats to world freedom launched by such subversive groups as AIM, HYDRA, and Zodiac. Fury’s personal honor and integrity has kept the unethical aspects of espionage and covert paramilitary exercises sanctioned by SHIELD to a minimum. But as SHIELD grew to the vast international network it is today, not even a man of Fury’s ability, drive, and integrity is able to personally oversee all of SHIELD’s numerous operations. Consequently, SHIELD has undertaken operations from time to time without Fury’s authorization or knowledge, of which Fury would definitely not approve had he known of them. These operations have been conducted by several of SHIELD’s regional directors or by subversives within the organization. Former SHIELD agent Barbara Morse (now the crime fighter Mockingbird) was pivotal in revealing to Fury corruption within the organization.