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Oh, I Had That: The USS Flagg

Welcome to Oh, I Had That, a new features here on Middle-Aged Fat Kids where I discuss various toys and collectibles from my youth. Today, I want to start with the crown jewel… the USS Flagg.

My father was in the Navy, which meant as a kid there are adorable photos of me in little sailor outfits, various Navy t-shirts, and various other recruiting materials. It’s weird when you grow up in a military family, it’s kinda like having your family be a huge fan of a sports team. There’s this strange loyalty that emerges as you defend and appreciate the branch of military your family is part of.

One of the ways my parents celebrated was for my fourth birthday, they decided to buy me a massive GI Joe aircraft carrier known as the USS Flagg. It’s now one of the most sought after toys by collectors and fetches crazy high prices for a complete toy.

The USS Flagg was a fictional Nimitz class aircraft carrier, similar to what my father used to deploy on. The toy was seven and a half foot long and retailed for $109.99, which made it one of the most expensive toys at the time. Here’s a great scene from Comic Book Men that shows you the scale of the carrier.

So, in order to hide the massive box that the USS Flagg came in, my parents actually stored the toy in a neighbors home. This neighbor had a pet bird I loved to visit, so one time I went over to see the bird and they freaked out one me, afraid I’d ruin my own birthday present. Luckily for them, I didn’t see it and was still astonished at this massive playset.

For years, I’ve looked for a photo of me playing with the USS Flagg, but here is the uncomfortable truth for all 80’s fanboys who still desire this toy. Look at your floor, or better yet, go look at your children’s bedroom floor. Now picture, 7.5 feet of plastic draped across the floor. Think of the time it takes to build this and how fragile those GI vehicles could be. Yea… unless you had a playroom or basement it wasn’t ideal.

I remember my dad staying up late building the USS Flagg for me and me playing with that night. I feel like within a few days of not being able to navigate my room, it had to be put up. If my memory serves me right, it may have only been assembled once more in my youth before ultimately being sold, donated, or trashed.

The one part of the USS Flagg that stuck around was Admiral Kee-Haul who came with the playset. He kinda looked like my dad with a black mustache and black hair, so when I played with my GI Joes, I always pretended it was my dad. I kept this figure for a very long time, and his hat even broke over the years. Sadly, I lost him somewhere along the line and am always looking for a another one, but they go for quite a high price as well.

Over the holidays, I finally tackled my mother’s massive bins of photos in hopes of finding that magical photo of me with the USS Flagg. Sadly, I did not. What I did find was two photos of me sitting in front of the box wrapped in newspaper at my birthday party.

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