The Patriot was actually reporter Jeff Mace. He battled Nazi spies on U.S. soil by himslef until he joined the Liberty Legion. While the Liberty Legion never appointed an actual leader, they all naturally looked toward the Patriot as their leader since he so resembled Captain America. In fact, it was Cap who inspired Jeff to become the Patriot. He was giving a radio address when Bucky commandeered the mic to implore super-powered heroes for help. Since he was already at the station, the Patriot was eager to lend a hand (making him the first member of the Liberty Legion). The Patriot unofficially led the team throughout the war, and stayed with them when they became the All-Winners Squad--although not as the Patriot. Following the disappearance of his idol, the original Captain America, and the death of Captain America II (the Spirit of '76) at the hands of Adam-II, Jeff adopted the identity of Captain America III.
With Fred Davis by his side as the second Bucky, the Patriot served as Captain America III for the rest of the decade. Although he was thrilled to assume the role of Cap, he never truly felt comfortable in the role of his hero. By the 50s, he had not only given up the identity of Captain America, but the aging Jeff Mace also retired the Patriot. He led a normal life throughout the coming decades, until he was diagnosed with cancer in the early 80s.
(The following information is courtesy of Mario Trabucco. Thanks!)"[The Patriot] had just learned about having cancer, [when] The Contemplator (the Elder of the Universe) gave him a chance to become as great a character as the original Cap had been. To do this, he abducted the other three incarnations of Cap from different moments in history (including the original, from the eighties) and transported them to an alternate Earth where Adam II had succeeded in conquering the world. As can be expected, the original Cap defeated Adam II and the Patriot found himself at peace."
A few years later, Jeff realized he was about to die from his cancer. On his deathbed, he sent for the original Cap. Despite a few setbacks and delays (in the form of the villainous Porcupine), Cap made it to Jeff's bedside and held his hand as he succumbed to his illness. Content with his life and with his hero by his side, Jeff Mace died peacefully.
INSIDE STORY: The original Golden Age Patriot (pictured left), was pretty much just a second-string imitation of Captain America. His battles were basically confined to Nazi saboteurs, and he fell into obscurity in the 50s. Roy first revived him as an hallucination in AVENGERS #97, then retooled his costume and brought him into the Liberty Legion. The only major alteration to the character's history was his role as Captain America III. Fortunately, Roy never really rewrote any of the Patriot's Golden Age history, he simply added to it and made the character more integral to the early Marvel Universe.
Golden Age Appearances: MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #21-45, 49-74; HUMAN TORCH #3-4
First Modern Appearance: MARVEL PREMIERE #29
Other Appearances: INVADERS #6, 35-37, MARVEL PREMIERE #29-30 (1976); WHAT IF? #4 (1977); AVENGERS #97 (1971); CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #6 (1982)
Final Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA #285 (1982)
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