Scalpel was born in Death Valley, California and received his medical degree through the mail from a small college that advertised in the back of a magazine. His practical experience came from working as an assistant to a doctor in an illegal clinic that treated wounded gang members and other criminals. He joined COBRA not only for the money, but also for the chance to work on exotic injuries and wounds. His patients have a very high survival rate, but none of them would give Scalpel points for bedside manner.
Unlike most conventional medics, Scalpel does not object to picking up a weapon and joining in the fight as long as it looks like his side is going to win. As far as he is concerned, it just means more patients for him, and he is above all else, a man who enjoys his work. Scalpel harbors a personal grudge against G.I. Joe's Hacker for reasons he refuses to reveal.