Hector grew up in the shadow of the San Diego Navy Yards and dreamed of a life at sea. At the youngest possible age, he joined the Navy with his parents' permission. He graduated the Great Lakes Naval Gunnery School and later served with distinction in the Mekong Delta, fighting smugglers and river pirates. He also spent time at bases in Japan and Cuba, and participated in carrier-based operations in the Middle East. His experience eventually earned him a spot on the G.I.Joe team. He first worked with the team in the Gulf of Mexico, directing the Joes in readying the tactical battle platform. He wasn't impressed with the soldiers' potential as sailors, and didn't make many friends as he ordered them around as the platform was made operational. In the battle with Cobra that followed, it was obvious that Shipwreck's bark was just as bad as his bite, and he wasn't as disciplined as he lead the Joes to first believe. The quintessential -- almost stereotypical -- sailor, Shipwreck at times seemed like he belonged more on a pirate ship than an aircraft carrier. But, despite all of his brash and obnoxious behavior, he still proved to be courageous, tough and loyal.
Most of Shipwreck's missions were as part of the crew of team's various naval vessels, during operations like the rescue of Ripcord and Snake-Eyes from Cobra Island, and retrieving a Soviet defector from a ship crewed by the October Guard. His pet parrot, Polly, joined him on one or two missions, but the bird's habit of spouting naval commands and the occasional sea shanty assured that he didn't participate very often. Shipwreck made his way to the battlefield during the Battle of Springfield and the fight against Dreadnoks in the New Jersey swamps. He later piloted a WHALE hovercraft to Cobra Island during Cobra's civil war and ended up on land once the vessel was hit by enemy fire. After many years with the Joe team, Shipwreck underwent Navy SEAL training, leaving some hoping it would straighten him out and teach him more discipline. In reality, it simply made him tougher on the battlefield. Shortly after returning to the Joes, the team was shut down in 1994. He then took some time off from the military and began running a tour guide service for wealthy people around the world. He also continued to shut down pirates and drug operations, giving him a reputation in the underworld.
In 2001, the Joes team was reinstated to fight a revived Cobra, and Shipwreck was one of the very first of the old team to rejoin. He helped stop Cobra's attack on Washington, DC, fought Cobra operatives on a freighter, protected Hawk from an assassination attempt by Storm Shadow and battled against a revived Serpentor on Cobra Island. He later fought Destro's new recruit, Wraith, as the mercenary freed Major Blood and Scrap-Iron from Blackwater Prison. A short time later, members of the Joe team fought Cobra forces that were drawn into an attack on a train guarded by the Joes, believing that Destro was being held prisoner onboard. At the battle's end, Hawk was shot in the back by Cobra Commander and paralyzed. In Hawk's absence, the Jugglers began to take control of the team to reign it in, if not disband it altogether. Eventually, the team's roster was cut down to only a dozen Joes including Shipwreck. That small team defended the new Pit against Cobra's attack, but Shipwreck and most of those Joes were reassigned to other units. After the remaining Joes stopped a plot by Cobra to unleash the weapon known as the Tempest, and defeated a new threat, the Red Shadows, the military again disbanded the team.
One year later, the Joe team was reformed with a smaller roster of active members, including Shipwreck, under the command of Joe Colton. Another member of the team was Storm Shadow. Shipwreck made no effort to hide his distrust of the ninja, questioning his loyalty due to his past with Cobra. Shipwreck joined the effort to stop terrorist Vance Wingfield's plot to cause the crash of many orbiting satellites into populated areas. After the first satellite crash in Chicago, Shipwreck, Scarlett and Roadblock rushed to the scene to assist rescue workers. Shipwreck then helped rescue Scarlett from Destro's submarine, which resulted in the supposed death of Snake-Eyes. He then joined the other Joes on a mission to recover Snake-Eyes' body after it was stolen by the Red Ninjas, and discovered they had somehow revived him. Following that mission, Shipwreck began to move past his suspicions about Storm Shadow. Shipwreck later helped defend Joe headquarters from an attack by the Phoenix Guard. The Joes soon defeated the invaders, but not before they had injured some Joes and killed many members of the base support staff. Following the incident, Colton ordered the Joes to go on leave to recover from their ordeal.