His real name is Hector X. Delgado, and he was born in Chula Vista, California. Shipwreck grew up near the San Diego Navy Yards. He enlisted in the Navy at 16, after getting permission from his parents. He served time at "Gitmo", before moving on to carrier operations in the Middle East, and participating in patrolling actions in the Mekong Deltaand Yokosuka. Shipwreck graduated from the the Great Lakes Naval Gunnery School, and is a qualified expert with the M-14, M-16, Browning .50 cal., 20mm Oerlikon AA gun, and the M1911A1 Auto Pistol.
Shipwreck also appeared in G.I. Joe animated series from Sunbow and Marvel Productions voiced by Neil Ross while Polly's vocal effects are provided by Frank Welker. The show's voice director Wally Burr wanted Neil to make Shipwreck sound like a cross between Jack Nicholson (like the actor's character in The Last Detail) and Popeye the Sailor man. He is one of the more fleshed out characters in the series. Shipwreck grew up in Chula Vista, California, in the shadow of the San Diego navy yards. For as long as he could remember Shipwreck wanted to be a sailor, so he joined the navy early at 16, lying about his age. He saw the world—from the river pirates of southeast Asia to smugglers off the Florida coast and the desert where he first joined G.I. Joe.
He is one of the major/supporting/recurring characters of the animated series.
He first appeared in the 1984 mini-series, "The Revenge of Cobra", as offering Flint and Mutt a way back to Joe headquarters on his land sail. The Joe Team offered Shipwreck a spot on the membership roster which he gladly accepted. Shipwreck played a major role in a subplot in the "Pyramid of Darkness" mini-series. He and Snake Eyes have to fight their way out of a Cobra stronghold, and are later rescued through the efforts of a popular lounge singer named Satin.
Shipwreck continued to be a recurring character through the regular series. He has a pet parrot named "Polly" that he pretends to despise. The bird is capable of dozens of phrases; they often relate to the action. On missions, Shipwreck was often paired off with Cover Girl.
Shipwreck was among the number of Joes whose relatives were captured and brainwashed by Cobra in "Captives of Cobra". In the same episode, Shipwreck tells his adopted nephew that he himself was also adopted and they are both lucky to have such loving families. "Memories of Mara" found Shipwreck in love with an escaped Cobra agent named Mara, who was part of an experimental procedure to create amphibious soldiers who could breathe on land and in water. However, the experiment was only partially successful with Mara, who could no longer breathe out of water for more than a few minutes.
In the highly rated two-part season finale "There’s No Place Like Springfield", his emotions and mental state would be toyed with when he is trapped in a town filled with synthoid copies of his friends and loved ones, including Mara and another synthoid called Althea, who was posing as his daughter from his false marriage to Mara. During the two-parter, Shipwreck is tormented by visions of many of his long-term Joe friends. He would perceive them as normal, then they would melt away in front of him. Also in part 2 of the episode, Shipwreck's origins are revealed when a female Cobra Crimson Guard named Cadet Deming interrogates him, by using a hazardous psychedelic mind control program.
The second season finds Shipwreck appearing less but still managing to participate in major roles in episodes he does appear in. Shipwreck is featured in the episode "Once Upon A Joe", as he entertains orphans while their home is being rebuilt.
Shipwreck also appears in two of the series' Public Service Announcements. In the first, he talks a couple of kids out of stealing a bike by showing them how wrong it is. In the second, he talks a boy out of running away from home following an argument with his parents, suggesting that he solve his problems by talking to his parents.
G.I. Joe: The Movie
Shipwreck also appeared briefly in the 1987 animated film G.I. Joe the Movie, albeit in a more diminished capacity, as a captive of Cobra-La.