Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki

Joseph Arthur Joe is an Army soldier from Maine, who finds himself in a whole heap of adventure due to no fault of his own. Joe is also the main character of the series and the narrator of most parts of the books in the main series. 

In mission after mission, Joe shows his strength in command as a numerous times who can think of ideas that are beyond Skippy's imagination. This infuriates Skippy so much that it prompts him write a book of which Chapter One was titled "Why I hate Your stupid ugly face". 

Before Columbus Day

Joe is first seen driving his parents' truck outside of Thompson Corners, Maine when the Ruhar attacked on Columbus Day.

Joe joined the Army because he wasn't sure what he wanted to do with his life and he wanted to eventually use the Army to pay for school when he knew what he wanted to go to college for. After a tour in Nigeria, Peacekeeping, and fighting extremists, Joe returned home for leave.

Joseph earned the nickname "Barney" by capturing a Ruhar soldier with a group of rednecks using a Super Softie Ice Cream Truck with the notable character painted on the side during the events of Columbus Day. 

Events of Expeditonary Force

Columbus Day
Following the attack by the Ruhar, which was fought off by the Kristang, humanity allied with the Kristang, believing them to be their allies. The Kristang requested units to be sent off-world to fight the Ruhar as soon as possible, so the various nations of the United Nations Expeditionary Force (UNEF) scrambled to pull enough people off-world quickly enough, and Joe happened to be available so took the Space Elevator and was shipped off-world to Camp Alpha.

On Camp Alpha, Joe was promoted to Sergeant because of a personnel shortage. He also had a short romantic relationship with Shauna Jarrett which ended when UNEF was deployed to Pradassis. Joe's fire team was designated as an embedded observation team in Teskor Village which is where He met Lester Cornhut and began his short career as an intelligence collector from The Burgermeister which he would report to Emily Perkins.

During the Ruhar's attempt to retake Gehtanu Joe's thrown together group shot down two Ruhar Whale type dropships, killing over a thousand Ruhar soldiers which caused him to be recognized by the Kristang and promoted to Colonel at their demand.

While on assignment planting potatoes, Joe refused orders from the Kristang to kill innocent Ruhar civilians in retaliation for a global outburst against UNEF causing him to be imprisoned by the Kristang. After breaking out of the Kristang prison during the Ruhar's second attempt to take Gehtanu; He was interned by the Ruhar in a hallway in a warehouse where he met Skippy the Magnificent.

Joe then convinced a group of twenty four UNEF members (including: US Marine Staff Sergeant Margaret Adams, PLA Lieutenant Colonel Chang Kong, Indian Air Force Fal Desai, French Army Captain Renee Giraud, US Army Sergeant Tamara (Tammy) Jennifer Simms and PLA Sergeant Yu Qishan) to follow him to the stars. This group of personnel then left the planet with Joe in command (for no other reason than that he was the highest-ranking officer, and as Chang put it, "You are lucky") in a Ruhar ship and hijacked a Kristang frigate (The Heavenly Morning Flower of Glorious Victory), then a Thuranin Star Carrier (later named the Flying Dutchman) to become The Original Merry Band of Pirates. All of this was done with the help of Skippy, who, at some point in the book, Joe makes a deal with: Shut down the wormhole to Earth, and the humans will take the Dutchman out to help Skippy contact the AI Collective.

Spec Ops
After shutting down Earth’s nearby wormhole (nicknamed "Gateway") using the Elder wormhole controller captured on the previous mission, the Flying Dutchman set course for the stars to look for Elder communication nodes for the Elder AI called Skippy the Magnificent, as per Joe's deal with him.

The first Elder site chosen for exploration turned out not to have a comm node, so Joe asked Skippy to look for uncatalogued Elder sites using Skippy's magnificent prediction abilities.

None of those sites contained any Elder comm nodes, and at one site, the Dutchman was ambushed by Thuranin destroyers, barely escaping. Skippy flew the ship to a system to affect repairs to the ship, which necessitated the crew leaving the ship. Unfortunately, the planet that the crew needed to evacuate to was not as uninhabited as Skippy believed, leaving Joe to make the decision of whether to go to the planet, saving the crew but risking exposing humans' secret, or staying on the ship, killing the crew but keeping humanity's secret. He eventually decides to land on the planet Newark, a decision that works out but has long term consequences.

During his time on Newark, Joe and Skippy's relationship grew over Skippy's fears about what happened to Newark

Joe is dressed down by UNEF due to the events in Spec Ops, and almost loses out on the command of the Flying Dutchman until Skippy the Magnificent intervenes with an ultimatum. Ultimately command of the mission falls to Hans Chotek. Joseph Joe travels to Paradise with Skippy to activate the maser projectors on the planet's surface and save the humans on Paradise from extinction and slavery, as the Kristang were planning on taking back the planet.

Black Ops
After the events of Paradise, Skippy the Magnificent informs Joe that Earth still isn't out of the woods and that the Pirates would have to attack a Ruhar meeting with Kristang wanting to travel to Earth. The original plan fails and Joe and the Pirates end up having to conduct a Black Operation with the help of Dr. Sarah Rose on a Kristang world called Kobamik. At the end of the book, Skippy goes offline, leaving the Pirates stranded on the planet. However, the Pirates manage to return to the Dutchman, with its systems still mostly offline.

Zero Hour
Joe has to deal with the consequences of Skippy the Magnificent's vacation. He makes the hard decision to send Nagatha into Skippy's canister to look for him, risking her own life in the process.

Luckily, Joe's decision pays off and Skippy is rescued. However, Joe and the Pirates now have to go on a rescue mission to save Skippy. During this book, Joe develops a higher level of respect for Hans Chotek as they spend several months together when the ship is stranded in a star system called the "Roach Motel".

Joe and the Pirates leave the Dutchman in space suits as it is dealing with an energy depleting virus.

Joe just comes up with "The Greatest Idea of All Time" and literally almost breaks Skippy the Magnificent by blowing his mind.

Joe went fishing and was picked up by a dropship, he had to leave his friend's Jeep in the woods because he had to "steal" the Dutchman from the Delta Force trying to seize it.

Fun facts: This is the second (?) time Joe time-traveled forward in time, almost died a couple of times in this book, and Jennifer Simms made Skippy stop specifically so she could infiltrate a supermarket to grab a case of Real Marshmallow Fluff.

Joe has some tension with Skippy because he developed a man-crush on billionaire engineer-scientist, Brock Steel. When the Achakai attack, Joe used a kludged-together dropship to board the enemy troop transport ship "Ice Cold Dagger to the Heart". Joe's teams successfully captured "the Dagger" and used it to save Skippy and then provides close space support for the STAR team on Earth, saving the day again.

Joe makes one of the most significant blunders of his career at the end of the book, which results in Margaret Adams almost dying. Luckily, Adams survives, but Joe beats himself up about this decision in this book and in Valkyrie. However, Joe did manage to capture a Maxolhx warship during this book. In addition, right before Joe's blunder, Adams and Joe share a 'moment'.

During this book, Joe becomes more blatant about his 'special regard' for Adams as she recovers, much to his own displeasure. Joe helps her along in recovery, where the two of them share another moment. However, Joe manages to convince himself that perhaps the person who he shared a moment with wasn't the real Adams after multiple attempts to ask Skippy teh Magnificent about Adams' feelings for him results in Skippy the Magnificent telling him to just ask her himself. Joe decides that he needs to just forget what he hoped for and leave her alone.

Skippy abandons Joe aboard a Dragon dropship and the Pirates aboard Valkyrie, the Dutchman and the rescue dropships towards the end of the mission to rescue human civilians from Rikers.

Critical Mass
Joe was captured by the Thuranin, held on the ship for three days and then taken back to Rikers. Six days later, Joe awakens, disoriented, with his memory slightly scrambled in a Kristang hospital but there were also two Thuranin (who he named Tweedledee and Tweedledum) and he was being questioned. Joe had been given a "No-hawk" and hooked up to advanced Thuranin technology that made him feel like willingly answering all of the Thuranin's questions. Skippy the Magnificent had previously placed quantum machines (quachines) in Joe's head that prevented the Thuranin from gaining any useful information. Skippy returned about nine and a half days after he disappeared and helped Joe escape from the Kristang hospital, but he was chased by Kristang. Over the next couple of days, Joe evades them and waits for rescue from Rikers by the Pirates.

Joe was worn out, injured and malnourished, he likely had undiagnosed brain damage from his treatment by the Thuranin. Joe decided not to tell the crew the truth about why Skippy disappeared and handed over command of the Pirates to Chang. Simms captained Valkyrie and Chang captained the Dutchman during the two or three weeks it took Joe to recover.

Joe let Skippy tell the Pirates his recovered memories, still keeping the reason for his disappearance a secret. Since the Backstop wormhole wouldn't be activated for another nine weeks, Joe agreed to help Skippy verify his memories by visiting ancient battle sites from the Elder AI war. Skippy gave Joe a list of proposed sites to visit.

Joe acts as the DJ for Simms' and Frank Muller's wedding reception.

Joe agreed to check out Maris, the stealthed gas giant in the Avalon system. Valkyrie is uncontrollably drawn in towards the planet's core. Joe told Skippy to do his disappearing trick again, to save himself. As Skippy's avatar starts to disappear, he comes back with a blinding light and refuses to leave his friends again. Skippy discovered a large cache of Elder Weapons on Maris and Joe asked Skippy to deliver them to Valkyrie.

On Valkyrie, Joe runs a few "errands" (planting stealthed, activated and timed Elder Weapons throughout Rindhalu and Maxolhx territory) and heads to Earth to confront the Maxolhx who are about to destroy the Dutchman and Earth.

Joe shows up at Earth, fully armed with Elder Weapons and send to Maxolhx running away with their tails between their legs.

Add info when available.

Joe gets promoted to Brigadier General.


Skippy the Magnificent

Joe considers Skippy his best friend and was actually upset when he thought he'd killed him by over taxing his capacities inciting a Kristang civil war.[1]

Margaret Adams

Joe rescues Adams from a Kristang prison

Chang Kong

Joe's second in command of the Pirates. First, he was second in command about the Flying Dutchman, the Captain of the Flying Dutchman when Joe took command of Valkyrie .

Jennifer Simms

First a Logistics Officer, then XO of Valkyrie .

Fal Desai

Pilot of the Flying Dutchman. Served as XO for the Renegades mission.

Nagatha Christie

Joe's biggest fan.


Notable Information

Joe was recommended for a bronze star after trying to save his fire squad by jumping on a grenade; the grenade was a dud; he never received the medal.