One of the consistently memorable characters in the long-running Gears of War franchise has been Corporal Damon Baird. Born into a rich family, you could say this soldier was born with a silver spoon. Since then he's done much to earn it with his combination of brains and brawn.
As both a COG companion who has fought on the battlefield with Marcus Fenix, as well as the brains of Locust-based research and technical wizardry, Baird has made for a useful ally. But there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this mechanic-turned-fighter and quite a bit to his backstory.
With that said, let's get into gear as we examine 10 facts you didn't know about Damon Baird.
10 A Wealth Of Knowledge
Perhaps Baird's biggest defining feature is his technical prowess and mechanical wizardry. He's basically the TMNT's Donatello of the COG and Delta Squad, usually acting as the brains of the various Gears operations.
He's been well-versed in science and engineering since his youth, possessing an absurd degree of intelligence even as a child. He's also proven an important asset to have around for the COG given his relatively deep knowledge in Locust tech and equipment and even has the rare ability to read and analyze (some) Locust artifacts and documents.
9 Forced Into The Military
As you might imagine with someone of Baird's engineering passion and smarts, it was his desire to enter engineering school and further his career. He was also hoping to land a significant inheritance from his wealthy parents. The only problem? His folks refused to budge and withheld this inheritance under the condition that he enlist in the COG.
Yes, one of the COG's most useful heroes was essentially forced into the gig in order for him to inherit his family's vast wealth. In a cruel twist of fate, however, his parents were victims of the destructive "Emergence Day," a relentless planet-wide assault by the Locust - on the very day Baird joined this coalition.
8 Never Parts With His Goggles
If Baird's engineering skills are a defining characteristic of the COG soldier, then his goggles serve this purpose on a physical level, while reinforcing his mechanical motif.
Much like Charlie Brown's Linus and his odd attachment to his blanket, Baird can never seem to let go of these welding goggles - though at least they tend to serve a more practical purpose than a blanket might...
Even after being ordered by a commanding officer to remove them to make way for a helmet he needed to wear, he slipped them back on as soon as he wasn't looking. That's a level of commitment that borders on recklessness, but that's Baird!
7 His Descriptive Wardrobe Flair
As you'd imagine would be the case with a detail-oriented engineer, there's a bit more than meets the eye when it comes to the heavy armor worn by Damon.
There's a symbol in the center of Baird's chest armor in Judgment that stands for "Rank, Glory to Royal Tyran Infantry." This is in reference to Fenix, Santiago, and the other soldiers of the 26th Royal Tyran Infantry that fought in the Pendulum Wars. Additionally, one of Baird's more amusing skins is Mechanic Baird, which he wears a hat that reads "Baird Services."
6 The Cole Train Connection
When it comes to the dynamic between Cole and Baird, there's a bit more to it than you might think, given their diverging personalities. For one, the roles of the two men were actually going to be reversed in the conceptualization phase, with Baird as the former sports star.
Speaking of which - you may have noticed some back and forth ribbing between the two characters related to the franchise's fictional sport, Thrashball. This is because Cole actually played for the Cougars, who just happen to be a major rival of Baird's favorite team, the Sharks. The Sharks were defeated by the Cougars in a major championship contest the proved controversial.
Still, ultimately the two are friends, as Cole even managed to save Damon from a hairy situation in which the COG mechanic was being beaten up by two disgruntled men. These men had apparently gotten into trouble thanks to Baird's father, an attorney.
5 His Dicey Relationship With Women
Baird sports something of a wise-cracking, loudmouthed nature. It can provide the source for some comedy in a dark landscape, and it can also get him into trouble. This is particularly the case for the opposite sex, with whom the COG soldier doesn't exactly have a great relationship with.
He's conveyed some chauvinistic behavior and commentary - particularly to Alexandra Brand - during the Mission to Jilane. He's even gotten in some unfriendly ribbing with his own wife, Samantha Byme. These negative comments have provoked a backlash (in more ways than one) from her and other women.
4 A Reference To Cliffy B's Childhood
Game design director Cliff Bleszinski didn't just insert tons of detail into the gameplay and visuals of the Gears franchise, he even extended this extra thought and care into the names of some of his characters, which are connected to him in some way. You've got Marcus Fenix - the last name of which represents his "rise out of the ashes" of his life post-divorce.
You've also got Cole, who was named after a level designer at Epic Games. And in fact, Baird was actually named after a close childhood friend of Bleszinski's.
3 Rivalry With Marcus
Much like with Cole, Baird possesses a bit of a rivalry with the franchise's lead character, Marcus Fenix. After the death of Lieutenant Kim, Damon wasn't particularly pleased with Marcus' promotion - who had been imprisoned for deserting the COG - when he had sacrificed much for the coalition.
Baird was even on record stating "Typical. Don't give a smart guy a promotion, no, they give it to the jackass instead."
2 His Role In The Creation Of Deebees
Baird is no stranger to ironies - given his decision to abide by his parents' wishes and join the COG on the day they were killed. Yet, you've also got one of the most useful and heroic players in the Gears franchise at least indirectly being the source of one of GoW4's most aggravating enemy mobs, the Deebees. In fact, it was Baird who established DB Industries - which also happen to sport his initials.
These robotic foes turn against J.D. and company for much of the campaign in the 4th Gears game and are turned into a sort of mutant hybrid of Swarm and robots in Gears 5, known as Rejects.
1 His Interesting Design Inspiration
While Baird partially exemplifies that sort of stock mad scientist look, there are definitely traits that don't exactly align with the more typical scientific whiz. So just what is the inspiration behind the wise-cracking, somewhat smarmy Baird?
As it so happens, it was Denis Leary who was largely the inspiration and foundation which Baird was designed around. Why not, right? You can definitely see at least a touch of that inspiration in the slicked-back blond hair. It's unknown whether this inspiration extends beyond just the visuals, though you can perhaps see a touch of resemblance in terms of Baird's demeanor, too.