Rhodes was a soldier with a conscience, willing to kill if a mission required it, yet haunted by every life he took. During one mission, Rhodes’ helicopter was shot down in a jungle and was discovered by Iron Man (Tony Stark), who had recently escaped from the guerrilla Wong-Chu and needed transportation. Iron Man helped repair Rhodes’ helicopter and they made it to safety together. Afterward, Rhodes was approached by Tony Stark, claiming to be Iron Man’s "employer," and was offered a job as Stark’s pilot. Rhodes agreed to take him up on his offer when his tour of duty was completed. For a while, Rhodes worked as a mercenary with Parnell, but when he caught Parnell running guns to the dictatorship of Santo Marco, he went back to Tony to make good on his word.
Harley Keener: If I was building Iron Man and War Machine...
Tony Stark: It's Iron Patriot now.
Harley Keener: That's way cooler!
Tony Stark: No it's not.