The founder of International Rescue, 56-year old Jeff Tracy started life on a Kansas wheat farm. His military service was spent with the U.S. Air Force and he rose to be a colonel before transferring to Space Agency projects. He was instantly a success as an astronaut and has the distinction of being one of the first men on the moon.

When his wife died prematurely, the raising of his five sons became Jeff’s first duty. He went into civil and construction engineering, and although caring for a family at the same time as  building up a business wasn’t easy, he eventually became one of the richest men in the world.

His humanity towards others prompted him to use his wealth in developing a cherished and secret dream -- International Rescue.


Eldest of the Tracy boys, 30-year old Scott was educated at Yale and Oxford Universities. Decorated for bravery during his service in the U.S. Air Force, he is the field commander of International Rescue and flies Thunderbird One, IR’s reconnaissance aircraft. He is also his brother Alan’s regular co-pilot on IR’s space-going rocket, Thunderbird Three.

The responsibility of accessing a disaster situation and deciding on what rescue craft to use usually falls on Scott’s shoulders, since he is nearly always the first man to arrive at the danger zone. His duties also involve taking charge of the organization whenever his father is away from Tracy Island.


27-year old Virgil graduated from the Denver School of Advanced Technology, and his engineering diplomas prove him the ideal man to control the many varied and complex machines carried by his rescue craft, Thunderbird Two.

An artist, lover of good music and an excellent pianist, Virgil takes after his mother in looks and coloring. The most serious of the Tracy sons, the young pilot is known for never mincing his words, and for displaying an iron nerve in the field.


Much of 25-year old John’s time is spent as monitor in Thunderbird Five, International Rescue’s space station. In this position he is usually the first person to alert IR’s island base of any disaster. He shares a monthly rotation on the space station with his brother, Alan.

An electronics expert with a degree in laser communications, John followed in his father’s footsteps and became an astronaut after graduating from Harvard University.

His favorite pastime is the study of astronomy, and he has published four textbooks on the subject. He is well known in that field for his discovery of the Tracy quasar system.


22-year old Gordon is the aquanaut of the family, in command of International Rescue’s submarine, Thunderbird Four. During his time in the Submarine Service and the World Aquanaut Security Patrol, he commanded a deep sea bathyscape and spent a year beneath the ocean investigating marine farming methods. He became an expert on oceanography and developed unique underwater breathing apparatus which he later modified and improved for International Rescue. A lover of all watersports, Gordon is one of the world’s fastest freestyle swimmers and is a past Olympic champion at the butterfly stroke.

Shortly before IR began operating, Gordon was involved in a hydrofoil speedboat crash when his vessel capsized at 400 knots. The craft was completely shattered and Gordon spent four months in a hospital bed. The accident served to bore down his exuberance and it also taught him respect for the sea, an essential ingredient for anyone who pits his wits against the elements.


21-year old Alan, the youngest of the Tracy brothers, is the astronaut in charge of International Rescue’s spacefaring rocket, Thunderbird Three. He also shares a month on, month off rotation on Thunderbird Five with his brother John.

Interested in space travel from an early age, Alan was attending the University of Colorado when he built a rocket which went off course, shattering every window on the campus. His father decided that formal astronaut training was the only thing that would give Alan a sense of responsibility, and Jeff’s decision was upheld by his son’s ability in space. In his off duty time, Alan’s favorite hobby is motor racing.


Orphaned when a hurricane struck his Michigan home, Brains was adopted at the age of twelve by a Cambridge University Professor who recognized the young boy’s phenomenal mental gifts. His inventive genius later came to the notice of Jeff Tracy, who hired him to be the mastermind behind the incredible machines used by International Rescue.

When he’s not wowing the Tracys with his mechanical wonders, Brains spends his spare time working on hobbies like his robot, Braman -- which he says he originally created to give himself a chess partner that had a real chance of beating him. 

There is much controversy surrounding his real name…which has been reported as, among other things, as “Horatio Hackenbacker” and “Homer Newton III.” The reality is probably an even closer guarded secret than the location of Tracy Island.


22-year old Tin-Tin, whose name in Malay means “sweet,” is the daughter of Kyrano, faithful friend and retainer to Jeff Tracy. She was invited to join International Rescue after completing her studies in Europe – paid for by Jeff – and she accidentally became involved in the organization’s first rescue operation when the Fireflash aircraft on which she was returning home was discovered to have a nuclear bomb on board.

Tin-Tin’s degrees in mathematics and engineering ensure a close fit with Brains, who calls on her for assistance with laboratory experiments as well as the care and maintenance of the Thunderbird craft. Her main interests apart from her work include water-skiing, swimming and designing her own clothes – and Alan Tracy, who is constantly by her side.


International Rescue’s London agent, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward is based at her stately home in rural Kent. Unflappably cool, she conceals her thirst for a daily dose of “deadly danger” beneath the fashionable, elegant façade of a member of the British aristocracy, and those who are fooled by her genteel exterior and underestimate her soon live to regret it.

Lady Penelope is a lover of all things hi-tech, including a pink Rolls Royce with the license plate FAB 1, which is equipped with hyrdrofoils, hidden machine guns, harpoon launchers, smokescreen and oil slick dispensers and a couple of laser guns. And remote controlled steering, as a pair of hapless crooks who try to steal it in “Brink of Disaster” find out to their cost. A successful spy before she was recruited by International Rescue, she is one of Jeff Tracy’s favorite agents and is often consulted by him for her expertise in the course of an operation.


The nickname “Nosey” holds no mystery for anyone who has encountered Parker, Lady Penelope’s butler, chauffeur and partner in crime, face to face. The craggy-faced former criminal is a renowned safe-cracker who encountered Lady Penelope while in the process of stealing her car. He was foiled by an anti-theft alarm, but instead of turning him in to the police, she ended up recruiting him to serve as her sidekick in her adventures as a secret agent.

Parker's background and contacts in the underworld of crime are frequently a source of useful information, but sometimes can get in the way -- as in the case of Light Fingered Fred in “Vault of Death,” where Parker was torn between two loyalties…to his former friends, and to his new employer. Penelope’s attempts to educate Parker in matters of etiquette have resulted in his amusing speech pattern, which is a collision of his Cockney roots and the upper class diction of " 'Er Ladyship."


Heir to a rubber plantation fortune in Malaysia, Kyrano is an old friend of Jeff Tracy. He has lived all over the world, pursuing careers as diverse as breeding Asian orchids at Kew Gardens in England, producing synthetic foods from plants for astronauts at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and working as the head chef at the Paris Hilton.

Kyrano was cheated out of his inheritance by his half brother, Belah Gaat – otherwise known as the Hood – and this long drawn out, vicious experience with the worst side of human nature made him wish to withdraw from the world of material gain and spend the rest of his life meditating on peace, harmony and the eradication of all negative traits.

These days Kyrano takes care of the Tracys and their household – with the able assistance of Grandma – and his only failing is that he is still susceptible, unwittingly, to the evil telepathic influence of his half-brother. Gaat often uses Kyrano as a pawn in his attempts to ruin International Rescue and steal its secrets.


As Jeff Tracy’s mother, Grandma is the matriarch of the Tracy family. The widow of a Kansas wheat farmer, she is used to hard work and taking care of the men in her family, and had a strong hand in helping Jeff raise his five sons after the untimely, tragic death of their mother.

At loose ends in her retirement years, Grandma missed feeling useful and being in the thick of things, so moving to Tracy Island to be with Jeff and the boys was a natural fit. And her talents aren’t limited to good advice and a mean slice of apple pie – she’s been instrumental in helping the boys solve at least one rescue conundrum, by reminding them of the existence of the London underground tunnels in “Vault of Death.”  Go Grandma!


The Hood, who got the nickname because he is such a master of disguise that few have ever seen his real face, is one of the most wanted criminals in the world. Hunted without success by police organizations in every country, hardly anything is known by them about him, even his real name: Belah Gaat. The half brother of Kyrano, Gaat exploits that connection ruthlessly via his sinister telepathic powers.

Determined he will steal the secrets of the fabulous Thunderbird machines, he has along the way developed a hatred for International Rescue because they have thwarted his plans so many times. He operates out of an ancient temple deep in the Malaysian jungle, and is an expert on voodoo and black magic of all kinds.


NTBS star reporter Ned Cook knows that sometimes what it takes to get a story is to become the irresistible force…and he was being just that when he encountered the immovable object, in the form of Scott Tracy of International Rescue. Ordered by the pilot of Thunderbird One to cease and desist filming a fire rescue, he refused to comply, so Scott chased down him and his cameraman, Joe, and electronically wiped their tape. Ned’s fury was short-lived, however, because soon he and Joe were lying at the bottom of a sink hole in New York, hoping that International Rescue would be able to save them before what was left of the Empire State Building fell in on them both.

IR could, and did – and right there, Ned became one of their staunchest allies. Now, when he’s not grabbing headlines, he moonlights as the editor of the Tracy Island Chronicles’ official bimonthly newsletter, which he insists we name “Ned Cook’s NTBS Newsflash.” We never know what this globe-trotting newshound is going to do next, or where he’s going to turn up, but it sure is fun finding out. (Want to subscribe to the Newsflash and keep up with Ned's travels? Click here.)

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