Name: Operative 17
Other Names: 17; Agent 17
First Appearance: Captain America (vol. 1) #145 (Jan. 1972): "Skyjacked!"
Number of Appearances: 2
Note: knocked out pilot of SHIELD plane during raid
In Captain America (vol. 1) #145, HYDRA planned an attack on Captain America and special SHIELD squad Femme Force - an attack that took place while the hero and agents were on a SHIELD plane en route to Las Vegas. HYDRA agents flew to the plane in a special aircraft, docked with the plane mid-flight, and boarded. Then they proceeded to battle Captain America and Femme Force, but their victory in this battle seemed in doubt.
Watching via a video feed, Supreme Hydra saw their victory was in doubt. The Supreme Hydra (Richard Fisk at the time), leader of HYDRA, specifically ordered Operative 17 by name to go to cockpit and take over the controls. Operative 17 did so. He knocked out the pilot (Eric Koenig) and tried to crash the plane.
Operative 17 was clearly a "true believer" in the cause of HYDRA. He was quite willing to crash the entire plane into the ground, killing everybody on board (including himself) in order to follow the directions of the Supreme Hydra.
In Captain America (vol. 1) #146, in panel 3 on page 5, Captain America is trying to stop Operative 17 from crashing the plane. Operative 17 tells him: "You're too late, Captain America! Only a few thousand feet more... and we'll smash into the mountains below! Hail HYDRA!"
Addressing the pilot, Captain America says: "Eric--- Grab the controls-- while I handle this would-be kamikaze!"
Captain America here compares Operative 17 to the Japanese "kamikaze" fighter pilots during World War II. These were pilots who believed so fervently in their cause and in serving the Japanese Emperor that they were willing to commit suicide by crashing their planes into enemy battleships.