As a soldier in the U.S. Army, Parnell Jacobs served in combat with Jim Rhodes
. They become close friends who owed each other their lives, and Rhodes introduced him to Glenda Sandoval
, the woman who became his wife. He and Rhodes took to munitions selling and mercenary work after their tours of duty ended, but as time went on, the jobs became darker. It came to the point that it was too far past the sanity line for Rhodes, and the two men parted ways. Glenda did not like that Parnell continued this kind of work, and he eventually told her he was getting out of it. This was not true.
Parnell hit a lucky break that he could not pass up when he found the remains of Rhodes' War Machine armor that had been lost. He sold the armor to an associate of his, Stuart Clarke
. In turn, Clarke brought it to Sunset Bain
, who wanted to use it against Tony Stark
. The money was just too good, so Parnell opted to pilot the rebuilt War Machine armor. He battled with Iron Man and Carol Danvers
until his upgraded War Machine armor was severely damaged and he was forced to flee. Also, Rhodes had recognized it was him in the armor and exposed what he was doing to Glenda. The failure of this scheme did not sit well with Sunset Bain, and both Parnell's and Clarke's lives were in danger. Parnell went into hiding, keeping under the radar for awhile. He eventually resurfaced and contacted Clarke, saying he was looking to sell the remains of the War Machine armor he kept. Clarke doublecrossed and shot him, taking the technology for himself.
Apparently, Parnell expected Clarke's betrayal and the entire thing was a setup to fake his own death. He wound up back in Santo Marco, a nation he had done quite a bit of arms dealing business in. This is where Rhodes tracked him down to. Rhodes had become War Machine again and taken on a new and more serious mission. He had need of Parnell's services, whether Parnell was interested or not. Parnell was taken by force and brought to Rhodes' hidden satellite. The deal was that Rhodes needed a mechanic familiar with the War Machine armor, and that was Parnell. In return, Parnell would not be left to die cold and hungry in an orbiting satellite. It took hearing that Glenda had gotten into serious trouble to make him embrace the arrangement. All he cared about was making sure Glenda was rescued from the trouble she had gotten into with Eaglestar.
U.S. War Machine History
Parnell was a racist childhood friend of Rhodey and sold the War Machine armor to A.I.M because he didn't have enough money to keep up with his pregnant wife Glenda. A.I.M instead took his wife hostage for him to get other armors, this forced him to make an attempt on Rhodes life but was interrupted by S.H.I.E.L.D and took to their HQ. During the U.S. War Machine trails for S.H.I.E.L.D, Fury wanted Parnell on the team, due to his prior War Machine armor experience. Rhodes and Parnell had to team-up again where they are once again befriended. Their mission was to get info from A.I.M H.Q's in Latveria where he found his wife but was killed by Doom's men but was revived by A.I.M with an unknown method.