During World War II Frank Stiles was a brilliant young nuclear scientist. He did significant work on the Manhattan Project, where he learned that another scientist named O'Connor was secretly a Communist spy. When Frank tried to convince others of his findings, nobody would believe him. He was quickly terminated from the project.
Years later, now old and rejected, Frank Stiles was sitting in a city park, thinking about his former days. It was then he spotted O'Connor, talking to a mysterious Russian man. Upon closer inspection it appeared that O'Connor was selling him secret military documents. His body aged and weak, Frank toppled out of the bushes he had been hiding in. Once discovered, however, he confronted O'Connor about the latter's dastardly deeds. O'Connor, frustrated with the old man's pestering and with prompting from his Soviet associate, shot Frank and left him for dead. The elderly patriot collapsed onto a statue of a minute man, waiting for the inevitable.
At that very moment, however, a bolt of Energy X fell from the sky. It struck the statue and with it, Frank Stiles. The energy coursed through his body, making him younger, faster, stronger than before. He rechristened himself Minuteman, after the heroic figure, and sought out the man who had "killed" Frank Stiles. Upon apprehending O'Connor, he discovered the name of the man he was dealing with Sukov.
During the search for Sukov, he came across the Mentor. They used their combined powers to try and halt Sukov's plans, but during the battle Minuteman accidentally froze the Soviet, leading to the creation of his most persistent foe; Nuclear Winter. While trying to capture this new threat, the duo met with El Diablo and the Man-Bot. The combined powers of the four were enough to stay Nuclear Winter's hand, and they decided to form a crime fighting group to stop other such threats. Now the intrepid leader of Freedom Force Frank fought against evil and villainy.
It was during this fight against evil that he met up with Nick Craft. Nick was the president of his own Freedom Force fan club. The child began following Freedom Force around, much to Minuteman's dismay. Nick's eagerness got him into trouble when, during a battle against the villainous Pinstripe, Nick was hit by a bullet meant for Minuteman. Minuteman and the rest of Freedom Force put Pinstripe down as soon as possible, then rushed Nick to their headquarters for treatment. Nick desperately needed a blood transfusion, and Minuteman offered some of his own, thus saving the boy. However his blood had been enhanced by the Energy X. It granted Nick a portion of similar, yet unstable, super powers. Nick was ready to use his powers to help out the team as Liberty Lad, but Minuteman, fearing for the lad's safety, tried to confine him. Liberty Lad soon proved his usefulness, however, and Minuteman agreed to team membership, if anything to watch over the boy.