Rocket Minions/Rocket Grunts

These are the nameless flunkies of the Team Rocket organization, referred to as "Rocket" or "Rocket Grunt". They are called in for backup on some of Giovanni's largest missions. They usually train Poison Pokemon like Koffing, Ekans, Zubat, and Grimer. They appear in the following versions of Pokemon: Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, FireRed, and LeafGreen.

Several TV appearances include: The St. Anne scheme, capturing Pokemon that Mewtwo weakened, and doing construction work around Clarity Lake in Mewtwo Returns. The Japanese-only special Team Rocket: The Origins of Love and Youth shows Jessie, James, Butch, and Cassidy starting off as TR minions.

It seems that all Team Rocket members begin their criminal careers in this position, and then work their way into the higher ranks. Most of these Rocket Grunts are male, but there are a few female members as well (maybe the girls just get promoted more quickly?)

In the GameBoy games, the Rocket Grunts carry out most of the actual work in Giovanni's organization. Some of these schemes include stealing fossils from Mt. Moon; stealing TMs from people; causing trouble at Silph Co., Lavender Tower, and Cinnabar Lab; cutting off Slowpoketails and selling them for high prices; forcing useless Magikarps to evolve into powerful Gyarados; and occupying the Goldenrod Radio Tower to transmit their own messages. While your trainer causes TR to disband in R/B/Y with the defeat of Giovanni, the minions and the Executives continue their criminal activities in G/S/C, waiting for their Boss to return.

As long as Team Rocket continues to operate, there will always be a need for underlings to do the dirty work. Look for lots more Rocket minions in future Pokemon games and episodes.

Character sketch of the St. Anne minions (taken from the CD Drama)

The first-ever pic of Jessie and James, taken from an issue of Nintendo Power that previewed Pokemon for the first time.
Probably before they were promoted to Class B (white uniform) members.

From the fourth Butch and Cassidy episode. B&C have backup from Giovanni's minions!

Jessie and James in disguise as common Rocket minions. The look just isn't working for them.

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