Lt. Surge is known as The Lightning American. Apparently, he is or was an American soldier who fought in at least one war, during which Electric-type Pokémon saved his life. As a member of the army, Surge was a strict CO, and was rather cautious. He was a pilot as well, and used Electric-type Pokémon to power his planes, a practice that in at least one occasion saved his life. Also, Surge saved the life of one of the Trainers in his Gym who was in the army at the same time.
A little paranoid, Lt. Surge installed a series of traps in the Gym. He takes a liking to Trainers with a lot of guts.
In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, he will be outside of the Power Plant between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. This only occurs after the player has captured, not defeated, Zapdos. If the player defeated Zapdos, he or she will need to battle the Elite Four again for Zapdos to reappear. If the player arrives walking with a Pikachu, he will happily give his Pokégear number out, and if called on Friday morning, will be at the Fighting Dojo for a rematch. After the player gets his Pokégear number, he will be at the Magnet Train station in Saffron City. There he'll offer to trade his French Pikachu, nicknamed Volty, for the player's Pikachu that he saw at the Power Plant (though it need not be the same one). She will be at the same level as the Pikachu traded, will know the moves appropriate for that level, and be holding a Yellow Shard.
"Hey, kid! What do you think you're doing here? You won't live long in combat! That's for sure! I tell you kid, electric Pokémon saved me during the war! They zapped my enemies into paralysis! The same as I'll do to you!"RB
"Ten-hut! Welcome to Vermilion Gym! Will you look at that, a pint-size challenger! Hahaha! You've got big and brassy nerves to take me on with your puny power! A Pokémon battle is war! I'll show you civilian! I'll shock you into surrender!"Y
"Whoa! You're the real deal, kid! Fine then, take the ThunderBadge!"
After being defeated
"The ThunderBadge cranks up your Pokémon's speed. It also lets your Pokémon<sc> <sc>fly any timeRB/anytimeY, kid! You're special, kid! Take this!"
"Hey, you little tyke! I have to hand it to you. It may not be very smart to challenge me, but it takes guts! When it comes to electric Pokémon, I'm number one! I've never lost on the battlefield. I'll zap you just like I did my enemies in war!"
"Arrrgh! You are strong! OK, boyGS/kidC. You get ThunderBadge!"
After being defeated
"ThunderBadge increases Pokémon's speed. Consider it proof that you defeated me. You wear it proudly, hear?"
"Hey, kid! Still slugging and chugging away? My Pokémon and I are still at it!"
"Hey, kid! What do you think you're doing here? You won't live long in combat! Not with your puny power! I tell you, kid, electric Pokémon saved me during the war! They zapped my enemies into paralysis! The same as I'll do to you!"
"Now that's a shocker! You're the real deal, kid! Fine, then, take the ThunderBadge!"
After being defeated
"The ThunderBadge cranks up your Pokémon's speed. It also lets your Pokémon fly lightning-quick any-time, kid! You're special, kid! Take this!"
"Hey, you little tyke! It may not be very smart to challenge me, but it takes guts! When it comes to Electric-type Pokémon, I'm number one! I've never lost on the battlefield. I'll zap you just like I do all my enemies in battle!"
After sending out last Pokémon
"It's not over yet. It's just beginning!"
When last Pokémon is at a critical health
"Oh, last one! Never give up!"
"My electric trick..."
After being defeated
"Aaargh! You are strong! OK, kid. You get the Thunder Badge!"
"That Thunder Badge suits those who've defeated me! Take good care of it, OK? There is something else. Here is a great TM for you!"
"That TM contains Shock Wave... Zzzap! Use it to go like lightning! When you go north, you will see a big city called Saffron!"
If talked to again
"Hey, kid! Still slugging and chugging away? When you go north, you will see a big city called Saffron!"
"Oh! I never expected to see you at a place like this! What a coincidence! I can feel great electric power around the Magnet Train station! You had a Pikachu, didn’t you? How about trading it for my French Pikachu?"
No: "Shocking! I want to share my feelings for Pikachu with you! I’m ready anytime, so just bring a Pikachu, OK?"
Yes: "Wow! Electrifying! Let’s trade em now!"
"Yeah! I'm so ecstatic! I'll see you around. Good-bye!"
"Well, what do we have here? It looks like a little baby. Hey, baby, do you think you have the courage to try and take my Thunder Badge? Ha, ha, ha, a little baby like you can't defeat me! I'll put this baby to rest, then I will challenge the Puzzle Master! Ready when you are!"
Lt. Surge is an extremely large and muscular man, and seems to be the show's tallest human character. He is arrogant, loud, and crude, and refers to all Trainers as "babies" until they manage to defeat him. Lt. Surge generally looks down on unevolved Pokémon, preferring to evolve them as soon as possible, though he was proven wrong when Pikachu managed to defeat him. He also seems to be an extremely brutal battler, as nearly every Trainer that faced him ended up with their Pokémon seriously injured, including Ash's Pikachu on his first attempt, resulting in at least 17 Surge-related ER visits within a single month before Surge was defeated on the second attempt, including Pikachu.
His Raichu shares many of his personality traits, also appearing to be rather tough. Lt. Surge's main weakness was that he evolved his Pikachu into a Raichu too quickly without taking the time to teach it speedy attacks. Even though he managed to defeat Ash and his Pikachu once with pure power, Pikachu was able to use speed-altering moves like Agility to get the best of Raichu and defeat it, making Lt. Surge the first Gym Leader Ash actually beats in battle and not just receiving the Gym Badge out of gratitude.
This listing is of Lt. Surge's known Pokémon in the anime:
Lt. Surge captured Zapdos at the abandoned Power Plant under Giovanni's orders. He then fought Red at Silph Co. with an Electrode bazooka and Magneton shield all powered by his newly caught Zapdos. He also had an electrocution suit on so he couldn't be shocked by Zapdos' power. Red waits for him to make Zapdos use its full power and makes Saur cut up the power cords to his machines and his suit so he gets electrocuted instead. However, he, along with the rest of Team Rocket, was dispersed when the chimera made from the legendary Pokémon was defeated by Red, Blue, and Green in Saffron City.
Some time later, the Elite Four tried to destroy humanity. Team Rocket's admins joined up with Blue, Green and Yellow to stop them. During the battle against the Elite Four on Cerise Island, Lt. Surge was paired with Red according to Sabrina's Spoons of Destiny. However, with Red absent due to injuries, Lt. Surge had to choose Bill as his partner instead, whose Spoon had not bent due to the fact that he was accompanying Green and Yellow, thus not intending to battle in the first place. When Red arrived the moment that Bill and Lt. Surge were about to lose, Lt. Surge's spoon bent, revealing Red as his true partner. Red then resumed his battle with Bruno. When it finished, Lt. Surge became fed up and pushed Bill into the acidic waters below, though Bill was saved by Red.
In Johto, Lt. Surge owned and captained the new luxury liner, S.S. Aqua. He was first seen driving out of the Union Cave in a submarine. His Magnemite accidentally captured Crystal, who later freed his submarine by capturing the Corsola that were keeping it stuck. He repaid her by taking her to Olivine City free of charge. He then went to Mahogany Town to investigate the rise of Team Rocket under a different leader, since Koga and Giovanni disappeared and Sabrina was busy healing her wounds. He confronted the Masked Man, but lost and barely managed to escape with his life. He then stumbled upon Silver's Gyarados while exploring the Lake of Rage. He is then led to several items of Gold and Silver's including one of their Pokédexes and goes to Morty so he can use them to locate the lost boys, who tells him that they are at the Whirl Islands. He is able to return their stuff and watches the Johto Pokédex holders battle against Lugia before a message is sent to him stating that he is being summoned to a Gym Leader tournament at Indigo Plateau that would pit the Kanto Gym Leaders against the Johto Gym Leaders. Lt. Surge is fatefully pitted against Morty for the competition, but their match ends in a draw due to Morty's Misdreavus using Destiny Bond just as his Magnemite beats it. Soon, the Masked Man struck. Using his latest recruitment, Raikou, Lt. Surge separated the two coaches of the Magnet Train and returned it to Indigo Plateau before challenging the Masked Man (along with Misty and Blaine) and losing to him. The excess electricity fed to the Magnet Train proved useful later on.
Lt. Surge prefers to travel by sea, as he captains two ships and drives a submarine. He can also fly through the air by having four of his Magneton create an energy platform for him to ride on.
In battle, Lt. Surge generally prefers to use his Electabuzz to zap anything that gets in his way. He also uses other Electric-type Pokémon to provide distractions with Selfdestruct.
This listing is of Lt. Surge's Pokémon in the Pokémon Adventures manga.
Electabuzz is one of Lt. Surge's most powerful Pokémon and he noted that he is disobedient and Surge couldn't even get it in a Poké Ball. He was first seen on the S.S. Anne, where Surge sent him out to fight against Red and his Poliwhirl. He seemingly had the upper hand until the Water-type Pokémon evolved into a Poliwrath after being pushed off the side of the ship, which resulted in Red defeating Surge and Electabuzz. He was used to fight against Red again during the battle at Silph Co.. Two years later, Electabuzz was used in the battle of Cerise Island, where he helped battle Bruno, but was not able to damage his Pokémon due to their evasiveness. During the Gym Leader Tournament in Johto, he fought against Morty's Gastly and Misdreavus, who almost defeated him before Surge switched him with Magnemite.
Lt. Surge owns many Magneton and uses them for aerial transportation by having them create an energy platform using their magnetic charge. He has carried (and sometimes trapped) many people using this ability, from allies like Bill and Gold and enemies such as Red.
Lt. Surge owns many Magnemite that first appeared acting somewhat like guards of the S.S. Anne. In Johto, Surge used one in the Gym Leader Tournament, where it defeated Morty's Misdreavus before it fainted from the effect of Destiny Bond, resulting in a tie between the two Gym Leaders.
The main bulk of Lt. Surge's force resides in the power of his Voltorb and Electrode's Selfdestructs, and he has many of them on his team. This strategy was particularly instrumental in the defeat of Bruno when one of Surge's Electrodes used its Selfdestruct on Bill's Exeggcute's Egg Bomb, resulting in an explosion that took down Bruno's Onix, which was being used as a platform for the battle. They also later proved handy when their combined Selfdestruct attacks aided in his narrow escape from the Masked Man.
Lt. Surge's Raichu was very briefly seen at Silph Co. but didn't participate in battle until Surge went to Johto. There, it was used to battle the Masked Man's Houndour and to very briefly fight against the Red Gyarados before he realized that he wasn't the enemy, as it was trying to free Silver.
Zapdos was used as an experiment from Team Rocket. He took control of it prior to Zap! Zap! Zapdos. Around the end of the battle against Red, it ended up shocking Lt. Surge with its tremendous Thunder attack after Saur's Razor Leaf tore up his insulating underwear, rendering it useless and nearly killing him. As a result, Red earned his Badge and stole his electric-proof gloves. While he was knocked out cold, Zapdos was called upon by Sabrina's Kadabra and was merged into Thu-Fi-Zer, the Rockets' ultimate creation. After its defeat, it flew away alongside its fellow Legendary birds and was later recaught by Green.
Raikou was partnered up with Lt. Surge in the battle against the Masked Man. After Surge was rendered inoperative by the villain, it partnered up with Gold instead, and went back to the wild when everything had been resolved. Much later, it was recaught by Salon Maiden Anabel in Johto and became her major powerhouse.
Lt. Surge found this special Gyarados after being frozen in the Lake of Rage in Do-Si-Do with Dodrio. This happened during Gold and Silver's battle with the Masked Man. He returned it to Silver afterwards.
He shouts out a speech to the fishermen who showed no interest and threw rocks at him, due to the fact that he was responsible for the theft of a whole bunch of Water-type Pokémon. Red goes onboard and meets him. While on board, Red challenges him to a Pokémon battle with Lt. Surge using Voltorb. Red pits Clefairy against the Poké Ball-shaped object. Voltorb attacks Clefairy but Clefairy uses a deflector to negate the attack. During the battle, the fisherman boo him whenever he got the upperhand.
In the middle of the battle, Voltorb evolves into an Electrode and Red's Pikachu teams up with Clefairy to defeat the Electrode. Electrode is defeated when Clefairy fires a beam at it. The Electrode gets sent to one of the cannons which caused an explosion which destroyed the ship. Lt. Surge becomes upset when a whole bunch of his Water-type Pokémon become free.
Unlike other media, Lt. Surge has more Pokémon that is not the type he specializes in.
This is a listing of Lt. Surge's known Pokémon in the Pokémon Pocket Monsters manga:
Voltorb → Electrode
Lt. Surge's Voltorb took on Clefairy. Seeing that Voltorb is a tough opponent, Red's Pikachu also volunteered in the battle. Voltorb evolved into an Electrode during the middle of their challenge. However, it was beaten by Clefairy and Pikachu.
As Satoshi was wondering which Pokémon Lt. Surge was going to use, the Captain tells him that he has an Electrode on the team. However, it was not used in the Gym battle and it was revealed that Electrode evolved from a Voltorb when Lt. Surge was telling Satoshi the time he was in the navy and a Voltorb crashes to a tree and the tree fell down.
Lt. Surge's Pokémon Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format. Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
He uses several English phrases such as "Goddamn" in the Japanese anime and the games.
Due to his team in Pokémon Yellow consisting solely of a Raichu (to mimic the anime), that battle against him is the only one against any Gym Leader in the games to consist of only one opposing Pokémon.
As a member of the United States Army, Lt. Surge is one of two Gym Leaders known to have taken residence outside the Pokémon nation; the other is Fantina.
In the Pokémon World Tournament, the man who describes all of the World Leaders questions if Lt. Surge is from Unova. This is probably because Lt. Surge is from America, and the Unova region is based on New York City, USA.