Ray Schoonover decided to become a drug lord by smuggling high-quality heroine into the United States. Do to so covertly, he allied with CIA agent William Rawlins and created Cerberus Squad, a group sent to eliminate terrorist stationed in Afghanistan, but was secretly a way to smuggle drugs by placing it into corpses of those killed-in-action. Ray took on the mantel of the Blacksmith and recruited many servicemen into the squad, notably Lieutenant Frank Castle and Billy Russo.  After the mission in Kandahar, Schoonover returned home after losing his hand from mortar blast and he was promoted to the rank of Colonel for his failure of Operation Cerberus.
As the Blacksmith, Ray Schoonover decided to take over the drug trade within New York City, rivalling Madame Gao's own heroine trade. Schoonover had heroine smuggled into the country covertly across the Middle-Earth and overseas covertly. The D.A. did a sting operation to uncover the Blacksmith's identity, setting a meeting at Central Park between Kitchen Irish, Mexican Cartel, and the Dogs of Hell. Schoonover had tipped off the three gangs and set an assassination attempt on Frank Castle and his family alongside William Rawlins, who blamed Castle for heaving leaked the information on Zubair. The gang members became rattle and started a shootout, killing an undercover cop and Castle's family.
Castle survived the massacre, returning to kill anyone who was involved in his families murder. He attacked and killed many gang groups, including Kitchen Irish, the Mexican Cartel, and the Dogs of Hell. Castle was taken into custody, but was defended by Schoonover who told of his service in the United States Marine Corps, but to no anvil.
Castle was sentenced to Ryker's Island, but escaped with the help of Wilson Fisk. Schoonover decided to cover his tracks and decided to trick Samantha Reyes to believe that Castle was targeting her family. Schoonover killed Reyes and attempted to kill Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, but only injured the latter. He then killed Gregory Tepper in a similar matter to Reyes, and failed to kill Karen Page by the aid of Castle, convincing her he wasn't behind the murders. Castle learned of Schoonover's betrayal and went after him. Page learned of Schoonover's identity as the Blacksmith, seeing a picture Gosnell, the burnt corpse she had seen at pier 81.
Threatening Karen Page with a gun in hand, Schoonover ordered her into a car and to drive down a road. Though she pleaded for him not to kill, he left the weapon against her head. Suddenly, the car collided with a truck, knocking Page and Schoonover unconscious. When Page regained consciousness, she discovered that the driver of the truck and her kidnapper were gone. Injured, she managed to leave the vehicle and walked uphill, where Page noticed Frank Castle dragging his former superior to a shed.
Page got Castle's attention, protesting with him not to kill Schoonover. Ignoring her please, she went on to plead that if kills him that he was dead to her; rather than spare Schoonover, he replied that he was already dead before closing the door to the shed. Castle loaded his weapon. With his superior taunting him, he fired one bullet in his head.
- "Now I want you to get me whatever we have on a Marine Force Recon colonel called Schoonover, the explosion and drug bust at the 41st Street docks last year, and everything available on one of his men, Lieutenant Frank Castle."
"The Punisher? He's dead."
"Castle and Schoonover served in Afghanistan, same unit, then both are dead one day and 20 miles apart right here in New York. That strike you as a coincidence?"
- ―Dinah Madani and Sam Stein
The Punisher explored and founded Schoonover's armory in a secret room, finding an impressive military-grade of weapons, including a bulletproof vest that had a look of a skull pattern. Castle took the arsenal to his hideout and brandish a skull on the bulletproof vest. Afterward, Castle assisted Daredevil in his battle against the Hand and accepted his mantel of the Punisher. After his assist, Castle returned home and set fire to his home, accepting closure after killing the one's who were involved in his families murder.
After killing many more who were involved with his families murder, Castle left his life as the Punisher and joined a construction company six months later. Despite his attempt to reconstruct his life, Castle joined forces with David "Micro" Lieberman, an NSA analyst who was hunted down by corrupt agents William Rawlins and Carson Wolf for discovering their illegal operations and giving Madani's the tape of the execution of Zubair.  Department of Homeland Security agent Dinah Madani looked into Castle's profile and Schoonover's assassination and felt something was off with the death of Schoonover to her partner Sam Stein, who presumed the Punisher was dead.