Vulcan Raven was born to Alaskan Indian and Inuit parents. He has a large tattoo-like raven birthmark across his forehead and was raised as a shaman by his people. He was brought up to be fiercely proud of his heritage, and he particularly disliked being called 'Eskimo' by foreigners. He was an excellent physical specimen, even when compared to his relatively hardy people. This is evidenced by his domination of the Stick Pull, Four Man Carry and Ear Pull (a test of spiritual and physical strength where two opponents pull each other's ear while enduring the harsh cold) events in the Eskimo-Indian Olympics.
He graduated from the University of Alaska and spent a few more years living in his homeland. One very cold winter, he decided to walk across the frozen Bering Sea, and managed to reach the USSR. He joined the KGB Spetsnaz unit, Vympel, where he met Revolver Ocelot and Sergei Gurlukovich. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he was demoted along with other Vympel operatives following Boris Yeltsin's coup in 1993. He then left Russia to become a mercenary for hire.
Years later he joined Outer Heaven, but did not meet Snake during his mission to destroy it. With Outer Heaven in ruins, he joined FOXHOUND on Revolver Ocelot's recommendation. During his FOXHOUND years, he excelled at using a M61A1 20 mm. multi-turreted machine gun, a machine gun usually mounted on F-16s. He would later display this proficiency in his final battle against Snake.
Eventually, he and the other members of FOXHOUND grew tired of the diminishing power and importance of soldiers in shaping the world's future, and sought to recreate Outer Heaven by attacking Shadow Moses Island.
As Solid Snake infiltrated Shadow Moses Island, he encountered an M1 Abrams tank with Raven as its commander. Snake single-handedly destroyed the tank by throwing grenades into the open hatches. Snake faced him a second time inside a freezing cold warehouse. Here, Raven fought Snake with his M61 Vulcan cannon but was ultimately defeated. In his final moments, Raven offered Snake a "hint", telling him that the DARPA Chief whom Snake had met and whom he saw dying, Donald Anderson, was actually Decoy Octopus. He did not explain why or how he was killed, or why he was disguised in the first place, but declared that Snake would always follow a life of bloodshed wherever he went. He also vaguely alluded to the fact that Snake was an artifically conceived clone, stating that he and Liquid "are from another world"; one which he didn't wish to see.
- Vulcan Raven retrieved Decoy Octopus' corpse after he succumbed to FOXDIE.
- Killing any of the ravens prior to Snake's second fight with him will make him chastise Snake for "killing his friends."
- Raven had an extremely voracious appetite, and was once considered to be a real threat in the Muk-tuk eating contest of the Eskimo-Indian Olympics.
- A McFarlane action figure of Vulcan Raven appears in the Tanker chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. It is positioned in front of a flashlight, giving not only the player, but also Snake and Otacon, the impression that Raven himself is standing around the corner, M61 in hand. It also appears in one of the flooded rooms in the Big Shell where it floats amongst other pieces of debris. Shooting it (in the Tanker chapter) will cause it to "speak" and fire small BB pellets.
- In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Liquid Ocelot forms a mercenary group called the Beauty & the Beast Corps which is comprised of members based on the Foxhound unit members. Vulcan Raven is succeeded by Raging Raven, sharing both title and some personality traits such as anger and the used of explosive weapons.