GI Joe origins: Scarlett has a great feature about the pre-production work on Scarlett, including the original character sketch by Ron Rudat:

The piece is labelled "Master of Stealth Weapons," and in addition to having a few sample pieces of comic art to show what he thinks he face should look like, the drawing is annotated to point out her shooting vest, padded shoulders, the armor plate below her belt, the fact she keeps "extra ammo + etc." in her boot-pockets, and more.

It's interesting to note that even at this early point, Ron was aware that when the figure went into production, she wouldn't be able to have long hair: instead, she wears her hair in that fancy braid. That said, this drawing was submitted in May of 1981; does that strike any chords with you? Like, the hair, the padded vest, the boots... do you see it? That's Hoth Leia! He drew Leia as she appeared in Empire Strikes Back a year prior as the starting point for Scarlett!

(Also notice that the gun she's cradling in her arm looks like the fully kitted-out Man from UNCLE gun - a GI Joe/Transformers crossover before either GI Joe or Transformers were a thing!)

Two months later, the character had progressed to the version we know today:

If you've ever wondered what all the things sculpted on her were, the notes will make them clear.

And as promised, here's Larry Hama's original file for Scarlett, including her official job description of "Girl":

13. Girl     Code name Scarlett
Real name; O'Hara, Shana M. SN; RA2429676434
Primary MOS; Intelligence
POB; Atlanta Ga.   Grade Sp-5

Subject's father and three brothers were martial arts instructers. [sic] She began her training at age 9 and was awarded her first black belt at age 15. Graduated AIT Fort McClellen. Graduated Ranger school, Fort Benning. Special Ed.; Covert Ops School, Langly; Marine Sniper School, Quantico(TDY SP. ASGNMT COV); Special Air Service School, Australia(TDY SEATO EXCH); ROK Marine Tae Kwan Do symposium(8week intensive study course). Qualified expert; M-14; M-16; M01911A1; M-79; M-3A1; M-70(Remington sniper rifle); Mac-10; crossbow; throwing stars; garotte; Ka-bar.

Excerpt from Psychological Profile(Maj. R. Carosella USAMC)
"...Confident and resilient--I find it remarkable that a person so deadly could still retain a sense of humor..."

Peer Personality Assessment;(Sp4 Graves, Robert W.)
"...I gotta admit that I was as leery as the other guys about having a woman on the team... 'specialy one as foxy as her, but after her first mission with us everything was just copacetic. Fifteen feet above the LZ she was out the Huey on the jump off the skid WHAM into the bush pumping cover fire at the bad guys before the team leader hit the tiger grass. She made her bones the first time out. Confirmed."

("R. Carosella" is a reference to Robbie Carosella, a Marvel colorist at the time.)

So you mix a little bit of Princess Leia and a little bit of Lilah "Shadow" Galil from Fury Force, stir vigorously, and bingo, you've got yourself a Scarlett!

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