- “When I die, please bury me deep! Place an MA5 down by my feet! Don't cry for me, don't shed no tear! Just pack my box with PT gear! 'Cuz one early morning 'bout zero five! The ground will rumble, there'll be lightning in the sky! Don't you worry, don't come undone! It's just my ghost on a PT run!”
- “They're the best of the best, but they're only human.”— Halo: Combat Evolved Manual
A rugged and diverse assortment of well equipped and well trained men and women, one of the Marine Corps' most notable conflicts was combating the Covenant's highly superior technology and numbers.
The UN Marine Corps (predecessor of the UNSC Marine Corps) was one of the primary combat groups fielded by the UN in the Interplanetary War, and were the first military organization deployed offworld in 2163. After the United Nations claimed victory in 2164, it reorganized into the UNSC, thereby changing the UN Marine Corps to the UNSC Marine Corps. When the UNSC began expanding in the 24th century,[note 1] the Marine Corps was retained within the Sol system. It only gained prominence out in other systems after the CMA's fall from grace.
- Main article: Human-Covenant war
During the course of the Human-Covenant war, the Marines played a central role in maintaining a defensive stand as well as assaulting several Covenant base of operations. The Battles of Harvest, Arcadia, Sigma Octanus IV, Earth, and countless others saw fierce fighting between Marines and the Covenant Army.
- Main article: First Battle of Harvest
First contact with the Covenant was aboard a shipping vessel. Staff Sergeants Avery Johnson and Nolan Byrne were waiting, expecting to find Insurrectionists boarding the vessel, only to see four Kig-Yar raiding the ship. The first casualty was Staff Sergeant Byrne, who was stabbed in the leg with an energy cutlass. The wound was minor, however, and he survived.
The UNSC Marine Corps' second encounter with the Covenant was the First Battle of Harvest in 2525. At the event, only three Marines were present, one officer and two NCOs, training the planet's Colonial Militia. During the battle, Captain Ponder became the Corps' second casualty of the war.
Not long after the First Battle of Harvest, the Corps experienced its first major encounter with the Covenant at numerous engagements throughout the Outer Colonies, including the Harvest Campaign, eventually lasting from 2526 to 2531. At the final stages of the campaign, the Marines quickly established a base of operations in Harvest's arctic region. A reconnaissance force led by Sergeant John Forge was deployed to survey the area. However, during the patrol, Covenant forces under the command of a Covenant Arbiter overran and nearly destroyed the base. Forge rallied scattered marines, who quickly retook it from the Covenant. After receiving reinforcements and repairing the base, the Marines fought through a sizable Covenant garrison force in an attempt to secure a mysterious Forerunner structure in the region.
The First Battle of Arcadia saw the UNSC Marine Corps holding the defensive line around the planet's major population centers to allow the evacuation of the civilian population with the assistance of the Spartan-II Red Team. Successfully keeping Covenant forces from occupying the population centers, the Corps began launching multiple assaults on the Covenant's base of operations to reclaim the planet.
The UNSC Marine Corps would take part in numerous campaigns against the Covenant on many of the Outer Colonies in the years that followed. Unfortunately, they were hopelessly outmatched by the superior Covenant forces, and the Corps would suffer tremendous losses in what eventually saw the near-destruction of the Outer Colonies.
Battle of Sigma Octanus IV
- Main article: Battle of Sigma Octanus IV
The Corps experienced another encounter with the Covenant on the colony world of Sigma Octanus IV. Upon landing, the Marines' hardware and equipment were rendered useless due to the planet's harsh environment. In the first stage of the battle, during a naval engagement, a DDS-class carrier was able to land a large contingent of troops on the northern pole of the planet. The Marines set up Alpha Headquarters, which was quickly destroyed by Covenant forces. The Covenant were able to take Côte d'Azur, a major Human population center. Fortunately almost all of the civilian population was evacuated beforehand, but the UNSC Marine Corps' General Kits launched a failed assault to retake the city- almost all 1600 Marines were killed. Despite all this, the over-all Pyrrhic Victory was accomplished by the Marines.
Fall of Reach
- Main article: Fall of Reach
The UNSC Marine Corps maintained a sizable presence on Reach when the Covenant stormed the planet; they bypassed the defense fleet in orbit, as well as the MAC Gun platforms, and made a considerable landing of soldiers on the North and South Poles. During the early hours of the battle, the Covenant had overrun FLEETCOM HQ on Reach, destroying the perimeter and swarming the Marine defenders with Banshees, Wraiths, and battalions of infantry. The situation became severe and critical when the Marines were forced to defend the Orbital Defense Generators against a massive Covenant assault, using every available armored vehicle and defensive position from available bunkers. The Battle of Reach became one of the most devastating defeats for the UNSC Marine Corps in the Human-Covenant war.
Battle of Installation 04
- Main article: Battle of Installation 04
The surviving Marines from the Battle of Reach served an important role in the Battle of Installation 04, taking part in such engagements as securing the UNSC Pillar of Autumn crash site, launching multiple guerrilla assaults on Covenant convoys and base of operations and rescuing captured Pillar of Autumn's personnel from a Covenant Battlecruiser. Initially, the Marines were part of a special operation consisting of a sizable Orbital Drop Shock Trooper special forces detachment and a standard Marine detachment to infiltrate Covenant High Command and kidnap a Covenant Prophet.
Battle of Earth
- Main article: Battle of Earth
- “Dear Humanity, we regret being alien bastards. We regret coming to Earth. And we most definitely regret that the Corps just blew up our raggedy-ass fleet!”
The UNSC Marine Corps remained on Earth and its geosynchronous Orbital Defense Platforms, and were mostly prepared to repulse a relatively small Covenant invasion, when fifteen Covenant capital warships, two Assault Carriers and thirteen Covenant cruisers, entered the Sol System. They then played a significant role in the Covenant ground assault on Earth where they defended multiple major population centers from the Covenant's occupation such as those in New Mombasa, Cleveland, and Havana.
Several Marine detachments achieved a turning point during the course of the Battle of Earth when they managed to retake the cities and maintain temporary ground control for UNSC reinforcements to arrive. Such Marine detachments were the 405th Marine Infantry Division, which was able to engage the Covenant ground forces in Mombasa, Kenya as the Covenant Assault Carrier landed Phantoms and Orbital Insertion Pods, and used its Gravity lift to directly deploy reinforcements.
The Marine Corps had also partaken in a major assault alongside the UNSC Navy in Voi. As ground forces, the Marines were to engage in the Battle of Tsavo with John-117 by eliminating anti-air vehicles and batteries, as well as destroying temporary Covenant outposts to allow UNSC reinforcements to regroup & refortify the area.
Battle of Installation 00
- Main article: Battle of Installation 00
The Marines fought in the war's last battle at the Ark. Starting with their deployment in an operation codenamed Operation: BLIND FAITH, the Marines launched numerous attacks on Jiralhanae strongholds, including an attack on the Ark's Silent Cartographer. After fighting on foot and in heavy vehicles, the Marines drove off the Covenant. They then joined forces with the Sangheili and attacked three Barrier towers protecting the Ark's Citadel. After capturing the first tower with the help of John-117, Marines and UNSC Pilots defeated the Covenant Air Force. Once the third tower was deactivated, they staged an attack on the Citadel. After fighting two Scarabs, they were evacuated back to the fleet while John-117 and the Arbiter killed Truth. The surviving Marine forces fell back to Earth through the Portal on board the Shadow of Intent before Installation 08 was activated.
First Battle of Requiem
- Main article: First Battle of Requiem
When UNSC Infinity was launched on its mission to locate and secure the remaining Halo Rings, it carried a contingent of over 6,000 Marines on board. When the ship was pulled into Requiem following the distress beacon of UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, it crash landed in a thick jungle surrounded by legions of Covenant. Marine and Spartan-IV fireteams were deployed to the surrounding swamps and were clearing out Covenant forces when they encountered Prometheans for the first time. At this point John-117 arrived and assisted the Marines in reaching Infinity and clearing it of hostiles. After this the Marines of Gypsy Company would deploy in an M510 with air support to launch a massive assault on a particle cannon battery and the planet's gravity well, both of which were keeping Infinity from leaving. These Marines would succeed, using heavy armor to punch through extremely heavy resistance and destroy both targets. After this all Marine forces would return to Infinity while it escaped back to Carinae Station.
Second Battle of Requiem
- Main article: Second Battle of Requiem
In February of 2558, UNSC Infinity returned to Requiem to drive out the Covenant garrisoned there and to establish research bases on the interior surface. Over six thousand Marines were aboard and would be deployed to the planet over the course of the battle. Beginning with initial operations, Marine forces would fight alongside Spartan-IV fireteams on the front lines, securing Forerunner artifacts and destroying Covenant assets. Marines would comprise a large percentage of all casualties during the battle, with entire fireteams confirmed KIA in the final days of the battle, but thanks to their efforts, Infinity would secure three Forerunner artifacts and half of the Janus Key, ultimately escaping before Requiem's demise.
- Main article: UNSC Marine Corps Dress Uniform
The Marine Corps Dress Uniforms are similar to those worn by their 20th and 21st Century predecessors in the US Marine Corps. However, UNSC Marines wear what appears to be a modified and stylized version of the United States Marine Corps emblem on their collars. Furthermore, white jackets and blue trousers are worn instead of the blue dress uniforms of the United States Marines. However, in 2525, the uniform apparently consisted of a blue jacket and trousers, similar to that of the USMC.
- Main article: UNSC Marine Corps Battle Dress Uniform
Marines have no bio-augmentations and usually wear passively camouflaged armored uniforms. They wear dark-colored metal-alloy armor to shield them from gunfire. Marine helmets are mounted with holographic text-displaying eyepieces and helmet recorders, as observed in Halo: Combat Evolved, when John-117 watches footage from PFC. Wallace A. Jenkins' helmet. As well as helmets, Marines on field operations in more humid locales, such as Installation 04, sometimes choose to wear boonie covers, or those in colder environments don visored and thicker helmets, as observed in Halo Wars.
Marine NCOs are easily recognized by the cap that they wear, complete with the UNSCDF insignia, although they often substitute this soft cap for a more practical protective helmet.
Marines on Installation 04 sported gray fatigues, and over that, pieces of brown armor plating covering the head, torso, shoulder, and shins. Some only wore their utilities and soft body armor, even forgoing helmets and body armor plating in hazardous combat operations. Others substituted their helmets for boonie covers and sometimes bandannas. However, since they had to get off the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, they probably didn't have time to grab their gear. Some Marines had small medical packs built into their back armor plating.
The standard Marine battle armor seen during the early stages of the Battle of Earth and the Battle of Installation 05 appears to be woodland-pattern camouflage utilities, along with an olive drab load-bearing armored vest. The standard-issue armor is more of a uniform than the body armor issued to the Marines on Installation 04, as the Marines no longer appear as a rag-tag group of survivors, but as a unified force. They no longer wear boonie covers and are never seen in combat without rigid armor. In game, the only time Marines were seen without any armor was during the awards ceremony aboard Cairo Station; where many Marines were forced to repel boarders in their white dress uniforms, lacking time to change into more practical battle dress uniform.
Another variation of Marine armor, used during the later half of the Battle of Earth, is an evolution from that mentioned above, with heavier and well-articulated olive-drab full body armor (armored vest, shoulder plates, elbow pads, and knee pads) over woodland camouflage utilities, allowing them to passively camouflage well in jungle terrain. Marines sometimes don small helmet communication microphones or black-phased sunglasses on their helmets, while others carry backpacks. Marines have been seen to wear black gloves, probably to protect their hands and improve their grip on their weapons. Some marines sport gold visors which attach to the brim of their helmets.
Marines operating in cold environments wear environmentally-tailored armor, with insulated snow camouflage utilities and full body armor as well as insulated and visored helmets with something similar to a balaclava.
- Main article: ODST battle armor
Orbital Drop Shock Troopers sport heavy and articulated black battle armor, which also double as an armored g-suit that allows for safe transport in small ships during turbulent atmospheric entry, allowing 15 minutes of air in vacuum, this armor is far more sturdy than the standard BDU. Their helmets are fully-visored, completely cover the head, and can withstand multiple shots. This armor, overall, provides ODSTs with more protection than standard marine armor.
The aftermath of the Human-Covenant war saw a redesigning of the basic Marine Corps BDU. Dozens of variants exist, with black vacuum armor, olive camouflage fatigues and a light-weight armor kit. All helmets have built in respirators and re-breathers for chemical/biological warfare. The helmets are also considerably thicker than the wartime variant. A select few spec-ops Marines wear Recon Ballistic Battle Armor, such as Vasily Beloi and Malcolm Geffen.
The standard issue weapon for UNSC Marines Corps is the MA5 series of assault rifles. Most Marines were issued the MA5B variant until its replacement in late 2552 by the MA5C. The BR55 Service Rifle and its heavy barreled variant are used both as standard service rifles and as marksman's weapons. Suppressive fire is provided by the M247 GPMG, M247H HMG, and AIE-486H HMG. Special forces and vehicle crews are issued M7 and M7S Submachine Gun variants, with personal sidearms such as the M6 Series.
Snipers operate the SRS 99 AM, SRS 99C-S2 AM and SRS 99D-S2 AM sniper rifle variants for anti-materiel and anti-personnel operations, with the M99 Special Application Scoped Rifle used as a dedicated anti-materiel weapon. Standard UNSC sniper teams consists of two operators; a spotter and a sniper.
Anti-armor fire is provided by the M19 and M41 rocket or missile launchers and the W/AV M6 G/GNR Spartan Laser directed-energy-weapon. Anti-air fire is provided by the M19-B SAM Missile Launcher, capable of destroying Banshees and damaging Seraph fighters.
The UNSC Marines Corps' standard vehicle is the M12 Warthog LRV, used for armored patrols and personnel mobility. The M12G1 Warthog LAAV is used as an anti-armor vehicle, mounted with an M68 Gauss Cannon, as well as the M12A1 Warthog LAAV mounted with a 102mm SC-HE Rocket Turret, firing 102mm shaped-charge high-explosive rockets. For rapid transport, the UNSC employs the M274 Ultra-Light All-Terrain Vehicle For heavy engagements, the Marine Corps operates the M808B Scorpion Main battle Tank, and uses the Wolverine in an anti-air role.
The Corps' most common aircraft is the Pelican dropship, either the D77-TC or, in late 2552, the D77H-TCI. The D79H-TC Pelican and its variants are used in the post war period. This includes multirole aerodynes which are capable of carrying a mixture of Scorpion anti-tank rockets and Anvil II air-to-surface missiles, and equipped with either chin-mounted 7.62mm machine guns or 70mm autocannons.
The UNSC Marine Corps also operates the AV-22 Hawk as a close air support gunship and the AV-14 Hornet as an aerial support vehicle. Stocks of both were slowly replaced with AV-49 Wasp. Marine air units are intended usually to support ground forces or to drop off vital equipment for the Marines, either in close-air-support or air interdiction roles, with the UNSC Navy or UNSC Air Force taking on the dedicated air force role.
- Marine BDU
- Black Body Suit
- S90 Gas Mask
- Small radio set
- VX7 Nerve gas
- PG000E Portable Electricity Generator
- EB Green
- Main article: UNSC Marine Corps Personnel
- Main article: UNSC Marine Units
The UNSC Marine Corps operates a variety of different types of units. These units include infantry, armor, and aerospace. Combined forces are put together into Marine Expeditionary Forces. Marine intelligence is gathered by Marine Force Recon units.
The rank structure of the UNSC Marine Corps is based around that of the United States Marine Corps.
- Main article: UNSC Marine Corps/Gameplay
- Bungie went to great lengths to ensure that the Marines reflected the diversity of Earth; some Marines look and sound American, while others appear Asian, African, Australian, Hispanic and European. Many were also modeled on members of Bungie's own staff members to provide further diversity in the universe.
- All of the armor pieces sported by Marines in Halo: Reach's campaign can be purchased in The Armory. The Marine armor includes a right UA/Base Security shoulder pad, a left GUNGNIR shoulder pad, the Recon chest plate, Military Police helmet, a Tactical/SOFT CASE or UA/NxRA, and GUNGNIR knee guards, along with brown primary and steel secondary colors.
- In 2007, Bungie hired an actual Marine, Christian Allen, who served with the US Marines from 1995 to 1999, as a Design Lead.
- One of the random quots a squad of Marines says in Halo Wars, is "work hard, play hard, die young." which is a reference to one of the random quotes of Terran Marines in the video game StarCraft which is "work hard, play hard, die young... but not today".
- The book actually states the 23rd century for the "interstellar colonial surges," but the actual first surges didn't take place until the 24th century. Likely the 23rd was a typo.
- Halo: Escalation
- Xbox.com Halo Storyline (Defunct, Copy on HBO Forums)
- halo.bungie.org - Timeline
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide - page 32
- Halo 3 - Level: The Storm
- Halo Encyclopedia, page 57
- Halo 3 - Level: The Ark
- Halo 3 - Level: The Covenant
- Halo 4 Limited Edition, Infinity Briefing Packet
- Halo 4 - Level: Infinity
- Halo 4 - Level: Reclaimer ending cutscene, "...as soon as we know we're airtight, I want a course laid in to Carinae Station..."
- Halo 2 - Level: Cairo Station
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo Wars
- Polygon - Meet Halo 5’s new boss, then kill it with this new vehicle
- Letter - Re:Antilon Mine
- Halo: Contact Harvest, page 111
- Halo 5: Guardians - Description: Recon DMR