Created By: Triterope on February 23, 2013

Screwup Brigade

That one outfit where the military assigns all the incompetents, so they can do as little damage as possible.

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Any large organization is going to have its share of idiots, misfits, klutzes, jerkasses, and other people whose mere existence threatens the overall mission.

One way of dealing with such people is to put them all in one group, and then put that group as far away from the action as possible.

The Screwup Brigade usually has an innocuous name similar to other units witin the organization. But everyone knows what an assignment to 'that' unit really means.

Not quite the same as Reassignment To Antarctica or Punishment Detail, because the assignment doesn't have to be unpleasant. Oftentimes it's just boring, away from any meaningful duty. Similar to Army of Thieves and Whores, but incompetent instead of evil.

Subtrope of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. Can result in Reassignment Backfire.


In the first Police Academy movie, it is heavily implied that the main characters' D Squad is this.

The Misfits in Fallout: New Vegas.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • February 23, 2013
    Is this just a squad of almost-not-good (key being almost) enough soldiers? See this type of squad as protagonists a number of times, and they step up a the end.
  • February 23, 2013
    Does This Count?
    • In one epsiode of The Simpsons during an inspection of the nuclear plant, Smithers hides Homer and a couple of other less-qualified individuals by assigning them to watch over a bee in a jar. The other two start to cotton on to the scheme but Homer remains oblivious.
      Smithers: Don't worry [Mr. Burns] sir, I rounded up our less gifted employees and led them into the basement.
      [Shot of the basement with Homer and two other guys]
      Bernie: Duh, Homer, why are we down here?
      Homer: Aw, geez. I told you, Bernie: to guard the bee!
      2nd Man: [whining] But why?
      Homer: Aw, you guys are pathetic. No wonder Smithers made me head bee-guy.
      [Homer kicks the jar accidentally, smashing it, and the bee escapes]
  • February 23, 2013
    Damn, I could give you an example but it's from one of my own works in Darth Wiki.
  • February 24, 2013
    • Down Periscope. The crew of the U.S.S. Stingray is deliberately chosen from the worst rejects and misfits in the U.S. Navy.
  • February 24, 2013
    Asprin's Phule novels are about such a unit in a Space Foreign Legion.
  • February 24, 2013
    • The television series F Troop is about such a unit in the Wild West.
    • An early episode of Bonaza has a more serious treatment of this--an Army officer is in charge of a platoon of "casuals", resentful of it, and for this and other reasons takes it out on his prisoners.
  • February 24, 2013
    Live Action TV
    • Subverted with Black Sheep Squadron starring Robert Conrad, in that the squadron was composed of renegades, mavericks and brigands. However, their piloting skills and aerial combat prowess made them a highly effective squadron in the Pacific theater.
  • February 24, 2013
    • Similar to the Black Sheep Squadron example (in fact it's quite possibly a Whole Plot Reference) is the Wraith Squadron in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, a squadron where some of the New Republic's Military Maverick types are put for one more chance.

    • Honor Harrington:
      • Basilisk Station was considered such a place, which is why Honor's crew took it so hard when they were assigned there. To add insult to injury, her superior officer, an officer with a personal vendetta against her, decides it's time to take his ship home for an overhaul, leaving her to patrol and defend an entire heavily trafficked system with only a single light cruiser. Honor, being who she is, starts cleaning up the rampant smuggling and corruption and manages to avert a Havenite invasion. After that Basilisk loses this status and in later books has a full defense force comprised of ships of the wall.
      • In a later book, Honor is sent on a pirate-interdicting cruise with some armed freighters. This time she actually does have a bunch of screw-ups and knuckleheads on her crew, and she intentionally keeps the worst of them on her own ship where she can keep an eye on then.
  • February 24, 2013
    • The Soyokaze from Irresponsible Captain Tylor is considered the dumping ground of the armed forces. This is why Tylor is made its captain when he earns a promotion but is considered too risky to place in any real responsible position.
  • February 25, 2013
    • The Omega Mob in the Phules Company novels comprises the most incompetent, criminal, insubordinate or just unsuited to the military members of the Space Legion. They're assigned to a backwater planet with no real duties in order to keep them out of the way. Then Phule shakes things up, and suddenly they're seen as the elite squad...
  • February 25, 2013
    In another Simpsons episode, Springfield Elementary needs to do well on the standardized tests, so they send all the bad students (Bart included) on the bus under the pretext of going to take a special test, so they won't be at the school to lower the average. And to make sure, Superintendent Chalmers traps Principal Skinner on the bus as well so he won't screw things up somehow.
  • March 5, 2013
    Battlefield Bad Company: Bravo Company, better known as Bad Company.