Rolling Updates, I will add more later, but please contribute examples so I can expand it
Alternate title: Unranked Soldier
Exactly What It Says on the Tin
, a soldier with no rank. This trope refers to when a character in a work is a military operative, but his rank is never given. This can lead to speculation and confusion about the soldier's place within the hierarchy of the armed forces. This is especially mysterious when dealing with elite soldiers, and when not keeping track, the creators might have them taking orders from a low-ranking officer, yet giving orders to a high-ranked one.
Live Action TV
- EVERY elite soldier in the Metal Gear Solid series. Solid Snake, Big Boss, The Boss, Raiden, Grey Fox, Foxhound, Dead Cell, The Cobras, none of them has their rank ever explicitly mentioned.
- The Soldier in Team Fortress 2, although he was never in the armed forces to begin with.
- Sam Fischer in Splinter Cell.
- Gaz in Modern Warfare. Not even the game's subtitles allude to his rank.
- Everyone except Ohgami and apparently Ayame and Yoneda in Sakura Wars -- possibly justified inasmuch as they're a special steam-powered-mecha-piloting demon-fighting squadron, though. Well, maybe it's less "justified" and more "this is a highly silly series and if you're trying to figure out what their ranks are, you're thinking about it too hard."
- In the 2010 Medal of Honor, none of the Tier One Operators in AFO Wolfpack or AFO Neptune are ever addressed by rank in-game (indeed, they're not even addressed by name, going only by callsigns), in contrast to the members of Sgt. Patterson's Ranger squad, who are all identifiable by name, rank, and uniform.
- Of the Razgriz Air Command Squadron in Ace Combat 5, only one pilot still holds any rank in the Osean military or, indeed, exists in the public eye. The other three are rankless and nameless, as far as military is concerned (though they still sometimes refer to each other by their former ranks). The Squadron itself operates outside of the Osean military command, pledging loyalty directly to the President.
- In the United States Air Force, members of the Office of Special Investigations will either wear civilian attire or uniforms sans rank insignia, featuring name tapes identifying them as OSI agents. This is to ensure that they can perform their investigations without relative differences in rank between them and other service members causing problems.