[[quoteright:330:[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer40000}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/commissar_hug_4117.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:330:Not all commissars lead through fear...]]

->''"Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death."''
-->--'''SunTzu''', ''Literature/TheArtOfWar''

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

This commander cares deeply about his men and [[TheMenFirst exhibits it constantly]]. A [[MentorArchetype mentor]] to the officers under him, he takes a deep personal interest in their welfare and tries to keep them out of harm's way. He would never say, "WeHaveReserves" (unless it would save more lives in the long run- but [[NotSoStoic expect him to be torn up about it]], though he may hide it [[BadDreams almost perfectly]]--and certainly never [[GloryHound to make him look better]]). Staff officers, engineers, and the CampCook will be treated with respect and made to feel as valued as the troops on the front line, though he'll not put up with [[ObstructiveBureaucrat bureaucratic nonsense]]. He will never lay claim to work actually performed by his subordinates, and [[ThinkNothingOfIt will try to pass the credit to where it's due if it is misattributed to him]]. He will [[ItsAllMyFault accept responsibility for any mistakes]], even if it was not entirely his fault, especially if the failure would result in severe punishment for a subordinate. He often follows up by treating his subordinate's mistakes as {{Career Building Blunder}}s. And when his subordinates actually die, he will make sure to [[TheDeadHaveNames remember all of their names and faces]].

Usually a military mastermind who disdain [[ZergRush wave attack carnages]] and instead will plan so that his faction will have the least casualties possible.

Strategic or tactical blunders are usually the fault of [[GeneralFailure those above him]] or [[TheNeidermeyer below him]]. His career is often handicapped or cut tragically short by the [[ModernMajorGeneral incompetent]] [[ArmchairMilitary High Command]], his true worth appreciated only by the men he commanded. Or at least, that's the impression he projects to the troops.

This character generally cultivates [[TeamDad a father-figure atmosphere]]. He is a source of morale, discipline and stability. Usually this is through a gentle reasoning tone, but sometimes he's a more strict (read harsh) father figure. In this instance expect a [[NewMeat new soldier]] transferred to the unit to hate him, and for one of the older veterans to take him aside and tell a nice PetTheDog story about the commanding officer. Sometimes all his soldiers are new; this will result in hatred until the soldiers either survive something that could have killed them, or accomplish a difficult objective, and realize that they would have died or failed without his strict training.

He is often utilized more as a device ''after'' he has left the scene, as an idealized counterbalance to the [[TheNeidermeyer incompetent]] who succeeds him. This is probably because he's far more effective as a saint, and it'd be hard to maintain such an image when he's actually coordinating operations, especially cursed with HollywoodTactics like he is. Indeed, an officer who learns YouAreInCommandNow may find his troops are LosingTheTeamSpirit over this commander's death--though he can issue a RousingSpeech reminding them that the dead commander would be SoProudOfYou if they soldier on.

Sometimes he's used to make the troops unhappy with their new commander, even if he is a good one- similar to the "You're Not My Mother" response given even to kind substitute authority figures.

Other times he's a character who gets called in to deliver an Aesop after the soldiers mess up. Or he might be a mostly off screen character who gives the main characters [[SoProudOfYou a reason to try and do better]], and to be embarrassed when they make a stupid mistake.

When an enemy, he is often the WorthyOpponent or FriendlyEnemy. If he's a subordinate, the BigBad's [[ItsAllAboutMe lack of concern]] for his men may be a source of MistreatmentInducedBetrayal.

Despite the title and the use of a male pronoun, this trope is sometimes {{Gender Flip}}ped.

Most of the movie and TV examples in TheCaptain are of this type.

SisterTrope to OfficerAndAGentleman, and they may overlap. If he is a BlueBlood, he will not care that his soldiers are commoners. This often surprises other BlueBlood officers.

Related to TheLastDJ, BenevolentBoss. Compare PapaWolf and the aforementioned TeamDad. See also ThePatriarch and ReasonableAuthorityFigure.

Contrast SergeantRock who is also super-competent, but his leadership style is nasty; TheNeidermeyer who is nasty and incompetent; DrillSergeantNasty who is either competent or incompetent as the plot directs. The opposite of WeHaveReserves.
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!!Examples
[[index]]
* AFatherToHisMen/AnimeAndManga
* AFatherToHisMen/{{Literature}}
* AFatherToHisMen/LiveActionTV
* AFatherToHisMen/VideoGames
* AFatherToHisMen/RealLife
[[/index]]

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* If you're a SuperVillain, it is a very, ''very'', '''''very''''' bad idea to hurt a member of the JusticeLeague when {{Superman}}'s around. There's a reason he's the default leader of the team.
* Just about every leader, or just high ranking member, of the ComicBook/{{X-Men}} is this.
** Xavier, the founder, was a surrogate father to both Scott and Jean, as well as everyone else in the original five, he cares deeply about them and their safety, with one issue showing, in detail, every person Xavier let die and show how it effected him emotionally.
** ComicBook/{{Cyclops}}, while this is often ignored or not noticed, has a tendency to be protective over new members, and often acts as TeamDad when around younger members. He may generally suck at social interaction and he failed his actual son (though, in fairness to him, he didn't intend to abandon him the first time, and eventually he had to give him up to save his life), but when it comes to his team, he'll bromance with the older ones and do his best to keep the younger ones safe and prepared. Special mention should go to his treatment of the early-mid 2000s class (especially Pixie, Rockslide, Nori, and Anole, and to a lesser extent X-23), with it being him who noted they should reach out and try to take better care of them. [[RunningTheAsylum Though, this depends on the writer and how they want to treat Cyclops.]]
** Emma Frost is a MOTHER to her men, having been devastated to the point of a HeelFaceTurn when her Hellions all died; she expresses this by her care for her young students, such as Gen. X, New X-Men, the New Hellions, etc. Special note is her care for Jullian Keller (Whose codename, Hellion, was picked for her original team) and Noriko/Surge. [[MamaBear She once used]] MindRape on a villain who threatened her students by removing the only positive figure from their memory, effectively causing them nothing but emotional pain for the rest of their cold existence.
** [[{{Wolverine}} Logan]], while not a leader, is almost always a father figure to young, especially female, X-Men. When placed in charge of X-Force, he takes special care over the other members. (This is probably because two of the members are only in their late teens-early twenties, while the fourth is his own child/clone who is no older than 17.) There's a reason he has one sidekick per generation.
* The love DoctorDoom feels for the people of Latveria is the '''one''' thing that is stronger than his hate for Reed Richards; he would gladly lay down his life or even (temporarily) ally with the Comicbook/FantasticFour to protect them.
* CaptainAmerica. Any team he gets put in charge he treats like his family, possibly because of his late Sidekick Bucky.
* NickFury during his more sympathetic moments. Special Mention to the Seige event, where he makes special attention to make it very clear that the plan to stop Osborn was his idea, so that if all fails, only he will be arrested for Treason.
* The High Evolutionary tends to treat almost ''everyone'' in a rather paternal way, but he looks upon the Knights of Wundagore moreso than others. (And seeing as he created them, one could say that he ''is'' their father.)
* Headmaster Gentis in the comic book arc ''Franchise/StarWars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison'' deeply cared for his students. This, along with witnessing the Imperial cremation center's constantly churning dead Imperial bodies, [[WellIntentionedExtremist is what led him to decide to overthrow Palpatine in order to stop the constant warmongering]] via a MilitaryCoup.
* Papa Smurf is pretty much this to ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs''. In fact, in the English vocal track of [[Film/TheSmurfs the live-action movie]], Gargamel goes so far as to have Papa Smurf say he has 99 sons and one daughter. Papa Smurf himself says that they're his family.
** And as he claims in [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs the cartoon]], Grandpa Smurf was exactly the same when Papa Smurf was a young smurf.
* Reed Richards of the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' is the father of his team. Given that their entire thing is that they're a family of superheroes, this is basically his thing, besides being TheSmartGuy above all Smart Guys in the Marvel Universe.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* [[http://www.fanfiction.net/u/55667/Erico Erico's]] fanverse for Mega Man features Doctor James Cain of the Maverick Hunters, who the troops revere as a father. For some, such as X and Zero, he's the closest thing to a real father figure they have.
* Col. Edwards in ''FanFic/TheReturn'' combines this with ColonelBadass.
* Battle Commander Karrde in ''Fanfic/TiberiumWars'' is deeply concerned about the welfare of the troops under his command. At the same time, he also has [[TheChainsOfCommanding to grapple with the necessity]] of ordering men to their deaths and making battlefield decisions that result in victory at the cost of his troops' lives, which forms a major part of his character's personal conflict over the course of the series.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' fanfic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6245901/1/Three_Years_At_Sea Three Years at Sea]], Shuang [[RedBaron the Traitor]] is this to his crew. When Zuko sinks his ship, he says he will surrender quietly if Zuko spares his crew rather than taking them to certain torture and execution by the Fire Nation. [[WhatASenselessWasteOfHumanLife Zuko being Zuko,]] he agrees.
* ''FanFic/TravelsThroughAzerothAndOutland'' has this in the form of Dallard Corwyn, a heroic human noble stationed in the Dragonblight.
* Fanfic/DragonAgeTheCrownOfThorns has the dwarven noble protagonist during his brief time as Commander, before his [[spoiler:deliberate ZeroApprovalGambit]]. In fact, [[spoiler:even though said gambit is executed flawlessly, his men, or at least one very high-ranking military figure, never believe in his guilt, to the point where said high-ranking warrior threatens the Assembly with leaving for the surface, along with his whole house, unless they give the prince a trial, which they do, much to Bhelen's chagrin.]] What makes this even more interesting is that [[spoiler:they were all proven right when Trian, who is still very much alive, revealed himself.]]
* It's not uncommon in ''Series/TheXFiles'' fics for Skinner to be cast in a substitute-father role to Mulder and/or Scully, and Scully's mother, while a civilian, frequently mothers Mulder as well.
* [[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist The Mustangs]] are a father and mother pair to the men of both their old unit and their current one, in the FanFic/ElementalChessTrilogy.
* [[TheCaptain Sulov Koskium]] of the Roleplay/{{BZPRPG}} is [[AFatherToHisMen a father to his squadron]].
* [[Franchise/MetalGear Big Boss]] fills this role in ''FanFic/{{Stray}}'', for [=FOXHOUND=]. [[spoiler: Literally, since [=FOXHOUND=]'s membership includes two of his cloned offspring.]]
* In the [[WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand BLoSC]] FanVerse of ''Fanfic/ForGood'', [[EvilOverlord Evil Emperor Zurg]] is considered a twisted sort of father figure to his "freak show staff".
* Franchise/SherlockHolmes to his Baker Street Irregulars ([[HyperCompetentSidekick Wiggins]], especially) in the ''Fanfic/DeliverUsFromEvilSeries''...
-->Those street Arabs were almost ''too'' loyal to their… oh, sod it, to their father. Maybe they weren’t too loyal, after all.
* In ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'', Papa Smurf goes beyond this to [[HappilyAdopted Happily Adopting]] his little Smurfs after ThePlague has removed their parents, [[spoiler:with Empath being his only begotten son]].
* In the WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender and Manga/Naruto crossover [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8038098/1/Bodyguard-of-Azula Bodyguard of Azula]], Naruto is this to a huge part of the Fire Nation Army, to the point that they [[spoiler:beg not to fight him when he is buying time for Azula and Zuko to escape the capital, and try to let him out of the prison when he surrenders. He plays this trope again by ordering them not to do it, since all of them would be killed if it failed]]
* In the ''StarTrek'' fanfic ''FanFic/{{Heroes}}'', Spock regrets that Surak will never see the side of Kirk that becomes upset whenever a crewman dies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Animation]]
* Boss Wolf from ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
* Used in ''K19TheWidowmaker'': [[Creator/LiamNeeson Mikhail Polenin]], the first captain of the K-19. All his men love him, he takes an interest in them and is a great submarine captain... then five minutes in, he's demoted and replaced by [[Creator/HarrisonFord Alexei Vostrikov]], who is a drill-obsessed hardass. Not only do the men hate him because he overworks them, they feel that their "rightful" captain has been wronged.
** Almost called out by name when the Vostrikov is incredulous that the sub's crew would bring their fears directly to his predecessor.
---> '''Polenin:''' A crew is like a family. The captain is the father.
* General Waverly in ''Film/WhiteChristmas''.
-->'''Bob Wallace:''' We ate, and then he ate. We slept and then he slept.
* John Wayne's character in ''SheWoreAYellowRibbon''
* RussellCrowe seems to play these characters well. The Roman general he played in ''Film/{{Gladiator}}'' cared deeply for his men, and in some ways even more for his fellow gladiators. Captain Jack Aubrey in ''Film/MasterAndCommander'' is this even moreso.
* In ''Film/ApocalypseNow'', Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) alludes to Lieutenant-Colonel "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" Kilgore (Robert Duvall) as falling into this trope. Arguably he comes across as more of a Cool Uncle or Older Brother.
* The Captain in ''Film/DasBoot'' is very much like this, although he is only thirty years old and the men are in their late teens.
* It's very understated, but Captain Nemo appears to have this relationship with his men in ''TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen''. This is a nod to his source material, as these men continued to follow him even after he was exiled from his homeland, where he had been a [[RoyalBlood prince in the ruling family]] before their massacre.
* Captain Staros in ''TheThinRedLine''. His parting words to his men are: "You've been like my sons. You are my sons."
* General Robert E. Lee in ''{{Gettysburg}}''. Exemplified in one scene shortly after the titular battle, where Lee apologizes to his men for their defeat at the hands of the Union army and takes all the blame for their failure. His men, on the other hand, refuse to blame Lee and plead with him to send them back into battle to redeem themselves.
* General Kuribayashi from ''LettersFromIwoJima'' tries to be this, but the other officers in the army have the soldiers still be {{Red Shirt}}s, and the only one this has good effect on is Shimizu.
* Hunter, in ''CrimsonTide'', leads from the bottom up, contrasting with TheCaptain's lead from the top style.
* In ''Film/StarTrek'', Captain Pike is practically young Jim Kirk's WellDoneSonGuy.
** And in ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', Spock was willing to risk his life out of loyalty to Captain Pike.
*** Even better - Spock ends up risking ''Kirk's'' life out of loyalty to Captain Pike. Now that's something.
** In the [[Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness sequel]], BigBad John Harrison is this, as part of his motivation is to save his crew. He even calls them his family
---> '''Harrison''': My crew is my family Kirk. Is there anything you would not do for your family?
* ''Film/TheGunsOfNavarone''. Miller snidely suggests that Mallory play this part when he's trying to convince Mallory to shoot TheMole.
* In ''Film/TheRock,'' the "being torn up about sacrifices" part leads Brigadier General Francis Hummel into the villainy. It's notable how everyone even remotely knowlegeable still talk all respect about him even after he initiates a hostage/terrorist plot. [[spoiler:Which he intended to be just a bluff.]]
* Kimberly states this in the film version of ''Film/MightyMorphinPowerRangersTheMovie'' when she tells Zordon that he has been "a father to us all" [[spoiler:as he is dying]].
** In an early script, Dulcea said Zordon was an inspiration. If he dies, a part of those he inspired dies with him, and the universe will suffer an "imparable blow".
*** ...which was [[HilariousInHindsight odd]], given the ending of ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace''.
* Wolfstan in ''Film/BlackDeath''.
* Major West in ''Film/TwentyEightDaysLater'' is a dark version of this.
* Col. Keith Davenport, ''12 o'clock High''. So beloved by his men that after he is relieved of command and Gen. Savage replaces him, EVERY pilot in the group requests a transfer out of the 918th.
* In ''Film/AfterEarth'' General Cypher Raige is respected and looked up to by his fellow rangers, including one who was apparently saved by him from an Ursa.
* In ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' LT Raschyk demands the best, and gives the best (it's implied the "beer and entertainment" isn't something most platoons receive).
* In ''Film/TheHuntForRedOctober'' Captain Ramius stationed many of his former officers on the Red October and they are willing to risk their lives to help him carry out his plan [[spoiler: to defect with the submarine to the USA.]] One of his officers even [[spoiler: takes a bullet]] for Ramius.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Manhua and Manhwa]]
* The majority of the generals in ''Manhua/RavagesOfTime'' but subverted with Lu Bu who, while extremely talented, thinks of his soldiers as nothing more than disposable pawns.
* Ha Jinsung from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' is a villainous version, as he dotes on his student and subordinate Viole like an overly embarrassing father.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The eponymous character of Dispatch's "The General".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Religion]]
* [[Literature/TheBible Abraham]], a father to his people '''and''' at least four ethnicities (at least two of which are extant).
** Lets not forget ''God''. All of his followers are his children. He guides and comforts them, and some believe he even died for them.
* In ''Literature/TheBookOfMormon'', Captain Helaman's 2000 young soldiers call him "Father", and he refers to them as his sons.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Table Top RPG]]
* ''IronKingdoms'': Captain Phinneus Shae, pirate captain of the Talion. As his crew are all outcasts and wanted by the Cygnaran army for mutiny, he is willing to kill himself against an undead captain, to keep his crew safe.
* Imperial Guard commanders in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' tend to be either this or [[GeneralRipper General Rippers]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'': This trope is Deconstructed by Carbon de Castel-Jaloux attitude(see the quote of Sun Tzu in literature above): He is the captain of the [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Cadets of Gascony]], a nobleman who pays his own company, so he only is obliged to obey his superiors in military matters. He is troubled at the Siegue of Arras, because all his men (to whom he refers as his sons!) are starving. His superior, The Marshal of Gassion, Count De Guiche, asks him to punish his men for disrespecting a superior officer (himself). Using his prerogative, Carbon de Castel-Jaloux chooses not to. After that, De Guiche informs him that his company is the bait in a gambit that can win the battle. Carbon de Castel-Jaloux is completely willing with the plan to send all his company to death because that is what a [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Gascon soldier is supposed to do]]. Notice that if he has punished his men – soldiers in an army are supposed to respect a superior, no matter how despicable they found him - his company would not have been picked to fight a suicide mission.
* In ''Theatre/AllMySons'', Chris's Army nickname was "Mother [=McKeller=]." While little is said about his commanding abilities, he respected and was respected by his men, and was prouder to see them fighting selflessly and dying honorably (almost all were lost) than of going back to work with his father, where civilians hadn't changed their old money-grubbing ways.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Visual Novels]]
* Hiroshi Kirisawa, the leader of the Special Investigations 2nd Unit in ''VisualNovel/MetroPDCloseToYou'', is frequently credited as the entire reason that the RagtagBandOfMisfits that makes up the unit is able to function at all, let alone as the well-oiled machine that it is. He's charismatic and dependable, encourages his men to run their investigations as they see fit, and is always prepared to back them up or take responsibility for their fumbles. He looks out for his guys off the job almost as much as he does on, doing things like regularly having the whole team over to his place for a home-cooked meal since most of them are bachelors who can't or don't cook for themselves.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Despite there technically being no real cohesive [[SuperTeam team]], [[GentleGiant At]][[GeniusBruiser las]] fills this trope for the MetroCityChronicles heroes (Noted especially for [[LovecraftLite Squid Kid]]).
* When [[spoiler:Robert E. Lee]] turns out to be unfit for a combat command in TheSalvationWar, General Petraeus alludes to this in assigning him to head a convalescent home for traumatized [[spoiler:"Second Life," aka undead]] [[FishOutOfTemporalWater American soldiers from past wars]].
* Captain Flowers of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' isn't just a FatherToHisMen; he's a [[GoodParents pathologically paternal]] NiceGuy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''KristophGavinAceAttorney'' has a somewhat literal example with Kurtis Gavin.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': When standing between Miko and Belkar, Roy says that he learned in school that the commander does not abandon one of his people in the face of the enemy. He was at one point seriously considering not rescuing a captured [[TheLoad Elan]], but ultimately decided that this was unbecoming of him.
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' Captain Kaff Tagon cares for and takes care of his men this way. And insulting him is a good way to get a faceful of fist from the men
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'': Optimus Prime. Several versions, anyway.
** In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', it is hinted that Breakdown is (or [[CharacterDeath was]]) this to the Decepticon {{Mooks}} under his command
* Zachary Foxx of ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers'' lives this trope. {{Fanon}} speculates that his intense devotion to the team is what has kept him sane after his wife met a FateWorseThanDeath and his [[WeCanRebuildHim entire left side was replaced with cyberware]].
* Anyone else get the feeling General Iroh from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' was like that towards his soldiers?
** [[DaChief Lin Bei Fong]] from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' is like this to her metalbending police officers.
[[/folder]]

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