%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
[[quoteright:300:[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/endmgs3_5313.jpg]]]]

->''"Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."''
-->-- '''UsefulNotes/DouglasMacArthur'''

The old soldier is the grizzled veteran who has been through and seen everything in war. He would more than qualify for being a ShellShockedVeteran, both in age and experience, but he's still going into battle and odds are that he's the backbone of whatever unit he or (more rarely) she is in. This character type is almost never an officer or a commander, and is instead usually a SergeantRock. If he ''is'' an officer, expect a FourStarBadass. Generally you can expect them to be tough, to have a few [[RuggedScar badass scars]], and to be eternally pissed off at (or at least exasperated by) the younger troops around him. Despite that, he may still turn out to be one of the [[OldMaster best sources of mentoring or seasoning]] a young soldier can get.

Expect the OfficerAndAGentleman to rely on him quite a bit in running the unit, ala CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough. EnsignNewbie, on the other hand, will rarely know to do this or will actively tick off the old soldier in attempting to control a unit, a mistake he usually pays for. Despite the first page quote, old soldiers have about a 50-50 chance of dying in a work of fiction, but usually not until rather late in the story, generally in a HeroicSacrifice of some kind or in a suitably impressive way. If this character dies early in a story, odds are you're dealing with a story on the [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism cynical end of the scale]], and that it's [[AnyoneCanDie going to have a high mortality rate]].

If the soldier is ''too'' old to fight, or too [[DentedIron battered]] (or ''both''), but denies that fact, he may be a PerilousOldFool.


[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* The Captain Commander Genryusai Yamamoto of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''. The leader of the shinigami and by far the oldest, he's been around so long and been part of so many battles that he's nearly impossible to beat in a one-on-one fight. He's more heavily scarred than any of the other shinigami, and tends to refer to other characters as "brats", and won't hesitate to belittle them if he thinks they aren't living up to their role as protectors of the spirit world.
* ''{{Naruto}}'' offers Hiruzen Sarutobi and Onoki, the Third Hokage and Tsuchikage respectively. Both were students of the founding leader of their respective villages and have lived through three Shinobi World Wars. Despite their power and skill both are also notably past their prime, Hiruzen's chakra pool having dwindled due to age and Onoki suffering literally debilitating back pains. Danzo also qualifies to an extent, but has notably taken to avoiding direct battle in his old age due to [[spoiler:his fear of death]].
* Lehm from ''Manga/{{Jormungand}}''. He is a former Delta Force captain who served in the Gulf War and has years of combat experience (with scars to show for it). He is one of the senior members of Koko Hekmatyar's cadre of bodyguards and often serves as a leader and mentor to the team. Lehm is skilled with many firearms and even acts as a sniper when needed.
* Signum in ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' becomes this after being transported to the modern Mid-Childan society, where her old Belkan sensibilities undergo a transformation to adapt to a society based on (non-)humanism rather than wartime duty and knightly honor. Unlike Vita, who finds herself in training the new generation of mages in this new world, Signum continues doing what she did her entire, very long life—fighting—and declining opportunities to do anything else. While not as grumpy as the typical examples of this trope, she does call out the rookies (e.g. Teana) on their mistakes.

[[folder: Comics ]]

* In one of the ''Franchise/StarWarsLegends'' "Empire" comic lines, [[LaResistance The Rebellion]] finds [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Able Able]], an old clone trooper who has been [[TheRemnant living in the wilderness]] since the Clone Wars. He eventually gets incorporated in Luke's unit and proves to be the best, if most cynical, soldier there and looks out for Luke until [[ShaggyDogStory the whole unit gets wiped out]] by TheVirus.
* ComicBook/WhateverHappenedToTheCapedCrusader has Batman coming face to face with a vision of his mother (whether it's a DyingDream, regular dream, Fear Gas trip, genuine psychic vision etc. is never revealed) that basically pegs him as this. She says that none of the various Batman versions in the multiverse ever give up. They keep fighting until they drop, whether it's saving the world or a single person, whether on his first time out or his thousandth. Also, she states that [[spoiler:he never goes to Heaven or Hell, instead his afterlife reward is to be Batman. The same soul is continually reincarnated into every universe to keep up the fight, making Batman older than every single superhero in DC and Marvel combined seeing as at one point there were infinite universes. Whether or not this is true is up for debate, though the ending seems to show him being reborn as a baby.]]
* Wallace from ''ComicBook/SinCity'' utilizes this trope, although he's a bit more laid back than most versions. Most people don't realize that he is a retired Navy Seal until he [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown has to prove it to them.]]
* ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} is sometimes written this way. You could especially see it in the late '80s, when he was ComicBook/{{Storm}}'s second-in-command in the ComicBook/XMen.
* ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' has a superhero called the Old Soldier, who seems to turn up whenever America needs him most. He was seen in combat in 1812, 1862, 1915 and 1942. However he stood against American soldiers in Vietnam, which was a massive propaganda loss for Richard Nixon and was seen as a general sign that times were getting worse.
* Kup in IDW's version of ''ComicBook/TheTransformers'' takes this UpToEleven. Thanks to some unwanted time travel shenanigans, he's actually older than the universe itself!

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Played with in [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/90939/shell-shock Shell Shock.]] Sergeant Armor isn't very old, but he's got all the bad temper, PTSD, and sadism that comes from a long time at war.
* The titular uncle of [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/124263/1/songs-uncle-sings/sineva Songs Uncle Sings]] is a much lighter and softer version of this trope, as his days of war are long past him, he's foundhis own personal piece, and he's taken up being a musician. He even tells his nephew an amusing anecdote about his days in training.
* In FanFic/WorldwarWarOfEquals, The Vietnamese Defense Ministry re-recruits many UsefulNotes/VietnamWar vets to train their current generation of soldiers in guerrilla warfare against the alien menace.

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/WeWereSoldiers'': Sergeant Major Basil Plumley. Both the real one and the character played by Sam Elliott.
* ''Film/HeartbreakRidge'': Gunnery Sergeant Highway. Being played by Creator/ClintEastwood helps.
* ''Film/{{Stripes}}'': Warren Oates as Sergeant Hulka.
* ''Film/TheThinRedLine'': Nick Nolte as Lieutenant Colonel Tall. They don't come much more grizzled.
* ''Film/TheBigRedOne'': Lee Marvin, a WWII veteran himself, plays the part of "The Sergeant," who is a WWI veteran in this film about WWII filmed in the 1980s.
* ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'': Lee Marvin as an old major, then reprises his role 18 years later in "The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission," which takes place in the same timeframe as the first movie.
* ''Film/PrimeCut'': Lee Marvin as an ageing enforcer for the Irish Mob. His driver is an actual World War II veteran.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Several of the characters in Creator/GeorgeMacDonaldFraser's ''Literature/McAuslan'' series, particularly the Colonel, and Wee Wullie, the battalion disciplinary problem, both of whom joined up in 1914 and are still there in 1947.
* The narrator in ''Literature/{{Elfstruck}}'' found [[http://www.amazon.com/Elfstruck-ebook/dp/B0082CBZFM/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341413900&sr=1-6&keywords=elfstruck here]].
* Les Dillon is a Marine sergeant in the Creator/HarryTurtledove ''Literature/DaysOfInfamy'' novels who was a UsefulNotes/WorldWarI veteran who is called back into action in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and soon proves himself as the toughest [[SergeantRock Marine sergeant]] in the Pacific War.
* Broxigar "The Red Axe" of ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' definitely qualifies. As an orc who lived through the wars of all three games, he was greatly respected by Thrall and revered by the soldiers. Despite his age and maturity, he gets a good amount of CharacterDevelopment through his SurvivorGuilt.
* Sergeant Jackrum from ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'' has been on the Borigovian Army's payroll for ''six decades''[[note]]three officers have signed off on notes concerning "obvious" clerical errors regarding what has to have been another NCO of the same name[[/note]]. His most recent term of service was supposed to be twelve years, and he managed to keep ahead of the discharge papers for another four years after that.
** And though not technically soldiers, the Silver Horde consists of barbarian adventurers who are all at least eighty. The fact that they are all still alive after more than half a century each - in a line of work that kills most people that go into it in a year or two - means that they are very, ''very'' good at not getting killed.
* Fighting in secret war, but Griffin from ''Literature/PresidentsVampire'' qualifies. He has been [[FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire Cade]]'s partner for over three decades and there's little that would surprise him anymore. Even before this assignment, he was FBI agent, so he has a lot of experience to draw from.
* Kat from ''Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront''.
* ''Literature/TheReynardCycle'': Grymbart, a mercenary with a wife in every major city, plays this straight. He's the first man onboard the Quicksilver to befriend Reynard.
* ''Literature/StarshipTroopers'': Sergeant Zim (no relation), and a few other veterans like Jelal probably qualify. It's also not uncommon for older men (such as Juan Rico's father) to enlist in the Mobile Infantry, those who make it through training are often fast-tracked.
* Ser Rodrik Cassel from ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''. A tough, loyal, dependable and sensible knight, who, unfortunately, is very much given the short end of the stick in the series. [[{{TheMagnificent}} Barristan the Bold]] A.K.A Barristan the Old from the also qualifies.
* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' books, Aurors are somewhere between cops, [[SecretIntelligenceService spies]], and soldiers, but Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody and Rufus Scrimgeour unquestionably fit this trope. Mad-Eye specifically is covered with war wounds, he's an old friend and confidant of [[BigGood Dumbledore's]] and considered by Dumbledore to be the most trustworthy and reliable wizard in England. Sure enough, [[PuttingTheBandBackTogether when the Order of the Phoenix gets back together]] (with many roster changes) Moody is part of its backbone. [[spoiler:His death early in the last book is a big sign of just how harrowing things are going to be.]]
* ''Literature/TheWarlordChronicles'': Most of the characters [[AnyoneCanDie who survive]] until the third book are Old Soldiers. Sagramor, who has been a soldier nearly his entire life and main character Derfel are major examples, but one of the coolest examples is Culhwch. There's a bit very close to the end of the series where he walks out in the space between two opposing armies and dares someone from the other side to try to become famous by killing him in single combat. When no one comes out, Culhwch [[BoisterousBruiser taunts the entire army]] about their cowardice and reluctance to take on a bald old man. When Culhwch turns his back to return to his own side, one of the enemy {{Mooks}} does in fact try to [[InTheBack backstab him]], but Culhwch effortlessly guts the poor bastard. He then waits for a minute to see if anyone else is going to come forward before really returning to his place in the shield wall.
* Sergeant Jean in ''Literature/{{Seven Men of Gascony}}'' by R. F. Delderfield. Nicholette is this in a sense and is an interesting enough character to deserve mention. She is a camp-follower selling wine to Napolean's army, not a soldier per se (that is she doesn't carry a musket). However she grew up in her circumstances and was an Old LadyOfWar at age sixteen. She knew the tricks of surviving including those specific to her circumstances such as avoiding giving away more of the other kind of refreshments than she was willing to give by the adroit use of a DeathGlare, and by a non-canonical(presided over by the sergeant not a priest that is) but faithfully kept marriage to each of the members of TheSquad until they [[AnyoneCanDie were killed]]. I know {{Squick}} y but ItMakesSenseInContext. She is one of the most interesting characters of the book.
* ''Literature/{{Bolo}}'': Bolos can spend years or decades on the front lines. Of course, they're self-aware tanks armed with a WaveMotionGun and [[MoreDakka whatever else the designers could bolt on]], so they tend to fight on a larger scale than most examples here. Seeing as they don't age and can eat a near miss from a nuke, so some of them end up as ''really'' old soldiers.
** One of the books is even called ''Old Soldiers.''
%%* In the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', Whiskeyjack fits this this trope perfectly. Fiddler takes the role in later books.
* In ''Literature/TheBlackCompany'' series, this trope was written for Croaker [[spoiler: and all of the rest of the Company kept in a decades-long magical stasis]] in the later books, where he also [[spoiler:becomes a FourStarBadass]]: especially after [[spoiler:the Old Guard is resurrected from the magical]] imprisonment in [[spoiler:Water Sleeps]].
* ''Literature/BelisariusSeries'': Maurice is the best example. There are others who have seen quite a bit of war, but these are often ProudWarriorRaceGuy s whereas Valentinian is closer to the classic model of this trope, having a cynical, practical and plebian outlook on war. [[PublicDomainCharacter Flavius Belisarius]] himself, both in the series and in the real life. He was a Syrian Greek of peasant stock, a bunch that was noted for their practical outlook, and it was repeatedly said that he viewed the war not as [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy an honor]] or [[BloodKnight a joy]], but as [[HumansAreWarriors a work that has to be done]], which is why he was so good at it.
* Nestor from ''Literature/TheIliad''. He's described as having at least a generation on the next oldest soldier present in the battle.
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', Gamling. He expresses concern that the army mostly consists of men his age and their grandsons, because of the high casualty rates Rohan has suffered recently.
* Bob Shaftoe eventually becomes one of these in Literature/TheBaroqueCycle.
* ''Literature/TheKingdomAndTheCrown'' has an old Roman Centurion named Sextus Rubrius.
* Druss "The Captain of the Axe" in ''Legend'' by Creator/{{David Gemmell}}. Right down to being brought out of a 'leave me alone' retirement to become the heart of a heroic defense against an overwhelming foe. There is a strong implication that without Druss there the defenders would have routed within a few days of the Nadir army arriving at the gates of the fortress. Druss's presence not only provides a massive morale boost but he also provides invaluable tactical advice since in his life he has participated in dozens of similar sieges as both the attacker and defender. He also has an almost supernatural instinct for the ebb and flow of battle and what to do when it looks like your side might be about to break.
* Ajax the Archer in Robert Asprin's ''[[Literature/MythAdventures Myth Conceptions]]''.
* The Dansker in ''Literature/BillyBudd'', an old sailor "of few words, many wrinkles, and some honorable scars," who always addresses Billy as "Baby."
* John Carter of Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs' ''Literature/{{Barsoom}}'' series has, by his own admission, been soldiering for literally longer than he can remember, but for some never-explained reason still has the appearance, strength, and stamina of a man in his prime. The combination of peak physical form and decades of sword=fighting experience makes him rather formidable even on Earth, and when translated to Barsoom where the lower gravity allows him to leap moderately-sized buildings with a single bound, he's essentially a one-man army.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Qhorin Halfhand is a member of the Night's Watch, a senior and experienced ranger who is regarded as an elite scout and soldier.
** Jeor Mormont has been a soldier almost his entire life.
** Rodrik Cassel is clearly rather old and is Master-at-Arms at Winterfell and a loyal servant to House Stark. Even in his old age he is still a skilled warrior.
** Rickard Karstark is a capable general in Robb's army, having fought against the Mad King. In the books, he also killed Ser Stafford Lannister at the Battle of Oxcross (the battle in episode 4).
** Tywin has fought in at least two country-wide wars and the annihilation of rebel bannermen before that:
--> '''Tywin:''' 'The War of Five Kings' they're calling it. This will be my last war. The one I'll be remembered for.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Captain Reed in "Desert Son" served in the enlisted ranks before bucking for officer. As a result, he's unusually old and salty for a Marine Captain. And of course there is [[RetiredBadass General]] [[{{Determinator}} Williams.]]
* Colonel Sherman Potter in ''Series/{{MASH}}''. He was a cavalry soldier in WWI.
* ''Series/ThePacific'': Sergeant Elmo "Gunny" Haney of the USMC. One of the leads, Eugene Sledge, wrote a book entitled, ''With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa''. Gunny '''*was*''' the old breed, having been in the service since [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI the Great War]]. Victor Davis Hanson noted that he even had a name that sounded like a Marine's name.
* Kang, Kor and Koloth, all Klingon captains from ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Star Trek]]'' who had confrontations with Captain Kirk. They're still fighting, killing and generally being badasses over a century later in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. All three had earned the rank of ''Dahar'' Master, which made them legendary even among Klingon warriors.
* The War Doctor's subcultural gimmick in ''Series/DoctorWho'', being that he was a body selected by the Eighth Doctor to be 'a warrior'. He has a young appearance upon first regenerating, but by the time he gets involved in the main series' plot he appears very old, being sick of the Time War.
** Creator/BigFinish invokes the trope as one of their audios' titles - ''Old Soldiers'', featuring the Brig, who mentions a saying from his father: "In life, as on the fields of battle, there are old soldiers and there are bold soldiers, but there are very few old, bold soldiers."
* ''BandOfBrothers''. During the final episode, "Points", Germany has surrendered and some of the now-disarmed German troops are being used in some minor roles in the Allied occupation. One such soldier, an old veteran, is assigned to man a checkpoint with Easy Company's Private Janovec. He happily talks about how he was in every country of Europe during the conflict. He then mentions that this is the end of his ''second'' war, meaning he had fought in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI as well. Janovec is stunned and congratulates him on being able to survive ''both'' world wars.


[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' has numerous old soldiers: mechwarriors who fought in the 4th Succession War in 3028 showed up to fight in the Fedcom Civil War in 3062. But the character who did the best job embodying this trope would probably be Natasha Kerensky [[TheRedBaron The Black Widow]]. At the time of her death in 3057, she was 84 years old and not only was still considered one of the best mechwarriors who ever lived but was also still [[GrandmaWhatMassiveHotnessYouHave widely regarded as a sex symbol as well]].


[[folder: Video Games ]]
* "Old" Snake by the time of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'', although he had everything but the physical age by the time of the first VideoGame/MetalGearSolid. Old Snake is [[YoungerThanTheyLook 42]]. Aside from Old Snake, there are also Revolver Ocelot, who's 70 by the time of ''[=MGS4=]'', and [[spoiler: Big Boss, who's 79.]]
** The End takes this to it's logical and literal extreme. He's over 100 years old when you battle him, prone to dozing off at random, and can ''[[EasterEgg die of old age]]'' if you take too long to fight him. He still manages to be ThatOneBoss.
* Sten from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' acts like this although you never get a grasp of how old he actually is (digging in character files with the official developer's toolkit lists him as merely '''30''', making him actually an aversion of this trope - [[YoungerThanTheyLook not that you'd ever guess that from looking at him]]).
** A more straightforward example is Teryn Loghain, who on top of being an [[StrategyVersusTactics exemplary general (if a terrible politician)]] puts up a serious fight against your chosen champion in his DuelBoss TrialByCombat [[spoiler:and can even join your party as a Gray Warden in time for the final battle.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** Sgt. Avery Johnson is at least almost 70 years old in the main trilogy, and has survived about half-a-century's worth of constant frontline combat fighting Insurrectionists, Covenant, and Flood. [[spoiler:The fact that he's a [[SuperSoldier Spartan-I]] probably explains at least part of it.]]
** On that note, all of the Spartan-[=II=] SuperSoldiers are about 41 by the time ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' occurs, and they've all been fighting since they were 14. Nevertheless, their augmentations, along with plenty of cryo-sleep, help keep them physically younger than their ages suggest.
** Edward Buck fills this role in both ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'', where he's 42, and ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', where he's 48.
* ''VideoGame/FurFighters'': Roofus Hound fits the bill. He has since retired along with the rest of his squad but this WWII veteran is still out kicking ass with the best of them when Viggo pops up.
* Jolee in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' acts like this sometimes.
* William "Bill" Overbeck from ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'', a former Green Beret and two-tour Vietnam vet who is the oldest of the original Survivors. While he may not be in peak fighting condition, he still fights just as well as his other teammates, and (from in-game dialogue) is considered to be the mentor of the group. [[spoiler: He is also one who canonically commits a HeroicSacrifice, though for [[McLeaned different reasons.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'': Huang Zhong. Most of his lines invoke his experience and age; the source material ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' suggests that he was ''63'' when he first appeared in the story to fight Guan Yu. Although he is actually a year younger than Jia Xu. However, Jia Xu appears much earlier in the story and as such is depicted as being much younger looking.
** Huang Gai (no relation) of the kingdom of Wu also merits a mention, being cast as a muscular old marine (that is, a shipborne warrior, as befitting his kingdom's naval tradition) in particular, and ever since ''Dynasty Warriors 6'' he's portrayed with gray or white hair. Also true to most of his ''Three Kingdoms'' characterization.
* Carter in ''VideoGame/DeusEx''.
* In ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' the male barbarian [[ExecutiveMeddling was meant to be]] the same BarbarianHero from the second game in the series, albeit 20 years older and sporting a gray beard.
* Largo from ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'' had served in the First Europan War some twenty years before the game's events, and is one of the older members of Squad 7. It came as no surprise when he initially saw Welkin as little more than a young upstart cashing in on fame.
** Most squad members in the game are barely teenagers. Some, however, are much older. [[FriendlySniper Catherine]] and [[SergeantRock Musaad]] are also First Europan War veterans and 35 and 43 years old respectively, and [[GeniusBruiser Wavy]] is a 37-year-old BadassTeacher. All of these pale in comparison to storm-trooper Coby, who is ''65'' and still kicking ass.
* ''VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed'': General Rahm Kota.
* Zaeed Massani from ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', who is arguably the toughest member of the team aside from Garrus, and of course, Shepard.
** Urdnot Wrex in the first Franchise/MassEffect game, who's [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld ancient even for a Krogan]] and has been a soldier and mercenary since Earth had Vikings.
** Admirals [[AFatherToHisMen Anderson]] and [[FatherNeptune Hackett]] embody this trope for the Alliance, having fought in ever major engagement of the last three decades. Anderson is said to have enough medals to melt into a lifesize gold statue of himself, while Hackett's [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority service record]] is apparent from the sheer amount of [[CoveredWithScars scars]] he has across his face.
** Kaidan expresses feeling like one of these at the end of the third game. He's thirty-six at most by that point, but WarIsHell. Shepard him/herself expresses similar feelings despite being even younger than Kaidan, especially by the end of the game thanks to an extreme case of HeroicFatigue.
* The Regretful Soldier from ''VideoGame/FallenLondon'' fits quite well. [[ShellShockedVeteran He's always drunk and frequently weeping]], but he's still one of the best brawlers there are.
* In ''VideoGame/FarCry2'', Josip is 48 years old and a heavy drinker, but still described as a man "who will break you in two."
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** Despite otherwise being an irreverent old coot, Galuf of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' gets very serious whenever it comes to BigBad Exdeath. Turns out he was one of the four warriors who fought Exdeath thirty years ago [[spoiler:and has been ruling Bal in a thoroughly warrior-king way ever since. When Galuf dies in battle against Exdeath--a battle he fought with zero HP--his last words to the party aren't sentiment, but telling them in no uncertain terms to finish the job while they beg him not to die. He does have more caring words for his granddaughter, though.]]
** Auron from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' is an unusually young example, being only around 35, but considering [[TheMentor his role]] in the group, that the rest of the party is in their teens to early 20s, and that Auron was a longtime warrior monk before he became a guardian, (and then the only guardian to ever survive a successful Pilgrimage, which is enough to make him a LivingLegend by itself) and his general SeenItAll attitude, Auron being considered the old soldier is more than justified.
%%* James Anderson from ''VideoGame/IronStorm''.
%%* Peppy Hare from the ''VideoGame/StarFox'' series.
* The appropriately named Sensei from ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars'', his outfit is an old paratrooper jumper from [=WW2=].
* ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' has a few:
** [[ShellShockedVeteran Soldier:76]], AKA Jack Morrison was one of the founding members of Overwatch. After the group was disbanded, he became a vigilante, waging a personal war to expose the truth behind Overwatch's collapse.
** [[BadassGrandpa Reinhardt]], also a founding member of the team, and even at 61 years old, still proves to be a stalwart and even jovial ally on the battlefield. He's got a giant ''[[RuleOfCool rocket]]'' [[DropTheHammer hammer]] and a suit of PoweredArmor, and can soak up as much damage as he dishes out.
** Ana Amari, Jack Morrison's second in command, ''was'' the world's best sniper, until a CriticalHesitationBlunder incapacitated her by having her dominant eye shot out. After faking her own death for a few years, she decides to put retirement on hold and aid the people she loves. In game, she is a sniper whose shoots darts filled with biotic chemicals that heal allies and damage enemies.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* ''Webcomic/StandStillStaySilent'': Trond has been in the military all his life and hates so much the idea of retiring that he'd rather be a HypercompetentSidekick in the MissionControl for an expedition in a ForbiddenZone that is doomed to failure as far as most authorities are concerned.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'':
** Ratchet in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated''. He doesn't like to talk about it.
** [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers G1's]] Kup. He's SeenItAll.[[note]]Except for [[EldritchAbomination Unicron]]. Never seen anything like that before...[[/note]]
** Scavenger from ''[[Anime/TransformersArmada Armada]]''. The guy that trained Optimus.
* General Immortus from ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' takes this UpToEleven. He's a [[TheStrategist brilliant military tactician]] since, in the words of a fellow villain, he's experienced every war in history.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* The entire ''Heer'' (Army) leadership of [[UsefulNotes/NazisWithGnarlyWeapons the Wehrmacht]] in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. The average ''Heer'' NCO (one per ten-to-twenty men) was forty-something or older. The average ''Heer'' general (one per 2k-4k men) was in his fifties. For contrast, while the average Soviet NCO was also in his forties or late 30s, Soviet Generals were all in their forties as well. This was thanks partly to the purges and prewar expansion of the Red Army, but largely to wartime promotions.
* The French Army senior officer corps before and during [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the disastrous 1940 campaign]] was populated by old veterans. The commander in chief General Maurice Gamelin had been born in 1872, his successor General Maxime Weygand had been born in 1867 and lived to nearly 100, and Field Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain had been born in 1856, making him the oldest man to ever become head of state in French history. When Prime Minister Paul Reynaud asked their opinion of [[{{UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle}} Charles de Gaulle]] (who was 50 back then), [[{{Irony}} they called him "an unruly kid"]].
* Jean Thurel served in the French Army from 1716 until his death in ''1807''. He was 107 when he died, and was consequently known as "the Oldest Soldier in Europe".
* Similarly, William Hiseland was the last survivor of the English Civil War, living to the ripe old age of 112. He fought in his last battle (during the War of Spanish Succession) at the age of ''89.''
* Samuel Whittlemore, the oldest man known to have participated in the American Revolutionary War. At the ripe old age of 78 he [[OneManArmy single-handedly ambushed]] a British brigade, [[BadassGrandpa shot and killed three redcoats]], was shot in the face, [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill bayoneted 13 times]] and {{left for dead}} [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat in a pool of his own blood.]] He was found a short time later, [[MadeOfIron still alive]] and [[{{Determinator}} trying to reload his musket.]] The doctors said he had zero chance of survival. Even so, ''he recovered and lived another 18 years.''
* Due to the nature of the job, some soldiers are affectionately known as "Old Man" or something similar despite being several years away from middle-aged.
* The Old Guard of Napoleon's Imperial Guard. There were also a Young and a Middle Guard, but the Old one was the creme de la creme of the greater French empire. Composed entirely of veterans of Napoleon's earliest campaigns, with at least ten years of service, they were highly valued by Napoleon. Since they were the only soldiers who could dare complain about their conditions in front of the emperor, they were known as "Grognards" (grumblers). Militarily, they served as a reserve thrown into battle at a critical moment to tip the scales, though more usually were kept in the back to avoid taking losses. When the Old Guard broke and routed at the final stage of Waterloo, the rest of the French army followed soon upon hearing of it, such was their MemeticBadass status.
* The silver shield pikemen, ''[[BilingualBonus Argyraspides]]'', from the war of the successors. These men had followed Alexander the Great in his campaigns and continued fighting in the wars of his successors. They formed a unit that was undefeated in battle, the only reason they surrendered was when the rest of the army had been routed and their camp, which had their wives, children, and loot, were taken by an enemy army. Afterwards they were disbanded and sent two at a time on suicide missions that they never returned from.
* UsefulNotes/WarOfTheTripleAlliance featured DukeOfCaxias, supreme commander of the Triple Alliance in the later part of the war, who was nearly ''70'' and still leading his troops in the vanguard.
* Gerd von Rundstedt joined Germany's elite military academy in 1875, before Hitler had even gone to pre-school. One of the oldest field marshals and a dedicated [[BlueBlood Prussian]] officer, he lead forces in France and ukraine well into his ''late sixties'' - making him the oldest soldier in a senior command position in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, and quite definitely the most competent man in his age bracket.
* Field Marshal [[BlueBlood Count]] [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Radetzky_von_Radetz Radetzky]], already veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, won his most renowned victories, at Novara and Venice, aged 82. He still lived for 9 more years and actively ruled Northern Italy as a Viceroy of the Austrian Emperor. His death had been [[{{Irony}} due to injuries in an accident]].
* Field Marshall C.G.E. Mannerheim. He joined the Imperial Russian Cavalry in 1882, fighting in the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar, UsefulNotes/FirstWorldWar and UsefulNotes/RussianRevolution. After the collapse of Imperial Russia, he retired 1917 in the age of 50 as General, returning to his native Finland. Little did he know his great years were only ahead. He was immediately assigned as the commander-in-chief of the [[UsefulNotes/FinnsWithFearsomeForests Finnish White Army]], leading them in victory in the Finnish Indpendence War. He was again nominated as Supreme Commander as Field Marshall in the [[SmallCountryBigWar Winter War]] and later in the Continuation War and War of Lapland. He was 78 when he retired 1945, taking the [[AwesomeMomentOfCrowning office of President of Finland]]. Sadly, his health broke down and he passed away 1951.
* The last serving soldier to have seen active service in [=WW2=] left the British Army in 1983, with general officer's rank.
** General Lauri Sutela, Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Armed Forces, retired likewise 1983. He had served as First Lieutenant in Engineer Corps in the Winter War 1939.
** Dr. Earl Fox of St. Petersburg, Florida was confirmed as the last WWII veteran in the U.S. military, having served in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard from 1941 until 1999.