Fighter pilots in exile, fly over foreign lands
Let their story be heard, tell of 303rd!
Fighter pilots from Poland in the Battle of Britain
Guarding the skies of the isle!
—Sabaton, "Aces in Exile"
Country A is at war with Country B. Even though Country C isn't involved in the war, many citizens of Country C support Country A. Some even go so far as to join in the fight on the Country A side, either as individuals enlisting in the Country A Armed Forces, or as free agents in units formed entirely of citizens of Country C that are affiliated with the Country A forces.
These people aren't Hired Guns
, although the money may be a motivation. They genuinely believe in the cause they're fighting for and may well bring their own military experience to the battle.
Contrast Fighting for a Homeland
. Compare the Legion of Lost Souls
, which is a more specific sister trope based on a real life unit.
after the American volunteer squadrons which served in the Royal Air Force
during the first two of the seven years of World War Two. They were recalled when the US was forced into the war proper.
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Anime and Manga
- Happens fairly often during The Five Star Stories, most notably during the Colus/Hagooda conflict of J.C. 2989 in Books II & III, which saw both sides recieving large amounts of support from foreign soldiers. While Hagooda initiall has the upper hand due to being secretly backed up by the governments of two major powers who have a beef with Colus, after the king is mortally wounded and his Fatima partner is killed by one of the "Mercenary" batallions serving Hagooda, Colus sees a massive influx of volunteers from allied nations coming in to join the fight. What makes this interesting is that some of said volunteers are actually members of foreign royalty or high officials, namely Emperor Amaterasu of Delta Belune and President Mission Routh of the Trun Union, who are participating due to a debt of honor they owe the king for his assistance during the events of Book I, but decline to directly involve their nations' military forces in the war, bringing only select members of their Imperial or Presidential Guards.
- The Steve Canyon comics (both comic books and newspaper strips) by Milton Caniff used this. The newspaper comics placed Steve in charge of "The Dragonflies" flying against a "puppet government" in China for an extended storyline starting here.
- Several strips from the British Commando comic book featured Czech or Polish pilots who flew for the British air force in the Second World War.
- DC's Blackhawk Squadron is a Multinational Team version of this, to an extent. Many of the Blackhawks were, however, citizens of countries at war with the Axis powers, or occupied by them.
- Chuck fits the trope most exactly, as an American who joined the RAF before becoming a Blackhawk.
- Atomic Robo Tesla flew for the American Volunteer Group (see Real Life).
- In Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero, a group of British pilots volunteer to fight the kaiju attacking San Francisco, with one mentioning they're looking to repay the Americans who fought in for Britain in World War II.
Live Action TV
- Babylon 5 has a number of variations (but few straight examples).
- The Anla'Shok, also known as the Rangers, are a Minbari covert operations organization operated by the Religious Caste, who boost their numbers leading up to the Shadow War by recruiting large numbers of human volunteers, unbeknowest to the Earth government at the start. In the show's final season, the Rangers begin to recruit from the other races as they begin to take on the role of interstellar peace keepers.
- When the command staff is forced to purge large numbers of their security staff after the Nightwatch attempted to seize control, they are able to make up for it with large numbers of Narn volunteers.
- When Captain Jack Harkness first meets the Doctor in Doctor Who, he is in one of the trope-naming historical Eagle Squadrons, having taken a dead guy's identity according to the Torchwood episode "Captain Jack Harkness".
- Dark Blue World is a Czech-made film about pilots who enlisted in the British Royal Air Force after Czechoslovakia was conquered by Nazi Germany.
- Pearl Harbor has a scene with Ben Affleck flying a Spitfire for the RAF in the Battle of Britain.
- Flyboys about the Lafyette Escadrille in World War One.
- The Great Escape has Hendley, who's a still member of the Trope Namer since he was shot down before Pearl Harbor and so hasn't been transferred to the USAAF. Amusingly, as he's The Scrounger, his RAF uniform is in better condition than the actual British characters'.
- Sabaton's song Aces In Exile, which provides the page quote, is about the foreign pilots who fought alongside the RAF during the Battle Of Britain.
- In Blazing Angels, the player and their squadron start the game off as American RAF pilots flying missions in France, England, and Africa before transferring to the USAAF for the remainder of the game once America enters the war.
- Happens so often throughout the Fire Emblem series that a definitive list may not be possible.
- Happens on a routine basis in Mount & Blade. For one thing, the PC is from outside Calradia, and can become a noble member of any faction if he or she so likes; for another, villagers of any nationality will join up with a PC to get involved in the fighting, and will personally remain loyal to the PC if they switch sides (though fighting against their own nation in Warband will cause a morale penalty). This overlaps with Hired Guns to an extent, as their motivation is more a paycheck and a better life than any kind of ideology.