[[quoteright:297: http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/john-stewart_7629.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:297:Before he was a GreenLantern, John Stewart [[SemperFi wore green for another Corps. OORAH!]]]]

For many, being a superhero is something they fell into by accident. For others, it's a calling. But for ''these'' guys, it's just a day job.

A Military Superhero is a character who is or was a member of the armed services, and his experience as a soldier has colored his attitude towards the cause for the greater good. The discipline and training of the armed forces lends itself well to producing a pretty badass individual, and their codes of ethics and duty compliment the higher calling of heroism in such a way that they will, undoubtedly, stand out amongst their peers as someone who is reliable and sincerely committed to the cause.

This doesn't mean the hero is perfect by any means: military heroes tend to be pretty old-fashioned and stubborn in their beliefs, and also have a tendency to shun heroes who take authority lightly. They also often harbor disdain for authority themselves when serving under what they think is a weak leader, leading them to either try to take charge or just do things on their own. However, they are also the definition of ''esprit-de-corps'' within their organization's ranks, and will be the first to volunteer for any mission if it means keeping their teammates away from harm, as well as be the one guy you can ''always'' count on to never leave a man behind.

Very often, the character's background can actually come back to bite him. Their military superiors might come to them with a mission that goes against their current ideals as a hero. Perhaps a teammate does something that goes against the ethics he learned in the military. The bottom line is that this character can face many moral quandaries revolving around the conflict between his military background and his current status as a hero, which will always be played for drama as a way to deepen the story or make it more interesting.

Military heroes often exhibit stereotypes of the branch of service they serve/served with: an Air Force hero can be expected to be an AcePilot and love to fly, a Marine hero will be tough and have a little bit of the BloodKnight in him (or, sometimes, even a KnightTemplar), an Army hero will be very patriotic, etc. It's pretty much expected of a military hero to also be a CaptainPatriotic, but this is not always the case. If they have a rank as part of their name, they ''will'' possess that rank.

There are a few specific characteristics a hero must meet to qualify for this trope:
* The hero's military background is an essential part of the character. He can't just merely be or have been a soldier. If you could substitute the character's background for, say, law enforcement or being a fireman, it's not this trope.
* The character must be a bonafide superhero. ComicBook/ThePunisher, for example, doesn't count: he's more of an anti-hero than a hero.
* The work the character is featured in must not revolve around the military. Military fiction, no matter how fantastic, has soldiers as protagonists by default, so their military background is obviously not something that makes the character stand out. As such, the hero's deeds will not revolve around a military mission. He performs heroism for its own sake, not because of following orders.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/CaptainAmerica is one of the best examples of this trope. Loyal to his teammates, a born leader, [[TheParagon a paragon of virtue]] and a bonafide ass-kicker. He was an actual captain during his time of service with the airborne rangers during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
** Same goes for [[ComicBook/BuckyBarnes Bucky]], Cap's onetime sidekick, since the revelation that his background was a cover story to hide his status as a covert assassin, and his [[SidekickGraduationsStick later acceptance]] of the ComicBook/CaptainAmerica mantle.
** ComicBook/TheFalcon is a U.S. Air Force officer in the ''ComicBook/HeroesReborn'' continuity, and a retired member of the U.S. Army in the [[ComicBook/UltimateMarvel Ultimate]] continuity. His ''Heroes Reborn'' background was used for ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.
* Captain Nathaniel Adam of the United States Air Force, better known as ComicBook/CaptainAtom. Interestingly, Captain Atom did not start this way: he was a full-time soldier who received his powers as the result of an experiment, and was ordered by the military into infiltrating the superhero community to spy on them a keep them in check. However, as can be expected, Captain Atom eventually did grow to appreciate his role as a superhero, but not without serious conflict between both aspects of him. This is explored heavily in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited''.
* John Stewart, aka Franchise/GreenLantern, is a former member of the United States Marine Corps. Originally, John's backstory had him as merely an architect before becoming a Green Lantern. The DCAU re-imagined him as a Marine veteran, and this version proved popular enough that his DCU incarnation was {{retcon}}ned [[{{Retcanon}} to have been a Marine as well]] (while leaving his existing backstory intact; he became an architect after returning to civilian life). In his modern incarnation, his training in the Corps has been a defining part of his character and has served him in his job as a superhero. His experience as a sniper helped him take down [[ComicBook/SinestroCorpsWar Sinestro Corps member Bedovian]] by sniping him ''three sectors away'', and in the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' animated series, he battled alongside US Army soldiers (among them, Comicbook/SgtRock himself) in WWII when he didn't have access to his ring's powers.
* While Hal Jordan has always been a former Air Force pilot, his ''[[ComicBook/DCTheNewFrontier The New Frontier]]'' incarnation is the one that most fits this trope. His experiences as a pilot during the Korean War heavily influenced his attitude towards his later job as a test pilot and his role as the newest Green Lantern of Earth's sector. Hal's character is a typical hotheaded ace flyboy, similar to Chuck Yeager.
* David Reid, a.k.a. Lance, of the ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica. He's a member of the Marines when he's recruited and served as a kind of liasion between the two groups. Then he gets killed and comes back as [[ChromeChampion Magog]] (yep, the same character from ''Comicbook/KingdomCome'').
* Colonel ComicBook/NickFury. Former sergeant in charge of the Howling Commandos during World War II and concurrent leader of SHIELD.
** His son Marcus Johnson (AKA, Nick Fury Jr.) is a Ranger in the US Army.
* Captain Metropolis from ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' is a former Marine lieutenant.
* Kate Kane was discharged from West Point under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. She sees her vigilante activity as ComicBook/{{Batwoman}} as a form of military service that gives her life meaning.
* ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} has served countless times in the military, and has picked up a great many habits and skills with the years. Interestingly enough, he's always shown to be VERY serious and professional in that role, contrary to his usual authority-sticking personality.
* The ever-loving blue-eyed [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Thing]] had one of the most prestigious military careers in comic book history, having served as a pilot for both the Air Force and the Marine Corps. His exemplary service ultimately earned him the right to serve as an astronaut, which eventually led to that [[OriginStory fateful cosmic radiation shower]].
* Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers, formerly ComicBook/MsMarvel) was a Colonel in the United States Air Force and served with the Thing back when he was human.
* James Rhodes, aka Comicbook/WarMachine, was a lieutenant in the USAF, and saw action in Southeast Asia. The ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'' retconned him into a Lieutenant-Colonel.
* DC's Commander Comicbook/{{Steel}} was Hank Haywood, a US Marine who, after being injured during WWII, volunteered for special bionic upgrades that turned him into a Captain America {{Expy}}.
* ComicBook/{{Hellboy}} originally was a member of the ComicBook/{{BPRD}}, a private agency that functioned much like a government military agency..
* The [[BadassArmy World Army]] in ''ComicBook/{{Earth 2}}'' has a few: ComicBook/TheAtom, Wesley Dodds and his Sandmen, [[ComicBook/GreenArrow Red Arrow]], and Captain Steel. ComicBook/RedTornado is "in progress," and Hawkgirl has gone AWOL.
* ComicBook/{{Venom}}'s fourth host, Flash Thompson was an US Army volunteer soldier who lost his legs in combat and volunteered to become the symbiote's host when the military asks him to. In this case, it's kinda literal: Flash wears the symbiote like a soldier/mercenary uniform, instead of the famous "overly muscular black Spider-Man with razor teeth and monster tongue" version (though he occasionally takes that form on from time to time, when his control over the symbiote slips).
* The DC Comics version of Franchise/ArchieComics' The Shield was a U.S. Army soldier turned into a superhero through a PoweredArmor grafted onto his body after terrorists nearly killed him in an ambush. He served as the Army's top superhuman operative.
* More of a military ''[[{{Supervillain}} supervillain]]'', but ComicBook/{{Deadshot}}'s ComicBook/{{New 52}} incarnation is a former Marine. And as rotten as he is, he DOES save the world as a member of the ComicBook/SuicideSquad.

* In the ''Film/IronMan'' films, Rhodey is a lieutenant colonel in the USAF and the military's chief liaison to Stark Industries. He later becomes the hero Iron Patriot and works directly as part of the U.S. military while in-costume.

* ''Literature/WearingTheCape'':
** Blackstone, a superhero/stage-magician, is a former US Marine (he mustered out and began his stage-magic career some time after a battlefield injury rendered him incapable of field operations). He appears to have worked in military intelligence, and is the security/intelligence specialist of the Sentinels.
** After the events of the first book, a former military operative who ''trained supersoldiers'' is brought in under the code-name Watchman as the newest [[FlyingBrick big hitter]].
** There are also a number of superpowered soldiers appearing in various books; one source is special military programs where volunteers are put in high stress situations, which may trigger "breakthroughs" (the advent of powers). The military also actively recruits civilians showing useful powers as well as using supercriminals for high-risk missions in exchange for reduced sentences.
* In ''Literature/ShadowOps'', the central protagonist Oscar Britton was formerly an officer in the Army National Guard before he turned up Latent with his [[PortalCut portal magic]] and was forcibly recruited into the US military's Supernatural Operations Corps. Britton's military training gives him an edge over the other members of his "coven" (supernatural squad), and after witnessing the excesses and violence and hypocrisy of the SOC, he falls back to his military upbringing and sense of honor and duty and finally rebels.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Taylor Earhardt in ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' was an Air Force pilot before encountering an AnimalMecha and crashing on a FloatingContinent. She's one of the toughest Rangers on the team, and easily the most no-nonsense (at least until Merrick shows up), "drafting" Cole in the season premier by gut-punching him. Oddly, she basically goes AWOL as a result - the guys at her old base have no idea where she is, and she even hides her identity when a Ranger mission takes her there. She resumes duty at the end of the series, dismissing the idea of her landing on an island in the sky as people [[YouWatchTooMuchX reading too many children's stories.]] The exact same backstory also applies to her [[Series/HyakujuuSentaiGaoranger male Japanese counterpart]], Gaku Washio, who was similarly a JASDF pilot.
** Also, Kai and Mike of ''Lost Galaxy'' were members of the soldiers protecting the Terra Venture colony before getting their shiny suits, and appear to still keep that role during it all (with Commander Stanton allowing it unofficially while never quite coming out and saying he knows.)
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E21AllHellBreaksLoosePartOne "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21)]], one of the Special Children with SuperStrength is Private Jake Talley of the US Army, who was fighting in Afghanistan.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Bunker in ''TabletopGame/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse'' is a serviceman working with the latest in a long line of armored suits built by the US military. According to his backstory, he's the first one to actually work as a superhero, all previous uses of the armor being in military combat actions.