Trombley: Sergeant, I didn't get to shoot.
Ray: That fucking sucks, Trombley. Did your recruiting officer tell you you could just shoot anyone?
Trombley: Fuckin' A he did.The grunt version of Insane Admiral (and sometimes Colonel Kilgore or General Ripper). Often people below the rank of Sergeant are all around assholes who plunder, rape, and massacre civilians, or brutally torture and murder the hero's comrades, making killing them less guilt-causing. These generally come in four flavors:
- The Jingo: First, the kind who are swept up in Patriotic Fervor or similar and are doing it because they're convinced their cause gives them the right to be as brutal as they please (racism, fantastic or otherwise might be involved). They might think the enemy genuinely are scum who deserve whatever is visited on them (or slightly more likely, they will not believe/not care about this but use it as an excuse anyway). May be a Sociopathic Hero. Very, very fond of Disproportionate Retribution; one of his comrades is worth at least ten of theirs, and it doesn't matter if they're noncombatants or not. If one of his buddies dies, the likelihood that he'll randomly shoot some civilians on the street just to Make an Example of Them is quite high.
- The Psychopath: Then there's the second kind, the Psycho for Hire who just joined up for the plunder, rape and massacring of civilians and doesn't care whose banner they're doing it under. If he wasn't in the army he'd be a Serial Killer or mass murderer. Some will be more fixated on enemy combatants for the thrill of besting them, but civilians can be amusing too. He's also the most likely to get himself killed; jingos usually have like-minded comrades who will help save their asses, unwilling conscripts are solely motivated by their own survival, and broken soldiers still take pains to stay alive so that they can keep helping their comrades along. Psychopaths on the other hand are mentally ill/disabled and literally cannot comprehend their own mortality (in anything but an academic sense). Even if they don't get taken out by the enemy, there's also a fairly strong likelihood that their own comrades will off them out of disgust or (more likely) because they're a liability who's just as if not more likely to kill them than the enemy.
- The Unwilling Conscript: The third kind is your regular neighborhood boy who has been conscripted into the army, has absolutely no interest in war, hates it all and has only his own personal survival at stake. Often terrorized and brutalized by his own officers and noncoms. He's nothing but Cannon Fodder and he knows it — with nothing to gain from the fighting, the knowledge that he is expendable tips him over the edge into madness. This kind hates everybody, including his own officers, though it's the enemy civillians who will likely bear the brunt of his wrath. Expect that lots of Rape, Pillage, and Burn and Fragging incidents may occur. They still exist in armies not based on conscription in a modified form, usually as a kid who technically entered voluntarily but is essentially there because it was his only viable option; expect to see the same bitter, desperate viciousness and general disregard for the lives of others. Also the most likely to defect or desert if he gets pissed off enough. In general, he's the second most dangerous, as he often has nothing to lose and will kill anyone who he sees as a threat, and that tendency to defect and/or desert means that he very well may just feed the enemy crucial information and thereby jeopardize the lives of hundreds, if not thousands.
- The Broken Soldier: Finally there's the fourth kind; he was a Nice Guy at one time, just trying to take care of his buddies and protect his home - but then he saw or experienced something that broke him inside, and now he just wants to get things done as efficiently as possible. This would be the Shell-Shocked Veteran, and he's a lot more dangerous than the other three - he's neither stupid, crazy, nor angry, just 'pragmatic'. I Did What I Had to Do is practically his mantra; if the easiest solution that has the smallest potential body count on his side is also unbelievably brutal and cruel, he'll employ it nonetheless and worry about the horror of what he did after the fact. He's fully aware that what he's doing is horrible and unforgivable, and if it doesn't haunt him and keep him up at night, he's most likely dead to the world and would probably be eating his gun if he didn't have comrades to see through the war.
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Anime and Manga
- They don't get any more sociopathic than Solf J. Kimblee from Fullmetal Alchemist. He's essentially Lack of Empathy in a uniform (and later, a Nice Hat and suit). He sees killing as part of his job...and Kimblee loves a job well done. His counterpart in the 2003 anime version exaggerates this to the point where he's less this trope, and more of a For the Evulz Psycho for Hire.
"Look your victims in the eye. And never, forget them. They certainly won't forget you."
- During the Ishval flashbacks we see that many of the Amestrian soldiers, including Roy Mustang, Riza Hawkeye, Maes Hughes, Basque Grand and even Major Armstrong acted like this during the genocide, running the full range of Types 1, 2, 3, and 4. Unlike Kimblee, they're all haunted by their actions, and deeply regret them. In the first anime, Barry the Chopper argues that people really do want to kill each other, but won't do it without permission from the government; hence why people join the army in the first place. Manga!Kimblee makes a similar speech, in which he questions the motivations of Roy and his friends, suggesting that if they were only willing to kill a few people, but not thousands, they shouldn't have joined the army in the first place.
- In the 2003 anime version, we also have Lt. Colonel Frank Archer, a textbook sociopath and Type I who joined the army for the prestige, and out of his belief that War Is Glorious. He manipulates the emotions of those forced to work with him, turns anime!Kimblee (a Misanthrope Supreme Psycho for Hire and Mad Bomber) loose on Liore, and willingly hunts down anyone the government tells him is a threat. He is later promoted to a command rank, where his raging paranoia ensures his evolution into a General Ripper.
- There's also Retired Badass Giolio Comanche, who seems to have enjoyed his time at the front a little too much going off the Slasher Smile he displays when Order #3066 is issued.
- Along similar lines to Kimblee, Sir Luciano Bradley of Code Geass is a Psycho for Hire type who actually comments that he loves the military as it allows him to kill lots of people and get rewarded for doing so. Bradley even states he doesn't even care about the rewards, he just loves that being in the military lets him kill people. The fact that he's one of Britannia's highest ranking and strongest soldiers just means he can kill more people.
- And at least a good chunk of the Britannian troops. If a few simple words from your superior is enough to get you to gun down unarmed civilians without a sweat, there might be something wrong with you.
- Zaied, of Full Metal Panic! is the hero's Evil Counterpart and a grown-up Child Soldier turned mercenary. He's also a near emotionless sociopath, who thinks that winning is all that matters in war, and willingly betrays his comrades in order to be on the winning side, later trying to kill his former friend Sousuke on The Big Bad's orders. He never once looks back, bats an eye, or seems to think that he might have done anything wrong.
- The Titans of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam were a haven for characters like this. Then again, given that they're led by the likes of General Ripper Bask Ohm and Manipulative Bastard Paptimus Scirrocco this shouldn't be surprising. Yazan Gable is probably the worst, being a Type II Psycho for Hire who joined up solely for the chance to kill AEUG supporters.
- Yazan received an expy in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ's Rakan Dahkaran, a ruthless Axis-Zeon Ace Pilot who ignores the rules of war and aims to kill as many of the enemy as possible, regardless of whether they are actually combatants. One iconic scene has him impassively firing on hospital ships and refugee craft as they attempt to flee from a Colony Drop; he wants to make sure that no one escapes the blast radius.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 features the A-LAWS who are more or less a collective Expy of the Titans; among their number is another of Yazan's expies, Ali Al-Saachez, a Psycho for Hire and Card-Carrying Villain who freely admits that he loves warfare, and wouldn't know what to do with himself if an actual world peace was established. He later graduates to Colonel Kilgore after being given an officer's rank by Big Bad Ribbons Almark, whom he becomes The Dragon to.
- Decil Galette of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE takes the worst qualities of both Yazan and Ali and combines them into a single, nasty childsized package, treating war as a game and his victims as toys. The timeskip has not improved him, and the disconcerting enthusiasm he shows whenever's he's turned loose on his enemies is if anything more disturbing on a thirty-three year old.
- Two of Noin's former trainees in an episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing go this route, sadistically murdering their opponents and laughing over the wreckage. If they weren't members of the army, the'd be Psychos For Hire.
- Many, many examples in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, from ZAFT troops executing surrendered Earth Forces personnel, to Blue Cosmos lunatics who gleefully launch nuclear weapons at ZAFT's home bases in the Plants. The Extended are particularly vicious about it, although that's not entirely their fault. The ZAFT veterans who try to Colony Drop Earth at the start of Seed Destiny are an especially good example, as is Yzak Joule before his Character Development sets in.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny's spinoff, Stargazer, three sociopathic soldiers serve as the protagonists. They are the emotionally damaged Sven Cal Bayan (who was left this way after Training from Hell and believes he's Just Following Orders), the sadistic Myudi Holcroft, and the hyper-aggressive Shams Couza. Acting as a strike team for Blue Cosmos, the three of them see a lot of action; only Sven makes it out alive.
- Given that Millenium was made up entirely of volunteers from the Waffen-SS, it can be assumed that its soldiers were this before being made into vampires. Afterwards...
- Dilandau Albatou and his Dragon Slayers from Vision of Escaflowne combine this with Tykebomb, Teens Are Monsters, and—in Dilandau's case—Pyromania and a side of hypocrisy. Dilandau gets to burn and kill whoever he wants to, but god forbid anyone so much as touch Dilandau. He's pretty much a Psycho for Hire who only works for one employer.
- Kagerou-Nostalgia: The vast majority of the soldiers in General Kiyotaka Kuroda's employ fit into this category. Given that they're sent into battle alongside demons, with orders to butcher and kidnap as many civillians as possible, this is more or less a part of the job description.
- Several Naruto villains, although given the nature of the setting comparing them to regular soldiers is iffy. Pre-Heel–Face Turn Gaara is a solid example though, as are all 7 Swordsmen of the Mist.
- Black Lagoon: In his backstory, the leader of the Special Forces unit Grey Fox killed a gang of these (led by a Colonel Kilgore type) to protect Vietnamese civilians.
- Roberta professes that she was the Jingo while she served in the FARC, killing without remorse to protect the ideals of the Revolution.
- In Watchmen , the Comedian shoots a pregnant woman to death while serving in Vietnam without a hint of remorse. And it was his baby.
- The Comedian then immediately calls out Dr. Manhattan for not doing anything to stop him despite being all-powerful. From his perspective, Dr. Manhattan is a sociopathic soldier. This has spawned MANY fanfics where Dr. Manhattan teleported the baby to X.
- Every single soldier who appears in DMZ is depicted in almost uniform fashion as one of these. It gets fairly ridiculous and really fucking ham fisted after a while. Almost as if being a sociopath is a required trait in order for one to qualify as a soldier.
- Deconstructed in the Two-Fisted Tales short story "Kill!", set in the Korean War. On the American side we have have Abner, who continuously sharpens his knife and can't wait to gut some Chinese, while in the Chinese camp we meet Li, who obsessively polishes his submachine gun and compares it to a beautiful woman. In the end, they meet in the field, mortally wound each other and both die unceremoniously.
- Shooting War had one of these who was also The Fundamentalist.
- In Sin City, Marv briefly mentions fighting in a war. It's possible that this could be one of the reasons for his mental state.
- Also oddly averted with Wallace. Given Sin City's penchant for violent heroes, Wallace is a former Navy SEAL, yet is one of the nicest characters in the series.
- Captain Atom and Green Lantern villain Major Force was already serving a life sentence in a military prison, before being used as a test subject for a Super Soldier experiment. The end result? Turning a remorseless psychotic murderer into a Person of Mass Destruction.
- Nuke from Daredevil: Born Again is a product of an attempt at making another Captain America. He's a Super Soldier with heightened reflexes, drug-fuelled rage, and hardened plastic under his skin. He's also totally off his rocker, thinks he's still fighting The Vietnam War, and will slaughter anyone he thinks is threatening "our boys"; his gun keeps a count of his kills.
- In Route 666, Berkely went to war just to sate his bloodthirst - when the war ended, he became a serial killer instead. He wanted to team up with Cassie just so he could kill with a fairly clean conscience again.
- Suicida, leader of the Gang Green in Marshal Law. Like most "superheroes" in the setting, including Law himself, he and his fellow gang members are disaffected veterans of the catastrophic South American war known as "the Zone". He was trained to kill in the most brutal fashion imaginable, and resents the idea that his violent nature can somehow be turned on and off like a faucet. He wears a necklace of human ears and just wants to hurt everything he sees. Law doesn't like Suicida, but doesn't blame him for his feelings or his behavior, since very few Zone veterans are doing much better.
- The Punisher is usually interpreted as this to the point where he cannot even smile at the deeds he does (mentioned when he kills Bushwhacker.) He has essentially taken his war to the streets showing no pity, remorse or fear against gangsters, psychos, killers, rapists, criminals or Hired Guns. Some suggest it was his experience in Vietnam that made him this way, making a Deal with the Devil, all works show it was losing his family that made him nuts. Whatever the case he is a broken type 1 and 4, to the point where he regrets not having someone to kill, or even having a wife and kids in the first place (though this can be interpreted as if he didn't they wouldn't have been in the park, they wouldn't have been killed and they he wouldn't have turned into the sociopath he is today.)
- We later learn in the mini series Punisher Born which chronicles Frank Castles final tour in Vietnam that Castle's Marine outpost was rife with these. With the vast majority of the Marine's being depicted as either clear cut psychopaths, amoral conscripts, or jingoistic sociopaths. Half of whom are implied to be addicted to heroin, and whose commanding officer is an alcoholic broken soldier who knows full well that the war is a lost cause. With the young narrator of the story Stevie Goodwin explicitly stated as an unwilling conscript who wanted nothing to do with the war and who's only desire is to return home safely, but at the same time realizes that sticking with Frank Castle and his platoon is his best bet at getting home in one piece.
- The Human Liberation Front in The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum is composed of every type save for 3. There's the Jingoes, who think they can do anything they want to invading ponies, PHL or not, because of their very association with the Advancing Wall of Doom that's destroying their world. The Psychopaths are continually alluded to, and a lot of them happen to be broken by the traumas that set them on the road to being in the HLF. One such example is Victor Kraber, who left the group after a Heel Realization and has since then been The Atoner (though he's still got an itchy trigger finger when it comes to the enemy forces).
- Many of the heroic characters are straight up Type 4s themselves. Marcus is a Shell-Shocked Veteran who is so utterly broken by the horrible things he's seen and had to do throughout the Conversion War, it's a miracle he's as level headed as he is. Stephan meanwhile does have it together a bit better than most but he too has many of his own problems. TCB!Trixie also carries quite a lot of baggage herself in due part to her fears of Becoming the Mask with regards to the alternate personalities she uses in her spy work becoming fully realized and becoming as ruthless as the people she fights against.
- Sergeant Shining Armor from Shell Shock is a terrifying example of one of these. He doesn't care. He doesn't relent. He doesn't apologize. He just wants blood. He doesn't care who bleeds.
- Mass Effect Human Revolution:
- Captain Edward Grey was broken by his experience in Akuze. Put through a Treadstone-style programme to be brought back to combat readiness, while he still wants to do the right thing, he's quick to opt for the callous, vicious Kill 'em All option against slavers, xenophobic lynch mobs and other criminal scum.
- This is the justification given in chapter 38 for why Blacklight black ops troops are so easy to defeat, at least for elite superhuman warriors like Adam, Hannibal and Johann - The Alliance Intelligence Agency selects for the jingoistic ultranationalists willing to cross any line to protect humanity's interests, and as it turns out being a talented combatant and being one willing to get his hands dirty are categories that rarely overlap.
- In No Gods, Only Guns, the Crimson Lance are staffed almost exclusively with Type IIs, with the rest kept in line by being Type IIIs. This is easier than it sounds, as Humanity Is Insane in this setting. In fact, being moral and upstanding is considered a detriment in the Lance, as they're essentially the heavily-armed thugs of an amoral Mega Corp., and early on Roland is put in a situation where he and his squad have to make a decision between killing unarmed civilians or being executed on the spot in order to prove their loyalty.
- Maggot from The Dirty Dozen is perhaps one of the better pre-Vietnam examples in film. He's a fundamentalist, misogynistic rapist and killer of women who turns on his own team when he can't control his urges during the mission.
- The military in most of George Romero's Living Dead Series. Just because.
- Full Metal Jacket has a scene with a particularly sociopathic door gunner on a helicopter. He's had 157 confirmed kills — all implied to be civilians — plus 50 water buffalo.
Private Joker: Any women or children?Door Gunner: Sometimes.Private Joker: How can you shoot women and children?
- The above scene is from Michael Herr's book Dispatches which describes his experiences as a war correspondent in Vietnam. Herr was a co-screenwriter for Full Metal Jacket and was nominated for an Academy Award for his work.
- Animal Mother (an example of the Psycho for Hire variant) and Crazy Earl (who's "befriended" a dead North Vietnamese) also qualify.
- Almost the entire Japanese Army in City of Life and Death. It's a movie about the Rape of Nanking, so that goes without saying.
- In Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman was one of these in life. While the other Hessians were mercenaries, he went to fight in America for the love of killing, and loss of life, head, and will hasn't abated that love.
- The soldiers in 28 Days Later. Besides the Only Sane Man, the CO wants nubile women to try and keep the rest of his soldiers under control. Think about that for a minute.
- The main characters of Inglourious Basterds are a group of American Saboteurs who enter Nazi-Occupied France to unleash hell upon Nazis from the inside, and employ terror tactics. Notable however is Hugo Stiglitz, a German-born Ax-Crazy Stoic who the Basterds recruited due to his reputation of killing 13 officers in their sleep (or waking them up just before he kills them).
- Sergeant Tony Meserve in Casualties of War. He kidnaps, rapes, and kills a young village girl, then tries to kill PFC Eriksson with a grenade in the latrine.
- Paul Lazzaro in Slaughterhouse-Five. This is clearly defined when he recounts the story of killing a dog by putting some clock parts into a steak that he gives to the dog that bit him. Any time someone makes him angry, he threatens that person with violence, then in the end of the movie, he kills Billy Pilgrim, just as he said he would.
- In Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Bad, Angel Eyes, does a magnificent impression of one of these, infiltrating Union lines as a sergeant. He tortures prisoners for information, and generally runs his prison camp as though it were Auschwitz (despite the protestations of his Lieutenant). His right hand man and Torture Technician Wallace is a straight example, being a Union soldier, and a total thug.
- However, it is averted by the Union soldiers Tuco and Blondie encounter later on, who are led by a likable, humorous fellow who happens to be A Father to His Men, making his sudden death during the ensuing battle a surprisingly tear-jerking moment for a bit character, and there's also a younger lieutenant who seems to be an ordinary man caught up in a war he does not understand.
- Leone revisits the trope in Duck, You Sucker! (aka A Fistful of Dynamite) in the form of the Mexican soldiers serving under Colonel Gunther Reza. The Mexican army as conceived by Leone seems intent on imprisoning or killing every single person they meet, and their look is modelled on that of the fascist stormtroopers and German soldiers that Leone saw in Italy when he was a child. Reza himself is a terrifying Type II and Implacable Man to boot, despite never saying a word.
- Ewan McStarley, Vinnie Jones' character in The Condemned— an SAS operative who became a Condemned Contestant after setting fire to a Rwandan village, executing 17 men, raping 9 women, and torturing various others.
- William Stryker. Although a superior officer.
- Victor Creed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, considering his attempted rape of a local during Vietnam, as well as the implied killing of civilians while firing from a helicopter during the same war.
- All the Private Military Contractors in Avatar, particularly Wainfleetnote , as well as all the pilots other than Trudy, with them all being led by a Colonel Kilgore.
- A lot of the soldiers in Platoon show some evidence of this, but the undoubtedly and unashamedly sociopathic are Barnes and Bunny, who seem to only really feel satisfied with themselves when engaged in some form of gratuitous violence, killing, rape, destruction, etc.
- In the Doom movie, Sarge shows himself to be this, at one point killing the rookie member of his team for refusing his order to kill a room full of unarmed civilians. Small wonder, then, that he mutates into the protagonist's final adversary after becoming infected.
- Lawrence of Arabia grows closer and closer to this trope as the movie goes on, finally culminating in the massacre at Tafas.
- In Hollow Man 2, the direct-to-video sequel of Hollow Man, the antagonist Michael Griffin was one of these even before being injected with the invisibilty serum. His commanding officer kept him from being charged for war crimes committed in Iraq so he could be part of the project. Since the real purpose of the project was to create a perfect assassin to kill off the project head's political enemies, a test subject with little to no morality was just what the project needed. When Griffin becomes even crazier due to the lethal side effects of the serum which only a special chemical booster can alleviate, his former commanding officer learns the hard way that giving a murderous sociopath invisibility powers and a reason to hate you can backfire.
- In the movie version of Jack Reacher, the gunman, an ex-soldier, who guns down several people in a Parking Garage is described as being a sociopath who went out of his way to kill civilians in Afghanistan.
Jack Reacher: There's four kinds of people who join the military. There's the people for whom its a family tradition. There's the people who do it out of patriotism. There's the people who simply want a job. And then there's the last kind; the kind who enlist because its a legal opportunity to take a human life.
- Andrew Scott from Universal Soldier. he was a Sergeant in The Vietnam War, where he goes renegade as he starts butchering civilians and kills his own squad when they try to stop him. He cuts off the ears of his victims and wears them in a necklace. He orders Private Luc Deveraux to kill the two remaining 'traitors', two Vietnamese children, doing the job himself when Deveraux refuses. Both are reborn years later as memory-wiped Super Soldiers. As soon as Scott regains his memories he kills his controllers and goes on a blood-filled vendetta across the States to punish Deveraux for disobeying his illegal orders back in Vietnam, graphically killing anyone who gets in his way. At the end he takes Deveraux's elderly parents and his love interest hostage, awarding all of them the death penalty. Despite claims earlier in the film that he thinks he's still fighting the insurgents in Vietnam, Scott later plainly admits that he's fully aware where he is and what he's doing, and his only motive is revenge for Deveraux refusing to partake in his atrocities.
- Conspiracy: Deconstructed. SS Major Rudolf Lange is the closest you could get to this, as he's leading one of a number of huge death squads through the occupied Soviet Union shooting unarmed civilians en masse and encouraging racist locals to kill Jews in mobs. However, he and his men are becoming increasingly disturbed by the sheer level of inhumanity they're supposed to inhabit. Heydrich introduces the gas chambers to make the murders easier to carry out for the perpetrators.
- Mentioned in Discworld's Night Watch, where Sergeant Carcer is described as "the sort that joins up for the plundering...the kind you have to end up hanging as an example to the men".
- Troopers Lijah Cuu and Murtan Feygor in the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, though the latter tends to be held in check by Colonel-Commissar Gaunt.
- The Reynard Cycle: Token Evil Teammate Tybalt leads an entire company of these in Defender of the Crown. Most of them are Jingos and Broken Soldiers (when asked why they are torturing captives, two of them explain that they witnessed their loved ones being slaughtered by the enemy and now it's payback time), but more than a few are outright Psychopaths.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, most knights and men-at-arms conform to this trope, particularly those assigned to pillage peasant villages for information and supplies. One character gives a sympathetic monologue that any man conscripted into war can become this way if he survives long enough.
- Gregor Clegane is a solid example of Type 2. He only fights under Tywin for a chance to hurt people, and when he's not soldiering he's murdering and raping people for his own amusement. He seems to have been this before he became a solider, as a child he burnt his brother's face when they tried playing with a toy he didn't want anyway, and is rumoured to have murdered his father and sister. The men under him, such as the jolly but cruel Chiswyck, the Affably Evil Raff "the Sweetling", and Torture Technician "The Tickler" also count. Averted slightly by Shitmouth, a foul-mouthed fellow who treats the prisoners slightly more kindly, giving them food if they ask.
- Andrea from The Zone series of World War III novels by James Rouch. A stunningly beautiful East German woman with a Mysterious Past and a passionate hatred of communists. She bonds with various soldiers (though never sexually) long enough to absorb their specialist skills, then callously severs the connection to move on to the next teacher. Warning: Keep away from prisoners.
- The Things They Carried has Azar, who, at one point, blows up a squad member's puppy and mocks everyone. At one point, when he's scared shitless, he claims his Jerkassery is a defense against fear, but he's probably lying again to save his ass.
"Christ, I'm just a boy."
- Hakeswill in Sharpe. Senior officers love him (except the ones with real integrity), everyone who knows what he's really like loathes him.
- Brigadier Guy Loup is an example from the French side. When the Riflemen capture two of his men responsible for a particularly brutal massacre of a Spanish village, Sharpe has them executed on the spot. He has no shortage of volunteers for the firing squad.
- Corporal Lehto in Väinö Linna's The Unknown Soldier. He is a complete sociopath, bully and ruthless to both enemy and his own squad. His end is tragic: he walks into an ambush in night fight, gets shot and wounded on his spine, gets paralyzed and shoots himself because he considers himself now as cripple and bottom of the pecking order. He doesn't give himself any more mercy or respect than to anyone else, and sees suicide as the only logical conclusion.
- In Harry Turtledove's The Great War trilogy, one of the PoV characters is Gordon McSweeny, a charming Corporal who, being staunchly Protestant, believes himself to the instrument of God's wrath upon the Confederates, and turned down a command post multiple times. This is because he enjoys personally killing them. With his FLAMETHROWER. He's only slightly nicer to the men under his command; one time not mourning one's death, because he was Greek Orthodox and therefore a heretic, even if he was a nice guy.
- Lieutenant Boris Lavochkin, in Settling Accounts is even nuttier, burning and slaughtering his way across the Confederacy. You don't feel particularly bad for his victims (they are after all A Nazi by Any Other Name), but he's still very much this trope, as his sergeant, Chester Martin repeatedly lampshades. On the other side, there are the Freedom Party Guards who to say the least, aren't very nice. What do you expect from SS expies?
- This is how most of the civilians view soldiers, even regulars but especially the more common mercenaries, at the start of 1632. Fairly often they're right and even when they're wrong the armies still have to "scavenge" like crazy to keep from starving.
- In Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, KGB soldiers tend to be portrayed this way, as specifically distinguished from Red Army troops. This is apparent in a scene during the Iceland occupation where Lt. Edwards comes upon a farmhouse whose occupants have been raped and murdered by KGB troops. He rescues the sole surviving daughter in Big Damn Heroes fashion and then proceeds to mete out summary justice to the rapists.
- Taylor in Animorphs is sociopathic even by Yeerk standards. Torture Technician, Manipulative Bastard, and Jerk Ass extraordinaire, she just plain enjoys hurting people.
- Most of the once-men in Terry Brooks's The Word and the Void and The Genesis of Shannara are like this.
- Many examples in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, but the crowning one would have to be Anaster, the First Child of the Dead Seed. He's an Empty Shell of a Death Seeker who commits atrocities in the hopes of forcing someone to kill him, and leads an army of cannibals on a rampage accross the continent, butchering everything in his path seemingly for the sake of it.
- Dale in The Thin Red Line is a pre-Vietnam example — a rather slow-witted yet ambitious soldier who seems to take pleasure in doing horrible things to the enemy.
- Another sergeant in the unit (in an internal monologue) reveals that he is nearly psychotic, showing that he sees the enemy, civilians, and his own men as merely things he hasn't killed yet. The end of his chapter is the sentence "I HATE EVERYTHING THAT IS NOT IN ME."
- Redmond Barry a.k.a. Barry Lyndon became one of these while fighting in the Seven Years War. It's implied that Barry's hellish treatment in the Prussian army contributed to him being this way and enthusiastically joining in "foraging" (read Rape, Pillage, and Burn). There's a kind of disturbing scene where in a surprisingly gentle tone he describes a foppish and inexperienced opponent whose skull he bashed in with his musket and whose corpse he looted.
- Sergeant Bothari of the Vorkosigan Saga is a more complex version of this. He is a sadistic sociopath, but has enough conscience to realise that random killing is wrong. So he uses military regulations to tell him when it is OK to kill. His commanding officers learn to think very carefully before taking off his leash.
- The Drowned Cities:
- Most of the soldier boys talk like Jingos, act like Conscripts who have been fed slogans from a bygone era without any context, and are all afflicted with shell shock in one way or another.
- Sergeant Ocho is a deeply screwed up and angry Broken Soldier, hiding his PTSD behind a wall of bitterness.
- His commanding officer, Lieutenant Sayle in particular takes this to Psycho for Hire levels, being a cold-blooded sadist and icy Psycho who joined the UPF so he could inflict Cold-Blooded Torture on civvies and enemy troopers.
- One of Ocho's men, Soa, is also a Psycho, of the Axe Crazy Mood-Swinger variety. He has pretensions of being a Jingo, but doesn't even really understand what the words mean.
- In the backstory of Richard K. Morgan's Thirteen, several nations attempted to genetically and socially engineer Sociopathic Supersoldiers. The projects collectively Went Horribly Right, creating the protagonist (initially Type III shading into IV) and several of the antagonists (Types II and III).
- In the Takeshi Kovacs Series, also written by Morgannote , the UN Protectorate's Envoys recruit borderline psychopaths with just the right mix of inhibition and sense of duty. Most end up resorting to crime after they muster out, the titular character usually works as a detective, bodyguard, or mercenary. According to Kovacs they prefer to recruit from more conventional militaries as they cultivate that mindset. Though it's not entirely clear where along the scale he falls given how often he mentions his pre-recruitment adolescence as a gangbanger.
- In The Short-Timers, a Vietnam War era novel by Gustav Hasford, Animal Mother is THE sociopathic Marine, although by the end almost all members of the Lusthog Squad display signs of this - to a lesser degree. In The Film of the Book, Full Metal Jacket, this is somewhat overshadowed by the character of the "door-gunner" who sets altogether new levels of sociopathy.
- In The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer, Sergeant Croft is a type 2 example. General Cummings also qualifies, but he's more a General Ripper, given his rank.
- Clone: In this BBC series, Colonel Black (Mark Gatiss) is a solid Type Two, there to enjoy all the torture and murder. Given the tone of the show, he gets a great deal of enjoyment.
- Doctor Who: The Sontarans are an entire race of Super Soldiers who behave this way towards their enemies. The one exception is the Combat Medic that the Doctor encounters in "A Good Man Goes To War" who demonstrates that their sociopathy is learned, rather than ingrained. Most Daleks fall under this trope as well, committing genocide at the drop of a hat.
- The soldiers who pursue Rouvray and D'Argenson in "The Reign of Terror," are little more than murderous thugs.
- Generation Kill: Lance Corporal Harold Trombley is explicitly stated to be type II as the quote at the top of the page indicates. Also a subversion as while his fellow marines are disgusted by him shooting children during an assault, they are also impressed by the accuracy it required and eventually jokingly nickname him Whopper Jr.
"He's a psycho, but at least he's our psycho."
- JAG: Roscoe Martin, the paraplegic Vietnam veteran in "King of the Fleas" and "The Martin Baker Fan Club", is the broken soldier type who while getting himself in trouble manages to manipulate people around him (including Harm).
- Lost: Soldier turned mercenary Martin Keamy appears to have always been sadistic and borderline psycho, but the Island really brings out his sociopathy, resulting in him murdering people left and right for spurious reasons and endangering the lives of his ship's entire crew.
- NCIS: Has had a few of these by its nature, but Jonas Cobb (the Port-To-Port Killer) and Jonathan "Casey Stratton" Cole, both utterly broken Black Ops types, got season-spanning story arcs.
- Person of Interest: Detective Carter's backstory has her serving as an Army interrogator in Iraq. She managed to talk a detainee into giving up the location of an insurgent supply cache in exchange for protecting him and his family from said insurgents. Then the soldiers Carter was working with killed him offscreen after he led them to the cache.
- Red Dwarf: Kill Crazy:
"Let's go KILL SOMETHING!"
- Revolution: Just about everyone in the militia is this in one form or another. Miles (before he deserted), Monroe and many others are apparently The Jingoist. Miles, after he deserted, became The Broken Soldier ("Pilot"). Jeremy Baker, from the way he said he thought they were making a better world, is The Jingoist ("The Longest Day"). Strausser is certainly The Psychopath ("Chained Heat", "The Plague Dogs", "Sex and Drugs", "Ties That Bind", "Kashmir", and "Nobody's Fault But Mine"). Jim Hudson is The Unwilling Conscript ("Ghosts", "Clue"). Major Tom Neville seems to be The Broken Soldier, because he started as nice, but he changed for the worse after he had to make an Asshole Victim out of his neighbour Rob ("Soul Train").
- Rick Flag is a sociopathic ex-soldier turned Western Terrorist. He's got a thing for Cold-Blooded Torture, bombings, and misplaced Patriotic Fervor, giving an amazing impression of a Right-Wing Militia Fanatic.
- He's also got a Complexity Addiction - he uses a missile to try and kill one person. Think about that for a minute.
- Lieutenant Trotter is also an example. Disciple of General Ripper Slade Wilson, she willingly engages in kidnapping, brainwashing, and human experimentation in the supposed interests of protecting the US from metahumans. A Knight Templar whom even Flag believes needs stopping.
- Her devotion to both Slade and her belief that metahumans need to be stopped gets to a point where she arrests and interrogates three completely normal people, including subtly implying that if they don't answer her questions, they'll never be seen or heard from again. Keep in mind that the only evidence she has against these three is being on Oliver Queen's payroll (Emil), writing a lot of stories about a superhero (Lois), and being Oliver's ex-girlfriend and current business partner (Tess). She badgers them about where the vigilantes are, despite the fact that she has no good reason to think any of them know anything. While she is never flat-out violent towards those three in particular during the interrogations, her orders to move Tess and Emil to a "secure location" heavily sounds like they were either going to be executed or moved to a location where she could use less conversational techniques.
- Rick Flag is a sociopathic ex-soldier turned Western Terrorist. He's got a thing for Cold-Blooded Torture, bombings, and misplaced Patriotic Fervor, giving an amazing impression of a Right-Wing Militia Fanatic.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Reese from the episode "The Siege of AR-558" is this. He is shown to be wearing a necklace of ketracel-white tubes (a type drug the enemy needs to survive) picked from killed Jem'Hadar and often sharpening a knife also taken from a dead enemy. He is also used to show the cruelty of war in that he survives while Nice Guy Kellin dies.
- Star Trek: Voyager: Maquis crewman Lon Suder kills another crewmember just for looking at him the wrong way. He is Betazoid but tellingly has no empathic or telepathic abilities like others of his race.
- The Twilight Zone (1959): A new replacement is very eager to kill some enemies (Japanese soldiers, in this case), to the disgust of his shell shocked veterans (well, they have been fighting longer than he had). This being The Twilight Zone he gets his comeuppance when he somehow becomes a Japanese soldier and is forced to obey an Evil Counterpart who repeats his own bloodthirsty words back at him. All Just a Dream, maybe, but he gets the message.
- Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter: Friedhelm is a Type Four.
- Justified gives us Colton Rhodes, a Broken Soldier type whose heroin addiction and inability to cope with his Iraq and Afghan war trauma drives him into becoming a Professional Killer.
- From the third verse of John Denver's Stonehaven Sunset:
- One of the numerous dysfunctional soldiers mentioned in Tom Lehrer's song "It makes a fella proud to be a soldier" is Pete. He stabbed a cop in seventh grade, and joined the Army because they'd give him better weapons than he could get on the street. He's described as "real RA material". Although, given his platoon is lead by a Georgian ex-con, he probably is.
- The End of the Thirty Years War by Jacek Kaczmarski epitomizes this trope in extremely graphic way.
- Hüsker Dü's "You're a Soldier" matches the exuberance of its titular sociopathic soldier in music/
Patrolling the world with your little boy face
And a grown up gun that shoots
You've got a fresh scrubbed teenage outlook on terror
And a khaki attitude.
- Angelus Apatrida's "First World of Terror" has a protagonist who is a raging jingo who acts like he thinks that he's fighting for a good cause but really knows that he's a Blood Knight asshole who just wants an excuse to shoot at things and kill people. The chorus is the front that he puts on to contrast the verses, where he betrays his true mentality.
I will give my life for this flag
Fight for freedom till my last breath
As if dust in strong wind I disappear
Remember to be proud of me.
- Elite Agent Rotor in Dino Attack RPG. When he's not mercilessly blowing his enemies to kingdom come, we see him threatening to execute his own men and torturing prisoners.
- The sample group, "Bad Company" from the New World of Darkness sourcebook, Dogs Of War, are a bunch of Shell Shocked Veterans deployed to Afghanistan, led by Colonel Kane. Having had his heart cut out by a Taliban sorcerer, Kane has thrown the rulebook away in the interest of tracking down the sorcerer... and, incidentally, killing every Afghani who gets in his way. Several other examples are given (especially that one Chechen resistance group), but Bad Company are the standouts. If you're playing a military setting and don't alter your Morality accordingly, it's very easy for any Soldier character to fall into this.
- In fact, in an attempt to avert this for military PCs, the book recommends introducing an alternative Morality system with a focus on "Triggers" - instead of veering towards sociopathy, those who fail degeneration rolls start to pick up tics not unlike those associated with PTSD.
- Pretty much every Ork, Dark Eldar, and follower of Chaos (especially Slaanesh worshipers) in Warhammer 40,000. The rest are either Knights Templar, Scary Dogmatic Aliens, the Tyranids, or the Imperial Guard. And those who qualify among the Guard are usually borderline examples of Training from Hell (Catachan Jungle Fighters) or Shell-Shocked Veteran (Death Korps of Krieg).
- The requirements for a Space Marine involve "a near-psychotic killing instinct". Granted, this is 40K, so it's not like it's uncommon.
- Even worse is that to the Orks, it's not even sociopathy, it's fun, war being to them a combination of jihad, mass migration and pub crawl.
- The Thunder Warriors, the first Super Soldier army the Emperor created to take control of Terra, were by and large so Ax-Crazy that they made the Space Marines look like models of civility and grace by comparison. The Thunder Warriors were so unstable and unsuited for anything but warfare that the Emperor had them all purged after they had outlived their usefulness.
- The "Kanonen-Song" from Die Dreigroschenoper has a refrain about soldiers turning people into beefsteak tartare.
- Specifically, people with darker or lighter skin than the British Army. They're equal opportunity racists.
- In the Xbox/PS2 game Shellshock, there are numerous times where your squad massacres civilians even if you don't take part in it. In the second mission, you go to search a village for weapons and a single Vietcong. Or, after you round up everyone in the village, you can start shooting and the others will join in and gun down all the villagers, accomplishing the same objective. Later on, you also kill wounded amputees in a Vietcong hospital. Plus, one of your squadmates (whose name is literally "Psycho") constantly kills POW's in cutscenes, and helps the South Vietnamese commissar torture people.
- Sabres Of Infinity Cazarosta, his hatred of the Antari, indifference to the horrors of war and his casual disregard of the rules of engagement amount to this.
- Technically not Military, but the Civil Protection in Half-Life 2. Overlaps with Police Brutality.
Evil Soldier: I killed 12 dumb-ass scientists and not one of them fought back! This sucks!Good Soldier: I didn't sign on for this shit... Monsters? Sure. But Civilians? Who ordered this operation anyway?
- Also committed by the HECU Marines/Army in the original Half-Life. While, to be fair, they ARE under orders to silence everyone, a few seem to take an unnecessary glee in their task. Somewhat averted in Opposing Force - the game sets up events so it's extremely hard to get any surviving military member to meet a scientist (and if he does, said scientist is dead), but for the most part, they're more concerned with getting out and saving each other. Black Ops, on the other hand...
- How a lot of the opposing grunts are portrayed in SOCOM US Navy Seals - but the few that you get the drop on in conversations casually talk about what their former base used to be, complaining about their Straw Feminist of a CO, or recruiting civilians onto their side with idealistic logic.
- Fire Emblem Awakening gives us Henry:
Avatar: Those deaths were necessary. We had to kill our foes or be killed ourselves. But killing the enemy isn't the same as sacrificing innocents for victory.Henry: Seems like an arbitrary line to me.
- Pale-faced shocktrooper Jane Turner from Valkyria Chronicles, who specifically joined up with Squad 7 to, as she puts it, "put holes in Imps." Yeah, she's a little creepy.
- The eponymous player characters in Mercenaries have the option of doing this. Then again, there are massive penalties for killing civilians.
- Apparently, the various grunts in Call of Duty 4, especially the Ultranationalists, who purposefully are bombing whole villages.
- And from World at War, Sgt. Reznov. He really likes killing Nazis. And also from WaW, the soldiers from the Nazi Zombies mode. They're quite involved in their zombie killing.
- Also subverted in Metal Gear Solid, to the point where one has a moral conflict in killing others. The game rewards you for using non-lethal.
Solid Snake: "Unfortunately, killing is something that gets easier the more you do it."
- On the other hand, Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid is heavily implied in-story to be one. That's not even getting to the FOXHOUND members.
- In the first game, the final boss calls you out on it. If you take this path in the fourth game, the same sound-bite from Metal Gear Solid plays, followed by Snake vomiting in disgust.
- Something similar happens in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, although that one does involve the players actions (kind of, although Pyro Bison's overall message is the same, the number of enemies killed changes depending on how many the player actually killed, with two being the absolute lowest due to there being no alternative for Slasher Hawk and Marionette Owl.)
- Colonel Cobar from Killzone Liberation. When he was still a private during the formation of the Helghast military, he shot his military instructor for stopping a training operation because another recruit was wounded. His ascension to colonel made it worse: mere days into the invasion of Vekta, he captured, tortured and dismembered three ISA council members in Sedah City.
- Rico from the same series takes it up a step further, and apparently is a good guy. His questionable tactics include wielding a heavy machine gun during a hostage situation and not settling for stealth when Helghast can be killed. It gets bad in Killzone 2 when Templar decides in some strange fashion that he is worthy of not only heading up Alpha, but also getting the charge to capture Visari. Guess how it ends. In the manual for the first game, it's stated he was a Rhino Squad member, who were known for being unnecessarily violent.
- Team Fortress 2: With all nine playable characters being agents of a Private Military Contractor, this trope was bound to happen.
Heavy: I fear no man...but that thing...it scares me.Scout: I ain't talking to you about that freak, alright? He...He's not here, is he? How do I get this fricking thing off ?! *knocks down camera*Spy: One shudders to imagine what inhuman thoughts lie behind that mask...what dreams of chronic and sustained cruelty?
- The Soldier is a classic Type I taken to comical levels. According to his backstory, he tried to join the army to kill Nazis and was turned down, so he bought a ticket to Poland and embarked on a "Nazi killing spree" that lasted until 1949.
- Most of the others just really, really enjoy the work they do, to the point that it's almost like they're aware it's all a game. Almost.
- Lampshaded with the Sniper, who prides himself as a professional assassin, so he's not crazy, per se. His parents think so, however.
Sniper: I'm not a "crazed gunman", Dad, I'm an assassin! Well, the difference being, one is a job and the other's mental sickness!
- The Pyro takes this further — even the other mercenaries regard him/her/it as being wildly socipathic. Just about the only intelligible sound he (let's just go with that for posterity) can make is a maniacal laugh as he burns everyone around him to death. His Meet The Pyro video revealed him to be far beyond mere sociopathy, and is actually completely divorced from reality all together.
- The Beast from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin might not seem like one, but Caulder addresses him as "Sergeant" at one point before noting that he no longer considers himself military. The implication is that the Beast was always the hateful, kill-crazy man he became After the End, and the only difference is that he no longer has the chain of command to hold him back.
- Pretty much all of the Sith Troopers in Knights of the Old Republic, but the students at the Sith Academy on Korriban particularly stand out in that they basically spend their time showcasing their sociopathy in the hopes of being noticed by thir superiors. Mandalorians also count, including Canderous in your party.
- U.B.C.S. Sergeant Nicholai Ginovaef of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, an ex-soldier turned mercenary is this trope to a "T", plotting to murder all of his colleagues so that he can receive their pay. He's also a Badass Normal who somehow manages to survive the game, making your life a living hell the entire time. U.S.S. team leader HUNK, alias "Mr. Death", of Resident Evil 2 is a totally cold-blooded version, who willingly leaves his teammates to die in furtherance of his mission, and doesn't care at all about the civillians his team guns down. He earned said alias because of a reputation for being the Sole Survivor of a number of missions. Despite apparently being intended as an insult, HUNK sees it as a point of pride and seems to think that this makes him immortal or invincible.
- Generally speaking, the Umbrella Security Service (U.S.S.) and Umbrella Bioweapon Countermeasures Service (U.B.C.S.) seem to attract a lot of these guys. Given the nature of the work and the fact that most of them are Former Regime Personnel or professional mercenaries, this is unsurprising. The entire business is headed up by Colonel Kilgore Sergei Vladimir.
- Vile from the Mega Man X series fits this trope to a T. Because of an irrepairable short-circuit in his brain, he absolutely LOVES destroying Mavericks, and even moreso causing as much collateral damage as he can while retiring Mavericks, which was partially the reason why he ended up being branded a Maverick himself later on (the other being his rebellious attitude towards his superiors).
- An almost uniform trait of Caesar's Legion in Fallout: New Vegas. Rape, pillaging, enslaving and burning are standard procedure. Legionares despise weakness and will kill anyone who doesn't serve the Legion - soldiers, civilians, women, children, old people. What we call war crimes, they call tactical maneuvers. Their top field commander slaughters his own troops to keep them in line. Even Caesar himself, who is regarded as a godly figure by his troops and is trying to build a better world, is sadly aware that his Legion has yet to become more than just a horde.
- Blackwatch from [PROTOTYPE]. The regular Marines in Manhattan view them with disgust, rightfully so; several Web of Intrigue memories show them murdering civilians for the hell of it. And laughing.
- Mass Effect: Depending on how you play the game, Commander Shepard can be one of these, especially with the Ruthless background in Mass Effect. Deconstructed by the third game, where continuing to play this character type means you have to deliberately stab several allied characters in the back, most particularly Mordin Solus.
- Medal of Honor (2010 version): Voodoo is a very self-restrained version. He doesn't kill anyone he shouldn't, but he does give it serious consideration on more than one occasion. His teammates make sure to tease him for this.
- Captain Martin Walker from Spec Ops: The Line is a type 4. After the White Phosphorus incident that happens early on in the game, Walker goes from being a sensible soldier to slowly cracking under the pressure and becoming a raving madman with a hero complex. How quickly he does so depends on the player in some instances.
- In Homefront the Korean soldiers spend the first few minutes at the beginning of the game brutalizing American citizens. A group of them shot a couple in front of their own child, and the Resistance see that the Koreans are killing the prisoners and burying them in mass graves.
- In Alpha Protocol the Veteran Combat Initiative exclusively recruits from the dishonorably discharged and "borderline types" who have difficulty returning to civilian life.
- Agent Jack Hunter, also known as Goldeneye. He's unique in that he's sadistic and careless—he wastes time hurting his enemies. MI-6 has no use for him, but SPECTRE, on the other hand...
- Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV says he was surrounded by people like this in the Serbian wars but he himself is not one (although a lot of the blood he shed went beyond what was required in the line of duty, which disturbs him).
- Frank Horrigan from Fallout2. He's easily one of the most psychotic and ruthless characters in the game, and possibly the entire series. He was bad enough in the Pre-War United States, and became much worse after F.E.V. exposure turned him into a Super Mutant and the Enclave made him their top enforcer, outfitting him with the finest life support, Powered Armor, and firepower.
- Evolve has Hyde, of the psychopath variety. He joined the military as an alternative to jail time and was promptly assigned to the Chemtroopers, soldiers equipped with flesh and armor melting chemical weapons. While there, he refused to wear the filter mask so he could look into the eyes of the people he killed.
- Cliff Hudson from Dead Rising is type 4, being a psychopath in the game due to having a Vietnam flashback triggered by hearing his daughter getting ripped to shreds by zombies. He comes back to his senses after Frank West defeats him.
- The Spartan-III Program in Halo is partly designed to produce this. The recruits were chosen exclusively from orphaned children of Covenant attacks on Outer Colonies, most of which were on average of 5 years old, and were raised and trained on the sole promise that they'd one day be able to avenge their families by killing every Covenant warrior. The result was several companies of peerless fighters fully willing to participate in suicide attacks to take out entire Covenant worlds. Headhunters Roland and Jonah exemplify the attitude, taking absolute glee in mowing down and mutilating Covenant soldiers fueled by the memory of their glassed homeworlds.
- Emile-A239 is another Spartan-III example whose life is defined by the pleasure he takes killing Covenant. His superiors specifically mention that it's best for everyone that he be fielded solely against Covenant targets; his brutality is ill-suited against human Insurrectionists who could very well garner sympathy from the public if his methods were showcased.
- Most of the grunts in Schlock Mercenary fit this fairly well, minus the rape. When hiring new recruits, Captain Tagon even commends his senior officer Thurl for "hiring those [violent sociopaths] right up." To further the trope, most of the ones who get promoted beyond Sgt. happen to be a bit more rational in their thinking, with the notable exception of now-Lieutenant Shore Pibald.
- The guy in this Karate Bears "distinguishes" himself on the battlefield by mangling and eating an enemy
- In Our Little Adventure, most of the soldiers of the Souballo Empire are portrayed as the first flavor.
- Most of the cast of Gone with the Blastwave cross this trope with Armed Farces and Comedic Sociopathy. They're by and large a bunch of apathetic, incompetent, manic-depressive bunglers, but they're still soldiers. They run the gamut of the scale—most are somewhere in the III to IV range, but a few are in the II category. There aren't many Type I Sociopathic Soldiers in the cast, mostly because almost no one seems to care who they're fighting for or against.
- In the Transformers mythos, it's harder to list a Decepticon or Predacon who doesn't fit this trope than one who does. Though, seeing as the faction was founded by a sadistic madman and his like-minded followers, it's not hard to see why. Even the occasional Autobot or Maximal fits, though they are usually only tolerated if they are especially effective. Even then, they're kept on a short leash.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Deconstructed when Katara goes after the soldier who killed her mother, expecting a Psycho for Hire. What she gets is a cowardly old man, whom she angrily describes as "just empty. There's nothing inside you." The implication is that fear got him to act like a Type III in the field; outside of combat he's not much of a threat—just don't sneak up on him.
- Another implication could of been that either that: the soldier was a Might Makes Right kind of guy, so he whimps out at the sight of more powerful figures (For example: his mother, and Katara). Or that he is a foil who shows that this (being a wimpy, cowardly, "Well Done, Son!" Guy) is what Katara would have been like if her mother was still alive.
- Yet another interpretation, is that he was a monster, but had some kind of crippling mother issues aside, and that years of retirement living under his mother had ground him down to the point that he wasn't worth killing. Or that he became that way as a result of the things he had done on the battlefield, becoming a Shell-Shocked Veteran.
- The Simpsons implies that Homer Simpson, had he actually been on a battlefield, would have been of this trope. When he has to be an army recruiter, one of the things he is asking people in a failed attempt at recruiting them is whether they want to kill people. Also, in "You Kent Always Say What You Want," Homer compares his elation to getting his 100th ice cream cone as being similar to gaining his first kill had he been in a war. Mitigated when he was once recruited by the Marines, he isn't smart enough to even hold a rifle, the one they gave him only shoots bubbles.
- Every war, ever, has examples of this show up on all sides. Some have more, some have less, but no one has none. The amount varies widely depending on a whole range of factors, with the most important one usually being whether such behavior is shunned, ignored, or outright encouraged by military higher-ups and politicians (with countless examples of all three options). Scientifically tested here, especially the second page. Also, relatedly, this article.
- This video seems to go more in depth about the first kind.
- The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) produced thousands as mercenary armies pillaged for three decades across the length and breadth of Germany.
- The soldiers of the Swedish Empire especially, had a reputation for this. The Schwedentrunk is a legacy of this. It goes beyond the Thirty Years' War as well. In the Great Northern War, Swedish soldiers supposedly once filled a womans genitals with explosives and then lit the fuse. It should be noted however, that the only source for the latter is the book Carolus Rex : hans liv i sanning återberättatnote by Ernst Brunner, which was widely panned for its historical inaccuracies, that verged on the slanderous.
- World War II had many of these kind of soldiers, especially on the Eastern Front, where both sides (the Wehrmacht and the Red Army) were notorious for having these. Both Wehrmacht and Red Army were based on conscription, so type 3 was omnipresent. During WWII and the Second Sino-Japanese war the Imperial Japanese Army also did some horrible things to Chinese civilians and any soldiers unfortunate enough to be captured by the Japanese.
- The penal battalions (Shtrafbat) of both Germans and Soviets. Up to Eleven variant of Type 3.
- 36th Waffen-Grenadier Division Dirlewanger was composed of Type 2 criminals, with commander Oskar Dirlewanger himself being a convicted sexual offender. Even fellow Waffen-SS troops hated them and shunned them.
- The participants of the My Lai Massacre.
- The Phoenix Program of the same time seemed aimed to create thousands of examples of this trope for the war effort, with tens or even hundreds of thousands of victims, alive or dead.
- This breed of soldier seems to be very common in Colombia's various military/paramilitary organizations. As the War Nerd puts it: "They kill in uniform or out, home or away, on the street or the battlefield. Equal Opportunity Slaughter: men, women, children, dogs — if it moves, they'll kill it. For any reason. For no reason. For money, for fun, for the Revolution, for the Counter-Revolution, for practice."
- Also terrifyingly common in el drugo el waro in Mexico. Epitomized by an incident in 2014 when Zeta cartel members massacred 64 students for the lulz. Yes, they killed sixty-four people who were completely uninvolved — they weren't rivals, snitches, police, military, militia, or uncooperative officials. They were just regular university students.
- Many examples, Type 1 and 2, from Argentina's Dirty War, which took place from 1976-83. Under the junta, torture, kidnappings, and mass murder were institutionalized, and carried out by members of the Argentine armed forces. Some, such as Adolfo Scilingo have repented, and asked to be imprisoned. Others, like Julian the Turk have not, and indeed seem very proud of their achievements. At least 30,000 people were killed, by leaders who claimed to be protecting them from the Dirty Communists.
General Iberico St. Jean, governor of Buenos Aires: First we will kill all the subversives; then we will kill all their collaborators; then their sympathisers; then those who remained indifferent; and finally, we’ll kill the undecided.
- Osvaldo Romo, among other members of the Chilean DINA (secret police during the Pinochet dictatorship). But Romo stands out because he gave an interview where he goes into detail bragging about how he tortured prisoners.
- The Abu Ghraib prison guards.
- "Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant."
- If you read his interview with a reporter just before a nasty incident that landed him in prison, he is a Type 3 example.
- Italian, and Belgian, soldiers were caught abusing Somali civilians during the peacekeeping and humanitarian operations there in late 1992/early 1993. The Italian soldiers also photographed what they did, with methods of torture and abuse comparable to Abu Ghraib a decade later.
- It took a while for the UN to realise that sending soldiers as peacekeepers to countries which were formerly colonies of that nation was not a good idea. Those Italian soldiers would have been sons or grandsons of men who fought to conquer and "pacify" the nation formerly known as Italian East Africa (now a part of Somalia) and who, under Mussolini, fought there with great brutality to the natives. They might well have seen it as picking up where they left off in 1941, or "getting even" for historical atrocities perpetrated on Italian soldiers, who were captured by natives not predisposed to be nice to their prisoners. Meanwhile the natives would have seen the old hated colonial power returning under a new guise. Old bitter memories die hard on both sides. Belgian military atrocities in its former African colonies are also well documented. A European nation which for its size was over-represented in UN peacekeeping forces in Africa was the Irish Republic: unique in Western Europe for having been a colonialised country, rather then an imperialist coloniser. Irish soldiers, for this reason, tended to be popular and well-respected.
- Speaking of the UN, in the early 1960's the Swedish army participated in battle for the first time in 140 years, when 6000 soldiers participated in the peacekeeping operations in Congo. This operation was controversial since it was the first time that the UN went from conducting a "peacekeeping" operation, to a "peacemaking" one. note One of these Swedes was a soldier and combat photographer named Gert Gustafsson. He told several stories to the press upon returning home, about how the Swedish army supposedly committed war crimes. This blew up, but a journalist did some investigating and found out that ALL stories about alleged war crimes, came from Gert Gustafsson. Turns out he had developed PTSD after being forced to kill child soldiers in self defense, and had also been subjected to a mock execution while being a POW. After taking therapy, he also found out that he had repressed memories of giving a Mercy Kill to a Congolese fighter. This combined with his guilt over his self-admitted racist attitude to the Congolese civilians in those days led him to confess to anything.
- A group of U.S. soldiers were recently put on trial for deliberately killing Afghani civilians and planting evidence to make it look like self-defense. Not only that, but they also threatened several members of their unit that might have told in order to keep them quiet. Threats included purposefully dropping a weight on them while lifting weights.
- More recently, David Motari, subject of a memetic video where he chucks a live puppy off a cliff. The Marines were not pleased.
- Spanish "Conquistadors". There are chronicles of them (from a Spanish priest, no less) that tell how they would rip children from their mother's breast, cut them while still alive and feed them to the war dogs.
- Enlisting in the armed forces has become popular among white supremacists and inner city gangs who hope to acquire knowledge of military tactics which they could apply in their criminal activities. The problem has gotten so severe that recruits are now examined for gang tattoos that might identify a past or present association with said groups, and more than one tattoo, gang-affiliated or not, is grounds for being barred from recruiting.
- Finland ignored most drug prohibiting treaties or paid them only lip service after WWII. So many soldiers had lost their mental balance during the wars that ignoring drug prohibition was a way to keep them from freaking up. Well until the 1970s most of the drill instructors for conscripts were war veterans...
- As in the case of Argentina's Dirty War, Guatemala's long, long civil war (1960-1996) produced many of these, as the military junta became more and more brutal in its dealings with the populace. Soldiers carried out acts of mass politicide, and ethnic cleansing and genocide of the indigenous Mayan population became a feature of the war. Of the 200,000+ people who died in the war, over 90 percent are believed to have died at the hands of the Guatemalan Army; this does not even include the 45-50,000 people who were "disappeared". To pick one particularly gruesome example at the village of Los Dos Erres, the army buried civilians alive, dashed the heads of infants against walls, and kept the village's women as prisoners so they could repeatedly rape them. The soldiers involved ran the full gamut of types, from I-IV.
- The stresses involved in policing the West Bank/Occupied Territories are taking a heavy toll of conscripts in the Israeli army. Even leaving aside alleged cases of brutality and bad behaviour against the Palestinian populationnote , there is a growing trend for former conscripts to report sick with PTSD-like symptoms parellel to those which affected American servicemen after Vietnam. There is also a growing conscientious objection movement in Israel, of young people refusing military service in protest at their country's policies in the West Bank. Counselling and support services for former conscripts in israel are reporting many cases of ex-soldiers with a deep sense of guilt for their actions in Gaza and the West Bank.
- Red Latvian Riflemen and later Latvian Legionaries had a reputation of following any order they were given. Sometimes it would be glorified in history - like throwing themselves to their deaths at Machine gun Hill (take a gamble on how it got its name) or not moving an inch despite shelling and gas at Naaves sala (Island of Death) during WWI. During Russian revolution the very same people were so feared by the population that there was a saying - "If you need an executioner find a Latvian."