->''"Look, we know you're new to this command, but the army field manual is very clear on the subject of squad stereotype composition. Every squad must include: 1 quiet religious guy who goes insane, 1 maverick loose cannon who plays by his own rules and dies in a blaze of glory, 1 covert recon opperative with a dark past who at first betrays the team but then has a last minute crisis of conscience and nobly sacrifices himself for the greater good, 1 fresh faced new recruit who survives but loses his innocence and learns to become a man and 3 or 4 other guys who you don't care about so they can get brutally shot so you can show how serious the war is."''
-->--''[[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/loadingreadyrun/1681-Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Loading Ready Run]]'' makes it official.

Military and war stories have a number of different levels of focus, from the global strategic level all the way down to squad tactics, and even the plights of individual soldiers on the battleground.

When the focus is at the smaller end of the scale, we get this trope. Very often, this is a squad composed (like a FiveManBand or TheTeam) of interlocking character types or roles.

There are quite a few similarities with the types and roles of the CommandRoster. The main difference is the CommandRoster is a very specific combination of skills that may not be [[MildlyMilitary strictly military]]. TheSquad may be a BadassCrew and have a SquadNickname. If it's made up of women, it's an example of an AmazonBrigade.

The trope's inspiration comes from the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fireteam fireteam]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squad squad]] units of infantrymen used by militaries to this day. Possibly first appearing in the NapoleonicWars where open order skirmishers armed with rifles at the time more accurate but slower to reload than standard muskets would depend on coordination for them to stealthily get into position for a good shot and minimize exposure to the weight of fire of much larger densely-formed musket-wielding line infantry units that were around the battlefield, the concept was codified in UsefulNotes/WorldWar1 where breech-loading rifles using smokeless powder (gunpowder in the NapoleonicWars was black powder that would quickly fill the area around a shooter firing repeatedly with thick smoke that would render firing accurately improbable) had become commonplace to render the average infantryman much more potentially accurate and quick-firing than he was before ([[MoreDakka let alone the proliferation of machine gun crews]]) which granted a huge advantage to defenders in cover that would inevitably shoot first when a mass of men approached them. Military science thus experimented with infantrymen attacking fortified positions by approaching with methodical covertness in significantly smaller groups to avoid troops being quickly mostly killed at first contact from being in a large gathering until the concept eventually became the infantry's default grouping at the smallest level.

Some of those character types and roles:
* TheLeader, who might be of several different types. If the leader is an OfficerAndAGentleman, expect a CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough relation with a SergeantRock.
** ColonelBadass or MajorlyAwesome
** TheNeidermeyer
** EnsignNewbie, in which case there will ''always'' be a SergeantRock present
* The shooter, often a
** ColdSniper
** FriendlySniper
* One or more [[UtilityPartyMember technical]] [[TheSmartGuy "Smart Guy"]] who can take any or [[OmnidisciplinaryScientist all]] of the following roles:
** TheStrategist
** TheEngineer
** CommunicationsOfficer
** CunningLinguist
** [[HollywoodHacking The Hacker]]
** VoiceWithAnInternetConnection
* TheMedic (sometimes another SmartGuy variant), sometimes as a CombatMedic
* A charismatic smooth talker
** TheSocialExpert
** TheFace
* TheBigGuy
** DemolitionsExpert
* [[DesignatedPointMan The Point Man]]
** TheSneakyGuy
** ArmyScout
* The Veteran
* NewMeat
* TheQuietOne
* SadClown
* SouthernFriedPrivate
* TheSquadette
* TokenAdult

If the story follows the characters through boot camp, or specialized training, expect to see DrillSergeantNasty make an appearance. If the story follows them after the war, expect at least one ShellShockedSenior.
Some works featuring TheSquad include:
* ''Series/BandOfBrothers''
* ''Series/BlackSheepSquadron''
* ''VideoGame/BrothersInArms'' (essentially Series/BandOfBrothers: [[SpiritualLicensee The Game]])
* ''Series/{{Combat}}''
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': features the "Evangelion squad".
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''
* ''OverThere''
* ''Series/TheRatPatrol''
* ''Series/TourOfDuty''
* ''Series/SpaceAboveAndBeyond''
* ''Series/TheUnit''
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar''
* ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' and ''[[VideoGame/HaloReach Reach]]'', as well as ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'''s "Spartan Ops" co-op campaign.
* ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho''
* ''{{VideoGame/Killzone}}''
* ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany''
* ''Literature/GenerationKill''
* ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad''
* ''ComicBooks/XWingSeries'' both Rogue and Wraith Squadrons, though Wraith Squadron features more ground/Special Operations missions
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsRepublicCommando'', both the [[VideoGames video game]] and [[Literature/RepublicCommandoSeries the novels]]
* ''WesternAnimation/RoughnecksStarshipTroopersChronicles''
* Literature/GauntsGhosts of TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}
* ''Anime/LibraryWar''
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamThe08thMSTeam''
* ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles''
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers''
* [[WorldWarIII ''The Zone'' novels]] by James Rouch.
* ''{{Anime/Simoun}}''
* ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan''
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty''
* The Gold Eagle Books action-adventure series of the 1980's -- SOBS (Soldiers of Barrabas, a mercenary unit secretly employed by the US Government), and the anti-terrorist groups [[Literature/TheExecutioner Phoenix Force and Able Team]].
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' has a squad consisting of [[PsychoForHire deranged mercenaries]] and parodies of the above tropes.
* ''Franchise/MedalOfHonor: Pacific Assault'' gives us a main character with a voice and a personality, as well as a distinctive squad to support him.
* ''Franchise/GhostInTheShell'' (the Japanese-language title is really their official group designation)
* ''Literature/TheBlackCompany''
* ''Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront''
* ''VideoGame/WorldInConflict''
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar 2''
* ''Film/{{Aliens}}''
* ''Anime/PumpkinScissors''
* ''VideoGame/GeneralChaos'', which makes players choose between four different squad types.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', and ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' all play the trope fairly straight with a few character-based subversions.
* ''ComicBook/{{Tomahawk}}'': Tomahawk commanded a squad of guerrilla soldiers known as Tomahawk's Rangers.
* J Squad in ''Film/EdgeOfTomorrow''.
* The Ins-and-Outs in ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment''
* Damocles Squad in ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake''