Sgt Brad "Iceman" Colbert
The orderly, cerebral and unflappable squad leader of Bravo 1. Nicknamed "Iceman" for his competency and cool head, Colbert is an Afghanistan vet who's made the military his career. If the series can be said to have a central character, it’s him.
- The Ace: While it isn’t brought up much in the series proper, research into Colbert’s prior military record indicates that’s he one of the best trained Marines in the Recon battalion. By the time the series begins, he had completed Marine Recon training, Army Airborne school, mountain warfare training and other extremely demanding military courses.
- After the events of the series, Colbert went on to further distinguish himself as an exchange officer with the British Royal Marines (unlike the US equivalent, not a specific service, but the Royal Navy's Special Forces, with the tag-line "99.9% need not apply"). He also joined Force Reconnaissance, a more prestigious unit that Division Recon with higher standards of training. He retired in 2016 at the rank of master sergeant after 21 years of service.
- Actually Pretty Funny: When Person makes a joke about what got him, Colbert, and Trombley to sign up and the reality (very different from any of the scenarios Person brought up), even Colbert cracks a smile.
- Airplane Arms: At one point in the series, he whips off his shirt and runs around like this for no apparent reason, much to the amusement of others.
- Amicable Exes: He's (allegedly) still friends with his ex-fiancee. From his description of their "relationship", it's very obvious that if she thinks they're still friends, it's only because he's masking his hatred and resentment very well.
- Badass Biker: It's not seen in the series for obvious reasons, but he owns a motorcycle and, in direct contrast to his professional persona, he's a very reckless biker.
- Badass Boast: "Gentlemen, we just seized an airfield. That was pretty fucking ninja".
- Berserk Button: No country music is allowed in his humvee, as he often and pointedly reminds Person. He does however make an exception for Walt Hasser, who has a beautiful singing voice.
- Cold Sniper: He may not have the gun, but he certainly has the attitude (and the accurate shooting).
- Communications Officer: He fills this role whenever they're driving, using his radio headset to communicate with Lt. Fick and relay information to the rest of the people in the vehicle.
- Cultured Warrior: Between his articulate language, extensive knowledge of weaponry and literature, Colbert comes off as an example of this trope.
- Deadpan Snarker: Before the fatigue of the war gets to him, he's always ready to serve some sarcasm whenever the situation requires it.
- The Determinator: Went up the last 1000 meters of Mount Shasta with a broken ankle, carrying 150 pounds of gear. It made him a legend among the Recon Marines.
- Field Promotion: To Staff Sergeant, in an instance that is rare for modern warfare.
- Former Teen Rebel: In the book, he admits to a "deep-rooted but controlled rebellious streak that was responsible for his parents sending him to military academy when he was in high school."
- Happily Adopted: Into a well-to-do family with a rich Talmudic tradition, no less.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Colbert tries to keep his emotions under control for the sake of his brothers in arms, but it's clear (especially in the book) that he has a soft spot for children and tries very hard to make sure that he and his fellow Marines don't cause civilian casualties. When it inevitably happens, Evan Wright describes him as privately inconsolable.
- Hollywood Atheist: Averted. There's no tragic story behind his lack of faith. He simply does not believe there is a God.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Adding to his nordic features.
- Ineffectual Loner: He shuns the crowd and prefers to be alone, and Evan Wright describes his "barely concealed sense of superiority". Colbert says that he would never socialize with any of the guys if they weren't in the Marines.
- It's worth noting that it is uncertain whether this is an innate trait or whether he simply prefers to socialize with people of a different caliber.
- Insufferable Genius: This quality is particularly noticeable during his rants against religion and procreation.
- In the book, when his whole team dives to the ground when they hear unidentified shots during a meal break, he coolly remains sitting and informs them in-between bites that the shots are coming from friendly weapons, which he proceeds to accurately name.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He’s quite obviously disillusioned (more so than the rest) with the war, with the higher command and with the general idiocy happening around him, but he's steadfast and conscientious in performing his job.
- Nerves of Steel: His unflappable nerves are how he got his nickname.
- Not So Stoic: He lets his emotionless facade fall when he realizes Trombley has shot an Iraqi boy on his own orders.
Colbert now wears an expression that I've come to see more frequently. He looks helpless. When confronted with these small human tragedies up close, some Marines shut down. Their faces go blank. Despite his Iceman reputation, Colbert doesn't hide his feelings very well. In combat he looks almost ecstatic; now he appears overwhelmed, though still trying to deal with this situation.
- In the book, Evan Wrights writes the following after Colbert is approached by several Iraqi mothers who give him their sick babies, possibly mistaking him for a doctor:
- The One That Got Away: He had been with his ex for nearly ten years starting from junior high and they were also engaged at one point. For unknown reasons, it didn't work out and she eventually married his best friend from junior high. Brad still seems to harbor some resentment over how things ended, and it colors his views on women and marriage.
- The Perfectionist: Evan Wright writes that everything about [Colbert] is neat, orderly and crisp.
- Sherlock Scan: He deduces that a civilian is actually a deserter from the military-style belt he wears.
- Shirtless Scene: He appears shirtless a couple of times.
- Stay Frosty: His Catchphrase. In fact a running theme of the series is how modern soldiers model themselves after war movies.
- The Stoic: There’s a reason he's called Iceman, after all.
- Straight Man: To Person's more goofy and irreverent antics.
- Surfer Dude: Inverted. Surfing is one of his main hobbies, but personality-wise he's about as far from this trope as they come.
- Team Dad: To his squad. He took responsibility for all of his team's screw ups, namely Trombley's shooting of the "camels," and he sees his squad's morale as his own personal responsibility.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Person. Doubles as Odd Friendship since the two of them have wildly different personalities and backgrounds.
Corporal Josh Ray Person
Colbert's best friend in the battalion - the frenetic, outspoken, obscenity-spouting Marine driving Bravo's lead Humvee. Like Colbert, he's a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. His sole purpose for participating in the invasion seems to be to mock everything around him - a goal he accomplishes with ease and finesse. While others often poke fun at his white-trash trailer-park background and over-the-top behavior, he's still considered to be something of a genius in the unit.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Unusually for this trope, he's on the skinny side and is the team's Smart Guy.
- Brake Angrily: This was real-life Person's way of disagreeing with Colbert's orders; the tendency did not carry over to the series.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Odd personality notwithstanding, he's highly capable at what he does.
- Character Filibuster: The trope personified.
- Communications Officer: He's Bravo's (most talented) RTO. Interestingly enough, he doesn't actually fill this role within the vehicle. He drives, and Colbert talks on the radio.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He may be a skinny spaz, but he's most certainly a BAMF.
- Disappeared Dad: Was raised by a single mother.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Consistently. If you concentrate on what he says rather than how he says it, he's actually very reasonable.
- Functional Addict: His bizarre behavior stems from an addiction to legal stimulants; he mellows down considerably after he's forced to go cold turkey.
- Geek: In high school, he was pudgy, nonathletic, and a member of the debate club.
- Genius Ditz: As a result of near-permanent Alcohol-Induced Idiocy.
- Glamorous Wartime Singer: Played with; he dreams of being a rock star, but since he insists on deliberately butchering the stuff he sings for the fun of it, his actual musical skills are hard to evaluate.
- Guys are Slobs: He can't eat or drink anything without getting half of it all over himself.
- Heroic Fatigue: He is sleep-deprived and able to drive for days on end only thanks to ripped fuel.
- Hidden Depths: He was on the debate team at school, he can play a multitude of musical instruments, and he was planning on studying philosophy in college before he took a 180-turn and became a Marine.
- Jerkass: While he cares for his friends, he can be extremely insensitive and his warped sense of humour is extremely offensive. However, a great deal of this is due to a mix of fatigue, combat stress, and being high on ripped fuel.
- MacGyvering: He's good at fixing bum radios with whatever is lying around. Or by unplugging everything and licking sockets.
- Making a Spectacle of Yourself: He dons golden "Elvis impersonator" shades which look doubly ridiculous on a Marine in full battle gear. They also hold the honor of being featured on the miniseries cover.
- Motor Mouth: Due to his use of ripped fuel, he jabbers on almost constantly.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Subverted; when he detoxes (cold turkey), he becomes noticeably quiet and subdued. Which is worrying, sure - except that is his real, off-stimulants personality.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Played with; although he is the squads resident comedian he's also an extremely capable Marine in his own right. You don't get into Force Recon by being a slacker, after all.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: In contrast to his Cultured Badass squad leader. Person eschews Sun Tzu and other famous war philosophers in favor of pop stars (Avril Lavigne) soul R&B/Soul singers (Minnie Riperton) and etc.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Especially prevalent during the rare moments when he shows signs of vulnerability.
- Sad Clown: Addiction to stimulants and insecurity are the two things fueling his hilarious and uber-offensive humor.
- Sociopathic Soldier: This quote pretty much says it best.Person: Dear Frederick, thank you for your nice letter. But I'm actually a U.S Marine who was born to kill, where you have clearly mistaken me for some wine sipping communist cock-sucker. And although peace probably appeals to tree-hugging-bisexuals like you and your parents. I happen to be a death dealing, blood crazed warrior who wakes up every day just hoping for the chance to dismember my enemies and defile their civilizations. Peace sucks a hairy asshole, Freddie. War is the motherfucking answer.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Intelligent and articulate, while at the same time being very crude and insensitive.
- Universal Driver's License: He's not actually licensed to drive the Humvee. At one point during the invasion, he lampshades this by asking Colbert whether he thinks he has enough hours now to qualify for the license.
Cpl Walter "Walt" Hasser
The friendly, golden-haired Marine manning V01's Mark-19 gun. Occupies the Turret position of the vehicle.
- Accidental Aiming Skills: Lobotomized an Iraqi by shooting him through the eye, through a car windshield, just from a nervous reflex.
- Does Not Like Spam: Peanuts, since he's allergic to them. Too bad MRE rations include peanut butter all the time.
- Glamorous Wartime Singer: In direct contrast to Person, he has a wonderful singing voice, but doesn't like to sing. This information did not make it from the book to the series.
- Nice Guy: By far the most polite, reserved and well-liked member of Colbert's platoon.
- The Quiet One Going along with his Nice Guy persona he doesn't talk all that much. In fact it's even Lampshaded by Person at one point.[Person jumps on to Walter in an effort to elicit a response from him]Walter: Would you knock it the fuck off already!Person: (mock gasp) At last he speaks!
Lance Cpl Harold James Trombley
The lead vehicle's machine gunner (and youngest occupant) - a baby-faced Marine with the heart of a natural-born killer. He enlisted specifically to be able to shoot people in the line of duty.
- Ax-Crazy: He went to war because the idea of killing people excites him.
- Black Comedy: He earns the nickname "Whopper Jr"note for his suspect actions against Iraqi civilians; it's used good-naturedly.
- Blood Knight: All he wants to do is kill people and dogs.
- Dissonant Serenity: Trombley is completely unfazed by combat situations of every kind and he fights in a sort of serene calm. His squadmates remark that this is because he's a born cold-hearted killer.
- On one occasion, his convoy came under fire, immobilizing a vehicle and forcing everyone to dismount and take cover in a ditch... except him, casually sitting out in the open with his binoculars to spot the enemy. Iceman had to drag him by the back of his combat vest into cover before he got himself killed.
- It should be worth noting that it wasn't normal small-arms fire either; he was out in the open while an anti-air gun was firing at them. If he was hit by one of those rounds, the best-case scenario would be his body would NOT explode into pieces.
- On one occasion, his convoy came under fire, immobilizing a vehicle and forcing everyone to dismount and take cover in a ditch... except him, casually sitting out in the open with his binoculars to spot the enemy. Iceman had to drag him by the back of his combat vest into cover before he got himself killed.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: He fired off two short bursts, maybe around seven rounds total, from a moving vehicle at man-sized targets about 200 meters away, and he hit what he was aiming at. Walt lampshades this when he calls Trombley a "cold-on, dead eyed killer."
- Kick the Dog: He attempts to do so using high-velocity lead on many an occasion. Thankfully Colbert is always there to make sure he doesn't.
- My Girl Back Home: He's married to a Mexican girl and is planning on having kids after he comes back home from the war.
- New Meat: He's explicitly younger and less experienced than veterans like Brad and Ray, although he isn't the youngest, and he tends to be slow on the uptake when it comes to certain recon traditions. Still, he is an extremely well trained Marine in Force Recon, and his marksmanship is astounding.
- Psychopathic Manchild: A rare non-villainous example. On a related note, he's a self-professed cat lover.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: He certainly seems to think so.
- Sociopathic Soldier: By far the most sociopathic of the entire platoon. He seems to show just a little too much enthusiasm when it comes to wanting to see soom action if this quote is any indication.Trombley: Sergeant, I didn't get to shoot.Person: That fucking sucks, Trombley. Did your recruiting officer tell you could just shoot anyone?Trombley: Fuckin' A he did.
- Southern-Fried Private: Comes off like it, although at one point it's mentioned he's actually from Michigan.
- Token Evil Teammate: Like the aforementioned trope lets us know he is by far the most blood thirsty and seemingly amoral squad mate out of the entire platoon.
Evan "Rolling Stone" Wright
A Rolling Stone reporter embedded with the 1st Recon Battalion of the USMC. The other Marines quickly warm up to him (especially once they learn he used to write for Hustler), though he still doesn't get to be one of the guys.
- Badass Pacifist: Wright doesn't fight and the only time he picks up a gun is when Ray insists he does so. This doesn't stop him from constantly getting himself in the thick of the battlefield and documenting everything up-close.
- Butt-Monkey: Subverted. The Marines quickly adopt him as their own, and when they start hazing him he realizes that they've started to like him.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The other Marines invariably refer to him as Reporter, Scribe, Rolling Stone, Beaver Hunt, or some variation on his profession thereof. His actual name is never said in the series, and since the book is written from his perspective, the same thing is true.
- First-Person Peripheral Narrator: In the book.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Subverted in a couple of different ways. Most obviously, he completely fails to don his chemical warfare gear the first time it is needed, partly due to it being the wrong size for him (he ends up spending most of the war with the crotch ripped out of his suit).
- Hollywood Tactics: "Always run in a serpentine fashion!"
- I Should Write a Book About This: And he does.
- My Girl Back Home: The picture of his girlfriend is passed around among the Marines.
- Nerves of Steel: He shows remarkable restraint in combat situations, despite being a civilian with no prior combat training or experience. This actually wins him a lot of respect from the Marines, who all thought he would pack his bags and leave after his first combat experience. One scene (in the book, the series, and Fick's book One Bullet Away) has Wright looking at the side of the Humvee after their first ambush, seeing 6 bullets that could have killed him but for the vehicle's armor. He's notably rattled and seems to be in a bit of shock, but when asked by Fick if he wants to arrange for transport back to safety, he immediately says no.
- Non-Uniform Uniform: His chemical warfare suit is in desert camo, while everyone else in the battalion was issued woodland green chemical warfare suits due to a supply snafu. Although it is in tone with the surrounding in Iraq, it is also too small and had to be torn open right at the beginning of the invasion because it was "crushing his nutsack".
- Only Known by Their Nickname: In the miniseries, Wright's name is never utterred. The marines, instead, call him various nicknames like "Reporter", "Rolling Stone", and "Scribe".
- Off the Record: Averted. He is told by the Marines to write it how he sees it, including quoting the various outrageous things they say and some of the more dubious orders handed down. Fick even tells him outright to write it ho he sees it.
- Reckless Gun Usage: At one point, he hands a rifle to a Marine with the barrel of the gun pointing directly at the Marine's face. Naturally, no one allows him to handle any firearms after this. Although he considers this for the best, since he wasn't supposed to handle weapons anyway.
- The Teetotaler: He had quit drinking a short while before going to Iraq.
Sgt Antonio "Poke" Espera
Assistant squad leader to Colbert, and the leader of Team One Bravo. He's efficient, professional and, much like Person, prone to spewing rants at the drop of the hat (most of them about how the white man screws everyone else over). He's also an Afghanistan vet like Colbert and Person.
- Actor-Shared Background: Espera's actor, Jon Huertas, is a veteran of the US Air Force.
- Ambiguously Brown: Lampshaded. Others remark that he talks like a black guy, claims to be Native American yet looks like a Mexican.Sgt Brad Colbert: Poke, what the fuck are you anyway? You wife is half white, you talk like you’re black, most of your friends are fucking white and, every once in a while, when you feel like it, you throw in with the Indians. Is it just you’re whatever race happens to be cool at the moment?
- Character Filibuster: He gets almost as many rants as Ray, which is to say, a lot.
- Greek Chorus: According to Evan Wright, Espera fulfills this role whenever he finds himself next to Colbert, talking about him in the third person.
- My Girl Back Home: He sometimes talks about his wife, whom he loves and admires.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Brad Colbert. Evan Wright notes that Poke is one of Colbert's closest friends in the platoon. The real Poke himself admits to befriending Colbert first out of pity (because he was alone), but then realized that Colbert simply doesn't like people, and kept being his friend to annoy him.
- It's also played up more in the book how unlike the rest of the soldiers recruited from across the US, Poke and Colbert are both from southern California and while of very different groups, share that common background.
Cpl Gabriel "Gabe" Garza
Starts the series as the gunner on Colberts team, but is eventually transferred to Espera’s team, where he mans the Humvee's M2 .50 cal machine gun.
- Friend or Foe?: Comes under fire from members of Alpha Company at one point, after they mistake him for an Iraqi due to his dark skin color and the general tension of fighting deep in enemy territory. (In the series, this incident is elaborated with Garza having appropriated an Iraqi helmet for use).
- Non-Uniform Uniform: After losing his helmet, he ends up having to make do with a motorcycle helmet and a scavenged Iraqi helmet, the latter of which causes him to be fired upon by his own comrades.
- Specs of Awesome: He's the only character in the series who wears glasses, which makes him easy to identify.
- Stronger Than They Look: Although not built as impressively as Anthony 'Manimal' Jacks for example, Garza is considered to be one of the strongest men in the whole platoon.
Cpl Jason Lilley
The driver of Bravo Vehicle 02 who undertakes the task of filming the invasion in the hopes of selling it to some news channel later on.
- Battle Couple: Subverted. His wife enlists in the Marine Corps, but they obviously won't get to serve together.
- In-Universe Camera: He owns one.
Cpl Nathan Christopher
Cpl Hector Leon
Lt Nathaniel "Nate" Fick
The commander of Bravo's 2nd platoon. Clear-headed and logical, he often gets in trouble for questioning the inane orders of the higher command.
- Berserk Button: Do not mess with his men.
- Character Development: Through the course of the book, he goes from being an idealistic believer in the justness of the war to a state of bitter resentment at how badly the Americans are screwing everything up and making things worse.If Iraq stays a flaming cesspool until the end of time, does anyone really care? Does it fucking matter?
- Cultured Warrior: As expected from a graduate of Dartmouth.
- Family Business: His grandfather and father served as Marines in WW2 and the Korean War, respectively.
- A Father to His Men: Despite being younger than some of the troops, Fick is always looking out for them. He even tells one of his marines who is shooting wide how he's making a mistake and how to fix it. Interestingly, his care for his men at times causes him to be more callous towards the Iraqi people when looking out for the Iraqis exposes his marines to danger. A perfect example of this occurs when a small detachment of marines sets up a roadblock on a road for the duration of a night with orders to shoot anything that doesn't turn around before getting to close. When Brad questions this, Fick tells him exactly why they can't afford to take chances:The R.O.E. aren't a lot of help here. We're all alone. And to our south, we've got an entire hostile town in between us and closest friendlies. And 40 kilometers to our north, we've got a full mechanized division up there in Al Kut. And there's 70 of us, Brad, holding this road.
- The Fettered: As he is an officer in the Marines, him disobeying his superior officers would have dire consequences both in battle and in a court-martial. As such, no matter how stupid his company and battalion commanders are acting, the most he can do is respectfully voice his objections.
- Genius Bruiser: Fick is a Recon Marine and he graduated from Dartmouth College with high honors. After he left the Marines, Fick earned Master’s degrees at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
- Heroic Fatigue: Like all the other men in his platoon, Fick gets very little sleep over the course of the series. However, his situation is played for more drama as he, being the platoon's commander, is responsible for the well-being of his men.
- Hero of Another Story: His memoir One Bullet Away shows many of the same events as Generation Kill, albeit from a different POV, and with the insight into the inner workings of the Marine Corps that Rolling Stone would not have.
- Nice Guy: In keeping with being A Father to His Men, Fick is always very polite and civil when dealing with his men and often goes out of his way to help them with any problems they have, be they big or small.
- Not So Above It All: Although his position in the platoon means he can't voice his displeasure with the resident Neidermeyers as openly as the enlisted men.
- Only Sane Employee: Often forced to deal with idiotic orders from above.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: While several of the other officers in Recon are glory hounds, cowards or just plain ineffective leaders, Fick is a confident and compassionate leader who inspires trust in the Marines under his command.
- Warrior Poet: He penned a memoir titled One Bullet Away.
Gunnery Sergeant Mike "Gunny" Wynn
Platoon gunnery sergeant and the driver of Vehicle 04.
- Southern-Fried Private: A Texan Sergeant. According to him, the SERE instructors tried to use this to get under his skin.
- Team Mom: as platoon sergeant, his main concern is the safety of his men.
Sgt Larry Shawn "Pappy" Patrick
Team 2's squad leader who doubles as the platoon scout sniper.
- Cold Sniper: He's very dispassionate about sniping and taking lives, in direct contrast to those who slap him on the back and prod him for descriptions so they can experience killing visecerally through him.
- Ice-Cream Koan: He occasionally disperses bits of wisdom such as "Don't pet a burning dog".
- The Quiet One: The rare times he speaks, it's in very terse sentences.
Sgt Rodolfo "(Fruity) Rudy" Reyes
A bubbly (yet super-manly) spotter to Pappy's sniper who also serves as the driver for V03. He's fond of New Age philosophy and keeping fit, and joined the Marines "for idealism and romance".
- The Ace: It’s not really brought up much in the series and it’s only barely alluded to in the book, but Rudy is one of the best trained Marines in the Recon Battalion. He completed the entirety of Marine Recon training (including Airborne and Combat Diver training), Scout Sniper school, helicopter insertion training and a plethora of other highly challenging military training courses prior to the events of the series.
- As Himself: The actor playing Rudy Reyes? That’s the real Rudy Reyes.
- Camp Straight: By far the most effeminate and manly Marine in the battalion.
- Cultured Warrior: The best example in the series. In the novel he is mentioned as having an encyclopedia knowledge of Eastern philosophy and spirituality. And plans on moving to San Francisco when he gets out of the Marines, citing the city's deep connection with martial arts culture as his reason.
- Dark and Troubled Past: It’s not really brought up in the series or book, but Sergeant Reyes had a very difficult upbringing. He grew up in poverty and was forced to take custody of his younger brothers when he turned 18 because he didn’t have responsible parental figures in his life.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Lampshaded when Person tries to invert it by telling Evan Wright "You know it doesn't make you gay if you think Rudy's hot? We all think he's hot. Jesus, you're beautiful." (He says this because he notices Wright staring at Rudy, clearly captivated.)Random Marine: I love you, Fruity!
- Family Business: His father was a US Marine as well. Subverted, however, as Rudy describes his father as a rather broken, abusive man, and specifically denies that he joined the Marines in order to follow in his father's footsteps.
- Hidden Depths: Has an interest in East Asian philosophy and spirituality.
- Rated M for Manly: Rudy's easily the most macho marine in the entire battalion, despite being Camp Straight, and is mentioned as being a fan of Oprah no less! In fact, maybe he's so manly because he's Camp Straight and yet still seems to reek of testosterone.
- Shirtless Scene: Constantly; in fact in one episode he takes it one step further by going completely naked
- You Are in Command Now: He assumes command of Team 2 after Pappy is shot.
Cpl James Chaffin
Sgt Michael Budweiser” Brunmeier
Cpl Anthony Manimal” Jacks
Mans V03's main gun.
- The Big Guy: Tall and powerfully built, he cuts quite an imposing figure.
- Comically Missing the Point: Sometimes he doesn't grasp Ray's sarcasm, leading to this.
- "Dear John" Letter: The first piece of correspondence he receives is divorce papers from his wife.
- Toothy Issue: He is missing two front teeth, making his smile "unforgettable", according to Evan Wright.
Evan ”Q-Tip” Stafford
A Marine from Tampa, FL, who identifies strongly with the black culture (especially the music and philosophies of Tupac Shakur).
- Big Brother Mentor: In one scene in the series, he is shown teaching Christenson the general tricks of observing building compounds.
- Catchphrase: "Screwby", a word used to denote a variety of emotions - from "this sucks" to "this is awesome".
- Man of a Thousand Voices: He has a reasonable talent for mimicking accents.
PFC John Christenson
The youngest (and lowest-ranking) member of Bravo's 2nd platoon, most often seen in the company of Stafford.
Sgt Steven Lovell
Team leader of Team 3.
- Beleaguered Assistant: His frustration with Captain America grows throughout the series to the point where he chews him out for firing scavenged AKs.
Sgt Leandro “Shady B” Baptista
The Brazilian driver of V05.
- Foreign-Language Tirade: Lapses into his native language when under stress.
Corpsman 2nd Class Second Class Timothy "Doc" Bryan
A Navy Hospital Corpsman who serves as 2nd Platoon's medical support. He has tons of common sense, a caring heart and a remarkable ability to criticize his superiors to their faces.
- The Ace: He’s a Navy SARC (Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman). SARC's are amongst the most highly trained medics in the U.S. military (their training pipeline is around 2 years long) and are regularly assigned to special operations units in both the Navy and the Marines.
- Berserk Button: In his hospital, children are first in line, and you'd better not make any of them cry.
- Brutal Honesty: Both Played for Laughs and Played for Drama:
- Played for Drama: Whenever company or battalion command is being particularly stupid, Doc will not hesitate to criticize them, even to their faces. In fact, when Encino Man, trying to appear more relate-able to the men under his command, asks them to openly state their grievances and promises not to punish anyone who insults him, Doc straight up told him, "It's just that you're incompetent, sir," although he obviously didn't enjoy saying it.
- Played for Laughs: Whenever people make idiots of themselves around Doc, he will not hesitate to tell them how retarded they are. For instance, he once told Rolling Stone, who was previously having certain... problems with his bio-hazard suit, "Reporter, you are possibly the biggest fuck-up I have encountered."
- Combat Medic: He himself carries a weapon and fights as well as any other man in the platoon.
- The Conscience: When they bring him the wounded child, he's horrified that he was shot by a Marine weapon.Bryan: Marines shot this kid. Fucking jackasses. Trigger-happy motherfucker.
- He quotes specific articles of the Geneva Convention pertaining to the treatment of captured soldiers when Fick is ordered to "un-surrender" Iraqi prisoners.
- Fiery Redhead: While he's usually calm and collected, his tendency to harshly and angrily insult superior officers ("You dumb motherfucker, sir, even the most boot-fucked marine knows danger-close.") cements him as this. Evan Wright describes how Doc Bryan used to get in bar fights all the time back home, and how he always looks like he's angry at something.
- Hero of Another Story: He does some remarkable things while assigned to 1st Recon, but after his time with them ends he goes on to complete another deployment alongside an unspecified special operations unit. After being discharged from the military and returning to civilian life, he became a full-fledged doctor.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Doc's refusal to sugarcoat anything he says makes him come off as more than a bit of a dick, but he's a good man who looks out for his platoon mates, especially the younger, less experienced ones, and who would fight tooth and nail to save the life of a single Iraqi casualty.
- Self-Made Man: He came from a modest background and was the first one in his family to go to college. He would later go on to become a full-fledged doctor.
- With Due Respect: He speaks his mind to his incompetent superiors and doesn't bother with including any "due respect" because, as far he's concerned, they don't deserve his respect.Bryan: Dumb motherfucker, sir, even the most boot-fucked Marine knows danger close, sir!
Cpl Teren “T” Holsey
- Cultured Warrior: Seen reading The Art of War in the very first episode.
- Scary Black Man: Outwardly appears to be this, yet is fast proven to have Hidden Depths.
Corporal Michael Stinetorf
Captain Craig “Encino Man” Schwetje
Bravo’s CO - a former intelligence officer put in a position he is distinctly unsuited for.
- Dumb Jock: He was a football player in college, and the stereotype of athletes being dumb definitely applies to him. He manages to sound off like a dumb jock when pushing the Humvee out of its predicament in the bridge, via Major Eckloff's motivational speech.Cpt. Schwetje: "Men! Over here! Two-minute warning, guys, two-minute warning!" (The men move the stuck Humvee) "YEAH! WHOO! Gentlemen, this is the end zone! (Does an end zone dance) Whoo! Whoo! Yeah! Go Yellow Jackets!"
- Lethally Stupid: He's so boneheaded that even other characters thinks he's a dumbass. Case in point, the aforementioned attempted artillery strike call that was suicidally close to his own position, although luckily he was stupid enough to get the protocols wrong:Sgt Lovell: Sir, that's a cunt hair over 200 meters, sir. That's danger-close for artillery.
Cpt. Schwetje: Danger-close?
Sgt Lovell: Sir, "danger-close" is an artillery strike within 600 meters of a friendly position. 200 meters... that's pretty much on top of our heads.
- The fire direction centernote is more subtle in their response:Steel Rain: Hitman, this is Steel Rain, reconfirm grid zone designator.
Hitman: Umm, what do you mean?
Steel Rain: Stand by Hitman, break, break. Assassin, this is Steel Rain, your grid zone designators are correct. Message to observer... (followed by a read back of Assassin's call for fire instead of Hitman's)
- The fire direction centernote is more subtle in their response:
- Rousing Speech: Attempts one but it's so terrible, it makes Sixta's rants look like poetry.
- Too Dumb to Live: Inverted: He tries to call in an artillery strike practically on his own position, despite the protests of his subordinates, against enemy forces that his Marines had already destroyed. They're all saved only because he manages to screw up the protocol for properly calling in an artillery strike — meaning that the artillery won't go ahead — and he isn't even using the right grid coordinates to accidentally kill himself and his men (analysis of the coordinates indicates that he's calling a strike on Saudi Arabia). His Epic Fail is so complete that it loops right back around and saves him and his men.
- Other highlights include taping over the windows of his Humvee (to make it extra-tactical) to the point he can no longer see out of it, and ordering Bravo to assault an enemy position already under fire from USMC LAVs, on foot DIRECTLY IN FRONT of said LAVs, practically begging for a friendly-fire incident.
Gunnery Sgt “Casey Kasem” Griego
Bravo Company Operations Chief. He's Encino Man’s senior enlisted man and is similarly disrespected by the Marines.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The miniseries and bulk of the book portray him as a self-serving prick who's incompetent as a supply specialist. The book's post-script reveals that he excelled when placed in a combat role and that the marines who used to despise him came to respect and like him.
- The Neidermeyer: Initially; however, after the events of the book/series, he was put in a position of leadership where he excelled, thus becoming…
- Sergeant Rock: After the events of the story.
Captain Dave "Captain America" McGraw
The inept commander of Bravo's 3rd platoon, prone to bouts of hysteria and stupidity. Due to his higher rank, he has the right to order Fick and his men about — a right that he doesn’t hesitate to abuse.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: "Follow my tracers!"
- Bayonet Ya: When he isn't using an AK, he always appears to have his bayonet fixed to his issued service rifle, despite being well out of range to use it.
- When he tries to stab a restrained POW, he predictably fails badly.
- Battle Trophy: He's more interested in collecting Iraqi weapons and uniforms than running his platoon. Although he abandons this when one of his own men threatens him with physical harm the next time he fires off an AK and ends up burying his collection in the desert.
- Dirty Coward: Panics at the first sign of danger. Worse, he does it over the radio so the whole platoon can hear him freaking out.
- Do Wrong, Right: He tries to murder a captured Iraqi citizen with his bayonet, but misses repeatedly. One of the marines notes that Captain America is such an incompetent asshole that he's an Epic Fail even at committing war crimes.
- Ensign Newbie: Of the worst sort.
- Fish out of Water: He was never supposed to be in the field, as his job entailed something completely different, but much like his entire battalion, he was used for a role he hadn't been meant for. By all accounts, he was highly competent at his actual job.
- Karma Houdini: Due to Godfather's unwillingness to act and having connections he manages to go unpunished for his attempted murder of a prisoner and mental torture of another.
- Large Ham: Most of his dialogue has him either having a Freak Out over the radio or going Leeroy Jenkins on inanimate objects.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Seems to think he's in some kind of epic action movie, and his ineptness causes problems for Fick and the other members of his team.
- The Neidermeyer: Not so much a nasty officer, but completely incompetent and utterly despised by the men under his command. Any interactions he has with his men end with them shaking their heads - even when he's being friendly.Captain America: Godspeed! God-fucking-speed to you! (He waves to Colbert, Fick, and Kocher)Kocher: Fucking Captain America.
- Never My Fault: In the book, he tries to blame one of his corporals for firing the captured AKs, but fails when no one else in the vehicle will support his story. Later, when Redman and Kocher are demoted for the bayonet incident (that he was responsible for) he doesn't seem very interested in setting the record straight.
- No Indoor Voice: He tends to raise his voice a lot, sometimes because of panic, other times for dramatic effect.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is never stated in the book. This is deliberate, since Wright didn't want him to get harassed about his actions. The series averted this: in the DVD, he's constantly referred to by his first name (Dave), and the Blu-Ray version shows his full name in the Chain of Command extra.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The series actually toned down his more outlandish behavior.
- Trigger-Happy: He tends to open fire at abandoned vehicles ("Denying the enemy transportation") or unoccupied buildings, often using scavenged Iraqi AKs.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: One of the reasons he gets away with his unprofessional conduct; his uncle is a colonel at USCENTCOM. Some of the marines believe the only reason he got into Recon in the first place is due to nepotism.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: thinks he's in an epic action movie.
Captain America: These people are worse than the goddamn V.C.!
- He might think he's in Vietnam since he references it all the time.
- 0% Approval Rating: Like Encino Man, he's so stupid that everyone in the series knows it.Corporal Person: Can you believe that fucking retard is in charge of people?
Sgt Eric Kocher
One of 3rd platoon team leaders.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: He is infinitely more capable than his platoon commander.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Eric actively tries to counteract the dangerous idiocy of Captain America including slugging him in the jaw to prevent his execution of a prisoner. On another occasion Captain America psychologically tortures a prisoner as Kocher stares on horrified and tries to talk him out of it. The entire team is reported as Kocher is suspended whilst Captain America retains his position.
- Only Sane Man: in his relationship with Captain America.
Lt. Colonel “Godfather” Ferrando
Previously a commander of the parade ground at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington DC, now the man in charge of 1st Recon battalion. He's the highest ranking officer in the field and answers directly to General Mattis.
- Catchphrase: During his briefings to his officers, he's fond of "What does Godfather think?" as a lead-in to his summation.
- The Chains of Commanding: Most of his orders involve using his Recon Marines for missions they are entirely poorly suited for (massed assaults, high speed gun-and-run mounted recons, etc. rather than small teams of highly trained scouts). He is getting his orders from General Mattis, and feels he isn't in any position to refuse them. Which is a correct thought, considering what happened to Colonel Dowdy.Godfather: Major General Mattis's plan went against all our training and doctrine, but I can't tell a general I don't do windows.
- Glory Seeker: In the book, the men speculate he’s trying to get his men killed on purpose.
- Guttural Growler: He has a very distinct low voice due to having had throat cancer.
- Nom de Guerre: Because of the throat cancer he speaks like Marlon Brando in The Godfather.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: It varies from one scene to another; his decisions are not very popular with the Marines, but he’s definitely competent and he'll often come to some sort of compromise.
- Third-Person Person: He often refers to himself as "Godfather" or "Ferrando."
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He seems to think he's in charge of an armoured infantry unit instead of a light recon unit. In fact, if he had been put in charge of armoured infantry, his orders and tactics would be perfectly valid, and as pointed out during the mini-series, his superiors are using his unit like they were armoured infantry anyway, and expecting Godfather to follow that. Later editions of the book say that the men under his command, in hindsight, acknowledge that he was a good commander and making the right decisions based on the intel and resources at his disposal.
- The biggest example is the assault on the airfield. Having failed to recon the airfield they are forced into a blind assault in their Humvee's, which had the enemy had been there, probably would have resulted in extreme casulties.
Major Todd Eckloff
- Death Glare: Shuts up a panicking Captain America with one.
- Pink Mist: The result of him using his below mentioned shotgun on an Iraqi soldier in the book.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Carries a Benelli automatic twelve-gauge shotgun in the book and more than proves its effectiveness when called upon.
Sgt Major John Sixta
1st Recon Battalion Sergeant Major.
- Berserk Button: The grooming standard.
- Genghis Gambit: Knows exactly how ridiculous it is to keep harping on the Marines for the grooming standard, and not only does he do it so they can hate him as an outlet, he has Gunny Wynn tell him when morale drops so he can time it right.
Sgt. Patrick: Well, we all got jobs to do. Sgt. Major Sixta's job is to be an asshole... and he excels at the position.
- Pappy lampshades this after Sixta chews him out for not having yet shaved his moustache.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Berates Garza for losing his helmet, and by extension endangering the lives of fellow Marines. While this may have seemed like Insane Troll Logic at first, Sixta is proven right a few episodes later. Not long after requisitioning a replacement Iraqi helmet, Bravo 2-1 comes under fire from Alpha Company after a one of their gunners spotted an Iraqi helmet.
- No Indoor Voice: Constantly shouting abuse at his Marines.
- Pet the Dog: In a way. He intervenes to discipline Marines making extremely inappropriate catcalls towards a female Marine by... telling them to stop messing around with their chemical warfare gear.
- Rousing Speech: Fails to deliver one in Episode 1.
- The Unintelligible: Due in part to his distinct accent. Or as Ray calls it, "Illiterate fucking retard-ese."
Captain Bryan Patterson
CO of Alpha Company.
- A Day in the Limelight: "Combat Jack" is the only time he's shown on one of Alpha's missions away from Bravo Company.
- Foil: For Encino Man. Each commands a company, yet Patterson actually knows what he's doing.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After most of the action is done, he has what is officially described as an "outburst", which is to say he puts Encino Man into a headlock and slams him into a wall after Encino Man roughly shoulder-checked an enlisted Marine from Alpha during an athletic competition.
- Hero of Another Story: Alpha Company's missions are mostly heard about but not shown. Justified as Wright is rarely ever in the same place as Patterson.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The one shining example among the higher command.
- Scarf of Asskicking: In the series, even if he's only about 3/4ths his size, Patterson has a similar face to "Encino Man" so he has a big blue shemagh around his neck to tell him apart.
Sgt Christopher WasikThe battalion driver, famous for his characteristic Hitler ‘stache.
Lt Alex AubinBattalion Surgeon.
- The Conscience: He's the one who suggests bringing the boy next to Godfather's tent in the hope of forcing his hand and ordering a casevac. It works.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: He takes his Hippocratic oath very seriously, as he refuses to consider performing a Mercy Kill on the Iraqi driver who was accidentally lobotomized by Walt Hasser. Instead, he injects him with painkillers and stabilizes him.
The 19-year-old Kuwaiti Battalion Translator.
- Big Eater: He's quite overweight.
- Blatant Lies: Half of what he's translating for Bravo men is made-up shit, per orders from above.
- Brass Balls: The Marines come to respect him for the sheer obliviousness to danger that he displays. For a dope-smoking, overweight 19 year old with no military training, it's nothing to scoff at.
- Cunning Linguist: He is at least bilingual and pretty much the only translator the battalion has. The Americans can tell that most of the time, he's heavily embellishing what the villagers tell him, and are frustrated with that.
- Functional Addict: He's a serious dope smoker.
- Geek Physiques: He's overweight, which makes him stand out among the rest of the cast.
- Greed: He hates Iraqis and greedily relieves them of their sunglasses, cigarettes and alcohol at any opportunity.
- Only One Name: We never find out his full name.
- Revenge: His desire to steal from the Iraqis and assist the war effort in general is partly because of his anger over atrocities commited by the Iraqi army against Kuwait during the The Gulf War.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Carries one as his defensive weapon.
- Spell My Name with an S: His name is written either as Meesh or Mish, with the latter being the more correct version.
- The Slacker: He's not particularly conscientious about his work.