Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Rogue Warrior

Go To
I am the warlord and the wrathful god of combat.

The Rogue Warrior series of novels began with the real life biography of one Richard Marcinko, former Navy Commander who served in Vietnam, commanded SEAL Team Two and created the elite counterterrorist unit SEAL Team Six. He then put together Red Cell, reputedly a group with a two-tier purpose. The overt mission was to break into Air Force One, nuclear submarines, Camp David and other secure locations in mock terrorist attacks to test their security. Reputedly, their other mission was to find and eliminate terrorists.

Marcinko had a habit of pissing off the chain of command, who eventually spent $60 million trying to convict him of mutiny, something he actually did on numerous occasions. Though they failed, they were able to have Marcinko convicted for misappropriation of funds. Marcinko spent a year in prison, where he wrote his first New York Times bestselling book. How much of the case against him was legit and how much was vindictive brass trying to get payback is debated, but Marcinko is sufficiently controversial (and shady) that most Navy SEALs today consider him an Old Shame for Naval Special Warfare.

After the success of the first novel, Marcinko went on to create a series of fictional Self-Insert Fic spinoffs, where he fought rogue soldiers, Islamist terrorists, Russian mafia and neo-Nazis, and in his more recent novels, saved the world from Fidel Castro.

In 2009, the Development Hell video game was released. Sadly, it failed to live up to the series.

Do not confuse with Rogue Trooper, that's a different kettle of fish entirely.

Tropes associated with the Rogue Warrior:

  • Ain't No Rule: Marcinko's SOP for rules is to immediately break them, but he uses this in Red Cell where he is not to write another nonfiction book. So the rest of the series is written as fiction, which he alleges is work he'd really done.
  • Ambadassador: Marcinko served as Naval Attache in Cambodia after the Vietnam War. Particularly noteworthy in that he paints most of his colleagues as a subversion of this trope - career resume builders who happen to wear a uniform but want nothing to do with combat.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: His stock in trade. While capable of stealth, expect him to default to this strategy. He not only survived but kicked Charlie's ass when he strayed from orders to this in Vietnam, and he ran with it from there.
  • Briar Patching: Surprisingly, done to rather than by Marcinko in his first novel, Red Cell. When his erstwhile antagonists in the chain of command come up against a threat too politically connected to deal with themselves, they put Marcinko on the scent, recall him to active duty... and then tell him the man is not to be touched. At the conclusion of the novel, after Marcinko eliminates the threat, the admiral who warned him not to do so appears and admits that was the real plan all along - point Marcinko at the bad guys and trust him to do what he always does.
  • The Captain: Marcinko. His character was frocked to it in one of his books, and real life he retired as a Commander-one step below Captain.
  • Classified Information: To be expected, as the books deal with covert operations. Because of this, one especially effective tactic the military higher-ups use to keep Marcinko in line is to threaten to revoke the security clearances of him or his men - since so much of the information the SEALs are privy to is classified, this would effectively put them out of a job. Also of note is the classified material that sometimes shows up in enemy hands, like the "Waterfall Weatherman" files Marcinko discovers during the takedown of a Chinese freighter.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Just about every other word said by Marcinko is any form of the word "Fuck". It begins with a description of one of Marcinko's SEAL instructors being like this and it goes downhill from here.
    You will fucking get this cocksucking motherfucking radio fucking fixed by the fucking morning or I will motherfucking fucking kick your motherfucking ass into fucking next fucking week.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Marcinko isn't shy about this, and those who do this that upset him is an indicator of them being a monster. The queen of this trope is undoubtedly a female SEAL in his first post-9/11 book, based on his wife.
  • Combat Pragmatist: In Vietnam Marcinko and his team wore French foreign legion uniforms and black Vietcong pajamas (illegal and against The Laws and Customs of War, like he cared,) use tire shoes or even go barefoot, booby trap corpses, sabotage ammo caches, and he only got dirtier when he began his fictional novels. One story in particular comes straight out of the mind of a voodoo author writing about Pol Pot: Marcinko apparently cut off the heads of enemy soldiers, posed the bodies so they sat cross legged holding their heads in their laps, smoking joss sticks where their eyes should be. All in a bid to spook the NVA.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: While it's almost a given some clueless superior will object to Marcinko's hostage rescue tactics, special mention goes to the aircraft takedown at the beginning of Task Force Blue. In the aftermath, the Secretary of the Navy (one of the hostages aboard the plane) treats Marcinko and his SEALs as loose cannons for shooting her bodyguard, despite the fact that he was waving a gun around in the middle of the assault and refused to drop it when confronted by the SEALs.
  • Expy: Despite a disclaimer at the start, the JAG episode "Rogue" features a former Navy SEAL who probes military installations with impunity, looks like the series mainstay Steve Hartman and even pulls Marcinko's Unless Otherwise Directed ploy (phoning the admiral for last minute orders before acting on his own prerogative.)
  • Flaying Alive: One of the villains from Red Cell is said to have done this in Vietnam.
  • Foreign Cuisine: Throughout the books Marcinko mentions all manner of exotic dishes he's had, from the spiciest curry to various forms of reptile, being quite literally a special forces snake eater. The creme de la creme is probably from his first book, a cobra feast.
  • Groin Attack: Frequently, both given and taken. After all, it works.
  • Navy SEALs: Not the granddaddy of them all, despite Team Six, that would be one of his commanders Roy Boehm and before them Navy divers. More the uncouth uncle.
  • Obfuscating Disability: "Disability" is stretching things, but at one point Marcinko makes a field expedient disguise by putting a large bandage on his face with a piece of raw meat inside. Simple, but effective - most people will consciously look away so as not to be caught staring, while those who do look will only remember the "injury" and few other details - if any.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Pretty much a stock character in the novels - as long as Marcinko is operating under government oversight, someone in the chain of command will be unhappy with his methods. Special mention goes to Admiral Pinckney Prescott III, Marcinko's nominal superior for the first few novels.
  • Over-the-Top Secret: Discussed, mocked, and ultimately averted. As Marcinko correctly points out, in the United States there are only three levels of classified material - confidential, secret, and top secret - but even a Top Secret clearance won't give you access to everything... "need to know" still applies.
  • Refuge in Audacity: A lot of Marcinko's plans when he was in SEAL Team Six and Red Cell. How did he blow up Air Force One? By stealing an Air Force truck carrying aircraft bombs, and parking it under the plane.
  • Self-Insert Fic: After his first autobiography. Although he maintains he actually did do the things he writes about or close to it, this goes completely out the window later in the series.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Dick Marcinko cannot speak a full sentence without swearing every other word.
  • Sliding Scale of Seriousness Versus Silliness: His first book and subsequent sequels verge on the serious side. After splitting from his long term editor the books become downright silly with Marcinko becoming a larger than life comic book character. His real life self help books on leadership go back to the serious.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Ex-military villains will frequently be characterized like this.
  • Truth in Television: His fictional sequels are based on work he had done, or alleges to have. His non fiction books on leadership and his teammates draw from the real success of everyone from Chrysler and Domino's Pizza to the NBA.
  • Up Through the Ranks: Richard Marcinko talks about his time as an enlisted sailor, earning a GED (in The '50s dropouts were allowed in the military) then going UDT. He earned a college degree and then went to OCS (a cakewalk for the now SEAL Marcinko).
  • Torture Technician: The aforementioned Trace Dahlgren, enough so to shock the stone-cold Marcinko.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The tactics and methodology of special forces are rewritten in his books so as not to read like a guide to terrorists.