Every team has the trainee, someone who isn't just ready for field deployment. Or perhaps the protective nature of the experienced members compels them to keep the trainee out of serious battles for their own safety.
But then the bad guys take their evil master plan into overdrive and suddenly the team is massively outnumbered or outclassed in terms of power.
Cue everyone gearing up for a serious battle, getting the heavy weapons and the trainee assuming they're just going to be slated to the same old desk job when they are stopped and told to gear up with the rest of the team. Because the situation is that dire that everyone with combat ability has to go, even they are inexperienced, incapable and have been voted most likely to be more dangerous to themselves or their team then the enemies they are fighting.
Expect the phrase "Not this time" to be commonly used to halt the trainee as they attempt to depart to take up their regular duties.
This is a common plot device with Anime and Video Games, since both frequently have stories about the personal growth of young characters.
See Closest Thing We Got for a related trope.
- Fathom: Kiani has recently reunited with her younger sister and they are under frequent attacks by Admiral Maylander, who believes them to be enemies of America. Kiani keeps sending Anika off to guard the village while she fights, then when Admiral Mayhab brings out his latest weapon, hydrophagic engineered soldiers, Kiani says that "both of them are needed" to fight this new threat.
- Pacific Rim: Two examples, one offscreen in lore:
- When the Jaeger neural interface was first tested and it was discovered a two pilot system was required, the scientist who created it volunteered to be the second pilot alongside the actual trained soldier. Possibly justified because all prior test pilots had been killed due to the strain of using the interface alone.
- When Leatherback disabled Striker Eureka with it's EMP, Mako has to go into battle, despite being completely failed to drift properly on her first attempt and nearly shooting up the base by subconsciously activating Gypsy Danger's plasma cannon.
- Star Trek (2009): In the first Star Trek reboot film, which is set around 10 years before Star Trek: The Original Series, a plucky band of cadets get summoned to an attack on Vulcan by a vessel from the future. Battles ensue and by the end of the movie, they all earn battlefield promotions akin to their positions in the main timeline.
- 27 years before that film, the experienced officers of the Enterprise took a bunch of cadets on a simple training cruise, interrupted by a distress signal, in a small film called Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- The climax of the first Police Academy involves a riot breaking out across the city and all the police academy trainees have to be deployed to bolster the short-staffed police force.
- Just prior to the Battle of Helms Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, weapons and armor are handed out to both old men and boys that are barely twelve, as they prepare to defend the fortress against an army of thousands of Uruk-Hai.
- In the second season of Arrested Development, Lucille volunteers Buster for the army after being asked if she would send one of her children to war by a reporter. (At first implied to be Michael Moore, but later revealed to be a lookalike for a segment on a late-night talk show.) Buster does go through with it, but only because he assumes he'll be rejected for his various shortcomings. However, he underestimates their need for recruits and is accepted.
- Lab Rats: When the team discovers Krane has manufactured an army of bionic soldiers that is too many for even them to fight, they return to the Lab and report that it's time for everyone to mobilize. Leo anticipates that he will be slated for Mission Specialist Desk Duty, only to be stopped by Donald and told this time, he's going with the team.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Nog enlists in Starfleet during Season 4. He gets a field commission during the Dominion War after serving on the Defiant for just months.
- The crew of the Valiant were cadets, albeit members of the elite "red Squad" training group.
- Early in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, all but one experienced pilot on Sand Island are wiped out in a surprise attack by an unknown aggressor, leaving only the trainees on active duty. One of them is the Featureless Protagonist, who is joined by three others (one of whom is not even out of his basic flight training yet) on desperate missions to defend the air base—and the four of them eventually become one of the most decorated units of the Osean Air Force. Osea later attempts to pull this off intentionally, transferring all trainees from a nearby Heierlack Base to Sand Island, but they all get wiped out in the very next real battle.
- The plot of Metal Slug is about this, where 2 young trainees of the Peregrine Falcon mercenaries had to be dispatched because the Rebel Army struck during their training session.
- Overwatch Uprising event mode is a playable version of Tracer's first mission (along with Mercy, Torbjorn and Reinhart filling the rest of the playable character slots); liberating King's Row (which is either her home, or very nearby) from an Omnic terrorist group. Downplayed, as she was explicitly said to be just about qualified for active duty, and was deliberately sent in because she convinced Morrison to intervene despite the British government's wishes (and perhaps because she would have plausible deniability for being there anyway).
- Star Trek Online: The Federation player backstory is this, as the player's Canon Sue with their plucky band of cadets manage to take out numerous Klingons and Borg in their outdated Miranda-class starship before everyone gets a battlefield promotion.
- In XCOM 2 if the Avenger is shot down you will at first deploy your regular squad, but over time Bradford will send the rest of your soldiers into battle, eventually even sending out squaddies and rookies. Due to the massive amount of aliens on these missions, most of them will either die or take multiple levels in badass.
- One-Punch Man: This technically happens to Saitama as within the Heroes Association, Saitama is a low ranked fresh graduate who takes on S-level missions exclusively. Of course, Saitama is also extremely underrated within the organization and has a wealth of unrecognized prior victories.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: Reynir's technical status is Little Stowaway, but he's teaching himself to use runic magic over the course of the story. Within a few hours of him managing to make his first working rune, the crew has to face a massive troll Zerg Rush that is considered bad enough to require maximum resource deployment. During preparations, Lalli, the only of the two crew's mages that is going to actually fight, has Reynir draw his rune on the defense perimeter's floor as an extra measure against the trolls.
- During the final stages of World War II, Japan's increasingly desperate measures included getting every citizen to fight the invaders, including women and children. Same story with Germany, which mobilized squads of underage boys to hold off the Allied advance into Berlin.
- There were multiple battles in the The American Civil War that involved cadets being sent into battle alongside trained soldiers.