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Rogue Soldier

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Colonel Mustafa Mokrani: "[The soldiers'] belonging are gone. Their rations as well."
Catherine Durand: "Where would they have gone?"
Colonel Mokrani: "Likely to their families."

A military soldier is someone from a military force who is highly trained and motivated to serve his/her country and defend it from its enemies. But what happens when the soldier decides to make use of their skills not to protect the country, but for ulterior motives? Going rogue makes them dangerous with the training they have from their time in military service, especially if they work with criminals/terrorists or if they strike on their own as Hired Guns like Private Military Contractors.

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When The Coup is about to start, you'll usually find these guys around. But if it's a Military Coup, expect the rogue soldier to be very active in seizing control of said country from the (usually) elected leaders. They'll also be in charge of being in a position of Emergency Authority.

However, it's not always the case that anyone who goes rogue from the military is automatically a bad person. Many times, they only do so if the military they serve in is bad and rotten to the core, the soldier/soldiers are highlighting problems they've seen or heard of while serving in it or if the situation is bad enough that the military cannot establish a solid line of communcation with the government and its troops as part of a chain of command. If he/she does so, then they're a Defector from Decadence, a Turncoat or someone who decides to bail while they still can. It'll inevitably result for them being a Hero with Bad Publicity.

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Compare with Dangerous Deserter, where the key difference is that the Rogue Soldier is still officially part of the military. Also compare with Rogue Agent, where it's a member of a country's intelligence agency that's doing the betrayal or shady activity.

See From Camouflage to Criminal for cases where soldiers turn to crime after getting out of the military.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Argevollen, the entire 8th Independent Mechanized Corps of the Arandian Army goes rogue under the command of Saori Suzushiro to stop Ukyo Samonji from needlessly being killed in the Arandas-Ingelmia War despite the Military Coup taking place throughout Arandas against the corrupt generals who are willing to negotiate for peace and sell out the country in order to survive due to being at a disadvantage in the war.
  • The Wired Red Card arc in Black Lagoon is entirely a story arc for Sergeant Feng Yifei aka Li Xinlin to clear her name and frame Jane for the hacking op in Germany after Jane framed her while trying to infiltrate her group. PLA officials deemed her rogue and sought to have her killed.
  • Case Closed Non-Serial Movie "Private Eye in the Distant Sea" has the Intelligence Security Command (ISC) investigate a security breach in the JS Hotaka involving an unknown country. Lt. Yousuke Sasaura of the JMSDF was a mole on behalf of an unnamed country trying to leak confidential information on Aegis destroyers. This is usually implied to be North Korea.
  • Near the end of Fullmetal Alchemist, parts of the Amestrian military goes rogue after they learn about more about the Fuhrer (aka Wrath) and his real plans with Father for Central City namely to make the city as a giant transmutation circle to eventually absorb God.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has Hideo Kuze, who deserted the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) prior to completing his peacekeeping duties in North Korea.
    • Most of the Individual Eleven terrorists encountered by Section 9 were career airmen/officers in the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces when they started committing terrorist activities.
  • The Gundam franchise makes use of this character type, usually as a protagonist or antagonist.
    • The manga Mobile Suit Gundam: The Plot to Assassinate Gihren involves Brigadier-General Henri Schlesser going against the Zabi faction after the events of the One Year War, leading the Capital Defense Division against parts of the Zeon military that are pro-Zabi by taking advantage of their Obfuscating Stupidity status so as to lull them into a false sense of security.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Shiro Amada is accused of defecting to Zeon's military during the events of the anime. He actually didn't, but decides to use the reports that he's suppposedly KIA to get away from the public eye and hide with Aina in the long run.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Katana has the Earth Federation military's special forces unit The Barghest to take down True Federal, made up of Earth Federation soldiers and officers who were enraged at Bask Om for killing most of their comrades in fighting against the Delaz Fleet with the Solar System II.
    • G-Saviour involves a corrupt faction in the Congress of Settlement Nations (CONSENT) military led by Garneaux who wants to control the Sides in space with an iron fist.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, the Archangel crew defected from the Atlantic Federation military after they learn that the war between OMNI and ZAFT is being influenced by Blue Cosmos, not to mention that the Cyclops system used in Alaska was merely a diversion to kill the ZAFT forces trying to raid it.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, ZAFT has to take on pro-Patrick Zala extremists in ZAFT's space forces when they threaten to use the remains of Junius Seven to crash into Earth, causing tsunamis and other disasters in the "Break the World" incident.
    • In the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, McGillis Fareed goes rogue and garnered support from within the ranks of Gjallarhorn to stage a revolt and take down its leaders. He didn't count on Gaelio, who would eventually stop him to fully take control of Gjallarhorn.
  • The initial translation of Spriggan by Viz Media states that Trident Corporation was founded by military officials who worked under NATO's watch. The Singaporean translation (from the Japanese version) states that Trident was merely a black ops unit employed by various arms dealers through covert black budgets.

    Comic Books 
  • In Rogue Trooper, Rogues goes AWOL after the Quartz Zone Massacre from Milli-Com to find the traitor responsible for giving the intel to the Norts.
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    Fan Works 
  • Kokuten: All of the Uchiha shinobi and kunoichi are rogue soldiers due to participating in the coup d'état. They never officially defected from the Konoha Shinobi Forces but they started a Civil War against the village.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • From Beijing With Love has a Chinese terrorist named Golden Gun, who specializes in using a Thompson Contender that a has a bit of a gold finish. His public identity is an officer in the People's Liberation Army named Yuen.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger has the Red Skull aka Johann Schmidt secretly made the Nazi German faction of HYDRA into its own group during World War II with the aim of taking power once the entire world has gone weak from the war.
  • August Without Emperor has pro-militarist factions in the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces plot a coup in 198X, inspired by the success of the 1973 coup by the Chilean Army and from the failed coups in post-World War II Japan in 1961 (Sanmu incident) and in 1970 (Mishima incident). They're backed by an oligarch and ex-prime minister Kozo Ohata, who wants to put the Emperor back as the head of state and get rid of the post-war Constitution, seeing it as making Japan weak against pro-left factions and student groups. The plan, August Without Emperor, would have to rely on persuading the JGSDF soldiers from various garrisons to go with the plan. However, the Cabinet Research Office (currently known as the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office) and the JGSDF Military Police were able to suppress most of the coup by using force to persuade various JGSDF formations to stand down, though a few others stood by Tokyo and did not join. One JGSDF formation was forcibly disarmed after they refused to stand down. Ex-JGSDF officer Akimasa Fujisaki was able to hijack the Sakura Shinkansen with active pro-miltiarist soldiers to assist.
  • In Die Another Day, Colonel Tan-Sun Moon is an officer in the Korean People's Army who's known to support hard-line calls to reunify the Korean Peninsula under North Korean control. He goes rogue with his faction in the KPA and later operate as pro-North Korean unification terrorists.
  • Die Hard 2 has The Big Bad, William Stuart, is a renegade US army colonel turned terrorist who seizes control of Dulles Airport to free an imprisoned South American dictator and drug lord, along with a team of mercenaries who are themselves ex-US military. The Special Forces team sent in to stop him are also this, as it turns out they're secretly working with Stuart.
  • The entire main cast of Kelly's Heroes are this when they go after the Nazi Gold in Clermont, still wearing their US Army uniforms and wielding American weapons, but not taking anyone's orders except their own. By the end of the film, most of them sans Oddball and his tank crew are heavily implied to have deserted, taking all the remaining gold with them.
  • The Rock has Brigadier General Francis X. Hummel of the USMC Force Recon, who seizes Alcatraz Island in a raid due to bad treatment of his subordinates in various FR ops over the years that their relatives were not given financial assistance. He uses 15 V.X. gas rockets to hold the city of San Francisco. Hummel is willing to stand down if Washington DC does what he wants. Sadly, not all of his men who went with him to Alcatraz are willing to follow Hummel's lead and some went with him to become a Psycho for Hire.
  • In Shiri, the South Korean government faces a national security nightmare when the Korean People's Army Ground Force's 8th Special Forces Unit has entirely gone rogue, going against North and South Korea. The unit has a team that has already infiltrated South Korea with the task of bombing a soccer stadium due to the presence of North and South Korean officials in order to use it as the basis for another Korean War.

    Literature 
  • The Ciaphas Cain Short Story "The Smallest Detail" has Cain's aide Ferik Jurgen tangle with a corrupt quartermaster who tries to kill him to cover up the smuggling ring he thinks Jurgen has uncovered. Jurgen had in fact deduced that the quartermaster was on the take (his books were too perfect), but it was so much to be expected that it didn't even occur to Jurgen to report it.
  • The titular antagonists of The Day of the Jackal works for the OAS, French veterans embittered at De Gaulle "selling out" Algeria.
  • In the first book of Op-Center (by Tom Clancy), terrorist attacks are conducted in South Korea by rogue South Korean soldiers to keep the status quo of having two separate Koreas while making false flag attacks to blame Pyongyang.
  • The ending of Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash suggest that Colonel Kenneth Sleg would be the leader in a newly reorganized Mafty after Hathaway Noa was executed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Crisis (2017), a recurring antagonist is ex-Japanese Special Forces Group commando Yuki Tadashi. He later deserts the unit when he finds out that his girlfriend was a casualty in a supposed bombing that was done by the prime minister's son, but backed out at the last minute.
  • Daredevil (2015) has the Blacksmith aka Colonel Ray Shoonover, who later became a drug dealer after his US Army deployment in Afghanistan.
  • One episode in The Fixer has John Mercer go up against a SAS commando who went to the underground drug trade, although said commando was under orders to do so in order to fund anti-Taliban ops in Afghanistan.
  • In NCIS, one episode has Marine has gone rogue and betrayed a CIA mission to capture a pro-Hezbollah financier. However, as the NCIS team tracks him down it is revealed that he was framed and went rogue to find the real traitor and prove his innocence.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Wounded", Captain Benjamin Maxwell goes off on his own to attack Cardassian ships and outposts shortly after a ceasefire with the Federation, believing that they are covertly rearming to resume the war. He's confronted by both Picard and Chief Miles O'Brien about his violation of the ceasefire and Starfleet regulations. The episode ends with Miles talking Capt. Maxwell down. Picard concedes that Maxwell was right—the Cardassians were arming for war—but keeping the peace is more important. For now.
  • The episode "Strike Force"note  in Spooks has MI5 investigating Major Samuel Curtis, who's suspected of trying to get parts of the British Army to start a mutiny to highlight problems within the military in order to improve on them (it's referred to as "industrial action", i.e. a strike). He's later proven to be a security threat when the rogue soldiers under his command hijack a truck carrying nuclear waste and detain police officers accompanying it. Harry is forced to order anti-terrorist snipers to shoot the major, which forces the other rogue soldiers to surrender.
  • In the 3rd season of The Unit, the team had to go dark briefly after they were ordered to be confined to their quarters from the last episode of Season 2 after the team rendentioned a rogue CIA agent on accusation that they got involved in a war crimes event regarding a secret floating Black Site used by the agency.
  • Over time in the first season of War of the Worlds (2019), French troops stationed in the French Alps have begun to desert their observatory posts to ensure the safety of their families from the worldwide EMP attack, while taking anything that they can. This is likely due to the lack of formal contact with the rest of the French government and armed forces and the morale dwindling as their numbers are easily picked off by the quadrupedal scout bots.
  • In Zero Zero Zero, Manuel and his fellow commandos are in a Mexican Army unit dedicated to taking down the cartels through any means necessary. But it turns out that Manuel and most of his fellow soldiers are on the take from the very cartels they're supposed to be busting. Once their cover is blown, they simply become a paramilitary arm of the local cartel.

    Video Games 
  • Near the end of Battlefield 3, Staff Sergeant Henry "Black" Blackburn and Private First Class David Montes go rogue after they were detained by the CIA for what happened in the Middle East concerning the PLR's terror plot for France and the US in using dirty bombs. They break out of their custody and try to stop Solomon in New York, but Montes get killed in Times Square.
    • Spestnaz commando Dmitri "Dima" Mayakovsky has a history of going rogue that he was once punished for killing a GRU station chief in Paris for attempting to defect and crazed Russian soldiers who were killing French nurses in Afghanistan while high on drugs.
  • Battlefield Hardline has Marcus Boone, who deserted the US Army after the Iraq War and used his experience as an intelligence analyst for various criminal groups in the East Coast as a hacker, although he prefers to be a grey hat hacker.
  • Fire Emblem has allies that were once soldiers of the enemy army until they deserted and joined your army.
    • Minerva and her troops in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light left Macedon as they knew that siding with Dolhr would cause problem. The only reason they haven't left earlier was because her brother, Michalis, had held their sister, Maria, hostage. Similarly, include Lorenz of Grust, who sided with Marth and Caeda in order to protect his country from Dolhr's control, in pure contrast to Camus, Matthis, who was coerced into the army and was convinced to leave by his sister, and Beck, who was a Ballistician who fought you earlier before he took refuge in a village after a defeat and joined your army, instead.
    • Olwen in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 was once a soldier of Friege's army until she learned about her house's involvement with the Child Hunts. After being freed from prison for nearly attacking her officer who taunted her about her brother, Reinhardt, she joined Leif's army in liberating Thracia, even facing her brother in battle. Similarly, Dalsin and Brighton were once Munster soldiers until they left in disgust of Raydrik's corruption, the former defecting upon learning that his son was nearly taken in one of their Child Hunts.
    • Melady was a wyvern rider of Bern and bodyguard of Princess Guinivere. Her brother and boyfriend were also in the army, but she put her loyalty to her lady over the loyalty over her country so upon rescuing her lady from prison, she defected to Roy's army. She could recruit her brother into joining her but couldn't do the same for Galle.
    • Duessel was one of Grado's Imperial generals, even one of Ephraim's teachers. He is also the most vocal of his disapproval of Grado's sudden aggression against the continent of Magvel. In Ephraim's route, Ephraim had to save him and his troops from Selena's forces, as her loyalty towards the crown caused her to attack him for his traitorous intention of speaking with him. Similarly, Amelia was a young soldier who joined the army to protect her country but defected when she learned that the enemy leader wasn't as evil as her country claimed them to be.
    • Jill in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance wanted to be a proud Daein soldier like her father, Shiharim. She joined the army to achieve this goal, which includes hunting down Laguz due to her country's racist doctrine, even siding with the heroes when they were attacked by pirates from Kilvas, a island nation of Raven laguz. However, upon witnessing the mighty power of the Goldoan dragon laguz moving the boat out of a reef, it made her question her motive and even her country's belief of bigotry. Thus, she eventually joined Ike's army out of her own free will. She eventually had to fight her country, including her father.
    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, it is possible for Jill and Zihark to join the Laguz Alliance/Ike's army, the latter expresses his disgust that the Daein still didn't learn anything about Laguz discrimination.
    • Silas in Fire Emblem Fates was a young knight of Nohr who joined the army in order to get a chance of seeing his best friend, Corrin, again. In Birthright and Revelation, you fought him in battle but upon defeat, he swore loyalty towards you over his country.
    • Ashe in Fire Emblem: Three Houses can be re-recruited again in Verdant Wind if you recruited him prior to the timeskip. It is possible that he could fight Dimitri and his forces, though in this route, the Kingdom were split in two due to the Empire's interference and, at that point, people thought Dimitri was executed. Similarly, anyone from the Black Eagle class will join your army if recruited prior to the timeskip as they can no longer stand Edelgard's war against the continent..
  • The Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout has been created by soldiers mutinying after learning about FEV experiments.
  • The Metal Gear games have them as recurring or secondary antagonists.
    • The story of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater involved Operation Virtuous Mission, where Naked Snake and the rest of FOX are deployed secretly in Soviet territory to take out the Boss, a war hero who fought in World War II in the US Army when she defected with her comrades in the special forces unit known as the Cobra Unit. It's really complicated...
    • In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Naked Snake gets kidnapped by fellow FOX unit soldiers after they go rogue with some Soviet soldiers in the San Hieronymo Peninsula.
    • Metal Gear Solid involves FOXHOUND going rogue when they are Shadow Moses and Solid Snake gets called in to resolve the situation before they use hijacked Metal Gear Rex.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has a group of ex-Spetsnaz GRU commandos led by Sergei Gurlukovich, who personally leads the raid on a covert oil tanker that houses Metal Gear Ray.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has surviving Task Force 141 soldiers painted as rogue commandos thanks to the actions of General Shepard. Before the end of Modern Warfare 3, they were cleared of being rogue soldiers.
    • General Shepard and his Shadow Company are themselves rogue soldiers after the events of Modern Warfare where he conspires with Makarov's Ultranationalist faction to start another world war by having Joseph Allen infiltrate his group, then secretly tell Makarov that Allen is an active US soldier, allowing him to kill Allen and use his presence in Russia as an act of state-sponsored terrorism.
  • The Rainbow Six games sometimes have rogue military personnel as secondary antagonists.
    • In Rogue Spear, RAINBOW is deployed to Russia to secretly cut off the Astasanov Nuclear Weapons Storage Facility from outside contact, which is being used by mafiya boss Maxim Kutkin as a hideout with Russian Army officer Viktor Rudenko and the soldiers under his command. Kutkin also forces unemployed scientists to create nuclear weapons for his use.
    • In the Vegas games, RAINBOW operator Gabe Nowak was the mastermind in the terrorist attacks in Las Vegas, albeit in cooperation with Mexican terrorist Irene Morales.
  • In Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, the Information Self-Defense Force or ISDF under JMSDF Admiral Toshiro Otomo goes rogue when Third Echelon discovered that they were The Man Behind the Man on starting the Second Korean War and working with Douglas Shetland to use the Dvorak algorithm. Otomo wants the Emperor as the head of state and the post-war Constitution abolished.
  • In StarCraft: Jim Raynor worked with Arcturus Mengsk back when Jim though he was a Well Intentioned Extremist, but after Mengsk made the Zerg attack Tarsonis, Jim Raynor and his men went rogue and became Freedom Fighters.
  • Time Crisis 4 involves the VSSE investigating the activities of the Biological Weapons Special Operations Unit aka the Hamlin Battalion. Its personnel worked alongside Wild Dog in terrorist activites in the Greater San Francisco Area. Lt. Col. Gregory Barrows went rogue and blames their activities on poor treatment of his subordinates as they were considered a black ops unit trained to use Terror Bites as a military weapon.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • The Meta is a Freelancer Agent who has been brainwashed by his rogue AI Sigma into going rogue and taking any of the A.I.s created by Project Freelancer, slaughtering anyone in his way, including entire outposts of soldiers and other Freelancers.
    • It's eventually revealed that a good chunk of the Freelancer Agents went rogue, either after finding out the higher ups tortured the Alpha A.I. into insanity or being screwed over by them.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Jeong Jeong, also known as "The Deserter", was an admiral in the Fire Nation Navy who grew disillusioned with the Fire Nation's campaign of global conquest and defected. In the final season, he joined the Order of the White Lotus and helped liberate Ba Sing Se from Fire Nation occupation.
  • Family Guy: In the season 10 episode "Thanksgiving", Kevin Swanson returns home from serving in the War on Terror, claiming he was discharged. It's ultimately revealed that he deserted and returned home after an explosion.
  • What If...? (2021): In What If…? S1E1 "What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?", Johann Schmidt ends up going rogue from the rest of the Nazi regime much like his Sacred Timeline counterpart. Unlike his Sacred Timeline counterpart, however, HYDRA lacks the Tesseract, Dr. Zola, and his advanced weapons designs, and pulls this separation off much later in the war, when the Third Reich's collapse is much more imminent and thus unable to oppose their plans.

    Real Life 
  • The Thai military has been involved in at least 20 revolts against the government, the first one in 1932 which resulted in the abolition of absolute monarchy and installed a constitutional monarchy.
  • Embittered by the defeat at Stalingrad - the needless suffering, Hitler's inept standards of leadership and a sense of grievance at being abandoned - Field Marshal Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Paulus changed sides and willingly worked for the Russians after going into captivity under the National Committee for a Free Germany. His motivations were revenge against Hitler, and a more ethically defensible desire to get the war ended as soon as possible.
  • The Organisation armée secrète has been founded by French soldiers and settlers distraught at De Gaulle "selling out" Algeria to the FLN.
  • After Japan modernized, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) was known to be involved in revolts and attempted coups to support ultranationalist factions against civilian-led governments. After the surrender of Japan, parts of the IJA led by Major Kenji Hatanaka fought against the government in the Kyūjō Incident. The Imperial Guard were deployed to stop the rogue soldiers from seizing the Imperial Palace.
    • The Sanmu Incident, which was suppose to happen on December 12, 1961, was halted when police arrested 13 suspects, some of them being with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) included Taku Mikami, who was known to be involved in the May 15 incident.
  • South Korea has two coups led by rogue military officers. One in May 16, 1961, which was led by Major-General Park Chung-hee, Director-General of Army Operations. Another one was launched in December 12, 1979 led by Major General Chun Doo-hwan.
  • After the 1973 Military Coup in Chile by Augusto Pinochet, a good part of the Chilean military went rogue over the establishment of the 1973 government. Most of them deserted and fled from the country. Others who remained in the country were killed.
  • The Los Zetas were founded by commandos from the Mexican Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (GAFE). They're feared by Mexican and international law enforcement/intelligence agencies as they use their special forces experience to kill their rivals and anyone who gets in their way.
  • The Philippines had some coups in its post-World War II history, the most significant one in the EDSA Revolution when parts of the Philippine Army revolved against President Ferdinand Marcos and supported the protests.
    • After Corazon Aquino became president, parts of the Army revolved against her because they didn't like how it handled the anti-New People's Army insurgency, corruption and red tape.
  • In 2017, factions of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) enacted a coup by detaining President Robert Mugabe and his cabinet, including First Lady Grace Mugabe under "Operation Restore Legacy" due to the Mugabes unnecessarily purging the ranks of the ZANU-PF of their allies, especially Emmerson Mnangagwa, when they accused them of being involved in a potential coup. This started to be the main event that pissed off every Zimbabwean since Mugabe became president, becoming very distant and then relying on the military to crush dissent. Even his friends and allies who fought with him in the independence war were also frustrated with him and thus threw their support behind the coup.
  • The Tatmadaw (armed forces) of Myanmar have a history of being involved in coups ever since Myanmar won independence from the British. The most recent involvement of Myanma troops in a coup was in February 2021 when they overthrew the Myanma civilian government.

 
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Showdown over a katana

Two JGSDF MPs have a showdown with two armed yakuza wakashus over General Kato's katana. The MPs are trying to retrieve it as a safety net in case General Kato's crimes are exposed.

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