The Spartan branch insignia, derived from that of the SPARTAN-IIs.
c. 2553 — present
A minimum of 300-500 Spartans
- "Per Mare, Per Terras, Per Constellatum."
- —Motto. "By Sea, By Land, By the Stars."
Spartan, also referred to as the Spartan branch, is the fifth and newest branch of the UNSC Defense Force, responsible for command of special operations undertaken mainly by members of the fourth-generation SPARTAN Program, with former elements of the SPARTAN-III Program integrated into their ranks. This branch was established in the years following the apocalyptic Human-Covenant War; a time which saw a dramatic increase in the numbers of Spartan supersoldiers upon the activation of the SPARTAN-IV Program.
While the production of large numbers of Spartans with relative ease did not become possible in practice until the end of the Human-Covenant War, the first two projects only blazing a trail for mass-produced Spartans is not a new concept. Optimistic projections in 2531 suggested that a hundred thousand new Spartans might be created in the following thirty years. Between 2531 and 2552, nearly a thousand Spartans were trained, augmented and graduated as part of the SPARTAN-III Program, masterminded by Army veteran and ONI confidant, Colonel James Ackerson.
The beginnings of the fourth generation of the venerable Spartan program began shortly before the end of hostilities in the Human-Covenant War. The program was conceived by Lieutenant Commander Musa-096, a former SPARTAN-II crippled by the augmentation process. Despite believing that the methodology of the SPARTAN-II Program was highly unethical, Musa was also adamant that the Spartans were critical for humanity's survival and would continue to be so in the following years.
Due to ethical factors, as well as advancements in technology now allowed the augmentation of adult subjects without the major risks which necessitated the use of children in the preceding programs, it was decided that future Spartans would be consenting adults, all of whom handpicked for their exceptional service during the war, mainly from special operations units from across the armed forces. The only other supersoldier program to use adult volunteers were the ORION soldiers of Naval Special Warfare Command, who were created to fight the growing Insurrection in the Outer Colonies over sixty years earlier (Ironically, the Fours would come to serve in a similar capacity, fighting resurgent colonial rebellions).
Admiral Margaret Parangosky, Commander-in-Chief, Naval Intelligence, who had signed off on the previous second and third generations, approved of the new program, particularly because of its moral transparency in comparison to the previous programs. Originally, Parangosky was to give command of the SPARTAN-IV program and ultimately Spartan branch to Colonel James Ackerson. Serving under him, presumably in a scientific role to enhance the augmentation procedures and spearhead new technologies, would be Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey, MD, PhD, matriarch of the second generation program. However, neither would come to serve the SPARTAN-IVs; Colonel Ackerson was executed as a war prisoner aboard the Triumphant Declaration following his defeat at Mare Erythraeum in November 2552 while Dr. Halsey became trapped within the Forerunner shield world Trevelyan, later to be exiled to Ivanoff Station orbiting Installation 03 and then onboard the UNSC Infinity by Admiral Parangosky.
Training for the new Spartans was conducted in various places, particularly the virtual reality deck aboard the highly advanced warship Infinity, then located in the Oort cloud beyond the Sol system.
In January 2553, the first batch of the nascent SPARTAN-IVs defended UNSC Infinity from an attack by the Insurrectionist group known as the New Colonial Alliance. The Spartans' repelling of the takeover attempt also exposed Admiral Mattius Drake as a traitor. Following the incident, Lieutenant Commander Musa-096 announced the establishment of the Spartans as their own distinct branch to the UNSC High Command.
The surviving SPARTAN-III supersoldiers were requested by Admiral Parangosky and Naval Intelligence for reassignment to Spartan branch in early 2553. The active SPARTAN-IIs, the iconic legends of the Class of 2525, were given the choice of "pulling together" the remaining SPARTAN-IIIs and integrating them into the SPARTAN-IV program, but it is unknown whether or not the SPARTAN-IIs themselves were assigned to the new branch.
 Combat deployments
After its creation in early 2553, the Spartan branch has seen a number of engagements in both the resurgent Insurrection and the continuing hostilities against rogue Covenant factions. Between March 2553 and July 2557, two of the first SPARTAN-IVs; Edward Davis and Sarah Palmer, were present in a battle against a Covenant resurgence on the former Forerunner world of Draetheus V.
During an exploration mission, the UNSC Infinity was pulled into Requiem, an ancient Forerunner shield world, by a Cryptum-occupying Promethean known as the Didact and his forces. Led by Commander Sarah Palmer, the Spartans, aided by Infinity's Marines, would assist MCPO John-117 in his fight against the Prometheans, as well as the distracting Covenant which had followed the beleaguered SPARTAN-II to Requiem. The Spartans teamed with John-117 to destroy the gravity well generator and to defend the Infinity from attacks by the Didact, but left with the Infinity when Captain Del Rio chose not to stay and stop the Didact, an order John-117 disregarded.
After John-117 defeated the Didact and saved Earth, a number of Spartans aboard Infinity gathered to salute him as he finally returned to Earth after over four and a half years Missing In Action. Later, with the Infinity high above, numerous Spartan teams, including Fireteam Crimson and Fireteam Majestic, would serve on Requiem six months after the initial skirmishes on the shield world, fighting both the forces of the revived Covenant and the Prometheans.
Spartans operate in fireteam-sized units, which are in turn part of a larger Spartan detachment. Unlike the hierarchical rank structures of the UNSC's traditional military branches, all members of the Spartan branch are considered equal and lack formal ranks. Leadership and combat specialization are determined by a Spartan's personal skills and abilities, demonstrated either in combat in the field or in War Games exercises, and are balanced for optimum performance. Spartan detachments operate under a Spartan commander; for example, Sarah Palmer served as commander of UNSC Infinity's contingent of several hundred Spartans. Fireteams, in turn, are led by a team leader. "Spartan" used in the place of rank when addressing members of the branch. While "Commander" is often used to address a Spartan detachment commander, this merely refers to their role instead of being a formal rank.
While the Spartan branch lacks a formal rank structure, the ranks listed in the following are the original ranks of each serviceperson before their enlistment in the branch.
|Name||Original rank||Home branch||Unit||Specialty|
|Sarah Palmer||Lt||Marines||UNSC Infinity||Officer|
|Jun-A266||WO||Army||NOBLE Team (originally of Alpha Company)||Sniper and Recruiter|
|Lucy-B091||PO2||Navy||Blue Team (originally of Foxtrot Team, Beta Company; later trained Gamma Company)||Scout and Instructor|
|Tom-B292||PO2||Navy||Blue Team (originally of Foxtrot Team, Beta Company; later trained Gamma Company)||Team leader and Instructor|
|Ash-G099||Pvt||—||Blue Team (originally of Saber Team, Gamma Company)||Team leader|
|Mark||—||—||Blue Team (originally of Saber Team, Gamma Company)||Sniper|
|Olivia||—||—||Blue Team (originally of Saber Team, Gamma Company)||Scout|
|Gabriel Thorne||—||Army||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic||—|
|Paul DeMarco||—||Marines||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic||Team leader|
|Tedra Grant||—||Navy||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic|
|Anthony Madsen||—||Marines||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic||Sniper|
|Carlo Hoya||—||Marines||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic||—|
|Jared Miller||—||—||UNSC Infinity||Mission Handler|
|Robert Dalton||—||—||UNSC Infinity||—|
|Estey-Bethel||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Castle||—|
|Lincoln||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Castle||—|
|Dunlap||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Castle||—|
|Casillas||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Castle||—|
|Tashi||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Castle||—|
|Ernst Deming||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Castle||Team leader|
|Scott Macrae||—||—||UNSC Infinity||—|
|Fredric Zurenia||—||—||UNSC Infinity||—|
|Horatio Fry||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Shadow||Team leader|
|Cara Costabile||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Switchback||Team leader|
|Bradford Gale||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Switchback||—|
|Terry Ledge||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Lancer||—|
|Carmichael||—||—||UNSC Infinity||Mission Handler|
|Gustavo Esposito||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Forest||—|
|Vladimir Scruggs||—||—||UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Jackknife||—|
 Known units
All units in the following are noted as they remain following the Second Battle of Requiem (2.2558).
- Fireteam Apex — Unknown
- Fireteam Avalanche — Unknown
- Fireteam Castle — 6 soldiers
- Fireteam Crimson — 4 soldiers
- Fireteam Domino — Unknown
- Fireteam Horse — Unknown
- Fireteam Ivy — Unknown
- Fireteam Jackknife — Unknown
- Fireteam Kodiak — Unknown
- Fireteam Lancer — Unknown
- Fireteam Majestic — 5 soldiers
- Fireteam Rhino — Unknown
- Fireteam Shadow — Unknown
- Fireteam Switchback — 5 soldiers
- Fireteam Sword — Unknown
- Fireteam Sydney — Unknown
- Fireteam Talon — Unknown
- Fireteam Tower — Unknown
- Fireteam Wolf — Unknown
The total number of Spartan personnel in the branch has not yet been specified, but the minimum count is well over 300: UNSC Infinity alone carries 300 to 500 Spartans. This count may include any former SPARTAN-III personnel, since all SPARTAN-IIIs active by early 2553 were reassigned to the fourth-generation program on Admiral Parangosky's orders.
315 members of the SPARTAN-III Gamma Company were deployed to the battlefields of the Human-Covenant War in October 2552; the status of these Spartans following the war is unknown. Fifteen members of Gamma Company remained on Onyx; of these Spartans, three survivors of Team Saber are active as of March 2553, while the five members of Team Katana were last seen in a critical condition. The absolute minimum number of surviving SPARTAN-III supersoldiers as of March 2553 stands at five and includes Ash-G099, Mark and Olivia of Team Saber, as well as their two Beta Company instructors, Tom-B292 and Lucy-B091. Provided that the majority of Gamma Company were still active by the time of the establishment of the Spartan branch and the members of Katana returned to active duty, the total number of former SPARTAN-III personnel in the branch may be as high as 325.
Additionally, a number of SPARTAN-IIIs from the special operations program known as Headhunters may have been added to the roster of the Spartan branch. At the height of the Headhunter program, a total of seventeen Spartans served in its ranks. Four Headhunters were killed during a mission on a moon; thus the maximum number of remaining Headhunters stands at thirteen. Since much of the chronology and details of the Headhunter program remain undisclosed, it is unknown whether the program was even active by the end of the war or how many of its members may have ultimately survived.
If the remaining SPARTAN-IIs joined the branch, their numbers may range from four to fifteen, as a large number of them remained missing or out of contact with the UNSC as of their last sighting. The SPARTAN-IIs confirmed to be in active service within the UNSC include Linda-058, John-117, Kelly-087, Fred-104, and Naomi-010, with the latter serving in the covert black ops unit Kilo-Five. Maria-062 planned on retiring from service circa October 2552. There are also a number of second-generation Spartans missing or unreachable as of most recent knowledge. These include the Spartans aboard the UNSC Spirit of Fire, missing in unknown space since 2531: Douglas-042, Jerome-092 and Alice-130. Gray Team, (Jai-006, Adriana-111 and Mike-120), remained out of contact by August 2552, while Team Black, (Black-One, Black-Two, Black-Three and Victor-101), were last sighted stranded on a moon by around the same time.
 Production background
- The role of the Spartan branch could be likened to that of the American Special Operations Command (JSOC) of the 21st century. It consists of the nation's most highly trained soldiers, including units as the Army's Delta Force (1st SFOD-D) and the Navy's SEAL Team Six (DEVGRU). They undertake unconventional warfare missions too sensitive and too high-risk for other special forces units, most notably counter-terrorism. JSOC is known for their unified command and asset structure, just as the Spartan branch exists to provide unified oversight of the Spartans.
- The Spartan branch's motto is derived from that of the British Royal Marines, "Per Mare, Per Terram," meaning "By Sea, By Land."
 List of appearances
- Halo: Glasslands (First mentioned)
- Halo: The Thursday War (Mentioned only)
- Halo 4 (First appearance)
- Halo: Spartan Assault
- Halo: Initiation
- Halo: Escalation
- ^ a b c YouTube: Halo 4 Flag Stabbing and Spartan Cosplay - Comic-Con 2012
- ^ Halo Waypoint - Intel: Spartan Ops
- ^ Halo 4 Limited Edition — Spartan armor customization schematic
- ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Story
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 64
- ^ a b Halo: Glasslands, page 422
- ^ Halo: Initiation, Issue #1
- ^ a b Halo: Glasslands, page 434
- ^ a b Halo: Glasslands, page 147
- ^ Halo: Uprising, issue one
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 341
- ^ Halo: Initiation, Issue #3
- ^ a b Halo: Glasslands, page 435
- ^ Halo: Spartan Assault
- ^ a b Halo 4, E3 2012 campaign demonstration
- ^ GameTrailers: GTTV: Halo 4
- ^ a b Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 33
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j Halo 4 Limited Edition — War Games Session Summary
- ^ Halo 4 Limited Edition — Infinity Briefing Packet
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 139
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 310
- ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, "Headhunters", page 160
- ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, "Headhunters", page 188-192