Spartan (branch)

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Spartan (branch)
Spartan Branch insignia.png
The Spartan branch insignia, derived from that of the SPARTAN-IIs.


c. 2553 — present


Unified Earth Government


Independent branch


Joint special operations


300-500+ Spartans[1]



Post-Covenant War conflicts

"Per Mare, Per Terras, Per Constellatum."
—Motto. "By Sea, By Land, By the Stars."[2]

Spartan,[3] also referred to as the Spartan branch[4] or the Spartans,[5][6] is the fifth and newest branch of the United Nations Space Command. It is responsible for the command of special operations undertaken mainly by members of the SPARTAN-IV program, with numerous SPARTAN-IIIs integrated into their ranks. The 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.[3] The operations conducted by these Spartans are collectively referred to as the Spartan Ops program.[7]



The production of large numbers of Spartans with relative ease did not become possible in practice until the end of the Covenant War. Despite this, optimistic projections in 2531 suggested that 100,000 Spartans might be created in the following thirty years.[8] Between 2531 and 2552, nearly 1,000 Spartans were trained, augmented, and graduated as part of the SPARTAN-III program, masterminded by Army veteran and ONI confidant Colonel James Ackerson.

The SPARTAN-IV project was begun shortly before the end of hostilities against the Covenant.[9] 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.[10]

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 UNSC.[11][3] This marked a return to the recruitment methodology of the ORION Project, which had created bio-engineered soldiers to fight the growing Insurrection in the Outer Colonies over sixty years earlier. Coincidentally, the SPARTAN-IVs would come to serve in a similar capacity, fighting resurgent colonial rebellions.

Admiral Margaret Parangosky, Commander-in-Chief of the Office of Naval Intelligence, who had previously authorized the second and third generations, approved of the new program, particularly because of its moral transparency in comparison to the previous iterations.[11] Originally Parangosky planned to give command of the SPARTAN-IV program and ultimately the Spartan branch to Colonel Ackerson.[12] 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 SPARTAN-II program.[12] However, neither would come to serve the SPARTAN-IVs: Colonel Ackerson was executed as a war prisoner aboard the Covenant vessel Triumphant Declaration following his defeat at Mare Erythraeum in November 2552.[13] Dr. Halsey became trapped within the Forerunner shield world Trevelyan, later to be exiled to Ivanoff Station orbiting Installation 03[14] and then onboard the UNSC Infinity by Admiral Parangosky.


Prior to the formation of the SPARTAN-IV program as it now exists, ONI Section III authorized a prototypical phase of the project without the approval of the UNSC High Command. This incarnation attempted to create Spartans without the need for MJOLNIR armor. However, the augmentations killed nine of the ten volunteers and mentally destabilized the survivor, Ilsa Zane, who was reassigned to ONI.[15] The modern version of the program was initiated some time later.

In January 2553, the first successful batch of the nascent SPARTAN-IVs defended UNSC Infinity from an attack (and brief commandeering) by the Insurrectionist group known as the New Colonial Alliance; the hijacking was led by the now-defected Ilsa Zane. 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 HIGHCOM.[15] 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.[9]

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 were given the choice of "pulling together" the remaining SPARTAN-IIIs and integrating them into the SPARTAN-IV program.[16] At least SPARTAN-II Blue Team continued to operate outside the branch, within NAVSPECWAR operational control, as of most recent knowledge.[17] Their operations remained highly secretive.[18]

Combat deployments[edit]

Since its instatement 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. Sometime during 2554, 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 and UNSC research colony of Draetheus V.[19]

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.[20][21] Led by Commander Sarah Palmer,[1] 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.[20] 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 Andrew Del Rio chose not to stay and stop the Didact, an order John-117 disregarded.[22]

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.[23]



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. "Spartan" is used in the place of rank when addressing members of the branch. Leadership and combat specialization are determined by a Spartan's personal skills and abilities, demonstrated both in combat in the field and in War Games exercises. This skill is reflected by Spartan Rank, which has an alphanumeric value between SR1 and SR130. Spartans who meet or exceed SR50 are allowed to join one of eight wings of the branch known simply as Specializations; a Spartan's choice of Specialization ideally reflects the participant's Military Occupational Specialty, such as engineering or vehicle operation.[24]

Detachments operate under a Spartan commander. While "Commander" is often used to address a Spartan detachment's overall leader, this merely refers to their administrative role instead of being a formal rank.[25] For example, Sarah Palmer serves as the commander of UNSC Infinity's contingent of several hundred Spartans, yet she is technically equal in rank to her subordinates. Fireteams, which typically contain around four members, are led by a team leader as in the UNSC's other branches.

A handful of Spartans serve in the branch in administrative roles; these include SPARTAN-IV program creator Musa-096[15] and Jun-A266, former sniper of NOBLE Team.[17]

While the Spartan branch is technically autonomous, it collaborates closely with the UNSC Navy and other branches in administrative capacities and other matters.[26] Spartans do not have their own armored vehicles, aerospace craft, or slipspace-capable transports; they rely on the Navy for interstellar deployment and have arrangements with the Marine Corps and Army to loan their assets when necessary.[27] Because of this and the SPARTAN programs' history, the Spartans are still commonly viewed as a "Navy project" by the UNSC armed forces at large.[24] As well, unlike the other branches, the Spartans have no representative in the UNSC Security Council as of 2558.[28]


During the Human-Covenant War, Spartan fatalities were always listed as missing in action or wounded in action in accordance with ONI Directive 930 in order to bolster morale by maintaining a myth of invincibility around the almost legendary supersoldiers. This practice was not carried over to the Spartan branch in the postwar era, allowing the deaths of Spartans to be formally acknowledged.[29]

The following is a list of known personnel serving in the Spartan branch. The ranks listed are the original ranks of each serviceperson before their enlistment in the branch.

Name Original rank Home branch Unit Specialty
Sarah Palmer Corporal Marine Corps (ODST) UNSC Infinity Contingent commander
Jun-A266 WO (unknown grade) Navy (attached to USW) NOBLE Team (originally of Alpha Company) Sniper; now recruiter
Lucy-B091 PO2 Navy Blue Team (Formerly) (originally of Foxtrot Team, Beta Company; later trained Gamma Company) Instructor
Tom-B292 PO2 Navy Blue Team (Formerly) (originally of Foxtrot Team, Beta Company; later trained Gamma Company) Instructor; former team leader
Gabriel Thorne Army UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic Team leader
Paul DeMarco Marine Corps (ODST) UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic (Formerly), Fireteam Bailey Team leader
Tedra Grant Navy UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic
Anthony Madsen Marine Corps UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Majestic Sniper
Carlo Hoya Marine Corps (ODST) 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 Team leader
Carmichael UNSC Infinity Mission handler
Gustavo Esposito UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Forest
Edward Davis
Joel Thomas Sgt
Vladimir Scruggs UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Jackknife
Yeong-hao Holst
Bethany Kossup
Naiya Ray UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Jackknife (Formerly), Fireteam Majestic
Hong UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Bailey
Dunn UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Bailey
Jones UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Bailey
Newman UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Jackknife
To UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Jackknife
Jameson Locke LCDR Navy (ONI) UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Osiris Team leader, Acquisitions Specialist
Edward Buck GySgt Marine Corps (ODST) Alpha-Nine (Formerly); UNSC Meriwether Lewis (Formerly); UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Osiris Team leader
Michael Crespo PFC Marine Corps (ODST) Alpha-Nine (Formerly) Demolition expert and pilot
Kojo Agu Lance Corporal Marine Corps (ODST) Alpha-Nine Sniper
Holly Tanaka Sgt Army (412th EngCom) UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Domino (Formerly), Fireteam Osiris Engineer
Olympia Vale Navy (ONI) UNSC Infinity, Fireteam Osiris Sangheili culture and language expert; CQC

Known units[edit]

All units in the following are noted as they remain following the Battle of Ealen IV in March 5, 2558.


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.[1] This count may include any former SPARTAN-III personnel, excluding those of Gamma Company who were reassigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence on Admiral Parangosky's orders.[31] The two Beta Company survivors, Tom-B292 and Lucy-B091, were assigned to the Spartan branch in August 2552.[32]

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.[33] Four Headhunters were killed during a mission on a moon. Thus the maximum number of remaining Headhunters stands at thirteen.[34]

Production background[edit]

  • 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 such 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,": "By Sea, By Land."
  • As depicted in Issue #7 of Halo: Escalation, the dress uniform for the Spartan branch is nearly identical to the service uniform used by the cadets at Corbulo Academy of Military Science, only colored navy blue and black as opposed to the white and black coloration of the Corbulo uniforms. The uniforms seen in Escalation even incorporate the single lozenge used to identify freshman cadets at Corbulo; it is uncertain whether this holds any particular significance regarding the Spartans' rank or if it is simply a mistake.

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c YouTube: Halo 4 Flag Stabbing and Spartan Cosplay - Comic-Con 2012
  2. ^ Halo Waypoint - Intel: Spartan Ops
  3. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint: Story
  4. ^ Halo 4 Limited Edition — Spartan armor customization schematic
  5. ^ Spartan Ops, E01 Departure (Thomas Lasky: "Navy disagrees with Spartans on this one. We want you ready. Now.")
  6. ^ Spartan Ops, E4 Didact's Hand : (Gabriel Thorne: "I enlisted with the Spartans because...")
  7. ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo: Spartan Strike ("...the historic first missions of the Spartan Ops program...")
  8. ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 64
  9. ^ a b Halo: Glasslands, page 422
  10. ^ Halo: Initiation, Issue #1
  11. ^ a b Halo: Glasslands, page 434
  12. ^ a b Halo: Glasslands, page 147
  13. ^ Halo: Uprising, issue one
  14. ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 341
  15. ^ a b c Halo: Initiation, Issue #3
  16. ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 435
  17. ^ a b Halo Waypoint - John-117 is no longer blue leader (Catalog's answer)
  18. ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide
  19. ^ Halo: Spartan Assault
  20. ^ a b Halo 4, E3 2012 campaign demonstration
  21. ^ GameTrailers: GTTV: Halo 4
  22. ^ Halo 4, campaign level Shutdown
  23. ^ Halo 4, Spartan Ops
  24. ^ a b c Halo 4 Limited Edition Infinity Briefing Packet
  25. ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 33
  26. ^ Halo Waypoint - Spartans
  27. ^ 10/30/2015: Reqlamation Begins
  28. ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #1
  29. ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #3
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Halo 4 Limited Edition War Games Session Summary
  31. ^ Halo: Last Light, pages 330-331 (Google Play edition)
  32. ^ Halo Waypoint: Catalog Interaction - Page 38
  33. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, "Headhunters", page 160
  34. ^ Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, "Headhunters", page 188-192