Harvest Colonial Militia
The Harvest Colonial Militia was a branch of the Colonial Militia, first created to handle internal security operations on the colony Harvest in the wake of the Insurrection, but would later be distinguished as the first UNSC force to encounter the Covenant. The militia garrison was located just outside of the small town of Gladsheim, along a highway.
The Harvest militia was established in 2524. It took the Parliament of Harvest years of negotiations to organize the militia, requiring the unanimous approval of all twenty-four Parliament members. The official purpose of the militia was to train Harvest's colonists to deal with natural disasters and internal security, but it was unofficially designed to create a paramilitary force to combat Insurrectionists on the planet. Following a failed anti-insurgent operation on Tribute, Staff Sergeants Avery Johnson and Nolan Byrne were assigned to Harvest to train the militia, along with Captain Ponder and Petty Officer First Class Healy.
Colonial Militia Training began on December 23, 2524. At first, the training consisted of two weeks of physical training and daily ten kilometre marches. After several attacks on human freighters, Johnson and Byrne using a "derelict" freighter to bait the attackers into a trap. After a skirmish aboard the freighter, it became known that the attackers were actually unknown aliens. Ponder told the militia recruits that their training was being accelerated due to the alleged arrival of a Colonial Administration Authority delegate, whom would need protection from a possible rebel attack. In reality, Ponder needed the militia to be ready for a possible alien attack. On February 9, 2525, the militia had a live-fire exercise, in which the recruits won 34-1, later the militia "graduated" from CMT, and were shown the footage of the battle between their squad leaders against the alien missionary vessel.
Battle of Harvest
On February 11, 2525, the militia was assembled at the Harvest Botanical Gardens, outside of Utgard. They were to provide security for Harvest's diplomats during the first meeting between the Covenant representatives and the humans. However the meeting ended badly when an Unggoy became overeager and killed one of the militia members, Osmo. On February 22, 2525, the militia provided security for the thousands of Harvest's refugees at Utgard's Maglev terminal. Staff Sergeants Johnson and Byrne led several militia members into the small town of Gladsheim to escort its residents to Utgard. However, most of the town's residents were killed by attacking Yanme'e and Jiralhanae, with only one civilian survivor. In the process, they helped destroy a Covenant Type-25 Spirit dropship. Following the mass evacuation of Harvest's citizens to the Utgard Mall, several militia members were assigned to police the citizens to prevent rioting.
As the battle on Harvest progressed, the militia split to perform two operations. The first, led by Johnson, was a volunteer operation to secure the space-borne Tiara platform to ensure civilians evacuating in cargo freighters would safely leave the planet. The militia engaged Yanme'e, Unggoy, and Jiralhanae led by Tartarus. The Unggoy began were killed with ease, but the other two alien species provided some difficulty. The operation was successful at the cost of seven militiamen's lives. During the same time period on the ground, Byrne and 2nd Platoon, along with anyone from 1st Platoon who did not volunteer with Johnson, defended the AI Mack's data center. Three Jiralhanae Choppers attacked, but they were all destroyed and three members were killed, two at the hands of Vorenus.
After doing as much as they could, the Colonial Militia of Harvest evacuated the planet along with civilians. At least two members of the militia eventually transferred to the UNSC Marine Corps and probably many more did.
The Harvest militia was comprised of 72 recruits. About half of them were members of Harvest's police force and emergency services, but most of these men were 40-50 years old. The other half of the militia was generally comprised of young men who had worked on Harvest's farms.
The militia was divided into two platoons of 36 men each. These platoons were then divided into three squads of 12 men each, named Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie.
Members of the militia wore mottled, olive-drab fatigues and helmets and were typically armed with MA5 assault rifles and M6 magnums. The sharpshooters of the Harvest militia, such as Jenkins and Critchley, were among the first to be issued early BR55 Battle Rifles. Shooting glasses were worn to provide a heads-up display for the militiamen. The militia was supplied with numerous M12 Warthogs, armed with the M41 Light Anti-Aircraft Gun. It was noted as being the most powerful weapon in the militia's arsenal. TTR batons and stun rounds were used during the training of the militia.
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