Special Operations Officer

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Special Operations Officer
Banished infiltration harness
Banished Speciel operations Sangheili
Covenant combat harness
H2A Spec Ops Sangheili.png
Covenant infiltration harness
Spec Ops.png
Assault harness
Sangheili SpecOps 01.png


  • Special Operations
  • Unconventional warfare
  • Infiltration





Special Warfare Group


Notable individuals:

Okro 'Vagaduun
N'tho 'Sraom
Usze 'Taham


"Out of darkness, these blades will light our way."
— Special Operations Sangheili's mantra[2]

Special Operations Officer is a title held by select Sangheili serving within the Covenant and the empire's remnants.[3][4] Within the Covenant military, Special Operations Officers served in the Special Operations group.[5] In the post-war era after the Covenant fell, many of the group's veteran ex-members have sought to establish similar special operations units within organizations, including mercenary work in the Banished among others.[6]


Main article: Covenant Special Operations

Special Operations Officers are the Sangheili members of the Special Operations division of the Special Warfare Group. Sangheili of this rank are picked from the most elite warriors of the regular Covenant military, with personnel selected to serve in Special Operations requiring exceptional skills in close-quarters combat and marksmanship.[7] When Sangheili troops are brought into the Special Operations division, any Unggoy under their command will also be unwillingly recruited into the organisation too.[8]

Operational history[edit]

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Human-Covenant War[edit]

Special Operations Sangheili were widely utilized by the Covenant during its genocidal campaign against the human race. Towards the end of the Battle of Meridian, a team of Special Operations Sangheili and a Kig-Yar soldier deployed to the surface of the planet using a Covenant drop pod. The team deployed a Kindler and are able to find a Luminary, which they proceeded to deliver to the Prophet of Regret. The Luminary would later reveal the locations of the Halo rings, the Ark, and a slipspace portal to the Ark found on Earth.[9]

During the pre-invasion of the human colony world of Reach, the Fleet of Valiant Prudence discreetly deployed a team of Sangheili Zealots to disable one of the planet's communication outposts at Visegrád. When the SPARTAN-III NOBLE Team was sent to investigate the communications blackout, they found the entrance locked, with the mechanism flash-fused. While Catherine-B320 attempted to unseal the doorway, the rest of NOBLE defended her from waves of Covenant attackers. A team of Special Operations Sangheili, along with a Sangheili General was dropped off as one of the final groups of attackers.[10] A squadrom of Special Operations Sangheili were deployed via Phantom onto the third flood of ONI SWORD Base by way of the breached exterior wall. These forces were defeated by the combined efforts of SPARTAN-B312 and Emile-A239.[11] Several were also sent in along with a Mgalekgolo pair to stop Jun-A266 and SPARTAN-B312 from sabotaging of one of the Covenant's stealth pylons. These pylons were being used to conceal large scale Covenant troop deployments in the Viery Territory on the eve of the invasion of Reach. The Covenant forces failed to the Spartans, who reported their discovery to the UNSC.[12]

The bridge of the Ceudar-pattern heavy corvette Ardent Prayer was crewed mainly by Special Operations Sangheili under the command of Shipmaster Ardo 'Moretumee. During Operation: UPPERCUT, the ship was boarded by a team of FSS-1000 Sabre pilots led by SPARTAN-B312 and Jorge-052. The strike team eventually entered the bridge, catching the crew unaware. While 'Moretumee and his Special Operations Sangheili defended themselves, they ultimately all died in battle with the UNSC boarders, who then proceeded to carry out their mission, resulting in the destruction of both Ardent Prayer and the Sh'wada-pattern supercarrier Long Night of Solace.[13]

In the later stages of the Fall of Reach, the Covenant began to glass large areas of the planet. ONI SWORD Base was one of the primary locations to be hit. Much of the base was reduced to rubble and many of the outlying areas were flooded due to the melting ice floes nearby. A team of Special Operations Sangheili was dispatched into the base along with a Sangheili General and a Huragok. They were in the process of scouring the ruined atrium when they were attacked by NOBLE Team. Ultimately the Spartans were able to neutralize all Covenant forces in the room.[14]

During the Battle of Installation 04, a squadron of thirty Special Operations Sangheili were deployed into the human-controlled Alpha Base using a captured UNSC dropship. Their objective was to cause chaos among the human ranks so as to allow six Spirits containing more Covenant forces to land. Many of them were killed when the landing pad that the Pelican had touched down on was flooded with fuel and set alight. The survivors made it into the lower levels of the base where they killed every human they found, including those in the Control Room. Eventually all Special Operations Sangheili were killed by a fireteam of Marines, with only Special Operations Officer Zuka 'Zamamee and his Unggoy assistant Yayap escaping.[15]

Later in the battle, the Flood parasite managed to escape containment and soon spread across the surface of the installation. At least one Covenant Spirit was captured by the Flood. They used the dropship to board the Mjern-pattern agricultural support ship Infinite Succor unbeknownst to the rest of the fleet. When the ship lost communication with the rest of the fleet, Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee assembled a team of Special Operations Sangheili and Unggoy led by Commander Rtas 'Vadumee to retake the ship from what was assumed to be human forces at that point. During the events aboard the Infinite Succor, all members of the Special Operations team were killed or infected by the Flood, leaving 'Vadumee as the sole survivor.[16] The Flood were able to overwhelm the cruiser Truth and Reconciliation which had been holding position near the surface of the installation. A strike team consisting of Special Operations Sangheili and Unggoy were sent in to neutralize the Flood and prepare the ship for immediate departure. Over the course of the battle, many Spirit dropships and Banshees were seen deploying Special Operations forces into the cruiser by SPARTAN John-117.[17] By the time the remaining human forces on the ring stormed the Truth and Reconciliation, the strike team and the Flood had managed to nearly wipe each other out.[18] Towards the close of the battle, a contingent of Special Operations forces consisting of Sangheili and Unggoy were present on board the crashed Pillar of Autumn, where they battled against the Flood as well as Sentinel forces.

After the conclusion of the Battle of Installation 04, the Spartan-II Master Chief led a group of survivors from the battle in a boarding effort against the Ascendant Justice, the flagship of the local Covenant fleet. During his assault on the bridge, the Master Chief fought against a single Special Operations Sangheili. The Covenant warrior nearly killed the Spartan, but the human managed to get the upper hand with the help of his compatriots, The Spec Ops Sangheili was grievously wounded and knocked into an escape pod, which the Chief proceeded to fire away from the ship. The fate of this Sangheili is unknown.[19]

Shortly after the Battle of Installation 04, the Prophets sent a team of Special Operations Sangheili led by Rtas 'Vadumee to assist the newly adorned Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee in his mission to kill Sesa 'Refumee and the heretic forces under his command. Despite the unexpected entrance of the Flood into the battle, the team ultimately completed their mission successfully.[20][21] During the Battle of Installation 05, many Special Operations Sangheili were deployed into the Quarantine Zone via drop pods and Phantom dropships along with vehicular support in order to assist the Arbiter in acquiring the Sacred Icon necessary for the Covenant to complete their 'Great Journey'.[22][23]

Great Schism[edit]

Later in the battle of Installation 05, when the Hierarchs betrayed the Sangheili, casting them out of the Covenant, many Special Operations Sangheili along with the rest of their species fought against the now Jiralhanae-led Covenant forces on High Charity.[24] Many more Special Operations Sangheili aided Thel 'Vadam in his push through several Jiralhanae-occupied structures. A number of Special Operations Sangheili assisted Thel and Sergeant Johnson in killing the Chieftain of the Jiralhanae Tartarus. While many fell to the Chieftain's gravity hammer, they successfully stopped him from activating the Ring.[25][26]

Towards the end of the Battle of Earth, the Fleet of Retribution entered the area above the city of Voi, in pursuit of the Flood-infested cruiser Indulgence of Conviction. The ship had managed to break through the Sangheili's quarantine of Installation 05 and ultimately crash-landed in Voi, allowing the Flood to spread onto Earth. The fleet deployed Special Operations Sangheili to assist John-117 and Thel 'Vadam in destroying the source of the Flood infestation, as well as to locate something in the remains of the cruiser.[27]


After the war, some Special Operations Sangheili became mercenaries and joined the Banished. Some were privately employed by individual Banished commanders to eliminate rivals and quell uprisings.[28]

During the Battle for Zeta Halo, John-117 fought a number of these Banished-affiliated Spec Ops Sangheili.[1] Notably, two Spec Ops Sangheili unsuccessfully attempted to ambush and kill the Master Chief inside the Conservatory.[29] Another pair of Spec Ops Sangheili guarded FOB Delta.[30]


In Halo: Combat Evolved, Special Operations Sangheili are clad in a glossy black Combat harness[31]; in Halo 2 a deep purple combat harness[32]; in Halo 3 a steel Assault harness[33]. In Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, and Halo Infinite they wear an Infiltration harness in dark maroon[34], black[35], and purple[36] respectively. In Halo 2, Halo: Reach, and Halo Infinite their harness is embedded with active camouflage.

Special Operations Sangheili are similar to Stealth Sangheili, as they both possess active camouflage technology. However, the two are different and should not be confused: Stealth Sangheili have armor that has little or no shielding, and they are permanently cloaked until they are killed, whereas Special Operations Sangheili have stronger shielding and can appear both cloaked and uncloaked.

In Halo Infinite, Spec Ops Sangheili are armed exclusively with energy swords and plasma grenades.


Banished Spec Ops Elites are referred to as Zealots in Halo Infinite's game files.[1]


Concept art[edit]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Foundations: "Those rad-looking purple Sangheili in the sleek armor? They’re classified canonically as Spec Ops, not Zealots. It’s important to remember that oftentimes enemy or character tags that you might find within game files are development shorthand and not necessarily final." (Retrieved on Jan 12, 2022) [archive]
  2. ^ Halo: Reach
  3. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 133
  4. ^ Halo: The Flood, chapter 8
  5. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 242
  6. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 429
  7. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Library: Spec Ops Elite
  8. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Library: Spec Ops Grunt
  9. ^ Halo 2: Anniversary, Terminal 14
  10. ^ Halo: Reach, campaign level Winter Contingency
  11. ^ Halo: Reach, campaign level ONI: Sword Base
  12. ^ Halo: Reach, campaign level Nightfall
  13. ^ Halo: Reach, campaign level Long Night of Solace
  14. ^ Halo: Reach, campaign level The Package
  15. ^ Halo: The Flood, Chapter 8, page 219 (2003 paperback); page 243 (2010 paperback)
  16. ^ Halo Graphic Novel, The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor
  17. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved, campaign level Keyes
  18. ^ Halo: The Flood, Chapter 12, page 318 (2003 paperback); page 354(2010 paperback)
  19. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 96 (2010 edition)
  20. ^ Halo 2, campaign level The Arbiter
  21. ^ Halo 2, campaign level The Oracle
  22. ^ Halo 2, campaign level Sacred Icon
  23. ^ Halo 2, campaign level Quarantine Zone
  24. ^ Halo 2, campaign level Gravemind
  25. ^ Halo 2, campaign level Uprising
  26. ^ Halo 2, campaign level The Great Journey
  27. ^ Halo 3, campaign level Floodgate
  28. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 429
  29. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Connections: Conservatory
  30. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Connections: FOB Delta
  31. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved
  32. ^ Halo 2
  33. ^ Halo 3
  34. ^ Halo: Reach
  35. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
  36. ^ Halo Infinite