The Halo series features many different branches of the future human military organization known as the UNSC (United Earth Space Command). As humanity is forced to reckon with the extraterrestrial theocratic hegemony that is the Covenant, every single element of the military has been mobilized in an effort to combat this grave threat, from the enlisted Marine to the hulking Spartan super soldier. One group in particular that has caught the eye of fans since its introduction in Halo 2 is the ODST (short for Orbital Drop Shock Troopers).
Known for their daring missions in which they are dropped from orbit onto the battlefield, ODSTs are some of the most iconic soldiers humanity has to offer. While their screen time is rather short in the grand scheme of the whole series, their presence casts a large and recognizable shadow. Here are some things even hardcore fans may not have known about the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers of the Halo franchise.5 Formation And Early History
While the ODST has a reputation for being alien slayers of the highest order, they, like their Spartan comrades, were initially tasked with combating the human insurrection that gripped its empire in the decades prior to the Human/Covenant War. Formed in 2163, the ODST first saw combat during the Jovian Moons Campaign and subsequent Rainforest Wars against the communist Koslovic forces and the Fascist Frieden movement.
After the conclusion of these conflicts, the ODST would see significant combat until the 2490s when the United Earth Government would find itself entangled with a galaxy-spanning insurrection. First contact with the Covenant on the planet Harvest in 2525 would force the ODST (and the military as a whole) to shift its focus away from fighting humans for the most part.4 Rivalry With Spartans
Many ODSTs harbor a grudge against the Spartans for one reason or another, although there isn’t much evidence that the latter pay this any mind. Aside from both groups being considered to be highly capable warriors contributing to a natural feeling of rivalry, Spartans are often seen by Helljumpers as sociopathic lab rats due to an incident between several ODSTs and a single Spartan candidate – John 117.
This incident involved John killing several ODSTs after they’d challenged him during training. Spartans are also seen as spoiled, being issued the very best armor, weapons and technology that humanity has to offer. Combined with their tendency to get the lion’s share of the credit in battlefield victories, it’s no wonder why some ODSTs might carry some resentment.
The Halo series in general is very much inspired by the Starship Troopers novel by Robert A. Heinlein and the film adaptation directed by Paul Verhoeven. The ODST in particular seems to be heavily based on the Mobile Infantry and their use of ‘capsules’ to drop from orbit onto the battlefield. The ODST of course utilize their iconic drop pods to drop into combat from orbit, which can be experienced firsthand in Halo 3: ODST.
The ODST doctrine of ‘command unit first’ also mirrors the Mobile Infantry’s doctrine of ‘officers first.’ In both cases, this refers to the idea of officers deploying before their enlisted subordinates. Lastly, the black uniforms of the ODSTs also seem to have been at least partially inspired by the Mobile Infantry’s on-screen look.2 Minor Biological Augmentations
Contrary to the popular belief that ODSTs are simply highly trained regular humans, they’re actually given some minor bodily augmentations that allow them to operate more effectively. Granted, these are undoubtedly less extreme than the SPARTAN program’s long list of invasive and painful (not to mention expensive) enhancements.
ODSTs are given metabolic augmentations that allow them to last longer with less food and water (useful for long recon missions) and are given drugs that increase the speed of blood clotting. Both of these have the effect of giving ODSTs both higher-than-average stamina and a greater ability to survive wounds sustained in combat. It is worth noting that other branches of the UNSC issue augmentations of this nature to troops as well.1 Halo 3: ODST And Some Familiar Voices
Halo 3: ODST is thus far the only game in the series in which the player takes control of an ODST rather than a Spartan. This ODST known as The Rookie, is a member of a specialized squad tasked with boarding a Covenant ship during the initial invasion of Earth. The members of this squad are Micky, Dutch, Romeo, and GySgt Buck. There is also Veronica Dare, an officer from the Office of Naval Intelligence who takes command of the team shortly before they drop.
Of these five characters, three of them are voiced by former cast members of the TV show Firefly (Romeo being the outlier). Micky, Dutch, and Buck are voiced by Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, and Nathan Fillion respectively. The voice of Veronica Dare, Tricia Helfer, is known for her appearance on Battlestar Galactica as Number Six.