- “Most of the crew - not to mention your fellow jarheads - will be leaving the ship in lifeboats. They'll ride to the surface in air conditioned comfort, sipping wine, and nibbling on appetizers. Not you, however. Oh no, you're going to leave the Pillar of Autumn in a different method. Tell me boys and girls… how will you leave?”—Major Antonio Silva, aboard the UNSC Pillar of Autumn.
- “We go feet first, sir!”—Shock Trooper's response.
- “Helljumper, helljumper, where you been? Feet first into hell then back again! When I die please bury me deep! Fix my MA5 down by my feet!”—ODST Cadence.
The Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODST) are a special operations capable organization of the UNSC Marine Corpsthat specialize in orbital-dropped shock infantry and special warfare tactics. The ODSTs are one of the primary Special Operations units of the United Nations Space Command, and is under the supervision of Naval Special Warfare Command.
The Orbital Drop Shock Troopers are one of many Special Operations Forces in the UNSC Defense Force. The ODSTs are under the exclusive operational authority of the Naval Special Warfare Command/Naval Special Weapons. Their methods of operation allow them to conduct missions against targets that more conventional forces cannot approach undetected. ODSTs are recruited from the Special Operations Groups of every nation of the Unified Earth Government and are a strictly all volunteer fighting force. Potential ODSTs are selected because of their performance in their chosen MOS; every ODST candidate is a veteran from another Special Operations outfit and therefore has already gone through at least two layers of screening and months of intense training — not counting the years of training received before volunteering for the ODSTs. There are no age or gender restrictions — as long as the candidate meets the physical and mental requirements they are guaranteed the opportunity to try out for the ODSTs. Once in the ODSTs, a candidate's training continues - its entrance requirements serve as a third layer of screening upon two more, where applicants would have theoretically failed to pass. Candidates would, therefore, already have extensive experience in conducting the types of high-risk missions that the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers typically perform. ODST units are not embedded within conventional UNSC forces; they do however participate in joint operations, and tend to be force multipliers - increasing the effectiveness and morale of those they fight alongside. ODST combat teams usually consist of six to eight ODST Troopers - with each combat team specializing in a particular mission set, but they are expected to be flexible enough to adapt to any given situation. These combat teams however can vary from company to company. Each c ODST in action.ombat team also consists of ten to fourteen operators, each of whom has a specific function on the team. ODSTs are known for their unusual methods of insertion, dropping from orbit onto terrestrial environments. Similar to their ground-based counterparts, the ODSTs maintain units of varying strength aboard many UNSC vessels and Installations.
The ODSTs perform highly specialized, small scale, high-risk operations including:
- Deep Ground Surveillance or Long Range Reconnaissance: Patrols in small groups, in uniform, usually far behind the enemy lines. While DGS units may direct air or artillery strikes against enemy positions, they strive to be unobserved, and have only self-defense, not DA, capability. Groups engaging in surveillance deep behind enemy lines, are commonly known as "Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols" or LRRP's.
- Direct Action: Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions conducted as a special operation in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and which employ specialized military capabilities to seize, destroy, capture, exploit, recover, or damage designated targets. Direct action differs from conventional offensive actions in the level of physical and political risk, operational techniques, and the degree of discriminate and precise use of force to achieve specific objectives.
- Unconventional Warfare: Military and paramilitary operations, normally of long duration, predominantly conducted by indigenous or surrogate forces who are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source. It includes guerrilla warfare and other direct offensive, low visibility, covert, or clandestine operations, as well as the indirect activities of subversion, sabotage, intelligence gathering, escape and evasion.
- Counter-Terrorism Operations: The response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.
- Counter-Contraband Operations: Missions undertaking the recapturing of smuggled/stolen goods.
- Personnel and Special Equipment Recovery/Capture: The recovery/medical treatment of friendly personnel in combat environments, as well as the capability of capturing high valued individuals and any equipment.