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"In today's modern army, everyone is trained to do everything."
Mike Nelson regarding Terminator: Salvation, Riff Trax

A soldier or similar character who constantly switches roles on the battlefield without regard to service branch or rank. He is also usually capable of handling every task he needs to do by himself. If you see one and the same soldier participating in an infantry skirmish one day, jump into the commander's seat of a tank the next, still later pilot a helicopter and finally go on a risky secret mission deep in enemy territory, then you know this trope is in effect.

A form of Economy Cast. Often a special case of The Main Characters Do Everything. Usually requires the character to have a Universal Driver's License.

Examples of Do Anything Soldier include:


Film

  • While not a soldier as such, James Bond certainly qualifies. The only time he couldn't do everything was in Goldfinger, when he couldn't disarm a nuclear device. This was back before the character transcended humanity as he did in later films.
  • The page quote is elicited in the Riff Trax version of Terminator: Salvation when John Connor simply starts flying an abandoned helicopter in the middle of a skirmish. This means that he has training as a chopper pilot... despite not being one of the Resistance's chopper pilots.

Live Action TV

  • Space: Above and Beyond featured space fighter pilots who also doubled as land troops for some reason.
    • Perhaps justified to some degree by the fact the characters in question were U.S. Marines: The U.S. Marine Corps in Real Life does require aviators to undergo basic infantry training.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined suffered from this notably in the later seasons.
  • In Ken Burns' TV Documentary The Civil War there were two soldiers - Elisha Hunt Rhodes on the North's side and Sam Watkins on the South - who seemed to be at every major battle of the war in a variety of duties. Rhodes went from Private to Colonel during the war. Justified inasmuch as these were real people.
  • Harm from JAG who, despite being a lawyer, seems to be able to perform every single job in the US Navy; from flying a fighter jet to parachuting out of a helicopter with a squad of marines.
    • Slightly justified in that prior to becoming a lawyer, Harm was a fighter jet pilot who was forced to quit due to developing night blindness.
    • He can also do every job in the Marine Corps, going undercover as a Force Recon Gunnery Sargent, later being complimented as a "credit to the uniform".

Manga and Anime

  • Legend of Galactic Heroes does this often: In the side stories Reinhard's and Kircheis' first assignment after graduating from military school was driving a scout vehicle in the ground forces. Then an assignment as chief navigator (Reinhard) and security officer on a destroyer, a stint as military police investigators, and a cruiser captaincy for Reinhard with Kircheis tagging along as security officer again. Later, when Reinhard was a commodore commanding a flotilla of 100 vessels, he personally took to the field during a ground assault on an enemy base and captured their commander. In the main series, Reuentahl and Mittermeyer don powered armour and personally participate in the capture of Ovlesser and the station he commands, even though they were already admirals at the time.

Videogames

  • Averted in PlanetSide. A soldier can only use things he's certified in; meaning a soldier certified in driving tanks probably won't be certified in piloting bombers. Once you reach a certain Battle Rank however, you usually have enough certification points to do almost anything.
  • Wing Commander series: In the second game Jeanette "Angel" Deveraux was a starfighter pilot, but shortly after the end of the second Expansion Pack she transferred to a special forces team doing reconnaissance on the Kilrathi homeworld, and was captured along with them. A milder example that affects gameplay is how the player and the other pilots constantly switch between different types of space fighters, such as interceptors or torpedo bombers, during the campaign, instead of each being assigned to a particular squadron that uses one type in order to fill a particular tactical niche.
  • In the Soviet campaign of the original Call of Duty, you played as an infantryman, then at one point there was a tank mission justified with a blurb about lack of tank crews leading to your reassignment, and then back on foot for the finale. Call of Duty 2 wisely avoided this by making it clear you played as a different character in the tank missions, then World at War did the same thing as the first.
  • Common in games: In the Battlefield series, for example, the various class options only covers infantry roles, yet every character can jump into any vehicle at will and take control of them.
  • A slightly different example from World in Conflict: 2nd Lt. (later Lt. and Cpt.) Parker is originally an infantry commander, yet throughout the game, he is given command not only over infantry squads, but also armored units, AA batteries, heavy artillery batteries and even attack helicopters in one mission, and in much greater quantities than you would expect for such a junior officer. The Expansion Pack features a different Player Character but he also comes from the infantry corner, yet is on one occasion given control over artillery batteries.
  • Averted in the original Operation Flashpoint. There are four characters, one infantry man, one tank commander, one pilot and one special forces soldier that does mission behind enemy lines. The only odd thing is that the pilot starts out as a helicopter pilot and ends up flying an A-10, but it is mentioned that they're short on people.
    • The Resistance Expansion Pack is justified in this. After all, you're playing as guerrilla soldiers where most don't have proper training and they'll take what they can get.

Real Life

  • Somewhat Truth in Television, at least for some armies. The USMC takes the position that every marine is a rifleman and every officer is a platoon leader. So everyone recieves that training, even if it has nothing to do with their "real" job -- it doesn't matter if you're a tank crewman or a fighter pilot, you're still trained as an infantryman. This is apparently typical of marines elsewhere too. As Rudyard Kipling put it, "Soldier an' Sailor too.
    • Likewise for Army Rangers. Everyone knows how to field strip and use (accurately) several different rifles, machine guns, pistols, sniper rifles, and enemy weapons (a la AK-47). And they have to qualify with said weapons multiple times a year.
    • Applies to several Navies too. For example, Irish naval recruits are given some basic infantry training and later in their careers have the opportunity to serve with Army units on peacekeeping missions.
  • Most soldiers from a combat arm of an army, whether they cock a cannon or drive a tank, can reasonably expected to know the rudiments of infantry combat as a side-effect of either fighting or supporting them. This doesn't mean they will be good at it.
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