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"I hate the Army."

The U.S. Military Logo in Left 4 Dead

"Or they're gonna line us up against a wall and shoot us."

The Military is an omnibus term for the unified military forces (or what remains of them) of the United States: the country that provides the setting for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. As a background entity, they play a part in attempting to contain the Infection, as well as scattering improvised military waypoints, outposts, and rescue areas along with military-grade weaponry for any living Survivors to defend themselves from the Infected. Unfortunately for the Military, many of its members have succumbed to the Infection and so appear (in their camouflage fatigues) as part of the huge hordes of Common Infected, or have been killed in action.

Involvement with containing The Infection[edit | edit source]

Map found in Whitney County displaying the military outposts still evacuating.

Throughout the three weeks of the Infection, the Military was working alongside CEDA in an attempt to fight and stop the Green Flu epidemic from spreading. As CEDA failed to contain the virus, the Military eventually took over CEDA's responsibilities as the Infection spread throughout the country. Originally, the Military's strategy was to evacuate and rescue as many people as possible, but once that became less feasible, it is evident that a political decision was taken to declare martial law. This enabled the Military to institute more direct and draconian measures to contain the threat and to attack overrun areas of the country. One such measure involved the Military forcibly separating Carriers (people who were infected by the Green Flu, but did not show any symptoms) from non-Infected Survivors (people who had not encountered the Infected) and burying Infected corpses in mass graves (refer to The Sacrifice Comic). In The Park, The Survivors encounter piles of bullet-riddled uninfected corpses next to a decontamination trailer, a fact that Nick, Ellis and Coach may remark on at the time. The reason for these executions is unknown.

At the initial outbreak, CEDA policy banned civilians from possessing firearms (something many Survivors obviously ignored and which adds further credence to the theory that CEDA's grip on the situation was loose). However, when the Military took over these rules were overturned and civilians were encouraged to arm themselves for their own protection. Since it is probable that CEDA was first on the scene and operating in accordance with civil powers and legislation, its handling of the crisis appears to have been less aggressive in dealing with both the Infection and its concomitant breakdown in law and order, which could largely explain why its measures failed. Under martial law, the Military has a free hand to take whatever actions its command structure dictates, and for this reason its stance is both violent and ruthlessly direct. In this regard, several public notices seen throughout the Left 4 Dead series make it explicit that deadly force is authorized.

The arbitrary nature of martial law is well and subtly illustrated in each volume of Left 4 Dead. In The Sacrifice comic, the original Survivors are forcibly detained by the Military, escape from custody by a hair's breadth and vow never to have anything more to do with the Military (and thus organized authority). Their experiences thus lead them to trust no one but themselves and to declare their own "independence". However, in Left 4 Dead 2, despite evidence that it once executed civilians regularly, the Military keeps a helicopter in the middle of a horde of infected to save a small band of Survivors caught on the wrong side of a bridge set for demolition. At the same time, these Survivors maintain blind faith in the Military despite physical evidence and testimonials from the original Survivors that their lives and liberty may be forfeit once they are under the Military's control. In the final chapter, only street smart, ex-con Nick has the pessimism to express the possibility that the Military will line the Survivors "up against a wall" and shoot them.

Activities by Location[edit | edit source]

Fairfield: After local law enforcement and CEDA failed to contain the infection within the city, the Military stepped in with a small force which was killed almost instantly. In response, they quarantined the city and began operations in Whitney County and Riverside.

Mercy Hospital: The Military worked alongside with CEDA and the medical staff at the hospital to help protect civilians and develop a vaccine for the disease; however, they were not able to hold out long enough. When trying to evacuate everyone by chopper on the rooftop of the hospital, they left a Minigun. A soldier's corpse is seen beside the radio.

Whitney County: Just outside the city of Fairfield, the Military set up a small outpost near the bridge in the county, most likely to aid the quarantine and containment of the Infection in Fairfield as well as aid fleeing refugees.

Riverside: Set up a command center in the town to monitor the situation in Fairfield. However, once the Infection spread to the outskirts of the city, the Military fled and abandoned the town completely.

Newburg: After CEDA failed to quarantine the airport and the city was overrun, the military heavily bombed it and the airport in the hopes of slowing down the infection. Despite this, illegal flights from the cities airport continue, leading the military to shoot down all airplanes entering the restricted airspace.

Daughtery Farm: The Military held out here for a while but had to pull out and return to Safe Zone Echo; they were not able to find any more Survivors. However, they left a radio for any future Survivors.

Millhaven: Used to test carriers for the Infection as well as create a vaccine. Did not successfully create a vaccine.

Rayford: Used by CEDA as a safe outpost, the Military had a small command center at the Army Reserve building (which was destroyed). They also aided in transporting Carriers in train cars, escorting live Infected specimens and carrying supplies and ammunition; however, the train crashed.

Atlanta: According to Graffiti in The Sacrifice, the Military and CEDA were holding out in Atlanta. It is unknown when this outpost was established, but according to a map found in The Hotel, it was overrun by day Twenty-One.

Whispering Oaks Motel: The Military set up barricades and occupied the motel as a screening facility, fortifying its defenses in an attempt to keep the infected at bay. The first Infected were detected at the motel and the military burnt their corpses in the drained swimming pool, eventually the military abandoned the site and rigged the nearby bridge to the amusement park to explode, buying more time for CEDA evacuations.

Village en Marais: Although told to keep out by signs, the military did send at least one paratrooper to a nearby swamp for unknown reasons (Possibly to investigate a nearby plane crash).

New Orleans: With the Green Flu virus inching towards New Orleans and CEDA's continuous failures in containing the infection, the military took over all operations and evacuations centers. The military was separating people into groups by Carriers and non-Infected. It seems the city became a huge war zone as refugees were fighting to survive by killing the infected, avoiding the military's harsh protocols, and being killed by other armed refugees due to paranoia. Graffiti found throughout the campaign suggests that the surviving refugee community created by the apocalypse realized that the asymptomatic characters — for instance, the Survivors in both games — were infecting the healthy population. Some of the uninfected refugees harbored an urge to murder the carriers to ensure their own safety and prevent future infection, while some few advocated for their forgiveness. People were told to head towards the Louisiana Naval Base where they would be evacuated by helicopter to the cruise ships out in the Gulf of Mexico; in the meantime, the military began bombing parts of the city to stop and slow down the spread of the infection.

The Waterfront: The Military received and processed civilians via boat at a restaurant and lined people up in what were once streets.

Bienville Park: Due to the overcrowded Bus Station Evacuation Center, CEDA and the Military had refugees wait in the park as people were slowly being processed at the bus station. Due to the risk of Infection, the military and CEDA boarded up the restrooms near the entrance and forced people to use the other bathrooms located towards the right of the park.

The Bus Station: A bus station in the heart of New Orleans that was used by CEDA as an evacuation center. The Military took over and started separating Carriers and the non-Infected. Civilians were rioting demanding to be evacuated, which escalated into chaos as the Infection continued to spread. The Military was forced to take action and shoot the civilians onsite.

Veterans Memorial Bridge/Louisiana Naval Base: A double-decker bridge in New Orleans was used to get to the Louisiana Naval Base where refugees would be taken by helicopter to cruise ships out in the ocean. After the Survivors escape the bridge, it is destroyed by military F-18 fighter jets to prevent further spread of the infection.

A U.S. Soldier, that has been turned into a Tank.

Cruise Ships outside New Orleans: Still functioning.

Echo Safe Zone: Status unknown, presumed functioning.

US Northeast Command HQ: Location and Status unknown, presumed overrun.

Other Safe Zones: Located in California, Texas, Oregon, Nebraska, Minnesota, Maine, Colorado and Georgia. All are overrun.

Other Military Outposts: Located in California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. All are unknown.

Known Personnel[edit | edit source]

Personnel at Millhaven[edit | edit source]

Others[edit | edit source]

Military Rescue[edit | edit source]

An Infected in U.S. Army uniform (National Guard).

The military is still active in rescuing living Survivors, though possibly due to thinning numbers, cannot afford to station personnel at every rescue area to greet and coordinate any Survivors. Nevertheless, they usually leave means of contact, generally via radio for any living Survivors to communicate with them. As the Infected are unable to speak any human language anymore, or use technology for that matter, the military can be assured that any attempt at communications will be genuine.

Places in which the military will actively send Rescue Vehicles:

  • A military C-130 Hercules plane flies over the city of Newburg at the beginning of Dead Air. The plane lands at the ruins of Metro International Airport to refuel the plane; however, the co-pilot is killed by the Infected and the plane awaits for Survivors to help refuel the plane since the pilot most likely refuses to leave the safety of the plane.
  • Farmhouse Finale, Blood Harvest. The military set up a radio along with ammunition and weapons in a farmhouse. When contacted, they will send out a modified M93 Fox CBRN Reconnaissance Vehicle to pick up the Survivors communicating with them―if they are still alive.
  • The Bridge, The Parish. The military have started to evacuate Survivors onto large cruise ships out at sea, having abandoned the mainland. When contacted, the last helicopter is already ready to leave, but will delay their flight along with bombing run if the remaining Survivors on the other side of the bridge can make it to them. The helicopter is a CH-53 Sea Stallion, noticeably equipped for Carriers―Survivors who retain their humanity and are generally immune from the effects, but may still be Infected with the Green Flu and able to pass it to others who might not display such a resistance.

Technologies used in the series[edit | edit source]

The Military has been shown to be using a wide variety of vehicles that are actively in service with the military today, and some which have never been or have been pulled out of service.

  • HMMWVs (Humvees) — These are a common form of transport in the military, and through most campaigns in both games can be mostly found in military/evacuation areas but are also found in locations such as highways or in the streets. Oddly, they are never seen with any mounted weaponry even though it is common for them to wield various machine guns and missile launchers, although this was probably left out due to many concerns with modeling and gameplay. These Humvees appear to be based on the M1025 variant, and are seen in woodland camouflage (in the north) and in flat desert tan (in the south); the woodland camouflage Humvees likely belonged to the National Guard while the tan Humvees were likely withdrawn from overseas conflicts, namely in the Middle East.
  • M-35 2 1/2 Ton Truck — The M-35 Truck is the standard transport truck of the United States Military. It can be seen in both the North and the South although it is in its woodland camo in all areas that are seen. Sometimes Heavy Machine Guns are seen on the back and can be used. They are usually found in military/evacuation sites and are also scattered around (Although not as much as the HMMWVs) a bit. Oftentimes you can climb up the rear of them as if it were a ladder.
  • UH-1 Iroquois (Huey helicopter) — The UH-1 is a small utility helicopter first fielded in Vietnam in 1959. The News Chopper 5 and Dark Carnival's chopper are both these variants, and there is also a United States Army version used in Cold Stream and many custom campaigns. In the model files there is also a crashed one and many detailed pieces for a grey version used by the Marines (Although it bears resemblance to the UH-1Y, an upgraded model), and in Left 4 Dead 2 the model and its debris models have no textures. It is unknown why the UH-1 is seen with U.S. Army decals, as it has been replaced by the UH-60 Blackhawk, although it could indicate the military is desperate enough to pull out old models due to the numbers of vehicles being lost or abandoned.
  • C-130 Hercules — The C-130 Hercules is a cargo/transport plane being fielded by the Air Force and ROKAF (Because of the markings at the Rudder). It is seen at the beginning and end of Dead Air (although it is likely that it is the same one). The one seen was apparently stopping for fuel, but the soldier who had gone out to turn it on was killed by the Infected. It has a window where a mounted weapon would usually be open, although there is nothing there (likely due to it being a rescue vehicle and a working weapon might not follow the animation correctly).
  • F/A-18/E Super Hornet (F-18) — The F/A-18/E is a multi-role jet fighter in use with the Marine Corps and Navy but not the Air Force. It is seen in The Parish during the first level and during the last two. It was being used to bomb targets throughout the city to cover the military retreat and destroy the bridge to slow Infection spread. It could also be that these planes bombed Metro International Airport. So far they are the only active vehicle seen not acting as a rescue vehicle.
  • CH-53 Sea Stallion — The CH-53 is a cargo helicopter used by the Marines, (Thought it doesn't have markings that makes it as a 'used' Marine aircraft.). It is used as the evac in The Parish. The one used is also "equipped for carriers" although what that currently means differed from a normal CH-53 is unknown. It is also seen at the beginning of Dead Center leaving the Left 4 Dead 2 Survivors while it presumably heads to the mall. A crashed one is also seen on The Parish near the sewers.
  • M93 FOX — Currently the only armored vehicle seen in the Left 4 Dead series, it is an export variant of the German APC Tpz Fuchs optimize for CBRN reconnaissance in U.S. service. This is used as the Blood Harvest rescue vehicle, possibly because the vehicle was already designed to take samples of hazardous substances; and therefore easy to modify to transport carriers

In addition, the Military has a fair amount of firearms which are available for the Survivors to use:

In Left 4 Dead

In Left 4 Dead 2

It can be noted that many of the firearms the military has been seen to use are no longer in major US Military Service (like the M79, M-10, M60, M16A2 and M1911), although the presence of these goes towards the idea of the military arming their surviving troops with surplus or obsolete weapons as a sign of desperation.

Military Presence[edit | edit source]

Throughout the Left 4 Dead series, the Military have also shown their presence via the use of posters and signboards displaying instructions and warnings. The use of deadly force by the military is repeatedly emphasized showing their seriousness compared to CEDA. Bill also mentions that the military is speaking out to Survivors through radios, informing people of where to go. Abandoned vehicles and military weapons have also been left behind as areas are overrun by the Infected. This is seen differently in The Parish, however, as F-18 Fighter Jets are seen flying above the New Orleans skyline making their bomb runs throughout the city trying to stop the Infection.

Military Signs[edit | edit source]

These military signs can be found all around The Parish in Left 4 Dead 2.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The in-game uniform for the Military appears to be the M81 Woodland Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). However, BDUs should not have been worn by active personnel in the games' 2008—2009 setting, given that the Marines and Army had phased out the uniforms in 2005 and 2008, respectively.
  • Military trucks in the Left 4 Dead series resemble either the M35A3 Cargo Truck or the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (colloquially called a Humvee).
  • The Humvee near the safe room in The Park is the only vehicle that has a detailed interior. Most of the cars and trucks in the Left 4 Dead series has black or dark windows, allowing the designers to forego detailing the interior.
  • The Tank is unable to punch military Humvees.
  • The M53A3 truck in both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 uses the same textures. The Humvee in Left 4 Dead is painted green and in Left 4 Dead 2 is painted tan.
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