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The Rookie Infobox (Cropped)
The "Rookie"
Biographical information


Luna (Crisium City, Naniwa)

Date of birth


Physical and combat information


Male [1]


186 centimeters (6'1")[1]


88 kilograms (190 lb)[1]




Single Occupant Exoatmospheric Insertion Vehicle

Chronological and political information


UNSC Marine Corps


Lance Corporal


The Great War era


Not exactly green; no ODST is. But if I didn't think he could do the job I wouldn't have him on my six. He doesn't say much, but I don't care. I just need him to listen.

Lance Corporal "Rookie" (SN: 11282-31220-JD) was a Human junior enlistedman who served with the UNSC Marine Corps during the Human-Covenant war.[2] "Rookie," as he was called, was trained as a member of the elite Orbital Drop Shock Troopers early in his career, serving with the 105th Shock Troops Division at New Jerusalem. Later, he was chosen by GySgt Edward Buck for a team to aid the Office of Naval Intelligence in New Mombasa, Kenya during the Battle of Earth.


Little is known of this Marine other than his initials ("J.D.") and his birthplace: Crisium City, Naniwa, Luna. He enlisted on July 7, 2547.[2]

Battle of New JerusalemEdit

Main article: Battle of New Jerusalem
Sir, I can't just leave you...
—The Rookie to an injured Gage Yevgenny

By September 2552, the Rookie, then a Private First Class, was stationed aboard the UNSC Chares with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Force, part of a Rapid Offensive Picket. The Rookie participated during the Battle of New Jerusalem; he was sent down with reinforcements that had been requested by Gage Yevgenny, a veteran ODST that had gone against orders to save a crowd of civilian children. Gage's Pelican had been shot down by rogue ODSTs near the mountains outside the city of Mount Haven, and was found mortally wounded by the Rookie, who had just arrived with Gage's reinforcements.

Gage, who knew he was dying, told the Rookie his life story, right up until he crashed the Pelican. The Rookie, who had listened intently, promised to remember Gage and do whatever he could against the Covenant. Gage then told the Rookie that Covenant forces and the rogue ODSTs were on their way to the crash site, and warned the Rookie to get as far away as possible, as Gage was going to detonate a Shiva Missile he had stolen, killing them all.

The Rookie ditched most of his gear and ran for his life until he reached the other side of the mountain, at which point Gage detonated the nuke, killing himself, his renegade teammates, and thousands of Covenant troops. The Rookie, being the only survivor, hailed a Pelican and was informed that Reach had been glassed, and that the survivors were retreating to Earth. They escaped as the planet was glassed, but the Rookie would not forget Gage Yevgenny, and his long and tragic life.[3][note 1] After this, he was promoted to Lance Corporal and transferred to a squad, then led by GySgt Edward Buck.

Battle of EarthEdit

Main article: Battle of Earth

During the Battle of Earth on October 20, 2552, the Rookie and his squad, along with a larger ODST unit, were stationed aboard the UNSC Say My Name as part of a mission to attack the Prophet of Regret's Assault Carrier above the city of New Mombasa. At the last moment before the drop, ONI operative Veronica Dare took control of the squad, with the intent to use them in a yet-undisclosed mission. The Rookie himself, however, was largely unaware of this as he was asleep at the time. He was awakened by Romeo who hit him with his sniper rifle.

As the squad dropped towards the ground, Dare changed the squad's course towards the ONI Alpha Site in New Mombasa. Unfortunately, moments before they were meant to hit the ground, Regret's Carrier jumped into Slipspace, generating a massive shockwave and an EMP that scattered the squad's drop pods all around the city. The Rookie's pod was slammed into by Mickey's pod, cracking the window of the Rookie's pod and sending it into free-fall.

New Mombasa's urban infrastructure AI, the Superintendent, observed the Rookie's pod slamming through one building and crashing within another, performed regulation actions for a civilian vehicle accident, and estimated that the crash landing had a 99.99% chance of fatality for the pod's occupant. Despite this, the Rookie had survived, although he was knocked unconscious.

Six hours later, the Rookie woke up in his pod, which had been lodged into a building in the occupied city center of New Mombasa. The Superintendent had been monitoring him and waiting for him to wake up. As the Rookie dropped to the streets below and started to move on, the Superintendent provided him with valuable help, activating signs to guide him to safety and uploading a map of the city to his VISR database. As the Rookie explored the city, he tried to piece together clues to find out what happened to his squadmates while avoiding the numerous Covenant patrols in the city.

After deducing the events of the previous six hours, the Rookie picked up a message from Dare, requesting assistance in the New Mombasa Data Center. Upon reaching the Underground, the Rookie learned she was on Sublevel 09. After reaching a Data Stack, he ran into a NMPD Officer attempting to check on his men; however, the Superintendent wouldn't let the officer onto the next level until the Rookie arrived at his location. The two fought their way through Covenant forces and reached the Data Stack to the next level, though the officer was either killed by Yanme'e or by the Rookie in self-defense (depending on whether or not all Audio Logs have been collected).

After fighting through more Covenant, the Rookie finally arrived at Dare's location, where she told him of her mission: to retrieve the data the Superintendent recorded during the Prophet of Regret's attack on the city. Dare and the Rookie were forced to fight their way through an entire Drone hive, as well as other assorted Covenant. They found a Huragok holding the Superintendent's data. After some hesitation, the Rookie then assisted Dare with protecting Vergil after she told him the alien could be vital to defeating the Covenant. (If the player has collected all the Audio Logs, it is Dare who is hesitant and the Rookie who gets her to stand down, whistling to befriend Vergil.)

The Rookie then reunited with Buck and proceeded to assist Dare and Vergil in their escape from the Data Center. After fighting past a Covenant outpost and up another elevator, the four arrived at the Coastal Highway. Here, the Rookie and Buck used various Warthogs and a Scorpion to protect an Elephant containing Dare and Vergil. While driving down the highway, they witnessed the Covenant Loyalist fleet arriving in force, and starting to glass the city. After encountering a Scarab, Buck decided to find a new location and hold position until Mickey and the rest of the ODST squad arrived with a stolen Phantom. Once he did, the squad evacuated the city and watched as the Covenant glassed New Mombasa.

A month later, the Rookie was seen with his squad, sleeping while everyone else watched Sgt. Johnson's interrogation of Vergil.


Like John-117, SPARTAN-B312, and Fireteam Crimson, the Rookie is intended to be a faceless character for the player to integrate themselves into, so that they may experience the campaign in a much more firsthand manner. As such, his face is never seen, not even in Firefight, and is assisted further by the fact that he never speaks, aside from assorted grunts and groans throughout the gameplay and a whistle to Vergil in a secret cutscene. As such, he is a true silent protagonist, unlike the Master Chief and Noble Six, who are silent during gameplay, but speak freely during cutscenes. However, the character himself has had much speculation arise around his backstory.

The Rookie’s initials, JD, are typically assumed to stand for “John Doe”, a typical placeholder name given to a male when their true identity is unknown or must be withheld for legal reasons. However, during the Coastal Highway level, on Legendary, while the Rookie is driving the Warthog, Edward Buck can be heard saying "Keep it steady, James!", meaning that the Rookie's full name as far as can be discerned from existing canon media is probably "James D."[verification needed]


  • An action figure was modeled after him by McFarlane Toys, the creators and manufacturers of the popular Halo action figures.[4] It was released alongside the other figures in the sixth series. They released another version of this figure with glow in the dark paint making it look like someone was looking at him in VISR mode in April 2010.
  • The Rookie's enlistment date is July 7, 2547. This is because of Bungie's love of the number seven (2+5=7, 2+5+4+7=18 8-1=7, 2x5x4x7=280 280/40=7, and the obvious 7) and is an obvious reference to Bungie Day, which is held on July 7. His birthday is also an obvious reference, July 7, the seventh day of the seventh month.
  • When viewing objectives with VISR, the Rookie's picture shows his rank to be "Recruit", but his actual rank is Lance Corporal. It is possible that this represents seniority within the unit, as opposed to actual rank. It may just be a similar tradition to the British SAS, who demote new members to Trooper upon enlistment.
  • The Rookie is often seen asleep. Minutes before he was dropped into New Mombasa, he napped by his pod, while the rest of the squad conversed. Upon crashing within the city, he remained unconscious for six hours. One month after his mission in New Mombasa, while the rest of the squad and Sergeant Major Johnson interrogated Vergil, he slept beneath a staircase.
  • If the player finds all the audio logs in Mombasa Streets, in the mission Data Hive when Rookie first meets Vergil instead of getting his weapon ready he whistles to Vergil which is maybe how Sadie may have communicated with Vergil.
  • In the Rookie's HEV, on Legendary, there is a picture of a girl.[5] According to Joseph Staten, this is the Rookie's "beautiful girlfriend", but is actually an edited image of Bungie engineer Chris Butcher.
  • His blood type is O+, as seen in his MEDREF.
  • Game Informer listed The Rookie as #6 on their Top Ten Dorks of 2009 list due to him experiencing other ODSTs' adventures for the majority of Halo 3: ODST, and not those of his own.
  • In gameplay, Rookie is stronger than a Spartan as evidenced by his ability to use a flamethrower without any movement penalties. This, however, is most likely impossible because Spartans are genetically enhanced and use MJOLNIR armor. This is however, undoubtibly for gameplay reasons only as normal Humans would die all too easily by the Covenant.
  • It is possible that the Rookie, like Lucy-B091, contracted post-traumatic vocal disarticulation as a result of the events in Dirt, which would explain him being described as quiet. Although in the game the Lance Corporal is silent to allow the player to better assume his role, it is not unlikely that he suffered at least some form of it due to the fact his unit at the time, the 26th MEF was nearly wiped out to the last man.
  • The Rookie is the only playable character so far in the Halo series that never speaks in-game.


List of appearancesEdit


  1. It has been confirmed in a comment by Tobias Buckell here that the rookie character in Dirt is indeed the Rookie from Halo 3: ODST.


Dare's Squad
Orbital Drop Shock Troopers
CAPT Veronica DareGySgt. Edward BuckCpl. Taylor "Dutch" MilesLCpl. Kojo "Romeo" AguLCpl. "Rookie"PFC Michael "Mickey" Crespo
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