The 81st Armored, also known as the 'Washington Rifles', is a Combine Conscript unit consisting of of two Heavy Tank battalions and one infantry battalion. It is comprised of remnants of a Washington Army National Guard unit of the same name, as well as various personnel transferred from other units. It is led by Colonel Boyd Lennox, a distinguished officer and veteran of the Seven Hour War.
The Washington Rifles were just another infantry brigade in the National Guard until the Seven-Hour War. They met on weekends, helped with disaster relief, and generally were characterized as 'Weekend Warriors'- A lazy stereotype of Guardsmen typical of prewar culture. Upon earth's surrender, they were immediately conscripted into the Universal Union Proselyte Service, also known as the 'Conscripts'... Headquartered in Camp Grisdale, an old logging settlement in the Olympic Mountains, they are now a seasoned composite of armor and infantry, locked in a fierce, unforgiving struggle with well-armed Cascadian rebels.
When not patrolling the Outlands, they are usually on-call in various Northwest cities, performing menial jobs- Clearing sewers of Biotics, assisting Civil Protection in raids, guarding low-level government buildings and falling asleep in public places.
Unlike most Proselytes, the personnel originally attached to the prewar 81st have not all been transferred to other units. This has led to very strong bonds between its members, and a sort of 'Warrior's Pride'. While initially seen as lazy and unmotivated, the Rifles possess some of the best morale of any comparable units.
Vehicles consist of a wide variety of armor, from the venerable M1 Abrams to Russian members of the T-55 family, and even a few Paraguayan Shermans. Supporting the armor are Humvees, M35 cargo trucks and Chevrolet Blazer CUCVs. The Washington Rifles have been known to capture civilian vehicles as 'war prizes', repair them, and utilize them in a wide variety of roles. This is known between members of the Brigade as 'Trophy Hunting', and is mainly practiced by infantry.
Firearms are a different story- Infantry and tankers alike mainly utilize members of the AK-47 family, including a Combine-produced variant known as the 'AR-1'. The M16 is rarer, and only consistently used by officers. Side-arms include the USP and a wide variety of revolvers.
Uniforms are prewar-pattern Battle Dress Uniforms, in a UU color similar to olive-drab green. The Hardpack-II, a derivative of the US Marines' Power Combat Vest is worn over the uniform, either being flat black or US Woodland.
Notable Members Edit
- Colonel Boyd Lennox- A distinguished officer with a career beginning in the first Gulf War, Lennox was an American patriot and champion of democracy. After his return from the east, he resolved to never betray his men as his superiors had done to him, and strove to improve working conditions and give his men the recognition they deserved. Under the Combine, both are nearly impossible, but this impassioned attitude has rubbed off, making the 81st one of the most successful conscript brigades in the Union. However, Lennox is aware of his involvement in the earth's occupation, and is very reluctant in his compliance, secretly wishing to defect to the Resistance.
- Captain Douglas Vance- Officer in charge of Oscar Company, Battalion 1. A very old soldier, Vance first saw combat in the Lebanese Crisis, retiring shortly after the American intervention in Grenada. However, his service was far from over- Due to a shortage of experienced officers, Vance was conscripted shortly after the beginning of the Combine occupation, and, much to his chagrin, became the butt of many jokes regarding his unfortunate surname and a certain resistance leader.
- Lieutenant Mack Brougham- Head of Third Platoon, Oscar Company. A former Marine, Brougham was first an outside in the Rifles, due to his condescending nature and avarice. However, he was proven to be a capable leader during countless skirmishes, and soon came to be respected by his men.
- "Hitchhikers"- Slang for Overwatch soldiers in Conscript orders of battle. This occurs when Combine soldiers regroup, joining Proselyte platoons until larger amounts of other transhumans can be found. Numerous Overwatch soldiers have accompanied the 81st, but it's usually only temporary. Also known as 'Lima Mikes'- Lost Morons.