So, what is a RedShirt?

A "redshirt" is a stock character in fiction who dies soon after being introduced. The term originates with fans of the Star Trek television series (1966–69), from the red shirts worn by Starfleet security personnel who frequently die during episodes. Redshirt deaths are often used to dramatize the potential peril that the main characters face.

- Stolen from wikipedia

Redshirts

Redshirt update 05/10/2006 

Okay, here is the redshirt update.

I think some of you have seen your names in Unto the Breach. Most of you didn't die, which isn't an official redshirt but it just going to have to do.

I'm working on Vorpal Blade right now. I was having problems with it until it occurred to me that I was using a bad focus. I needed to focus on Weaver and the "big picture" but that focus was, often, a little too broad. So I started a completely separate story about the Marines. It's the same story, just from an entirely different POV. 
It can barely be called a worm's POV, it's more like a mushroom. They have no real clue where they are going, no clue at all what they are going to do there and rarely even get a chance to do their jobs. However, most of the time when they DO their jobs, they take casualties. True redshirt time.

The winner in this little contest, more or less accidentally, is Eric Bergstresser who is now the primary Marine POV as a recently joined PFC. He'll probably be an ongoing character.

I'm taking the rest of the names and dropping them into the Marine TOE (which is relatively small.)

In general, I'm just dropping them in in the order that they are in the list I built. Some people, who asked for something specific and had a reason, I've skipped. (One person wanted to wipe out his whole family and this isn't a family oriented book so that's going to have to happen at a later date.)

Herewith, the list. Some names have "DD" next to them. I 
leave it to the Hornblower fans to explain it, but the meaning is obvious. (Very evil grin)

Note that the main battle has yet to come in the book.
:-)

Name Rank
Michael “M.E.” MacDonald Captain
Patrick West 1st Lieutenant
Jeff Powell Senior Gunnery Sergeant
Jody Dorsett 1st Lieutenant
Neil Frandsen Gunnery Sergeant
Dean Sutherland Staff Sergeant
David Wangen PFC
Tim Corwin Lance Corporal
Bob Dunn Sergeant
John Walker PFC
Rudy Radovich Lance Corporal
Stephen St. Onge Sergeant
Arun Prabhu PFC (DD)
Justin Bischel Corporal
Tony Berisford 1st Lieutenant
Josh Hocieniec Gunnery Sergeant
Andy Summerlin Staff Sergeant (DD)
Mackey Chandler Lance Corporal (DD)
Francis Golupski Lance Corporal
Terry Lovelace Sergeant (DD)
John 'Drago' Lujan Corporal (DD)
Kevin Crowley Lance Corporal (DD)
William Jaenische Sergeant
Eric Bergstresser PFC
Al Hattelstad Lance Corporal
Mark Van Groll 1st Lieutenant
Keith Hedger Gunnery Sergeant
Adam Rocco Staff Sergeant
Jonathan Smith PFC
Phillip Clay Lance Corporal
Richard Samson Sergeant
Wayne Tanner PFC
Jim Revells Lance Corporal
Chris Bailey Corporal
Michael Holland PFC
Brian Hert Lance Corporal
Joshua Lyle Corporal
Russ Kepler Corporal

Others will die soon enough and I'm aware that I have 
still more persons to kill off. But, hey, I write alot of books. :-)

Joshua Lyle, by the way, is the Armorer and is based on a currently serving Marine who was seriously injured in a Humvee accident but after two years of recovery has returned to duty. He probably won't be quite the character Poertena was, but there is only one Poertena. :-)

Oh, and a snippet:

The gear room, though, was a nightmare. With so little room on the ship, there wasn’t enough space for the usual locker room set-up with lockers lined up on either side of benches. Instead, the battle rattle and weapons were kept in sliding locker walls, that could be moved aside, so that the platoons could access their gear one at a time. The doors of the lockers folded downwards for a seat or table.

The battle rattle and weapons had been sent down in, supposedly, the same order as the locker. But what people like Prabhu had been doing was picking up scattered equipment from their platoon and making sure it got on the trucks.

So when the two members of Second Platoon entered the gear locker, there was a pile of mis-matched gear tossed in every corner, a pile of matched gear that hadn’t been loaded, yet, in the companionway and the beginnings of a raging argument.

“God damnit, Sergeant Summerlin,” a gunnery sergeant swore as soon as they entered the compartment. The guy was short and looked about sixty, the type that ages from the outdoors. “Y’all’s shit was totally fucked up. And Third’s is worse!”

“I’m sorry about that, Gunnery Sergeant Frandsen,” 

Summerlin replied. “May we be of any assistance?”

“You can start going through the pile that’s portside aft is what you can do!” Sutherland snapped. “That’s all y’all’s shit. I’m going to send a runner up to Hedge to tell him his stuff is starboard side aft and that’s about all the sorting we’re doing. When we’re done loading the shit that ain’t fucked up, y’all can fight it out to get the rest stored!”

“Very well, Gunnery Sergeant,” Summerlin said, evenly. 
“We’ll get to it, then.”
“Sergeant,” Berg whispered as they got to the pile. “Our shit was fucked up. I mean, most of the guys just tossed their stuff in any old way.”

“We’ve got time to sort it out,” Summer said, turning to check that the gunny wasn’t watching and then grinning. 
“And it was worth it to watch Big-Foot Frandsen nearly bust a blood vessel. Hell, Gunga-Din was intentionally mixing in First’s with ours.”
“Oh,” Berg said, trying not to grin. “So why’d we get detailed to do the dirty work?”
“You kidding?” Summer asked, picking up a set of battle armor. “I practically had to kill to get this detail. Everybody wanted to see if Big-Foot would finally have a stroke!”

Redshirt update 01/26/2006 

Okay, thanks for all the votes and all the names. I hate coming up with names; these were very helpful. I'm trying to keep a sort of updated list. No promises on maintaining it but... 

Also, since I'm currently working on a Ghost book, the "characters" below are in that not Space Bubble (which was pushed back.) Mostly American. Most, also, aren't redshirts. There are cameos, medium period characters (but only one book) and a few possible Tuckerizations. And some of them aren't Barflies. 
:-) 

So far... 

Red shirt list results - 01/26/06 

JP Guerin lost a rank (captain) but he gets to command a Ranger company in compensation. His company's going to replace the Keldara while the Keldara are "away." 

Michael Kwan is the first sergeant. I have no clue if he looks Asian-American or not, but he does now. Loves misery and hates his early nickname. 

Jim Sanderson is a co-pilot of a C-130 who is kept around by his pilot mostly so he can be taken at poker and used as a pawn in an ongoing war with the Para-jumpers. He is rarely, if ever, permitted to touch the controls when edges of air are nearby. Bad things always happen. Several of them in the short bit that he's featured in. (Nearly hits a mountain, misses the runway, twice, etc.) 

Kevin Ferlazzo is the clueless 2LT intercept officer and "designated receptionist" on the MC-130. 

(The pilot and nav are OTB (Other Than Barflies) Persons of Interest. The crew-chief is a Hooter's girl.)  :-) 

Kurt Schwenke has a developing role as a former Stasi hit-man now working for the Russian mob. I actually haven't decided if he's a red-shirt or not, he might be an ongoing villain. He's, basically, Mike Harmon without the charm or conscience (stealthy/disguised kill specialist but good at snipe/demo/etc.). A committed communist and US hater who works various sides but always pointed in the direction of fucking with the US and the West in general. Used to be a control for West German Bader. 

Peyton Randolph got a brief cameo as an arrogant and tech-hating Ranger batt commander. "The geek that invented video-conferencing should have been still-born..." Given that he's a geek's geek, I found that funny. :-)

John's redshirt explanation 

Here's the deal.

I'm going to try to use as many of the gathered names as possible in the sequel to Into the Looking Glass called Space Bubble. 

For those who aren't up on the deal, it's a "where no man has gone before" story. Doc Bill from the first book has managed to build (well, the US government and the Navy built) a space ship from a converted Ohio class. Highly converted as it turns out. Very jury rigged in spots. 

The basic story will be going out and looking for the Dreen. They WILL NOT FIND THEM on their first cruise. They find other neat and unlovely things to kill people. Some of them are just odd, others are pretty straightforward. People are gonna die. Enough that it will jeopardize the operation but not stop it. Live and learn and all that. 

There is the crew of the ship, primarily Navy, about ninety. There is a security detachment of "outer security" grunts and "inner security" SF who double as science assistants. 

Then there are the "mission specialists." Non-away specialists are, one each, doctorates in astrology and astrophysics. The "away" specialists are one person with a doctorate each from: 

Geology, Biology, Atmospheric, Limno-oceanographic, Anthropology, Linguistics and Wide-Survey (the latter is a doctorate in geography, basically a mapper. Spends much of his time in an ultra-light.) 

Geology and Linguistics are filled. 

Because of "bad things" (tm) that happen during the visit to the one inhabited planet they find, every position is open for a red-shirt. (The ship gets penetrated.) 

But I don't think I can kill, by name, this many people in that one book. I'd have to write "Redliners." :-) 

So I'll keep the list and be looking for places to use it. Most of the names will, hopefully, be used in Space Bubble. But other possibilities are Queen of Wands, Yellow Eyes and Unto the Breach (Ghost IV). 

I'll try to keep you posted.