THE HISTORY OF SQUAD 9

In the Beginning


Squad 9 first launched on May 20th, 2003. It was founded by Falcon 197, a veteran Halo player formerly part of the Spartan Marine Corps (SMC) clan. After leaving in the wake of a conflict within SMC’s command caste that ousted the team’s commanding officer—Marine, Falcon decided to try creating a unit organized under similar leadership structure and core principles. Formed on the pillars of skill, teamwork, honor, integrity, and discipline, Squad 9 established a higher-level commitment standard for its members. The original Code of Conduct was first composed by Falcon as a constitution by which the new team was to be run.


Squad 9 actually represented Falcon’s second attempt at creating a group. Prior to joining SMC, he attempted to build a clan named simply “Commando” or [C], but this effort bottomed out due to his lack of experience and unfamiliarity with how Halo clans were organized. Until becoming part of SMC and learning how a successful team operated, Falcon shelved all hope of leading a clan and spent time learning the fundamentals of leadership and effective unit management. Among his influences were the Boy Scouts of America and the US Military, both of which contributed to the Code of Conduct’s development and the culture to be fostered within Squad 9.


At first, Squad 9’s members communicated outside of Halo using a social and gaming platform called Xfire, which officially shut down in 2016. The team’s first website was built using a Freewebs domain to post rules, rosters, and host forums. Early versions of the Code of Conduct were published and distributed using Freewebs and there have been 14 versions of the document to date—not all of which featured 9 Points of Conduct.


It is notable that the name “Squad 9” has no true origin. It was completely original in its inspiration and was first named by Falcon. The only time the ~S9~ tags have ever changed was when the unit was renamed to ~SS9~ or “Spartan Squad 9” between 2007 and 2008. The extra “S” was removed after the team abandoned operations on Halo in favor of the classic tags and team name.


Squad 9’s first motto was “Fight, Win, Prevail!” before it changed to “For Honor and Glory” in late 2008.

First Steps


From its founding in 2003, Squad 9 focused on recruiting the most skilled and disciplined players from the battlefields of Halo and this proved rewarding almost immediately. Among the first to distinguish themselves among the unit’s earliest generation of members was Thrillkill7. Recruited for surpassing the high membership requirements of the time, Thrill took up the position of second in command in Squad 9 and worked alongside Falcon for months, organizing the team and recruiting new players on Halo. Eventually a small but loyal following developed, and in time a generation of members arose which represented the core of the team’s founding.


Squad 9’s early tactical approaches on Halo were unorthodox and skill-centered. A favorite strategy of members participating in online “Killing Sprees” was to invade Free For All Slayer games on Halo and fight separately until “Oly Oly Oxen Free” was called by an officer. Once it was, all Squad 9 personnel would start operating as a team, cooperatively gunning down anyone who didn’t share their cobalt colored armor and creating absolute hell for anyone caught in the mix. It was effective not only for training, but it won us a reputation.
 

The success of “Oly Ops” also led to the establishment of Squad 9’s official unit color: cobalt blue.

The Spartan Union

During the height of Squad 9’s operations on Halo, much occurred to shape the unit and further strengthen it. By 2006, after gaining over twenty members as its primary fighting force, Squad 9 became part of an alliance of Halo clans. The Spartan Union (SU) included the clans {SE} or Spartan Elite; led by SU chairman Redfox, =SK= or Sniper Kings; led by elite SU sniper Shrooms, ODST or Orbital Drop Shock Troopers; led by the SU legend and founder X, and the recently reestablished SMC or Spartan Marine Corps; now under the leadership of the SU progressive Alamo, and shadowed by the former SMC leader, and Falcon’s close friend Wolf (AKA Marine). While this union was formed from clans based off of many styles of leadership and player doctrine, all of them shared common goals and found it natural to work together.


The first ~S9~ logo was also designed by Falcon during this time, drawing primary influence from the GDI faction emblem from the Command & Conquer series. Since then, the team logo has evolved on almost a yearly basis to its current form.


For its service in the Spartan Union, Squad 9 quickly gained recognition by the five other member clans as a team that exemplified both skill and integrity. Our leadership was voted best in SU, receiving 55% of the votes in a general poll in which everyone in SU voted from among all units allied in the union. In joint operations and scrim exercises, ~S9~'s efforts were second to none among SU’s other groups.
In late 2006, one of Squad 9’s elite officers—Burns, attempted to ignite an uprising within the Squad and fragment the leadership after a major policy disagreement. Though he failed, the members called for his strict discipline and removal along with everyone who supported him. But instead of dealing harsh punishment, Command Staff opted to pardon Burns and aid him with forming his own separate unit, which was dubbed Squad 8 and became Squad 9’s sister unit.


Having learned his lesson through being shown mercy, Burns repaid the favor by working with the rest of SU to create a system for internal scrims in what became known as “Spartan Wars.” Engaged throughout this process every step of the way was Squad 9, which remained a close ally with Squad 8 until Burns’ retirement almost a year afterward. Without anyone to lead them, many members of Squad 8 rejoined Squad 9 and became members of the latter’s first Officer Corps.


This was also the time when Squad 9 saw the addition of a new member—HoboJoe. Hobo came aboard as a recruit on Halo and went on to serve in various roles as a fireteam leader, officer, and would in time become known as one of ~S9~’s longest-serving and most decorated members.

 

The -DA- Crisis


As of 2007, Spartan Squad 9 still held a renowned status in SU. Halo remained the team’s primary game and operations were proceeding normally alongside steady growth. Then, during the apex of the Halo klanwars era, Squad 9 found itself pressed into conflict with another clan known as –DA– or the Dark Assassins. Arising unexpectedly, –DA– presented a constant threat to the Squad’s operations and provoked a war waged mostly by way of aggressive intelligence operations and attempts by each side to infiltrate and sabotage the other. After months of a strategic stalemate, the cost became too dear for Squad 9 to allow the struggle to continue.


Following a series of dramatic and climactic events that what would later become known as the –DA– Crisis, Falcon, still commander at the time, resigned and entered a year-long period of self-imposed exile to satisfy intense political pressure from SU in the wake of the crisis. Following his departure, a contingent of members led by Squad 9’s third-in-command—Obrim, attempted a coup against SU’s leadership in retaliation for the loss of Falcon. The Spartan Union responded by placing intense political pressure on Squad 9’s remaining members to submit to SU’s governance or be regarded as a threat to the union. Eventually a standoff developed, with neither side conducting hostilities but a form of enmity hung in the air for months afterward.


 

SU’s Downfall


Despite Falcon’s absence and the ongoing cold war with SU, Squad 9 did not falter. Executive Officer Wolf, former commander of SMC and SU advisor, oversaw the management and command of Squad 9 and led the unit through many trials during the decline of the Halo multiplayer universe. With an ever-increasing number of clans turning away from doctrines of fair play and switching to unrestricted use of aim bots along with malicious use of mercenary players in online matches, Halo’s multiplayer began to rapidly deteriorate.


Even the Spartan Union finally collapsed under the burden of its members’ loss of interest along with several political schisms. Many good players and leaders were lost as a result of SU’s dissolution.

 

Falcon’s Return


In the wake of Halo online’s collapse, Falcon suddenly returned from exile to resume command of Squad 9. With a reformed outlook on leadership, Falcon also brought a plan for fighting to rebuild what was lost within SU and continue the struggle that the union had started. For months, he worked alongside Squad 9’s newest generation of members and led online missions to aide struggling clans and servers oppressed by the ever-tightening grip of mercenary and aimbot clans, who were hastening the downfall of Halo.


For his instrumental efforts to maintain Squad 9’s operational and organizational integrity during the -DA- Crisis and time following, Wolf became the first member to be awarded the Squad 9 Medal of Honor. It is altogether possible that without his involvement, Squad 9 would have ceased to exist entirely.


The final blow to Halo’s malignant arena of multiplayer came when klanwars.com shut down its clan scrim competitions due to the overflow of players using aimbots and unregistered merc players to unfairly dominate matches. This move proved crippling to the remaining player communities on Halo and caused the overnight collapse of clans on Halo PC. Squad 9’s response to this apocalypse was the execution of a final operation on Halo multiplayer in which 3 brave members held their ground online for 8 long hours against an onslaught of aimbot players and mercenary clans alike. The outcome: victory. The significance: fleeting.


In late February 2008, Squad 9 Command Staff halted all team activities on Halo PC. Combat operations ceased, and aide missions for Halo-based clans were discontinued indefinitely.

 

After Halo


Soon thereafter, Squad 9’s focus became redirected between Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Combat Arms, and First Encounter Assault Recon, all of which held new promises of success in an ever-evolving arena of online FPS. Squad 9 served on these games in a looser manner than it had previously with Halo, due to more events in the lives of its members. While the leadership held strong, the member base struggled on a month-to-month basis.


During this period, many of Squad 9’s members and even its leadership began getting involved with mods and modding for games, particularly with FEAR and Halo. Though an official Squad 9 FEAR map was never created, ~S9~ themed player skins and shoulder patches did debut along with servers hosted regularly with maps from FEAR’s mod community. Activity slowed during this time, along with recruiting. But the remaining members maintained a loyalty to the Squad the whole way.

 

Betrayal


In March 2009, the darkest moment in Command Staff’s history occurred at the discovery of betrayal by one of its longer serving members and officers—Clover. As Squad 9's first female member, Clover worked her way through the team’s ranks over the course of 3 years, gaining the trust of its members and leadership and eventually receiving appointment as third in command. However, a series of dramatic events revealed Clover to in fact be a false identity created by a rogue troll who had been catfishing the entire time. In the face of this devastating truth, both Falcon and Wolf resigned, bringing about Squad 9’s first complete shutdown a few months later.


Ultimately, the wounds inflicted by Clover’s treachery faded. Unable to allow a rich history of service shattered by one single treacherous occurrence, Falcon made the necessary moves to recreate Squad 9 anew as of late 2009. Reformed under a new Code of Conduct, the Squad set out to establish itself on the new and thriving battlefields of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Within a short time, the unit grew and eventually built itself into an impressive force which surpassed the success seen on Halo. Many of the members and officers recruited during this time remain active in the Squad today.

 

Bust and Boom


Eventually, MW2 gave way to Black Ops and opened new doors. After months spent attempting to organize servers and unit workings on the new CoD, Command Staff realized that progress was not forthcoming due to lack of initiative by members appointed to leadership. On January 19th, 2011, Falcon opted in a stunning move to dissolve Officer Corps and issued a blanket discharge to everyone in it for insubordination. In addition to this, several key members retired, including long-time executive officer, Wolf. This later set the stage for Squad 9’s second complete disbandment due to member inactivity and issues within the leadership.


The shutdown lasted for 3 months, after which Falcon reactivated the team and set about the task of rebuilding the leadership. This task proved difficult, since Squad 9’s member base had fractured into a loose affiliation of ex-members who still regularly participated in group games on MW2 and Black Ops. Despite the release of several newer titles boasting the cutting edge for their generation of FPS, the cadre of loyal ex-members never struggled to reform and settle wholly onto the same games. For months, Squad 9's future remained much in doubt. But this wasn’t the end.


Seeing potential in the upcoming release of Crysis 2, the organization of a final group of previous members was arranged in a last ditch effort by Falcon to make or break the team that had outlasted all expectations and endured hardship for 8 long years. Though the unit's life on Crysis 2 proved short, its activity on MW2 received subsequent boosts and returned Squad 9 to a fully operational status far beyond anything it had ever before seen. An alliance was formed with the Umbrella Special Forces group or USF, which lasted roughly a year until it was dissolved. Meanwhile recruitment, operations, and training continued until late 2011, when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was released.


By February 2012, Squad 9 regrew to over 40 members, housed 3 active fireteams, a dedicated Officer Corps, and remained active on Modern Warfare 3 but also expanded to Battlefield 3. Only two months later, the membership count rose to 58 members and 4 fireteams—seeing the addition of Fireteam Delta as the first official task force within ~S9~ dedicated to competitive gameplay against other clans in scrims or tournaments.


Originally, Fireteam Delta was organized by Command Staff and assigned to the leadership of member Sloppy, who joined the Squad through Black Ops and brought with him a group of players who actively competed in clan versus clan events. However, less than a month after being commissioned, Sloppy shocked everyone by leaving Squad 9 and poaching several members of Delta in the process. Despite having been given unlimited latitude for conducting operations and initiating competitive activities on MW3, Sloppy claimed that the level of flexibility in ~S9~ was “insufficient” to accommodate the needs of Delta’s members. Command Staff in turn issued dishonorable discharges to Sloppy and every member who left with him and spent the next month reorganizing Fireteam Delta with new personnel and organization. Meanwhile, Sloppy and his members went on to form their own unit known as BLK or Black List Killers. They remained enemies of Squad 9 and rivals on MW3 from that moment on—with Squad 9 consistently proving itself in scrims and match-ups against BLK and demonstrating that treasonous actions come with a lasting price.


Under the newly appointed leadership of Bloodfang, a veteran Call of Duty player and clan enthusiast, Delta established a name and reputation for itself across the battlefields of MW3. The number of victories claimed by its elite members—all of whom were handpicked by Bloodfang—achieved records previously unmatched within Squad 9 and remains the most successful fireteam to ever be created.


As of May 2012, Squad 9 reached 60 members. In addition, Officer Corps was fully staffed with 8 officers: H-Dog, Sc(+)ped, Corelam, Jehuty, MegaDeath, Ghost, Raptor, and Bloodfang. Command Staff’s structure saw Falcon retaining his longtime position as Commander, with longtime member HoboJoe as Executive Officer, and a surprise return to duty by Obrim—who received reappointment as a Major and chief advisor on Command Staff. Together, this group of dedicated leaders oversaw the pinnacle of Squad 9’s operations across Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. Both games hosted Squad 9-sponsored servers for a time and team activity even extended back to the long-ignored venue of Crysis with a much-delayed custom level design project initiated by Falcon for team games and training exercises.


The Squad 9 Crysis map, entitled BASE, won recognition by the CryDev community and was featured in Crytek’s news spotlight for its quality design and unique features never before seen on a Crysis multiplayer level. In time, BASE was publically released for download on CryDev and 2 sizable update patches were added. Falcon also produced Youtube videos of the map and its features, paving the way for future projects leveraging the work on the BASE map.

 

Downturn


Unfortunately, Squad 9’s surge in success was short-lived. The summer of 2012 saw a rapid decline in membership due to a line-up of familiar issues within MW3's community. Hackers once again swarmed multiplayer venues, damaging unit morale and consequently fueling tensions among members and officers alike. What existed briefly as a unified leadership devolved into fragmented loyalties and conflicted interests. The resignation of Falcon as commanding officer in May further exacerbated and inflamed these tensions which had mostly been kept suppressed during his time in charge. The nomination of Obrim as the new Commander saw an increased measure of discipline applied within the team’s structure, but also led to a significant drop in membership and activity. All but 3 officers received discharges for insubordination and various breaches of the Code of Conduct. This happened in conjunction with a decline of the regular member base and Squad 9’s roster fell to 24 members by August and didn’t halt there.


The Officer Corps culling of the summer of 2012 are listed here for the record:


Captain ShAdOwX AKA H-Dog resigned his post and was honorably discharged by request. Captain Sc(+)ped was demoted to Lieutenant for failing to fulfill his assigned role and subsequently discharged for inactivity. Lieutenant EvilClown—who had been serving as a reserve officer—was demoted for inactivity but retained his reserve membership status. Lieutenant Raptor was demoted after failing to fulfill leadership obligations to Fireteam Charlie and eventually discharged for inactivity. Lieutenant Recon—who was appointed to lead Fireteam Charlie after Raptor’s removal—was demoted for failure to fulfill leadership obligations and breaching the Code of Conduct. Lieutenant Corelam was dishonorably discharged for repeated breaches of the Code of Conduct. Lieutenant Ghost was demoted for failure to fulfill leadership obligations of Fireteam Bravo, but was allowed to stay on active duty.


This downward spiral over the course of the summer culminated in one last firestorm at the Command Staff level. On August 21st, 2012—two weeks after a leadership dispute which resulted in the impeachment and later full resignation of Obrim, Falcon resigned his post as Commander and passed the mantle of command to Major HoboJoe, who assumed the role with Falcon acting as a Senior Adviser to Command Staff. Hobo was a member of the second generation of the Squad’s Halo forces and one of the most active members during its days on FEAR, as well as a sponsor of the team’s Battlefield 3 server and web domain.

 

Disbandment


2013 became a year of many things for Squad 9, but overall saw little in the way of growth. The unit conducted operations on Call of Duty Black Ops 2, MW3, and MW2; eventually migrating onto the new theaters of Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts late in the year. Unfortunately, a lack of new recruits coupled with low initiative by active members enlarged the holes in leadership for both Officer Corps and Command Staff. Having no other option, Squad 9 cut its numbers down to a smaller core group. The final achievements before the end of the year included the unit's successful competition in Clanwars on Ghosts, the creation and brief hosting of a Battlefield 4 server, and the completion and public release of the team’s Crysis map. By January 2014, Falcon severed almost all ties with the unit in order to pursue post-graduate education and Hobo became more committed in his career as a full-time EMT. What members remained continued to advance their independent futures while still coming together on occasion to play games and take part in what was considered a tradition—playing under the tags of ~S9~. Until the very end, these members remained loyal and committed.


On February 2nd, 2014, ~S9~ Command Staff ordered the unit to disband, effectively dissolving Squad 9's forces and suspending all online operations indefinitely. After ten years of operation, this marked the team’s third complete shutdown.

 

Oort Cloud Clanwars


In the summer of 2014, Falcon, Obrim, Aces, Munko, and Cosmos lent support to O|C or Oort Cloud with competing in Clanwars on Call of Duty: Ghosts. Ironically playing the role of mercenaries, this unofficial ~S9~ fireteam helped Oort secure a place in the top-rated Diamond League on Ghosts. By August of the same year, O|C’s group ranked high enough on Clanwars leaderboards to participate in the very last tournament to be hosted on Call of Duty: Ghosts, only weeks ahead of the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.


With Squad 9’s participation, Oort went on to win this final tournament and claim the highest ranked slot on the Clanwars group leaderboard, beating out every other team competing in the Diamond League on Ghosts and winning recognition by Activision’s tournament judges as a result. Exclusive DLC for Advanced Warfare was awarded to everyone participating in Oort during the last Clanwar on Ghosts.


Following this, Squad 9’s forces parted company with Oort as their group went on to compete in Advanced Warfare. To this day, O|C remains loosely active on the latest FPS titles.

 

Rebirth


After almost one year to the day of Squad 9’s 2014 shutdown, Falcon came out of retirement once again to reactivate the team. Many former members rejoined immediately, including some from the Squad’s earliest days such as Jehuty—alongside familiar faces like HoboJoe and Obrim, who Falcon had repaired relations with. The new Squad began operations anew on Planetside 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. A significant shift was also made from Xfire to Steam as the primary online communication platform along with TeamSpeak 3. The latest generation of leadership aimed to get Squad 9 involved in mainstream competitive FPS and bolster its profile in larger communities of players. Though success was short-lived in CS:GO, in time recruiting on Planetside 2 swelled the team’s numbers back to around 20.


On Planetside, Squad 9 operated as an outfit aligned with New Conglomerate forces on the Emerald US East Coast server. They primarily specialized in a dual-purpose role as both a tactical armor unit and an elite infantry group. Enemy tank forces came to fear and loathe the sight of NC Vanguards bearing the ~S9~ tag. Using smaller squadrons of 2-3 tanks in normal engagements, Squad 9 quickly mastered the armor battlespace on all 4 of Planetside’s continents, achieving strategic wins against TR and VS forces during alerts by crippling their forces’ forward deployment sites and blunting their armored assaults.


Two historic actions serve as highlights for Squad 9’s exploits on Planetside.


In July of 2015, Falcon and Obrim used a single Vanguard to defend Bridge Ward on Esamir against a major TR armor zerg consisting of 50+ Prowlers along with other supporting vehicles. During the last stage of the ongoing alert, they flanked the TR front and destroyed over 20 Prowlers, stopping the TR’s assault against Waterson’s Redemption and smashing their lines. They then engaged additional TR armor elements assaulting the Waterson’s perimeter, destroying 12 additional Prowlers before being eliminated.


The second operation occurred in June of 2016, when a squad consisting of four ~S9~ members: Falcon, Obrim, Valkinsenn, and Bagdadd, led a covert strike against a TR Hive Reactor and successfully eliminated the FOB—stopping the enemy faction short of acquiring enough Victory Points to lock the continent of Esamir. They then spearheaded an assault into VS territory, capturing two territories needed to link the NC’s front to the VS warpgate and award the NC enough victory points to lock down Esamir.


In addition to conducting other numerous operations on Planetside, Squad 9 also commenced ops on 7 Days to Die—a new voxel-based survival game in alpha stage pre-release—and Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain—the latest chapter in the legendary series and the first true MGS game to debut on PC.

 

Operation Nuclear Alamo


Near the beginning of 2016, Squad 9 launched its first strategic operation on MGS5. Codenamed Nuclear Alamo, the op’s main objective was to build up the team’s online Forward Operating Base to support the construction and safeguarding of 16 nuclear warheads—which was the maximum number of nukes achievable on FOB mode. Motivating the Squad’s direction was their involvement with a faction of MGS5 players called the Patriots, who were devoted to nuclear proliferation on MGS multiplayer while opposing factions dubbed Philanthropy and Never Be Game Over called for the complete and total disarmament of all nuclear weapons in the game to unlock an ostensible and unconfirmed community MGS5 achievement.


The Nuclear Alamo operation lasted 3 months. During that time, several members of Squad 9 provided support and security for the team FOB and permitted Falcon—as the FOB owner—the latitude to acquire enough in-game materials to build the nukes and upgrade the FOB’s security to the highest possible tier. Eventually all 16 nukes were successfully built and defended using FOB blockades to lock down the base for 2 weeks at a time. The only time any real deployments were required were during the blockade downtimes to keep members of Philanthropy and NBGO at bay until the blockade reset.


Squad 9’s aid to the Patriots eventually paid off. As one of only a small handful of FOBs to achieve “Nuclear Nirvana” status with 16 warheads, the ~S9~ FOB survived countless sieges for months while Philanthropy and NBGO forces gradually became more and more demoralized until late Spring of 2016, when both groups called for a ceasefire with the Patriots and effectively brought the nuke war on MGS5 to a close.


At its peak, Squad 9’s MGS5 army ranked in the top 600 on global ESP leaderboards and achieved 214 on global PF Grade league boards, ranking as high as A- within the top-most brackets.

 

A New Dawn


The rest of 2016 saw Squad 9’s entry into new games such as Rainbow Six: Siege and Tom Clancy’s The Division. Both titles offered unique opportunities for the latest generation of members to be involved in casual or competitive venues, in addition to helping slowly grow the team’s numbers. Until September, membership held consistently around 20 members. But going into December, the member count rose past 30 and several former members rejoined—notably some who were part of Squad 9’s elite Delta Fireteam on MW3.


Activity continued growing with the successful launch of ~S9~ dedicated servers on Insurgency. A private server was also created on 7 Days to Die, as part of the team’s official venture into survival / crafting FPS games. Also of note in 2016 was Squad 9’s switch from TeamSpeak 3 to Discord, with the latter serving as its primary voice comms platform. Additionally, Squad 9 partnered with the Armored Saints or <<AS>>, who sponsor dedicated server hosting for small teams and conducts operations on a mix of games including Insurgency, Killing Floor 2, and Halo CE.


By December 2016, Command Staff’s roster included Falcon and Obrim serving respectively as CO and XO, with Officer Corps being staffed by HoboJoe, Valkinsenn, and Bagdadd—the latter two being experienced members who joined from MW2
and Planetside 2 respectively. Overall, the year in review saw moderate but stable growth and set the stage for rapid expansion in the following year.


 

Our Finest Year


2017 became a record-breaking year for Squad 9, beginning with an exceptional performance by Officer Corps during the summer season. For the first time in the team’s history, membership at the end of the season was higher than in the beginning—marking a turning point to the “member bleed” seen during previous summers.


Adding to this, the outstanding oversight of Officer Corps going into the final months of the year saw membership nearly double—eventually swelling past 70 members and setting a record for the largest period of growth in the Squad’s history. Fireteams were also reintroduced as a bulwark of the team’s organizational structure and the new system allowed for greater flexibility for members to both lead and collaborate more effectively with one another.


Atop these successes were expansions into social media and internet platforms. Command Staff created an official Twitter account along with a brand channel on YouTube. A number of new tools, databases, and documentation were integrated to bolster the Squad’s administrative capacity and effectiveness of the leadership—which included Falcon and Obrim as CO and XO, along with seasoned members Valkinsenn, Xenos, Bagdadd staffing Officer Corps and working with the latest generation of officers—including ScaredHobo, Tazzers, and Equestion; all of whom assumed management roles to spearhead new initiatives and bring team operations to even greater heights. The Squad’s official website also changed to an improved webhost and the design tools enabled development of a leaner hub for members to use.


Finally, 2017 brought a formalized budget and financial structures to Squad 9’s operations. This marked a major shift for the team towards a more structured business model and serves as a direct result of the Squad’s growth and successful operations over the course of the year.

Back to Basics

 

2018 proved to be a year of achievement for Squad 9, more-so due to the ways in which the team evolved internally.  With membership higher than ever, leadership's focus shifted towards improving ~S9~'s structure and refining the experience provided to members.  Chief among the many innovations seen throughout the year was the formalization of Departments within Officer Corps, and the institution of Team Protocols to supplement the Code of Conduct - which remained at the center of ~S9~'s organization.

Command Staff also established a roadmap for taking Squad 9's operations fully commercial.  For the first time, we saw the addition of functional business verticals, which had the ability to generate revenue to fund team projects alongside member donations.  Team servers also became a mainstay for several of our primary and secondary games.  The Squad also reformed Fireteams and made its first official venture into competitive tournaments on Rainbow Six: Siege and Insurgency.  

Unfortunately, due to the team lacking coordination on a single game or set of games, membership dwindled over time and several strategic growth opportunities failed (such as a Squad 9 Youtube channel).  However, the lessons learned during 2018 set the stage for new initiatives at the end of the year and paved the way for a major turning point in 2019.

Realignment to Halo

 

In early 2019, 343 Industries announced the release of Halo: Master Chief Collection on Steam.  Immediately following this news, Command Staff began the process of strategically realigning Squad 9's organization to operate primarily as a Halo PC unit.  After months of overhauling the team's protocols, ranks, and operational systems, we now stand ready to return to Halo as a premier community with a solid org structure and a plan for success in both casual and competitive initiatives.

Along with the many realignments came a major upgrade for our server capability, and Squad 9 now hosts its own dedicated servers completely in-house.  We have also formed partnerships with competitive organizers to create our own comp league and for the first time ever, ~S9~ licensed merchandise has become a reality for our members along with a myriad of opportunities to play, train, and achieve as part of the team.

Looking Forward

 

Over the years, Squad 9 has advanced from a season of growth into a new season of achievement. The weeks and months ahead hold new opportunities for us to further extend the strength and influence of the team we all proudly serve.


In the midst of striving to build our legend as one of the greatest FPS teams on PC, we pause to reflect on where we have been and remember the names of those who helped bring us to this point. Over 16 years have passed since our founding, yet Squad 9 remains committed to the timeless ideals that led to its creation. Our mission is to be a team that enables skilled players with shared values to come together and win.


After all this time, many of the facets of Squad 9’s early organization and leadership still exist today as newer versions of the same ideas. Things such as fireteams and a balance of responsibilities between Officer Corps and Command Staff have been practiced by Squad 9 since its days on Halo. And while these institutions have never been perfect, we’ve continued refining our organization to perform better each year.


Today, much of the original team structure remains intact in both its organization and the extent of its powers. Most notably, the Code of Conduct is still our foundation and has held the Squad together against all odds. From the battlefields of Halo to today, our Code has set us apart from other clans and made us the unique team we still are.


Looking to the future, we are proud to pay tribute to our past, honoring those who have come and gone, and looking forward with hope in what’s to come.