In the film Aliens, the universe is dominated by mega-corporations such as Weyland-Yutani, which is a major colonization and exploration company, manufacturing atmosphere processors and deep-space mining vessels to seek out the bounties of distant planets. To protect these assets, a group of corporations, including Weyland-Yutani, designed and created the United States Colonial Marine Corps (USCM) - a well-equipped and trained fighting force to deal with small incursions and to protect new colonies throughout the universe.

The colonial marines number around 165,000 - a relatively small number when compared to other fighting forces in the Aliens universe. The USCM however makes up for its small size by taking full advantage of orbital power and flexible troops whenever possible.

In the film Aliens (1986), Colonial Marines are sent to LV-426 to investigate a downed communication array. They encounter the Xenomorph there and are thus thrust into combat...

Colonial Marines in the Movie:
  • Lieutenant Gorman (played by William Hope): Inexperienced leader of the doomed mission to LV-426.
  • Sergeant Apone (played by Al Matthews): The epitome of a marine Sergeant.
  • Corporal Hicks (played by Michael Biehn): A calm, collected senior "grunt"; one of the few survivors in the film.
  • Corporal Dietrich (played by Cynthia Scott): Serves as the medical Marine in the unit.
  • Corporal Ferro (played by Colette Hiller): Pilot of the dropship.
  • Private Hudson (played by Bill Paxton): A whiney, obnoxious, but cool under fire marine. "Game over, man. Game OVER!"
  • Private Vasquez (played by Jenette Goldstein): Your typical hard ass woman in combat. "You're just too bad."
  • Private Drake (played by Mark Rolston): Vasquez's right hand man, and probably her only real friend. He is what is known as a "pigman", meaning he carries the heaviest of the artillery.
  • Private Frost (played by Ricco Ross): One of the many marines who dies in the first battle.
  • Private Spunkmeyer (played by Daniel Kash): Co-pilot of the dropship? (I'm not sure about him).
  • Private Crowe (played by Tip Tipping): One of the many marines who dies in the first battle.
  • Private Wierzbowski (played by Trevor Steedman ): Another of the ill-fated marines; he is also the subject of a weird internet phenomenon known as the "Wierzbowski Hunters": people who went through the movie and picked out every single apearance/mention of Wierzbowski (complete with screenshots and sound clips, the site is unfortunately not around anymore...) "Wierzbowski! Wierzbowski!"
Vehicles of the USCMC
  • M577 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC): The primary transport vehicle of the United States Colonial Marine Corps is the M577 APC. The M577 is a cheap, lightweight multi-role attack vehicle which is capable of being deployed via dropship. The hull and chassis are lightweight but rigid, and the armour is minimal but effective in stopping small-arms fire, shrapnel, and light anti-tank rounds. Even though the M577 has many trade-offs and limitations inherent in its design, it has remained the primary workhorse APC for the USCMC. This role is a result of the M577’s dropship portability, mobility, toughness, and heavy firepower. These features allow it to function as an effective part of the Marines’ rapid assault force structure
  • UD-4 Cheyenne Dropship: The UD-4 Cheyenne is a dropship and tactical transport used by the USCMC for a variety of roles. It has a primary place in the heart of an invading Marine Infantry Platoon. The Cheyenne is a multi-role light aerospace shuttle with a payload capability of 16,000 kg. It is ideal for it's role as a troop deployment weapon. Its main feature is it's ability to take off and land from unprepared sites. In addition to it's role as a transport, the Cheyenne can act as a gunship with it's weapons pods and fixed point rockets, as well as using it's internal cannon.
Weaponry of the USCMC
  • M41A Pulse Rifle: The standard weapon used by USCM infantry. It is a 10mm air-cooled automatic pulse action rifle with an over and under configuration sporting an underslung 30mm pump-action grenade launcher. The M41 is lightwieght and has a retractable stock for rifle or carbine fire.
  • M56 Smart Gun: The M56 Smart Gun is the main heavy machine gun of the USCM. It is a fully-automatic, self-aiming squad support weapon with an infrared tracking system. (This is the weapon carried by Vasquez and Drake in the movie.)
  • M240 Incinerator: A lightweight close combat flamethrower. It is used as a support weapon by fireteams and squads, is in carbine format, and has a range of 30 meters.

Info gleaned from the Aliens roleplaying game, as well as my Aliens vs. Predator 2 video game manual. Oh, and the movie, too.

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