John D. "Johnny" Rico is the main focus of the series.
Rico is a good soldier but a little distrustful of technology ("I couldn't stand being in one of those tin cans") and a bit over-reliant on his instincts. He is best friends with Carl Jenkins and Dizzy Flores, and has romantic feelings for Carmen Ibanez for most of the series but eventually admits he is in love with Dizzy. Rico is the last of the Roughnecks to accept T'Phai, but when he does, the pair become good friends. He is promoted first to Corporal during the Zephyr Campaign, then to Sergeant in the Klendathu Campaign as a result of Brutto's paralysis, and finally promoted to Lieutenant during the Homefront Campaign after Lieutenant Jean Razak is killed in action off the coast of San Francisco.