|M.I. does the dying, Fleet just does the flying.|
—John Rico, Starship Troopers
General John D. "Johnny" Rico is a general in the Mobile Infantry of the United Citizen Federation. During his life, John Rico has become one of the most representative icons of the United Citizen Federation. Johnny inspired courage and valor in every battle as a freedom fighter, gallant soldier, and brave man. He is an exemplary character for all men and women of the Federation.
Johnny Rico was the only son of a well-to-do New Buenos Aires family. He was a gifted athlete during high school, which he displayed as captain of his football team. However, he lacked academic talent, scoring only 35% on his senior-year math final. He did very well, however, in a History and Moral Philosophy class taught by Jean Rasczak that ultimately inspired Rico to later explore entering the Federal Service. His best friends were his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez and schoolmate Carl Jenkins. It was well known that Dizzy Flores, the football team's quarterback, had a crush on him. Johnny did not reciprocate these feelings, instead only expressing romantic interest towards Carmen. Johnny's parents had already mapped out his future for him: attending Harvard and eventually taking over the family business. However, Carmen dreamed of becoming a starship pilot and Carl hoped to be scientist. Both of them set their sights on Federal Service.
Against his parents' wishes, Johnny decided to join the Federal Service in hopes of following Carmen. Denying his parents' offer to send him on a post-graduation dream-vacation, Johnny went to the enlistment office with Carmen and Carl. Carmen had aced her assessments and was admitted into the Fleet for pilot training. Carl enlisted hoping to join R&D so he could conduct scientific research, but scored so highly for telepathic potential that, to his delight, he was assigned to Military Intelligence a fast track to high command. However, Johnny's results consigned him to Mobile Infantry. In spite of his father's threats to "cut [him] off," Johnny attended boot camp, and excelled in the training environment. Paralleling his own following of Carmen, Dizzy reveals that she has also joined the infantry and requested transfer to Johnny's training unit. During boot camp, Johnny became friends with Ace Levy, with whom he competed for the position of Squad Leader. Johnny impressed his drill sergeant, Zim, who promoted Johnny to Squad Leader over Ace.
Carmen eventually decided to make Fleet a career and sent Johnny a "Dear John" video-letter, stating: "I wanna command a ship of my own, and you know, I don't think that's gonna leave a lot of room for you and me." She then asked Johnny to continue to write to her so she would know they would "always be friends," alluding to an earlier promise they had made to always be friends, "no matter what."
Johnny soon discovered that the military was more than fun and games. Johnny made a grave error as Squad Leader during a training exercise, which led to the inadvertent death of Breckinridge, a squad mate, and another promising trooper's resignation. Sergeant Zim believed Johnny was still worth keeping, so the base commander ordered administrative punishment with 10 lashes. Wracked with guilt, Johnny resigned after receiving his punishment, although Dizzy dissuaded him from leaving. He called his parents from the barracks and asked if he could come home. They were supportive and told him they love him, but a shadow passed over the image of his parents and the call was abruptly disconnected. As he began to "take a stroll down Washout Lane," he learned that a Bug Meteor had destroyed Buenos Aires, killing millions of people, including his parents. As this incited immediate war against the Arachnids, Johnny asked to be reinstated. Zim tore up his resignation form while a commanding officer purposely turned his back to assure plausible deniability.
Disaster on Klendathu
|Let me tell you something; I'm from Buenos Aires and I say kill them all!|
In hopes of striking a swift, devastating blow, the Federation launched a full scale invasion of the Arachnid home world Klendathu. However, faulty intelligence turned the invasion into a complete disaster with over 100,000 killed in the first hour, including most of Johnny's unit. Rico was sent down with Lieutenant Willy's Wildcats. Initially, there were no Arachnids at the landing zones. The squad moved up and found some Plasma Bugs guarded by Warrior Bugs. Johnny was ordered to nuke the Bugs and did so with another soldier, destroying two of the Plasma Bugs. Confident, the squad moved up and met a swarm of Bugs. However, the Squad Leader Ace Levy, froze up. Johnny took command, ordering the unit to "kill them all," and dealt with the initial swarm. Nevertheless, the unit were quickly overwhelmed by the Bugs, which surrounded and isolated them, causing the Mobile Infantry to fall into a total retreat. Johnny was severely wounded in the leg and was eventually saved by Jean Rasczak, his old school teacher, revealing that Rasczak was now a Lieutenant. The total losses were in excess of 300,000 KIA, with several ships destroyed and few ships making it home unscathed. Although Johnny was wounded, mistaken information reported him as KIA, much to Carmen's dismay.
Transferring to Roughnecks
After recovering from his injuries, Johnny, along with Dizzy and Ace, was reassigned to another Mobile Infantry unit, "Rasczak's Roughnecks", lead by Lieutenant Jean Rasczak. Rasczak informed the unit of a new battle plan wherein the Federation would attack the Arachnids planet by planet, first executing an airstrike on the surface and then mopping up the stragglers. Unaware that this plan had an ulterior goal, the soldiers set off to begin the battle plan.
Ambush At Whiskey Outpost
After a successful raid on Tango Urilla, Dizzy expressed her love for Johnny and they had sex. The Roughnecks next assignment was to relieve an outpost on one of the Bug worlds, Planet P. They arrive to find that the outpost had been wiped out, and the lone survivor, General Owen, was a shell-shocked wreck. They soon realized the distress signal they had recieved was a trap as a massive swarm of Bugs attacked. Lieutenant Rasaczak, General Owen, and many Roughnecks were killed in the battle, along with a Tanker Bug. Johnny asked Fleet to send their craziest pilot to retrieve his platoon. The survivors barely evacuated in a landing boat piloted by Carmen Ibanez and Zander Barcalow. Dizzy died of her wounds as the dropship ascended.
After a funeral service for Dizzy on the Rodger Young, Johnny's old friend, Carl, now a Colonel in intelligence appeared and gave Johnny and Carmen his unapologetic reason for the deaths of many of Johnny's squad mates—the Roughnecks were used as bait. Johnny and Carmen were horrified by Carl's apparent callousness, but the colonel further explained that humans were vastly outnumbered and the strategic sacrifice was necessary. Military Intelligence suspected the Arachnids had a social hierarchy and that they believed they had a centralized intelligence — a Brain Bug — on Planet P. The Mobile Infantry would return to Planet P and to capture a Brain Bug for research. Carl offered Johnny a promotion to Lieutenant and command of the Roughnecks. The Roughnecks were reinforced by fresh soldiers sent directly from boot camp and ordered to participate in the operation to capture the Brain Bug.
Hero of Planet P
During the invasion of Planet P, Johnny diverted from his mission on a rescue mission to save Carmen, who had crash landed in a Bug infested cave with the Brain Bug. When Johnny, Ace and Sugar Watkins reached the cave, a skirmish ensued and Watkins sacrificed himself to nuke the Bug hole after being severely injured. Johnny, Carmen and Ace escaped to the surface safely, where the Brain Bug had been captured by Johnny's former training sergeant, Zim, who had voluntarily demoted himself to private in order to be allowed to transfer from training to combat. Johnny, Carmen, and Carl renewed their friendship.
The Battle of Roku San
Eleven years on, Johnny Rico, now a Colonel, was stationed on the agrarian planet Roku San when the popular Sky Marshal Omar Anoke paid a visit. Off-duty, Rico's old friend, General Dix Hauser got into a bar-fight with farmers protesting the war. During the fight, Rico stopped Dix from shooting one of the farmers. Dix tried to have Rico arrested, but the base defenses suddenly failed. Rico knocked Dix out and leaves to help fighting the Arachnids. When Roku San fell, Johnny was blamed for the authority, setting for execution for insubordination and striking a superior officer.
The Marauder Project
On their way back to Sanctuary, the Fleet's secret HQ, Captain Lola Beck was marooned on a classified planet known as Planet OM-1 with Sky Marshal Omar Anoke. Admiral Enolo Phid suppressed this information, but Dix found out. Dix then pretended to kill Johnny, but in fact rescued and recruited Rico to rescue the Sky Marshal and Lola, the later being one of the few in possession of the coordinates to Sanctuary, which would cripple the military if the Arachnids learned of its location.
Great Victory in OM-1
Colonel Rico lead the Marauder Team, an elite team of troopers comprised of his command staff from Roku San with M11 Babar Marauder vehicle suit, on a rescue mission, using the Federation's new weapons. They defeated the Arachnid Warriors on OM-1 and suffered no casualties, rescuing the two survivors. OM-1 was revealed to be the home of the Bug Hive, the Arachnids' ruling body, and Fleet destroyed it from orbit with a planet-cracking Q Bomb. Colonel Rico was subsequently offered a promotion to general, and permanent command of the Marauder Team.
The John A. Warden Incident
After the Battle of Fort Casey and the disappearance of the John A. Warden, General Rico ordered the Mobile Infantry A-01 and K-12 team aboard the Alesia to track down the missing John A. Warden, which was later revealed to be hijacked by an Arachnid Queen. The Queen set the ship towards Earth, ready for an invasion.
After failing to intercept the John A. Warden outside the L-6 Satellite Base, General Rico leads the Marauder Team to rescue the survivors on the ship. However, the team was wiped out with Rico as the only survivor. Rico then escaped with Carl Jenkins, Carmen Ibanez, Ice Blonde, Mech, and Ratzass from the John A. Warden with Jenkin's Shuttle before the ship's destruction.
Due to the John A. Warden Incident, Johnny Rico was demoted from general to colonel as the Federation made him as a scapegoat after the Queen crash landed John A. Warden on Earth. Now, Colonel Rico was in charge of Nemesis, the orbital base of Mars, as well as serving as the instructor for "Lost Patrol", comprising Mobile Infantry trainees from Mars. He was frustrated with their lack of success in their simulation along with their lack of interest toward the war. Ratzass was with him, cracking jokes at his Lost Patrol's constant failures being broadcasted on FedNet. Rico however maintained faith, though small, that they might become good soldiers. He felt guilt still for the John A. Warden Incident, but Ratzass cheered him up with some video feed of Rico's squads latest failure.
After another simulation failure, Johnny mockingly said the Lost Patrol would fair better at Baby Bug Petting zoo. However, Bug Plasma was launched into the atmosphere shortly afterward, indicating a Bug presence on Mars. When he got to the control center, he learned that there was a Level-4 Infestation on Mars. Left with no choice, he planned to land on Martian surface with the Lost Patrol to take out the Bug batteries. Ratzass also went with Rico. On the way to the locker rooms, Rico deduced that someone wanted him there and knew that there were Bugs on Mars. He met up with the Lost Patrol and suited up after a rousing pep talk. Before Nemesis was destroyed, they boarded a dropship and blasted their way off the station. On the way down to Mars, however, the dropship was damaged, forcing them to jump out the ship and perfom HALO dive. Using jump jets, they were able to clear out a landing zone. After fighting off a landing force of Bugs, they found that Ratzass died during the fall due to an air-lock failure, causing him to freeze death.
Bouncing with jump jets, they found Plasma Bugs and nuked them with members of Lost Patrol noting that despite being able to ticket law breakers, the Federations Satellites having missed the infestation. With the Bugs destroyed, the Lost Patrol kept moving to avoid being surrounded.
As morning came, Rico spotted some Bugs watching them from a distance. The Lost Patrol guessed that the Bugs were holding back in case they had more nukes to which Rico jokingly states to not let them know they were out. After a while, he asked the team about Lieutenant Baba's actions as he was running around with an antenna frantically. They responded Baba was trying to call for help, using a radio rig. Amazingly, or perhaps through dumb luck, it worked and they were approached by a Dropship from the Martian National Guard. It turns out the pilot happens to be George Baba, Lieutenant Baba's cousin. George explained what happened and that most of the planet had gone silent. George then surmised that most of Martians had gone into the mines. Soon afterward, the ground began to shake and Rico reacted, ordering the Lost Patrol to get on the dropship as Bugs started appearing from the ground. The Lost Patrol made it onto the Dropship, but Rico was unable to board as his fuel was running out at the last minute. He vanished into the dust and his fate became unknown.
Later, Johnny was woken up by, what seems to be, the ghost of Dizzy Flores, prompting Rico to instantly ask if he was dead. She told him he was not but the way he slept he might as well be. Confused, he inquired to his position and saw he was in the aftermath of the hole dug by a Plasma Bug. He exits the hole and remembers he was on Mars and that there was a Bug Infestation going on. He asked of the Lost Patrol and for water suffering from dehydration. She gave him a canteen and Rico set off after her. Despite drinking, he remarked that he was still thirsty and Dizzy told him to keep drinking. After a while, he asked if she was a ghost to which she told him she was not. He kept trying to ask her questions, but she brushed him off with her responses. Suffering from dehydration he fell, Dizzy however, roused him to action again by ordering him to continue walking. He did so despite his physical condition. After a while, he took a break and asked yet again if he was dead much to Dizzy's annoyance. Dizzy told him he was alive and well and he had to stop the Federation from using a Q-Bomb on Mars. He accepted and they continue on, which Dizzy revealed that the bomb was in the Terraforming Tower and that they were headed in that direction to begin with.
As they went on, Dizzy asked Johnny if he remembered high school, to which he stated he remembers football and Zander. Then, she asked him about his friends, to which he states he had a few but did not know where they went. She asked about Carl, noting that he was best friends with him, Johnny replied that it was a long time ago as Carl had changed since he was a general now and that he was too big to check on his friends. He hurriedly stated that it was not Carl's fault since he was busy with saving the Federation to which Dizzy stated he could try a little harder to keep in touch. Johnny jokingly responded, to not get their hopes up and caused Dizzy to stop. When she spoke, her voice mixed with Carl's, saying "Come on Johnny! We are friends! Aren't we?" This causes Johnny to turn to her in confusion. This hinted what she really was — a psychic projection made by Carl. However, that was when they were attacked by a lone Warrior Bug. Johnny fought the Bug in hand-to-hand combat and was able to kill it by using his combat knife while suffering from severe dehydration. He fell unconscious from the strain.
After sometime, Johnny was woken by Dizzy. Johnny told her that he kicked ass, to which she agreed. However, his Battle Armor was out of battery so he abandoned it. On their way, Dizzy talked about the past, especially about the night in Tango Urilla and how it was everything she wanted. They talked both wishing it could have lasted forever. Finally, they made it to the Terraforming Tower where the Q-Bomb was located. Johnny asked her who wants to blow up Mars, to which her only reply was that it was "a long sad story" and classified. He tried to ask her why it was classified, but having accomplished her duty, Dizzy was gone, leaving with the words, "You'll find a way, Johnny. You always do."
Johnny started making his way to the tower, coming across the remains of a battle between the Martian National Guard and Bugs — a veritable slaughter field. However, a swarm of Warrior Bugs found him and began pursuing him. He ran and started arming himself by using Power Armor pieces from dead Martians to suit up. After fully suiting up, he headed for the Terraforming Tower, laying waste to the Bugs as he did so. He stood his ground ready to fight the horde on his own when the remaining members of the Lost Patrol came with George Baba, firing rockets from his dropship. However, a Plasma Bug fired at the dropship and its explosion damaged it, forcing the Lost Patrol to jump, while George kamikazed the Plasma Bug, telling them to kill all the Bugs before killing the Plasma Bug in the process.
The Lost Patrol briefly mourned him but were happy to see Rico still alive. Rico asked them for a sit-rep to which they explained that the fleet was nowhere to be found, and they could not connect to FedNet. Baba said the Federation has blown them off, which caused the Lost Patrol to believe that they were left behind purely because they were Martians. Rico replied that "There are no Martians in my Mobile Infantry. Only Troopers who follow orders!" Eager to prove themselves, the Lost Patrol awaited their orders. Rico told them their next mission began now, which include disabling the Q-Bomb.
Meanwhile, Amy Snapp made an emergency broadcast on FedNet, saying that Mars had gone completely silent and that it had been completely overrun by Bugs. She then made an attempt to destroy Mars with the Q-Bomb but was given an Error Message, only to receive a communication from Captain Carmen Ibanez, who told her that there was still a force on Mars that was fighting. Amy Snapp stated that it was impossible before breaking down as her plan was thwarted, while Rico and the Lost Patrol chimed in saying they found and disabled the Q-bomb and that they would keep fighting. Rico and the Lost Patrol began a desperate last stand to hold the Bugs off, but realizing they would be outnumbered. Rico comes up with a new plan to turn the Terraforming Tower into a giant bomb by overloading it. Geo and Camacho went to start the process, while Rico defended with the remaining members to give Geo 10 minutes to start up the tower.
As the tower started creating storms, Rico praised Geo for his work and they continued holding the line. After a while, Lost Patrol expressed their annoyance that the Federation was not aware of what was going on. However, Carmen told them that everything they had been doing had been broadcasted ever since the transmission to Amy Snapp. Emboldened by this, Rico and the Lost Patrol managed to hold off the Bugs long enough for Geo to finish turning the Tower on. Rico told One-oh-One to blow the bridge before they retreated inside to get out of there. However, Dutch was killed by a Bug, ripping him in half, to his disbelief just the same in the simulation. Unable to fully mourn him, they headed inside and started climbing the tower, fighting off a swarms of Warrior Bugs as they went up. It was then that Carmen radioed Rico that she was coming down to pick them up, though she was having difficulty due to the storm. Rico told her to get close to the scaffolding and to open the back of the dropship. She complied and the Lost Patrol were able to escape just as the Tower began to overload, utterly blowing the marching Bugs into so many pieces.
Afterwards, Rico and Carmen headed to the Sky Marshal's office. Both surprised to see Carl sitting in the chair. Carl explained that Amy was taking "Personal Days". Johnny realized that she was just gonna get away with her actions. Carl responded "That's politics", but Carmen posed an interesting question whether Carl also knew if there were Bugs on Mars. Carl just smiled, while Carmen incredulous accused him of just letting it happen. Carl asks her how she could think of such a thing, causing both Carmen and Johnny to shake their heads. However, Carl reminded them both that this was the war they could never stop fighting as the Bugs would never quit and if they did, human would lose. Carl told them how Humanity had enjoyed the relative "peace" of fighting among themselves and then they reached the stars, "What did they expect would happen?" Johnny responds that thinking was Carl's job while he was just the guy who followed orders. Carl ordered Johnny to take back Mars, promoting him back to General. Johnny responded with a simple "Yes Sir" and headed off to speak to the Lost Patrol.
Rico congratulated them and told them that they got something everybody wanted— to live to tell the tale. They invited him to party, but Johnny wearied from the constant fighting and said he wanted to sleep. However, he called Baba back and gave him a flash drive, possibly obtained from Carl. Rico implied that Snapp was behind the whole Martian Incident by deliberately letting Bug infest on the planet so she could blow it up. Baba was incredulous and asks if it was what he saying, but Rico replied that everybody had a right to fight what's theirs, especially Martians. Rico then told him "From one Martian to another. Good work" before leaving. Baba then posted on FedNet "What did Snapp know and when did she know it?" and this caused a viral sensation, making everyone to wonder "What did Snapp know and when did she know it?"
Later, Rico lead a troop of Mobile Infantry, including the surviving member of Lost Patrol to attack a medium size Bug colony on Mars.
Rico's Personality is that of a level-headed, calm under pressure individual. Despite coming from a wealthy family he never flaunted his wealth and was not afraid of a fight with anybody regardless of their position. In his youth he is passionate and somewhat emotional prone to jealousy easily. However his time in the Mobile Infantry hardens him and makes him an exemplary soldier. Rico is ever passionate in eliminating the bug threat due to them destroying his home which sparked the war. As shown in future movies he has grown into a gruff, hardened and grizzled warrior. Despite this he still has a soft spot for his friends even though he is annoyed by Carl's secrecy he still values his friendship with him.
Rico is shown to be a natural born leader, who cared for his soldiers and led by example from a young age. He was the leader and star of his high school football team. In the mobile infantry, he quickly earned squad leader status and despite being demoted multiple times for breaking regulation, or just being a scapegoat, he always ended up leading the charge against the bugs.
Carmen Ibanez was Johnny's girlfriend during high school. During prom, she told him her father would not be home that night and it was implied they had sex once he brought her home. During his training in Bootcamp, she breaks up with him. While initially devastated, Rico moves on. As in Invasion he attempts to start a relationship with her again but she doesn't seem to notice therefore leaving their overall relationship on a friendly term.
Carl Jenkins is Johnny's best friend, however their relationship becomes rocky as Carl's position forces him to make decisions that often put Johnny or his men in danger for the sake of an advantage in the war. Not only that but his secretive nature often makes Johnny question his true motives at times despite this however he still maintains his friendship with Carl.
Dizzy Flores was Johnny's former girlfriend. She had a crush on him since high school. After Carmen briefly broke up with him, Johnny began a new romantic relationship with Dizzy, and they made love. Unfortunately, this romantic relationship was short lived; when Dizzy was killed in the Ambush at Whiskey Outpost, Johnny was devastated over her death, but continue to fight as a soldier, so her death would not be in vain.
It is implied that Lola Beck and Johnny were former lovers between the time after the Planet P incident and Battle of Roku San. They remain friends.
Dix Hauser is one of Johnny's friends.
Lost Patrol Members
- See also: Lost Patrol
Although initially perceiving the team as failures for their more relaxed attitude and incompetence compared to most of his comrades-in-arms and other recruits throughout their combat simulation (and even named them as such), Rico nevertheless maintaining his faith in Lost Patrols because they remind him of his early days in Mobile Infantry. To his delight, they make up their lack of training with resourcefulness and loyalty to him that they became as effective as their peers as soon as they enter their first combat at Mars. Moved by their resolve, Rico promised to have them in his ranks and even entrusted Baba to secretly expose Amy Snapp's conspiracy in Bug invasion on Mars to FedNet.
- Johnny Rico's service number is 0589 as revealed on his "Death Certificate" as seen in the 1997 film.
- Johnny was meant to be member of the Mobile Infantry for life and he unofficially became member of Fleet instead.
- Johnny's middle name "D" is a reference to the producer Jon Davison.
- In the Enlistment Contracts used in the 1997 film, his name is John A. Rico.
- Kill Count: 1 Hopper Bug, 1 Tanker Bug, 1 Plasma Bug, 66 Warrior Bugs and 2 humans (1 accidental, 1 mercy killing)= 71 Kills
- He's the second confirmed trooper to kill a Warrior Bug in hand-to-hand combat on screen. The first being A-01 trooper, Chow. Although, he is the first one to kill a bug while dehydrated and physically exhausted. In addition, he is the only one to survive the fight.
- In an alternative ending, Carmen and Johnny have rekindled their romance after the capture of Brain Bug.
- Starship Troopers Official Movie Adaption
- Starship Troopers (1997 film)
- Starship Troopers: Dominant Species
- Starship Troopers
- Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
- Starship Troopers: Invasion
- Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars
- Starship Troopers Terran Command (Mentioned only)
Starship Troopers: Dominant Species
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
Starship Troopers: Invasion
Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars