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Dean Saunders was a Lance Corporal and eventually First Sergeant in Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division and later 1st Platoon, Fox Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Division of the United Nations Space Command Marine Corps.
Dean was born on Mars, in a quiet town called Armory. Dean's father was a Sergeant in the UNSC Marine corps, so Dean grew up to admire the Marines.
When Dean was twelve years old, his mother was murdered. After the murder, Dean swore to find the killer, and kill them. His father was crushed by the death of his wife. It was about this time when Dean received an M6 pistol with the engraving "Never Leave A Man Behind" from his father. Dean Kept the pistol, and locked in his safe.
The Revenge Killing
When Dean was sixteen years old, he found the man that killed his mother. After a chase, Dean cornered the man, and shot him with the pistol his father had gave him. Dean was arrested by the police on the charge of murder shortly after.
Shortly after Dean was put on trial. Dean knew he was guilty, and there was no way out, but, to his surprise, the jury found Dean innocent. Dean was released, and the pistol was returned to him after pleading over its meaning to him.
At the age of eighteen, Dean followed his Father's footsteps by enlisting in the UNSC Marine Corps. His best friend, Jimmy Tylum, tried to dissuade Dean. It only resulted with both of them joining the Corps. At boot camp, Jimmy and Dean managed to stay together, but after graduation, they were assigned to different units.Dean shot well beyond standard requirement, so he was sent to Designated Marksman School. Saunders was assigned to the famous Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division under the command of John Rudder. Dean became one of the best marksmen of the company. Dean was given a BR-55DMR/mod0, which he slept with in case of attack. He also kept the pistol close, because he had not spoken to his father in a long time. Before his training had finished, one of Dean's superior officers requested for him to transfer to the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers due to his high potential, though he declined as Dean preferred to remain with his "new family." Two months after being assigned to his unit, Dean was promoted to Lance Corporal.
Deployment, April 15, 2525When the Covenant attacked, then Lance Corporal Saunders was raced into the fight. He was one of thousands of Marines attached to the 5th Task Force, a group of one Marathon-class Cruiser, four destroyers, four frigates, and a Phoenix-class Colony Ship which had been retrofitted to carry thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles and dropships; in response to the loss of five colonies, including Harvest, Green Hill, and Second Base, the task force was being deployed to the small colony known as Castaway. Dean and his unit saw some of the hardest fighting the UNSC had seen. On Castaway, Dean joined the Colonial militia to help them fend of Covenant troops. While on Castaway, Dean met and befriended fellow marksman Jeff Zabb.
Battle of David's Hill, April 22, 2525
After landing on the colony, the Marines found themselves in a bloody battle with the Covenant at David's Hill, near the city of Anderson. Marines from the 1st Marine Division were joined by 2nd Battalion as they pushed toward the hill. The battle was fierce, and many marines were killed. Dean and two other marksmen were ordered to provide covering fire from a balcony while marines charged the Covenant troops on the hill. Dean complied with his orders to the best of his ability as the marines made the charge. The marines managed to take the hill, but not with out a cost. Over forty marines had been killed, and many more wounded.
The Battle of Anderson,April 24, 2525
Two days after the Battle of David's Hill, Covenant forces again attacked Anderson. This time, they made a direct forward assault on the city. The marines were taken off guard, and Covenant forces moved into the city. Dean and his company were one of the three units inside the city. They met the covenant forces at city hall, where a large firefight broke out. After two hours of fighting, the marines were forced to retreat to the fortified position at the fire station. At that point, Covenant forces brought in their armour to force the marines into the streets. Things went bad for the marines quickly. A plasma mortar round struck the firehouse, and killed four out of the six marines in Dean's squad. Dean and his squad leader, Staff Sergeant David Ambrose, Jr, were forced to retreat and regroup with another squad.
Retreat from Anderson
The marines were forced out of the city of Anderson, and the situation was bad. Dean and Staff Sergeant Ambrose were joined by a squad of marines from the First Marine Division while they attempted to rejoin their own unit. The marines were cutoff from their own units, and surrounded by hostile forces. Sergeant Ambrose suggested that the squad head south toward the town of Speedway. Dean agreed, as did the other marines. The squad packed up their gear and headed south. They were heading right at a raging battle.
The Battle of Speedway
The Battle of Speedway would be a turning point in Dean's life. During the heavy fighting between Covenant forces and the two UNSC Marine battalions, Dean's company was in the heart of the raging battle. During a long engagement with a Covenant flanking force, Dean was wounded by shrapnel from an exploding vehicle. Dean would not finish the battle, as he was Medevac'd to the fleet hospital ship in orbit.
Recovery on Earth and Promotion
After being wounded, Dean was sent to Earth to rehabilitate his wounds before he could return to active service. His squad leader, Staff Sergeant David Ambrose, Jr, had also been wounded during the Battle of Speedway and was in the same rehab center. Dean took three weeks to fully recover from his shrapnel wounds. During the final week of his rehab, Dean was promoted to Sergeant by his company commander.
Transfer and Re-deployment
After the Battle of Castaway, Delta Company was disbanded and merged into Fox Company, First Battalion, 5th Marine Division. Dean became a squad leader after David Ambrose, Dean's former squad leader, was promoted to Second Lieutenant and given command of First Platoon. Dean was now responsible for nine marines, and went to his former squad leader for advice. Word had come out that the division was heading with Task Force 38.5 to the colony world of Aden. It turned out the rumor was true. The 5th Marine Division was loaded onto a Phoenix-class Colony Ship, the UNSC Midway, and were quickly sent on their way. Dean spent the trip learning about his men and their strengths and weaknesses. Little did they know that hell was coming their way.
The Battle of Aden, October 2529
From the start, the Battle of Aden was a tough fight for the 5th Marine Division. The Covenant forces outnumbered them. The first major engagement of the battle was at the city of Hermann, a major manufacturing city on Aden. Ambrose's First Platoon, which included Dean and his squad, were on the city's left flank along with the rest of Fox Company. The Covenant's first attack on the city hit Dean's platoon head on. The Marines, who had prepared positions in advance, were initially slaughtering the attackers. However, when Covenant armor showed up in large numbers, things rapidly went downhill for the Marines of Fox Company. The city was breached by Covenant forces, who pushed Fox Company back. As Covenant flanking forces moved into the city, the Marines were forced to retreat.
"Here we are, falling back as the Covies broke into the city. Smith, one of the younger guys in the platoon was wounded, and I was helping him out. I take a look back, and there's Sergeant Saunders, telling me to get my ass moving or he'd shove his left boot up it. He just stood there engaging the bastards. Pop. One down. Pop. Pop. Two more. He was dropping Covies left and right, then he runs out of ammo in his rifle, so he backs up toward the squad, sidearm out, plasma flying past his head, and he calmly empties his mag into this Elite dumb enough to come at him. I've never seen anything like it." -Private First Class Lee Edwards on Sergeant Saunders in combat at Hermann
The 5th Marines, now supported by Troopers from the 212th Orbital Drop Shock Regiment, began to regain their lost ground. Saunders and his squad were assisted by a squad of ODSTs when they recaptured an overwatch position that allowed the Marines to monitor Covenant troop movements. Saunders's squad would later be forced to hold off two waves of Covenant troops after the squad on their left flank was overrun.
"If I remember anything from Aden, it was when we were so close to being overrun. The fuckers slaughtered Gunny O'Dell's squad and came right for us. Sergeant Saunders, he took control. Hell, if it wasn't for Dean, I'd be dead. The bastards chucked grenades at us. Tons of 'em. One of the damn things landed in front of me and Sergeant Saunders literally tackled me so I didn't get killed. He didn't want any of us to die. When the smoke cleared and we found Kent, you could tell Sarge was hurting for days. The guy never let anything stop him, though." - Lance Corporal Charlie Hathcock on nearly being overrun on Aden
Dean and the 5th Marines were pulled from Aden after being replaced by the 1st Marine Division. They were sent to Reach where they would recieve replacements such as Corporal Edward "Eddy" Fitch, the squad's new fireteam leader. Fitch was not initially considered a part of the squad as most of the men, including Dean, were close to Corporal Kolin "Lucky" Kent. However, in the days to come Dean's men invited Fitch into their family. The war would bring them into to combat again, and much sooner than they would have liked it to have.