For other articles titled or referred to as "Grunts", see Grunts.
In the G-man Squad, Freeman's Mind, Shephard's Mind, and Barney's Mind the HECU Grunts are a United States marines special forces division. They are portrayed as enemies (except in Shepherd's Mind), like in the original Half-Life. They have appeared only in in a single episode of the G-man Squad, and several episodes of Freeman's Mind.
HECU stands for Hazardous Environment Combat Unit. They wear chemical warfare gear (such as gas masks), while the officers wear berets. They are usually armed with an MP5 or M4 along with 2-3 MK 2 Frag grenades, although some are equipped with SPAS-12's and use various equipment such as mounted M2 Browning Machine Guns, M202A1 FLASH missile launchers, bullet resistant vests, and vehicles such as M1A1 Abrams, AH-64 Apaches and V-22 Ospreys.
The Grunts were apparently part of an operation by the inter-dimensional bureaucrats Mr.Y, Mr.X, and Mr.Z. They had sent several squads of them to try to finally silence the G-man Squad after their previous plan in Gordon Freeman failed (although Freeman is shown alive in several episodes later, which implies he is still alive and continues his ascent through Black Mesa and Highway 17). Their appearance in the episode named after them is short, however, their equipment have been seen before their appearance. Two sentry turrets appear in the scenes following the opening sequence, and the G-men are shown to battle them.
In their only appearance to date, a 3-man squad of them guns down a scientist running from the G-men, and later the Grunts are gunned down by the G-men for "stealing their kills".
Later in the episode, Clyde complains about their presence.
In Freeman's MindEdit
Freeman first encounters them in episode 12. He spent a lot of time trying to get to "the rescue team" but soon loses faith in the grunts intentions, as he soon realizes they are killing off his co-workers and try to kill him. After he is shot at by one soldier, he guns him down and proceeds to another room with more soldiers. They too shoot at him, and he is once again forced to kill them. Throughout the series he constantly tries to negotiate with them, to no avail. They have almost killed him on numerous occasions. He also believes all of the grunts to be "extremely stupid and incompetent", which is not unjustified considering they repeatedly shoot him in the body with their low calibre MP5's (despite it being completely ineffective against his suit), are unable to "tell me (Gordon) and the other scientists apart from aliens", attempt to pull off an extremely impractical cover up, as Gordon points out, and execute very stupid combat manoeuvres such as running around corners where they know Gordon is waiting with his gun pointed straight at the corner. Recently, Gordon has been noticing them being smarter, by doing things such as almost killing him with a grenade. However, he still regards them as stupid "rat-fuck meat heads", and shows no regrets towards massacring them by the dozens, as "they are all pricks and deserve to die".
In Barney's MindEdit
In Barney's Mind , they first attract Barney's attention when they gun down Harold. Barney walks up to them, only for them to shoot at him too. After killing a few soldiers, he starts shooting them on site for the rest of the series. Just like Freeman, Barney thinks that the HECU are incompetent, overly violent idiots who have no good reason to attack him.
In the finale he does meet a more friendlier grunt in the form of Adrian Shephard, who is trapped inside Gordon Freeman's locker. When Barney finds out he is a soldier he is hesitant to release him as they have been hunting him, but Adrian wins him round with a candy bar. Barney goes away to look for help but it teleported away. When escaping Black Mesa via a plane, Barney reveals he hopes that Adrian made it out OK.
In Shepard's MindEdit
In Shepard's Mind , they are portrayed differently due to the nature of Opposing Force. Shepard often comes across them as allies, and many of them he comes across are in his squad. He commands them throughout the series, and generally considers them very helpful. However, even he acknowledges their stupidity at times, such as when Jackson guarded a room with absolutely no practical importance.
In the original gameEdit
The HECU Grunts in the games were sent into the facility to contain the situation by killing aliens and facility personnel. As seen in Half-Life: Opposing Force, some marines have questioned the orders of their superiors.
See this article on the Combine OverWiki for more information about them and their equipment: HECU Grunts