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MG prisoner

A prisoner of war in Outer Heaven.

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, either a civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict.



During World War II, the Soviet NKVD during what would eventually become known as the Katyn Forest Massacre, proceeded to imprison several Polish soldiers and massacre them under the pretense of a prisoner revolt. One of the people responsible for this event was Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, who helped instigate the massacres, and was also known to have removed the prisoners' blindfolds before promptly and personally beating them to death due to his sadism.


After Naked Snake's capture at Volgin's hands upon the former's infiltration of Groznyj Grad, he was kept as a prisoner of war, and was then tortured at the latter's hands.

San Hieronymo personnel[]

Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." Its canonicity within the continuity is disputed, therefore reader discretion is advised.[?]

During FOX's occupation of the San Hieronymo Peninsula, Roy Campbell was taken prisoner as the sole survivor of the Green Beret unit sent to investigate the region. A number of Soviet personnel were also held prisoner for a variety of reasons.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Peace Sentinel[]

Peace Sentinel kept various prisoners of war in their bases, the majority of whom were Sandinistas, although a few had no prior ties to the FSLN.[1] At least one of whom was also a former American soldier whom the Soviet soldiers held captive when they took over the U.S. missile base in Nicaragua, also wounding him.

Militaires Sans Frontières/Diamond Dogs/Outer Heaven[]

While recruiting potential allies during the Peace Walker Incident, the Militaires Sans Frontières would imprison those soldiers who were reluctant to join immediately, in the brig on Mother Base. KGB spy Vladimir Zadornov was also taken prisoner by MSF after his involvement in Peace Sentinel's plans was exposed, as well as his attempt to kill their commander Big Boss.

The Diamond Dogs, similar to their predecessors, the MSF, proceeded to imprison soldiers who were reluctant to join immediately in the brig of their Mother Base, and in some cases interrogate them for intel. After the infamous sniper Quiet was captured by Venom Snake, her status was technically that of a POW even after she gained enough trust within Diamond Dogs to act as a combat buddy for the leader of Diamond Dogs, Venom Snake.

In 1995, Outer Heaven began taking members of the local Resistance as prisoners, including Jennifer's brother. He, along with two other prisoners, were later used as human shields by the mercenary Dirty Duck during his fight with Solid Snake.[2][3] Snake had earlier allowed himself to be captured by Outer Heaven forces in order to locate Gray Fox, who himself had been taken prisoner during Operation Intrude N312.[4][5][6][7][8] At least one POW was aware of Big Boss being the leader of both FOXHOUND and Outer Heaven, and warned Snake of this when rescued by the latter.[9]

United States Naval Prison Facility (Cuba)[]

Sometime during the 1970s, the Naval Prison Facility on the southern tip of Cuba had been converted into a black site by the CIA, with influence from Cipher, to endlessly torture various "enemies of the state." In addition, as insurance none of the prisoners escaped, they had bolts installed onto their achilles' tendon (with the exception of Paz Ortega Andrade who had her feet shackled), rendering them immobile, as well as littered the perimeter of the facility with landmines of both Cuban and American origin.

Warning: The following events occur in the pseudo-historical Side Ops in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes; its level of canonicity is ambiguous.

Several of the prisoners were also dissidents from the East who had defected to the West that were captured and then had a brief layover there while in-transit for the other side of the Iron Curtain. Various intelligence agencies from all over the world issued interrogations on the prisoners, including the MI6, the BND, the ISI, and even at least one Soviet intelligence officer. One of the prisoners was an Intel Team agent of MSF who was captured but was later rescued by Big Boss.

Side Ops information ends here.

In early 1975, the Naval Prison Facility on the southern tip of Cuba held various prisoners, including Chico. Big Boss was dispatched to rescue Chico and Paz. In addition to them, he also rescued five prisoners during his mission there.

Red Army[]

The Red Army took various prisoners during their invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. One prisoner was Kazuhira Miller, who had been caught in an ambush by the Parasite Unit and left the sole survivor.

Although technically not a POW, the Soviet bionics engineer in Afghanistan was treated no differently than a POW due to his failed attempt at defecting to the West.

A mute Hamid fighter was found by the Soviets, and they took him prisoner, also interrogating him regarding the location of the Honey Bee. Although initially, they thought he simply was faking his being mute, they quickly realized he was indeed genuinely mute, so they instead had him physically lead them to the Honey Bee weapon system, although Venom Snake intercepted him and rescued him before they could get a chance to find it.

Malak, a mujahideen fighter, was taken prisoner by the Soviets, after supposedly burning down his village during their Operation Scorched Earth. However, in actuality, not only were the Soviets not responsible for his village's destruction at all, the reason they intended to interrogate him was to find out why his village was destroyed. Because of this, he was the only one of the prisoners held at Lamar Khaate Palace to be spared due to being transferred to Yakho Oboo Supply Outpost for more direct interrogation, despite his being severely wounded, with the other prisoners at Lamar Khaate being disposed of, although Venom Snake rescued them before they could be executed.

African PFs[]

During the 1980s, the various PFs held POWs to a certain degree, due to their being involved in a war zone.

The PF Contract Forces of Africa, due to an internal squabble between the Afrikaner members and the British members of CFA, proceeded to take four of the British members prisoner and interrogated them before executing them regarding an illicit deal for oilfield rights by switching allegiance from UNITA to the MPLA. In addition, shortly after several of the CFA were starting to die mysteriously and their blaming the Diamond Dogs and Venom Snake for it due to it occurring shortly after they blew up the Mfinda Oilfield, they then found two undercover Intel Team members and imprisoned them and interrogated them, also intending to execute them, although Venom Snake later rescued them.

The PF Rogue Coyote had several POWs at Ditadi Abandoned Village, several of which were heavily implied to have been human trafficking victims of one particular member. They also held a surviving Intel Team member who escaped from Lufwa Valley prisoner, although Venom Snake managed to rescue him in time. Although technically not directly placed under their custody as POWs, the Mbele Squad was captured by Rogue Coyote and then handed off to the Buta to be forced to work in the mines, with their leader, Shabani, ultimately being taken to be experimented on and ultimately being killed in a fire orchestrated by Skull Face to cover his tracks.

The PF Zero Risk Security had taken three members of the Diamond Dogs Intel Team prisoner after they were caught while trying to investigate the cause of an outbreak on Diamond Dogs' Mother Base. One of them escaped only to be captured by Rogue Coyote, while the remaining two, sacrificing their freedom to ensure the aforementioned member escaped, ended up experimented on by ZRS and Skull Face with Vocal Cord Parasites, resulting in their deaths and their being placed into a mass grave without the head researcher, Code Talker's knowledge.

Angolan child soldiers[]

A commander of the renegade child soldiers from the Mbele Rebel army proceeded to take two POWs. One of them, the XO for Mbele general, was to be used as a bargaining chip to draw out the general (unaware that the actual general had been killed by said "XO" earlier, who had also been responsible for orchestrating the revolt).

Eli's Army took one female POW when they occupied Bwala ya Masa.


Gray Fox was taken prisoner and tortured as a RENAMO soldier during the Mozambican Civil War, until Big Boss broke him free.[10]


Liquid Snake was taken prisoner by the Iraqis during the First Gulf War, and remained as such until he was rescued by U.S. forces in 1994.

Middle Eastern militia[]

Middle Eastern militiamen fighting against PMC forces in 2014 sometimes captured enemy Praying Mantis soldiers, who would then be taken to a safe house.[11]

Pieuvre Armement[]

Some South American rebels were captured by Pieuvre Armement in 2014. Some were captured at the Cove Valley Village, where they awaited execution, while others were detained in a confinement facility near the Vista Mansion.

Desperado Enforcement LLC.[]

Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." Its canonicity within the continuity is disputed, therefore reader discretion is advised.[?]

During the Abkhazian Coup in 2018, the Chechen terrorist Andrey Dolzaev's hired PMC, Desperado Enforcement LLC., discovered two civilians who failed to escape the city. The first, nearing the entrance to the city, upon being caught by Desperado, they informed him that the area was off limits, before immediately deciding to just off him, and reasoning that they'll justify it by claiming they acted in self-defense due to having driven all of them away.[12] The second, nearing the gate to the old Soviet-era hotel, ended up being suspected of being a Russian spy due to getting caught in what was implied to be an obvious place, and then deciding to waste him in case he is, and then fill out the paperwork.[13] However, Raiden managed to save the hostages before they could do anything to them.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.


Depending on the factions who kept prisoners of war, the overall colors and appearance of the uniforms varied, although generally, they were a jumpsuit with prisoner markings.

The Peace Sentinel POW uniforms were colored bright yellow, two-piece jumpsuit with pockets near the gut and yellow shoes, as well as the Peace Sentinel logo on the back.

The uniforms for the "enemy combatants" imprisoned at the United States Naval Prison Facility in Cuba were colored yellow (although slightly darker-colored than the Peace Sentinel POW uniforms), with prisoner identification markings on the back, as well as bolts on the feet and a black bag over their heads in most cases.

The uniforms for the POWs held by the Soviets in Afghanistan were, for the most part, beige colored with brief lines around the torso and white armbands on the upper sleeves. Not all POWs wore this uniform, however: Kazuhira Miller when he was detained by the Soviets wore a primarily green uniform (which was implied to be what remained of his old uniform) as well as a black bag over his head.

The uniforms for the POWs held by various PFs in Africa were blue colored with red and white stripes.

Outer Heaven's POWs had brown uniforms, although in the case of Gray Fox, it was blue.

Unconfirmed usage[]

The following information has been detailed in official Konami-licensed media, written by various external authors. Its status in the Metal Gear canon is unconfirmed.[?]

McDonell Benedict Miller, was captured by the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War and interrogated as a prisoner of war, before eventually escaping and decapitating the head interrogator.

During the Liberian Civil War, several members of a Liberian terrorist cell, responsible for killing American soldiers, were captured by a then-teenaged Solidus Snake. He then proceeded to have one of the child soldiers under his command at the Small Boy Unit, Jack the Ripper, decapitate ten of them as the former's "birthday present" to the latter.[14]

Behind the scenes[]

Prisoners of war often feature as characters in the Metal Gear series, with the player having the option to rescue, and in some cases, recruit them.


A prisoner of war freed by Solid Snake in Metal Gear.

In both the original MSX2 and the NES version of Metal Gear, the player has to rescue a large percentage of the prisoners to gain Jennifer's trust and allow her to answer Snake's calls. In addition to thanking Snake, some of the prisoners will also supply hints to the player as to how to proceed next. Rescuing the prisoners also results in the player's rank increasing, which allows for increased health and ammunition counts.

The next Metal Gear game to utilize prisoners of war was the non-canonical sequel Snake's Revenge. Like in the first game, rescuing prisoners will allow the player to obtain hints on how to get through areas, as well as rank increases, although this isn't mandatory for completing the game. The game implies that the prisoners were part of a local resistance group working with FOXHOUND, while the English manual refers to them as POTs (prisoners of terrorism).

Recruiting rescued prisoners of war as a gameplay element first appeared in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, the locations of whom are reported to the player via a deployed Spy Unit. In the expansion pack, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus, the maps of the Infinity Mission mode sometimes includes prisoners to rescue. The locations of the prisoners are indicated on the in-game map by an icon resembling cage bars. Depending on the character model type, Roy Campbell's reaction to a prisoner's discovery will differ. If the prisoner is of a generic character type (or Johnny), Campbell will identify them as an enemy prisoner that needs to be rescued, while unique characters will cause him to express curiosity as to their presence and/or survival, before telling them to return to the truck.

In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Solid Snake can rescue POWs in Act 2, Solid Sun, at the Cove Valley Village and the Confinement Facility, the former event results in the soldiers repaying the effort by unlocking several sheds for the player to stockpile. Both instances also result in increased affinity in regards to the soldiers. The Piggyback strategy guide also claimed that rescuing the Confinement Facility POWs will result in an additional two guerilla soldiers accompanying Snake but this doesn't happen in-game.

In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the player can Fulton extract several prisoners of war and recruit them into MSF. The POWs are identifiable as characters in yellow jumpsuits with the letters "P.S." on the back, lying prone on the ground. When the player is in close proximity to a POW during gameplay, they will make a grunting noise. When they are Fulton extracted, they will either cheer or shout "Wohohoho!", with their successful retrievel confirmed over radio by Kazuhira Miller (he gives a more enthusiastic response in the case of female POWs). Upon being recruited, the characters are identified in the base managment menus with the symbol "POW" on a gold background. Several Extra Ops also have rescuing prisoners as the main mission objective.

In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, there are four civilians that Raiden can rescue who are being harassed by enemy soldiers: two in Chapter R-01; one in Chapter R-03; and one in Chapter R-05. Rescuing them all will reward the player with the trophy/achievement "Humanitarian Aid." Technically, only those in Chapter R-01 are POWs, having been discovered and held captive by Desperado soldiers immediately after an armed conflict.


"POW Rescue" image unveiled by Hideo Kojima during development of Ground Zeroes.

In Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, the main objectives of Snake's mission is to rescue prisoners Chico and Paz. In the TGS 2013 nighttime demo for the game, Big Boss also rescued another prisoner in a case of mistaken identity regarding Chico. A screenshot depicting a "POW Rescue" challenge from the then in-development game was posted to Twitter by Hideo Kojima, but does not feature in the final version. The Main Op and Side Ops in the game (except "Intel Operative Rescue") give the player the option to rescue additional POWs besides the required ones. In the Extra Op "Déjà Vu," the POWs cannot be rescued and encountering them will instead trigger a cutscene resulting in their death from FOXDIE. Including the escaped prisoner during the Main Op and Prisoner 12282 in the Side Op "Destroy the Anti-Air Emplacements," there are 14 prisoners to rescue in total throughout the game. Any POWs that are extracted can be transferred over to The Phantom Pain and will be unlocked by Mission 12.

A female POW appeared in the "Capture the Russian Translator" Side Op, during the E3 2015 gameplay demo of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, located at Lamar Khaate Palace, Afghanistan. She was rescued by mercenary leader Venom Snake and had the special skill Botanist. This character does not appear in the final version of the game, however. In addition, a woman similar to the female POW was seen earlier in the Red Band/Green Band E3 2013 trailer where she was being waterboarded by a Soviet soldier, though she was later revealed to be Quiet.

See also[]

Notes and references[]

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Some of the rescued prisoners, if the player reads their flavor texts, will sometimes mention being formerly affiliated with the U.S. Army or British SAS.
  2. ^ Metal Gear (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    Dirty Duck: I am Dirty Duck! Go ahead and shoot - if you dare!
  3. ^ Metal Gear (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    Jennifer: This is Jennifer... Dirty Duck has card 8. My brother is among the captives! Please don't kill them. If anything happens to my brother, I won't help you anymore!
  4. ^ Metal Gear (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    POW: Thank you for saving me! That member of FOXHOUND, Gray Fox... He's being held in a secret cell.
  5. ^ Metal Gear (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    POW: Thanks for helping me! The only way to get close to the secret cell is to get caught...
  6. ^ Metal Gear (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    Guard 1: Don't move!! // Guard 2: Take him away!
  7. ^ Metal Gear (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    Big Boss: This Big Boss... Infiltration accomplished. Find the cell where they're holding Gray Fox. Check the walls!! ...Over.
  8. ^ Metal Gear (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    Gray Fox: You made it, rookie. I'm Gray Fox.
  9. ^ Metal Gear (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    POW: Thank you for helping me! The Outer Heaven boss is FOXHOUND's commanding officer, Big Boss! He's behind all of this!! Don't let him trick you!!
  10. ^ Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (re-release), Kojima Productions (2006).
    Gray Fox: I was being tortured as a RENAMO soldier, and [Big Boss] saved me again. They'd cut off my ears and my nose...
  11. ^ The bodies of four PMC soldiers can be seen in two rooms in the Militia Safe House.
  12. ^ Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Kojima Productions/PlatinumGames (2013).
    Desperado soldier 1: What are you doing here? // Desperado soldier 2: This area's off limits! // Civilian: What? No! I am not doing anything! // Desperado soldier 1: Can we just kill 'em? It will be easier. // Desperado 2: We're supposed to have driven them all away already. // Desperado soldier 1: So... self-defense, right? Easy. // Civilian: No, please! I have family!
  13. ^ Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Kojima Productions/PlatinumGames (2013).
    Desperado soldier 1: You gotta be pretty stupid to try and hide here... // Desperado soldier 2: Looks to me like Russian spies. // Hostage: I... We are just... // Desperado soldier 1: Well we can't let 'em give away our position... // Desperado soldier 2: Waste 'im. We'll fill out the paperwork later. // Hostage: No! Please! I will do anything!
  14. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty comic
    Solidus Snake: Happy birthday, Ripper. (gives Jack a knife) Here, its yours. (Motions to ten prisoners) Now, blow out the candles. // Raiden: Ten of them. One for each year of my life. Solidus called them Liberian terrorist scum. He [Solidus] tells me they've killed innocent Americans, that they deserved to die. I don't care. I only knew what I have to do. (Jack runs to the first prisoner, then places his newly-supplied knife to the soldier's neck) I lightly caress the man's [the Liberian terrorist's] neck, as if preparing for the first stroke of a shave. (Jack slowly moves the blade down the neck.) Feeling it out. Searching for just the right... (slice) Ten. // (Head collapses) Solidus: That's my boy. Keep going... // Raiden: Nine. (slice) // Solidus: Blow them all out or you don't get your wish. // Raiden: I don't care. Eight. (slice) My wishes never come true anyway. // Solidus: That's my little Jack the Ripper. // Raiden: Solidus... my so-called "father". He seems proud of me. I don't care. Seven. (slice) I'm ten years old today and I don't care about anything anymore.