173rd does have a storied history. Enough to merit its own armor permutation in the game.
Rangers are special ops, many are HALO qualified as well. They're MO seems in line with what we see ODSTs operate in.
Not sure on the fictional inspiration, but they definitally seem to resemble Airbone Rangers.More so those in Special Operations that perform High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) jumps in both training and actual missions.
I do agree that the role of the ODST is rooted in airborne operations. That being a rapid insertion of troops and supplies, behind enemy lines by way of military aircraft.
I do agree, they definitally are not conventional airborne (173rd/82nd) in their role.
JumpMaster: Sky Soldier
I wonder if that was a coincidence or a shout out to the organization.
Now from what I've read so far about ODSTs, all are Marine Corps SpecOps units. Have not found anything to show any Army affiliation. But then again almost any movie or game depicting space warfare will usually have Navy and Marines as the primary military force.
"Space: Above & Beyond"- USMC Space Aviator Cavalry, 58th Squadron
Just to name a few.
Not saying conventional airborne doesn't have a storied history, but they're not special ops where as the 75th Rangers are. And pretty sure the armor is just based more on army airborne/air assault, since they haven't mentioned the 173rd in game.
while it's true, as you point out, that the ODSTs are Marines, for the purpose of real world comparison, there is no Marine unit in history that is comparable to the ODSTs MO, with the only comparable one being the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment.
fortunutally halo is a little more realistic than most Sci-fi games/books/movies and also shows an Army and Air Force as a seperate service branch. Stargate is another franchise that doesn't have the navy/marines in control, but it's also much more contemporary than some of the more fantasy inclined mediums.