The SPARTAN II program was the brainchild of Dr. Catherine Halsey. She had children taken from their homes at the age of six, SPARTAN II candidates were put through the most rigorous training earning the programs namesake. The children were put into groups of five and competed in obstacles. When training was done they would learn military history and tactics. Many lessons centered around heroism and ancient battles like Thermopylae. As the recruits grew older they were given various augmentations to stimulate muscle growth, size, speed, and bone density. The training also became more deadly, often using live ammunition. Those that survived were given further augmentation and of those many died from the process. SPARTANS who survived, but were too disfigured or incapable of combat were placed in intelligence roles. Those who were fit for duty were given MJOLNIR mark IV armor. Before the decimation of the SPARTAN IIs they were given MJOLNIR mark V combat armor which had several enhancements. As the planet Reach fell, so too did the SPARTAN II program. Only a handful of those who fought survived. SPARTAN IIs were disliked by some of the armed forces, but those who fought along side them or had seen them knew their importance as a war asset. To keep hope and the image that SPARTANS never die, any KIAs were only listed as Missing In Action. The program was a successor of the ORION project and a precursor to the SPARTAN III program. Each suit of MJOLNIR mark V armor cost about as much as a small space ship and the high cost of life and of the armor led to many cutbacks for the SPARTAN III's.