Red Squad sounds like it was personally put together by that one admiral back when to do his dirty business, so they are probably the ambitious, less scrupulous types that are also pretty darn good at what they do, as long as it isn't something huge...like fighting a new enemy battleship in a crippled little ship behind enemy lines.
Honestly, it's impressive they managed to survive as long as they did, in as bad a shape as they were in, and do as well as they did. It seems the big mistake that led to everyone dying was the captain getting too strung out and tired, and folks going along with it when it is pretty clearly putting the captain into "medically not fit for duty" status. The obvious thing to do, once they were able, would be to high-tail it out of Dodge, but the compromised captain decided not to.
Even then, they probably could have survived if they were in a fully-working ship.
Paper Moon wrote:
And while it's sad to see Nog get caught up in this collective fantasy of Red Squad's, it's also sadly believable given the character.
Funny thing is, he was likely everything they all wanted to be. But yah, Nog probably would have been in Red Squad if he had been at the academy long enough when it was formed. He definitely fits the profile.