c. 5,000 BBY
“Marines don't have time for regret. At least, we don't when there's battles to be fought.”—Marine Captain Laera Reyolé, to Carth Onasi
The Republic Marines, also known as the Republic Marine Corps or simply as "the Corps", was first formed as a branch of the Republic Navy, which encompassed its primary ground forces and shipboard security personnel. Separate from the Republic Army, soldiers who served in the Republic Marines were considered by historians to be among the best-trained and best-equipped troops that the Galactic Republic could field. Generally organized into regimental- or battalion-sized units, depending on the era, Marines would often see a wider range of duties than their counterparts in the Army, including garrisoning remote outpost worlds, serving on warships, or protecting embassies and other governmental posts. Aside from their primary combat and ceremonial guard units, the Corps possessed two major sub-branches: the Marine Aerospace Wings, which was made up of several fighter wings of starfighters that were utilized for everything from close air support to raiding enemy installations, and a dedicated intelligence and special operations branch, the Republic Marine Force Reconnaissance companies. Other, minor units of the Corps included the Marine Corps Band and the Red Gundarks flight demonstration team.
Founded by Admiral Sakira Tobonne, an experienced Navy officer who had been successful in guarding the borders of the Republic from pirates and slavers, the Marine Corps served with distinction in many of the galaxy's fiercest and most widespread conflicts. Beginning with the Great Hyperspace War and continuing through the time of the New Sith Wars, they were regarded as an important arsenal in the Republic's armed forces throughout their history. The Corps eventually grew to a core strength of thirty-six combat battalions and thirty-seven starfighter squadrons before they were disbanded along with most of the rest of the military. Refusing to become a part of the Judicial Department that had been created to take their place, most Marines instead became mercenaries; though they still held to the traditions of the Corps, they lacked the infrastructure to maintain themselves and gradually faded into obscurity. However, their tactics and doctrine would be resurrected during the Clone Wars by the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic, with the formation of the Galactic Marines.
“A soldier is good on land, fighting soldiers. A pilot is good at flying in atmosphere and space, fighting other pilots. What we need is a new kind of soldier, capable of fighting on land, in space, or on a starship. A sort of amphibious soldier, a Marine, if you will.”—Admiral Sakira Tobonne
First proposed in the years prior to the Great Hyperspace War by Commodore and later Admiral Sakira Tobonne, the Republic Marines were originally conceived of as an adjunct to the Republic Navy, serving as the main line of defense in the event that a warship was boarded by enemy forces or else to serve as shock troopers when boarding enemy vessels. Tobonne, a native of Anaxes and a career Navy officer, had spent several years working the fringes of Galactic Republic space combating piracy and slavery along recently-blazed hyperlanes. During his time commanding the cruiser Wayrunner, he learned the value of training in shipboard combat and the tactics of small units of soldiers. At the end of his tour, Tobonne began to advocate for increased combat training for Navy personnel serving aboard warships. At the same time, he and his staff used what resources were available to began developing specialized weapons, armor, unit tables and tactics for use by ships' security, culminating in the idea of forming an autonomous branch within the Navy to organize and train them.
With his promotion to flag rank in 5,006 BBY, he began to openly advocate for the creation of what he referred to as "the Republic's Marine Corps." The Admiralty, however, listened with only half-open ears; it took the outbreak of hostilities with Naga Sadow's Sith Empire to press home the necessity of forming such a group. Even as Sadow's forces raided Coruscant itself, the Galactic Senate approved the necessary appropriations required to create the Marine Corps, as well as confirming Admiral Tobonne as its first Commandant. As the Marines proved themselves at the height of that conflict, they began to be regarded as an elite "first response" force that could be quickly deployed to any combat zone in the galaxy as fast as any sizable warship could deliver them. As a result of this shift in doctrine, Marine training became some of the most grueling in the Republic Military; becoming one was seen as a mark of honor not only among the armed forces, but by the citizenry as well.
As the Corps grew in size, however, there were some growing pains. Boundaries and jurisdiction had to be decided, lines of communication and cooperation between the Army and the Navy had to be set up, and an overarching command structure and unit chain of command had to be created and implemented. Despite the stress taking a toll on his well-being Tobonne was equal to the task, and helped to see the Corps through the somewhat difficult process of maturation into an effective service branch. So powerful was his influence upon the organization that he had created that, for the rest of its history the Marine Corps would celebrate Tobonne's birthday, dubbed "Corps Day" in official documentation. Soldier and officer alike celebrated it with various festivities that often included public relations events and public-venue tactical demonstrations by selected units.
The Corps goes to warEdit
“The rocket-jumpers have established a toehold, but they're pinned down. Let's go help them punch a hole!”—Commander Voskel Dun'vei, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment
Though they had proved useful in helping the Republic to secure its borders and combat piracy, during its first millennium of existence the Republic Marines had yet to prove themselves useful in a major campaign or galactic war. The Corps' first major taste of combat occurred when HK-01 initiated the Great Droid Revolution in 4,015 BBY on Coruscant. During the revolt, units of the Seventh Marine Regiment stationed on the capital world were able to provide defenses for the Senate Grand Convocation Chamber and the surrounding governmental buildings from attacks by renegade battle droids while their fellow elites, the Republic rocket-jumpers, fought against large numbers of juggernaught war droids over Monument Plaza. In the years that followed, as ion blasters came into production, the Marines helped to test these weapons under combat conditions. However, they were never formally adopted for field use by the Corps due to their ineffectiveness against organic targets. A year later, a battalion of the 20th Marine Regiment spearheaded the efforts by the Republic to break the self-imposed blockade of the Ukatis system that had been erected by the Ukatin king. This action only took place after political negotiations had proved untenable and the citizenry at large demanded that the Republic stage an intervention. The effort incited a general insurrection that led to the king's ouster.
During the Republic's involvement at the height of the Beast Wars on the jungle world of Onderon, the Republic Marines once again saw action alongside the rocket-jumpers; a battalion of the Second Marine Regiment was deployed to Iziz at the height of the conflict. Involved in the battle that resulted was future Commandant Voskel Dun'vei, who was the battalion's commanding officer at the time. Later, during the Freedon Nadd Uprising, the rest of the regiment was called in to reinforce Dun'vei's battalion in order to quell the rioting and help free Jedi Master Arca Jeth. The actions of the Marines so impressed the citizenry of Onderon that, for as long as they existed, the Corps retained a garrison force within the walled capital city, a posting that was considered an honored one to be assigned to. It was not without its dangers, however, as patrols regularly ventured out into the jungle surrounding the city.
When Exar Kun initiated his war against the Jedi Order, the Marine Corps was ready to assist the Republic, in part by helping to defend the various Jedi enclaves from Krath aggression. Elements of the 17th Marine Regiment fought alongside the Jedi against the invading Krath when they attacked the Senate complex on Coruscant, in an action similar to that conducted during the previous conflict with Sadow's Sith Empire. Units of the 13th Marine Regiment, along with support from a flotilla of Navy warships, helped to evacuate the world of Ossus in the wake of the destruction of the nearby Cron Cluster. In the war's final battle at Yavin 4, all three regiments of the 4th Marine Division were among the first troops on the ground, securing a safe landing zone and coordinating the orbital bombardment by the Republic's capital ships that followed while the massed Jedi force confronted the Dark Lord directly.
“In the wake of the recent conflicts which we have taken part, Admiral Ganymede saw the need for the military of the Republic to evolve and grow. His vision will not be forgotten, and together we will work to capitalize on the lessons we have learned in recent years to form a better Marine Corps.”—Commandant Oluth Par'fey, in a communiqué introducing the first of her reforms
Despite the losses incurred during the conflict initiated by Exar Kun's forces, the Marines continued to hone their tactics and traditions. Lessons learned from fighting such foes as the Mandalorian Crusaders and the Krath's own elite forces helped the Republic to adopt new training methods, allowing the Marines to diversify themselves. Beginning in 3,992 BBY and continuing throughout the administration of Commandant Oluth Par'fey, the Marines began to reorganize themselves. During the course of these reforms, the various front-line combat units were pulled back on a rotating basis in order to replenish, refit, and retrain as the Corps' doctrine, tactics and strategies began to change. Beginning in 3,988 BBY, the Corps underwent the long process of reforming its line units, abandoning the regiment as the primary field command in favor of the smaller and more flexible battalion. This resulted in more battalions being created, as well as additional Marine divisions to oversee their operational deployment.
To these units were added at least one specialized platoon that included scout/snipers, infiltration experts, demolitions specialists, and other elements of advanced soldiery. Dedicated intelligence analysts and staff sections were also added, so that battalions operating independently would still be able to perform to the same degree of efficiency as a larger force. This transitional period lasted until 3,984 BBY, and included the acquisition of the Corps' first dedicated assault dropship in the form of the T-32z Jarhead-class assault lander, the introduction of integrated starfighter squadrons under the auspices of the Marine Aerospace Wings, and the formation of the Republic Marine Force Reconnaissance companies that served to provide extra flexibility in strategic warfare. Though they would continue to be implemented as time went by, these changes resulted in a Marine Corps that would be better prepared to handle new threats and sudden crises with increased speed and strength in the centuries to come.
The Mandalorian WarsEdit
“We're dead if we leave, but just as dead if we stay. D'you want those dogs to sings songs about how they gunned you down?”—Laera Reyolé to her squad during the Liberation of Onderon
When the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders finally attacked the Republic in 3,963 BBY after two years of probing and feinting, units of ground-based Marines took the brunt of these initial assaults. Fighting to hold their ground despite being heavily outnumbered, many frontier units along the three corridors of the Mandalorian invasion were either overwhelmed or forced to retreat Coreward. One example which typified these initial battles was the defense of Bad Alshir by Cresh Company, 21st Marine Battalion and the 5th Marine Starfighter Squadron. Though forced to evacuate after the two-day struggle, the Marines were able to inflict disproportionate losses upon the attacking Mandalorias, including the destruction of a Jehavey'ir-class attack ship. Despite these minor successes, the initial Mandalorian blitzkrieg cost the Republic dearly. However, the actions of Cresh Company and other Marine units helped to prevent total battlefield dominance, often serving as examples for Republic Army units to rally behind. In the months that followed, Force Recon units were covertly dispatched to worlds occupied by the Neo-Crusaders in order to gather information on the Mandalorians' ultimate goals. What they found instead was widespread destruction and chaos, including the burning of the Xoxin plains of Eres III. These missions offered no clues as to the true intentions of the reigning Mandalore beyond the immediately obvious idea of waging total war.
When Revan and Malak, along with their followers joined the fight against the Mandalorians, a number of Marine units were sent out in order to harass the enemy, even as the Neo-Crusaders continued to push deeper into Republic space. The 3rd Marine Battalion became one of the most highly-decorated units in the Republic at that time after carrying out a series of highly-successful raids against the Mandalorians' supply lines, raids that Revan himself had planned. As the war reached its midpoint, the Republic Army was sent to reinforce strategically-important worlds in order to make them too well-defended for the Mandalorians to risk attacking; meanwhile, Marine companies and battalions were sent to non-essential yet still important minor worlds, in order to entice the Mandalorians into attacking a seemingly under-defended garrison. These trap-worlds sucked up Neo-Crusader resources, pinning them under exquisitely-prepared defensive positions, until elements of the Mandalorians' fleet could come to their rescue. These reinforcements would then be ambushed by waiting Republic warships, forcing the attackers to waste far more resources than these worlds were worth to either take or hold. Unfortunately for the Republic, these bait-and-switch tactics were almost as costly. However, their strategic value was in keeping the front stalled, preventing the Mandalorians from accumulating enough reserves to enable a direct assault on the Core Worlds and the Republic capital. This had the added benefit of keeping the invaders from dictating the course of the campaigns to follow.
After several of these grueling battles of attrition, Revan had succeeded in blunting the Mandalorian offensive, and began to take the initiative. The Marines' training in rapid planetary assaults was intensified; with leadership supplemented by Jedi commanders, the Corps proved essential to establishing toeholds and landing corridors on contested planets, allowing Army units to reinforce their positions and retake world after world. The Neo-Crusaders did not give ground easily however, and with increasing frequency the Republic was forced to send Marine units into these battles in order to flank strongholds and cut off the supply lines of the retreating Mandalorians. Serving as snipers, sappers, and shock troopers, they isolated Mandalorian units from one another, allowing each to be tackled separately, without support from their fellows. In the war's final campaign, elements of the 3rd, 8th, 14th and 25th Marine Battalions served as spearheads for the assaults on Onderon and Dxun, taking heavy casualties on the jungle moon against the deeply-entrenched and well-fortified Neo-Crusaders. With reinforcements from the Army, as well as new units of combat droids, the Republic took back what would later be known as "Bloody Dxun."
The Battle of Jaga's Cluster, however, would bear witness to the Republic Marines' most humiliating defeat. A force of Mandalorian warships, under the command of Cassus Fett and crewed by elite assault units, ambushed an entire Republic task force, boarding Republic vessels before their crews could be properly prepared. The Marines stationed aboard these ships attempted to fight back against the hardened veterans of Fett's forces, suffering heavy casualties. Despite their actions, however, the force of some twenty-four warships, including its flagship and fleet commander, was lost save for one, the Interdictor-class cruiser Battleaxe. That vessel, along with the few other survivors who had managed to escape the battle, fled in hyperdrive-equipped shuttles and starfighters. By the time Revan had finished preparing his trap at Malachor V, few combat-ready Marine units were left among his forces, having suffered greatly from attrition. Instead of keeping them spread out amongst his fleet, he consolidated them, sending them back to worlds on the edge of Republic space to serve as garrison units. Most Marines, unaware of what their commander had in mind, regarded this shift in deployment as a sort of punishment for the failure of their comrades at Jaga's Cluster. The news of the Mandalorians' defeat and the casualties suffered by both sides, however, quelled most of these thoughts; senior Marine commanders came to recognize that Revan had been attempting to preserve what he had come to see as a bulwark against future attacks.
The Jedi Civil WarEdit
“We had thought that we'd won the war, but that was a lie. Those who had led us, who had sent us into the thickest fighting that sentient beings can engage in, had gone away, only to return as tyrants. You're damn right we weren't going to take that lying down.”—Marine Sergeant Denaas Bekuur, in his memoirs
During the year between the victory at Malachor and the assaults by the newly-crowned Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Revan, the Marines rebuilt their forces, drawing exceptional troops from throughout the Republic's armed forces in order to bolster their ranks, a tradition that had begun in the wake of the Great Hyperspace War. To the Marines' great surprise, the initial offensives did not target worlds upon which they had been garrisoned. Instead, Revan had focused his attention on strategically-valuable planets that sat upon the intersection of vital galactic trade routes, or worlds that already boasted a fully-functional military-industrial complex and defense network. These included the shipyards at Foerost, where Revan's initial attack took place. During the raid that saw dozens of Republic ships captured and many more destroyed, the 11th Marine Starfighter Squadron was among the first units to encounter the Sith Empire's new weapons of war.
Revan's surgical strikes threw the Republic, which was still reeling from the devastation wrought by the Mandalorians, into near-chaos, with the Sith forces under his command putting together an impressive number of victories in the months after Foerost. Some Marine units, particularly those who had first come into contact with Revan's new Sith Empire and those who had fought under him during the previous conflict, joined their old commander and forsook the Republic. The vast majority however, remained faithful—almost fanatically so—and they were determined to prove that fact. Demonstrating once again their versatility, loyal Marine battalions undertook their own counterattacks, driving small wedges into the Sith Empire's borders.
One of the earliest of the war's Republic victories, which came within weeks after the Bombing of Telos IV, was secured by the hardened veterans of the 3rd Marine Battalion. Acting on intelligence gathered by Captain Laera Reyolé, the battalion's commanding officer who had led Besh Company during the previous war and had trained briefly as a Jedi during the short-lived peace, the force of eight hundred soldiers and officers attacked and seized the Sith supply depot on Iridonia. Though the initial plan was to cart away what munitions, ordnance and other supplies that their transports could carry before demolishing the base, the operation was interrupted by the arrival of a Sith task force of Interdictor-class cruisers. In the intense space battle that followed a flotilla of Republic warships under the command of Rear Admiral Kedlis Hetton, who had been waiting in the shadow of one of Iridonia's moons for just such a contingency, pounced on the new arrivals, eliminating the threat in a one-sided victory made possible through battle meditation. Further information gathered during the raid led to the Republic victory at the Battle of Rodia; the resulting campaign, which included actions at Mon Gazza and Lannik, was the first serious counter-punch to be landed by the Republic against the Sith armadas.
In 3,956 BBY, with the war going poorly for the Republic, the Jedi Order conceived a daring but risky plan to capture Darth Revan. The hope was that, in depriving the Sith of its greatest leader, strategist and tactician, a power struggle would ensue that would cause the expanding Sith Empire to lose focus and turn on itself. In orbit of Ord Mantell a force of Republic Hammerhead-class cruisers and Foray-class frigates, supplemented by a pair of Interdictor cruisers, engaged the fleet of Sith vessels under Darth Revan's command. During the battle, a single Jarhead assault lander, aided by the battle meditation of Jedi Padawan Bastila Shan, managed to board the Sith flagship. Shan, accompanied by four other Jedi Knights, made their way to the bridge. In the meantime the platoon of Army troopers hastily trained in Marine tactics and led by Captain Reyolé, who had accompanied her team aboard, did their best to cause as much havoc as possible in order to provide the Jedi with a clear route to and from the command deck. When Darth Malak took this opportunity to betray his master by firing on the flagship's bridge tower, Shan alone survived, and carried the comatose Revan back to the hangar deck and their transportation. The troopers assigned to her command held fast, enabling the Jedi to escape with the barely-alive Dark Lord. As the unit split up to make its escape aboard separate vessels, the flagship succumbed to the pounding inflicted by Malak as the Republic force swung in to collect them before retreating from the battle planes.
The change in leadership of the Sith Empire caused unexpected complications, however. Darth Malak, who was acknowledged as being less skilled in strategy or tactics than his former master, preferred to engage in wholesale slaughter when he encountered worlds that would not immediately surrender to him. While the Jedi Order did its best to find a way to halt this new and incredibly destructive advance, the Marines took the brunt of it. The Sith Empire began to focus less on taking and holding strategic worlds in favor of consolidating its territory. Marine units who had thought themselves far from the fighting soon found themselves under siege by huge forces of Sith troopers, war droids and warships. Though outnumbered and outgunned, the Marines were much more highly-trained than their attackers, and held out for as long as possible before eventually being overrun and destroyed. Despite this onslaught, some garrisons managed to hold their worlds until relieved by Republic forces, but these victories were rare indeed. Casualties among the Corps were staggering, with several battalions including the 9th and 18th Mariness being reduced to such low strength that they were unable to conduct combat operations.
The war's final campaign also saw Marine involvement. When the Jedi Enclave on Dantooine was sacked by Darth Malak's forces, the 24th Marine Battalion's Dorn Company was caught in the battle. Unable to hold against a vastly superior force, the officers and troopers lent what help they could to the evacuating Jedi before succumbing to the weight of numbers. At that time Revan, having realized who he had been and what had been done to him, accepted the light side of the Force and continued to pursue the source of Sith war matériel, the Star Forge. When he and his companions found its location they sent out an urgent request for reinforcements, with Admiral Forn Dodonna answering the call. Among the units she gathered to assault the Lehon system were the 11th, 16th, 27th, and 33rd Marine Starfighter Squadrons and two companies of the 26th Marine Battalion. Though unused to fleet operations on such a large scale, during the Battle of Rakata Prime the Marine-piloted Aurek fighters helped to defend Dodonna's capital ships from Sith interceptors, with the 33rd Squadron escorting the shuttles carrying Revan's party, a number of Jedi Knights, and the 26th Battalion's troopers as they boarded the battlestation and factory complex. The Marines and Jedi on the Star Forge itself faced bitter resistance from well-equipped Sith troopers as well as heavily-armored assault droids; though they suffered significant casualties, they were able to hold the way open for Revan and his companions' retreat in the wake of Darth Malak's defeat.
“The Republic Marines' countless sacrifices throughout the war has ensured their existence for the next thousand years.”—Supreme Chancellor Cressa, addressing the Senate on Corps Day, 3,955 BBY
With most of the galaxy still on the defensive as the Jedi Civil War came to its sudden conclusion, the Marines found themselves a shattered force, stretched out across the galaxy in a thin line of outposts and depleted garrison bases. However, with the end of hostilities also came a shift in governmental policies, as program after program was launched to breathe life back into the struggling Republic. Under the leadership of a new Supreme Chancellor, Cressa, a titanic effort to restore worlds ravaged by the Mandalorians and Sith was undertaken, beginning with Telos IV. This new program of rebuilding came at a cost, however, as the Army and Navy and, by extension, the Marine Corps, were left without adequate resources to recover from the immense losses incurred by the two recent and devastating wars. Warships were pressed into service as cargo haulers as flora and fauna was imported from verdant worlds to those left scourged by conflict, with any Marines stationed aboard serving as impromptu cargo handlers, a role which many resented.
Two years after the war's end however, a company of the 13th Marine Battalion participated in an expedition to the Sith tombworld of Korriban. Led by the redeemed Revan and Bastila Shan, the purpose of the foray was to make sure that the barren world, which had been a stronghold of the Sith prior to and during the previous conflict, was clear of any remnants that could potentially re-form, grow stronger and reignite hostilities. Though no active resistance was found, the Marines on the ground encountered a number of natural and Force-based hazards that nearly resulted in the mission becoming far too costly to maintain. It was not long afterward that Revan left the Republic, bound for the Unknown Regions and a fate which would not become known for centuries.
The Dark WarsEdit
“Revan saw the Marines as vitally important to the continued existence of the Republic, and so do I. Either we work to restore their strength, or we lose the ability to defend our civilization.”—Admiral Carth Onasi, urging the Senate Armed Forces Committee to continue sponsoring the Corps
The five years that followed the destruction of the Star Forge were not kind to the Corps. Despite having emerged victorious, the morale of the military was ebbing bit by bit, and many soldiers from all branches were leaving government service in droves, hoping to find more lucrative employment by becoming corporate or private security enforcers, enlisting in mercenary companies, or, when there was no other option, selling their guns to criminal groups, pirate bands, slavers and raiders. During this time an ongoing Jedi pogrom and shadow war orchestrated by the Sith Triumvirate continued to undermine the Republic's ability to govern and defend its territory. However, due in no small part to the actions of Vima Sunrider, later known simply as "the Jedi Exile," the Republic was able to defeat this hitherto hidden threat, an effort which culminated in the Battle of Telos IV. As the Republic fleet under the command of Admiral Carth Onasi fought against Sith forces commanded by Darth Nihilus, elements of the 31st Marine Battalion helped to secure Citadel Station and subdue any remaining resistance from those Sith troopers and Dark Jedi that had boarded the facility.
After the battle the Exile departed for Malachor V to deal with the remnants of the Sith that had gathered there and, eventually, into the Unknown Regions in pursuit of the still unaccounted for Revan. When the Exile's former companions were able to verify that the Sith had been eliminated, the Republic's political and military leadership were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Gradually, after several years of continual rebuilding and a burst of colonization efforts, the socio-economic situation began to heal and the Republic was able to once again reassert itself as the dominant power in the galaxy. The military, having been ravaged by sixty years of near-constant warfare, was given its proper due and the Marine Corps was again held in high regard along with the other elite units of the Republic. Twenty years after the end of the Jedi Civil War, the Corps was deemed by its Commandant to have returned to full operational capacity.
Ending the Kanz DisordersEdit
“If we do not restore order to the Kanz sector, the Sith will move in and secure yet another toehold on our borders!”—Jedi Knight Mari-Elan Nora, advocating for intervention in the Kanz Disorders
In 3,670 BBY the Republic and the Jedi Order, led by Jedi Knight Mari-Elan Nora, sought to put an end to the Kanz Disorders, which had been raging for three hundred years. The centuries-long conflict, initiated by the Argazdans, had first begun to spread through the Kanz sector during the lead-up to the Mandalorian Wars. As a result of the larger war's outbreak and the conflicts which followed, the galactic government was unable to put a halt to Argazdan forces as they subjugated the sector's populace. Despite the continuing encroachment into the Outer Rim by the resurgent True Sith, Nora succeeded in persuading the government that securing the sector was vital to protecting Republic interests within that region of the galaxy. She was thus granted the troops, Jedi and other resources necessary to liberate the territory and the populations of Lorrd and Amaltanna.
Backed up by divisions from the Republic Army and support from the Navy, the three battalions of the 11th Marine Division, accompanied by the 21st, 22nd and 24th Marine Starfighter Squadrons, were tasked with spearheading the effort to return the sector to order. The resulting conflict was bloody, with billions of subjugated beings slain in the process. However, thanks in large part to quick, precise and aggressive attacks on key outposts, communications centers, logistical facilities and military bases by the Marines, the fighting was over in a matter of weeks. With the Kanz sector liberated and returned to Republic rule, Nora's force was able to rejoin the greater conflict being waged against the Sith.
The Sith returnEdit
“The air was so thick with dropships and starfighters, plunging through congested traffic lanes with reckless abandon, that the sun was all but extinguished.”—A Marine officer describes the sacking of Coruscant
The new era of prosperity that had previeled in the wake of the Jedi Civil War and its aftermath did not last forever. Three hundred years after the Mandalorian Wars, a resurgent Sith Empire revealed itself, attacking the Republic and initiating another great effort to conquer the known galaxy. As with previous galactic conflicts, the Marine Corps was involved in the thickest fighting from the initial invasion in 3,681 BBY onward. This continued with the first turning point of that conflict, the struggle for the Bothan homeworld of Bothawui. In the wake of the victory of the Republic fleet against the attacking armada in their first attempt to seize that world, the Sith decided to try again once the defending flotillas had dispersed. The forces left to defend the planet, led by Jedi Master Belth Allusis and eighty-four Knights, included two companies of the 7th Marine Battalion along with nearly four thousand additional troops. In the onslaught that followed, the defenders were destroyed utterly, however they held on with such tenacity that the invading Sith lost ten soldiers for every one they killed.
During the retaking of Alderaan from the Sith, several Force Recon platoons helped to provide the Republic Special Forces with the field intelligence needed to liberate the world. On the larger scale, facing a combination of war droids, Mandalorian warriors, and legions of lightsaber-wielding Force-users proved to be too much for the Republic Military as a whole to handle, and though many units fought hard, they were unable to prevent what ultimately turned into a defeat. This was exemplified by the result of the war's last campaign, a Sith offensive in the Minos Cluster, during which the Marine defenders aboard a number of Republic warships were overwhelmed and their vessels captured. Shortly thereafter, Coruscant itself was sacked; during the battle, the 4th and 29th Marine Battalions were all but destroyed as they tried desperately to defend the Senate district and Jedi Temple alongside a number of regular Army units.
Stalemate and renewed conflictEdit
“The Empire will continue to undermine the Republic any way it can. I intend to take action now, before it is too late!”—Daria Uwe, to her Chief of Staff
The Cold War that followed the Imperial-dictated peace accords was a difficult time for the Corps. Reeling from the losses suffered in the recently-ended conflict and frustrated by the tensions between the Republic and the Sith that followed, most troopers, NCOs and junior officers longed to find a way to get out from under the haze of inaction that had gripped the galaxy. Even through the chilly peace that had settled, small proxy wars continued to crop up throughout civilized space. Most politically-savvy beings living on both sides of the Republic-Imperial border knew that this climate could not last for long, however, and hostilities were eventually renewed in a most unexpected way. Unable to stand by and watch what she knew to be Sith manipulations at work, in 3,641 BBY Daria Uwe, the newly-appointed Commandant of the Marines who had survived the Sith assault on the Republic capital, began to engineer a scheme of her own. Scattering her forces so as to make the Republic appear weaker than it was, she entered into a series of secret negotiations with representatives from the Imperial military, hinting that she wanted to take the entire Corps with her in defecting to the Sith. Though the Imperial agents were skeptical at first, Uwe provided them with a number of classified documents containing the Republic's current military dispositions and plans for future deployments. Her true intentions, which were known only by her chiefs of staff, soon bore fruit and became known as one of the most successful mass ambushes in galactic history.
When the various Marine units that were still active left their posts en masse to rendezvous with a waiting Sith task force, they made an extra stopover. Debarking from their transports and loading scan-shielded crates of baradium explosives in their place, the Corps journeyed into the heart of Sith-occupied space aboard a fleet of independent freighters piloted by sympathetic—and well-paid—crews. The improvised bombships had the intended effect, and nearly all the Sith warships were either destroyed or heavily damaged. Meanwhile, the leaders of every major Marine combat command involved revealed the true purpose of the plan to their troopers; buoyed by its boldness, they proceeded to carry out devastating attacks against key Imperial outposts and worlds, seizing huge quantities of supplies and war matériel in addition to numerous warships and other facilities. With such an overt and effective first strike having been carried out, the Republic had no choice but to support the unauthorized attack and mobilize once again for full-scale war. This time, however, the Republic proved to be the victors. After three more years of heavy fighting, the Republic and the Jedi Order succeeded in scattering the Empire and eliminating the Sith Emperor.
New Sith WarsEdit
“These Sith dew-lickers are like a creeping Hutt fungus, irritating and persistent. The sooner we crisp'em, the better.”—Anonymous Marine staff sergeant
After nearly fifteen hundred years of peace, however, the forces of the Sith began once again to threaten the Republic. These "New Sith," however, were not as strong as the Mandalorian clans had been, or those under the Dark Lords Revan and Malak and the ones that followed. While they were never able to force the Republic into the terrible state that it faced during the worst of these assaults from millennia prior, the cumulative efforts of various Sith factions—which could only loosely be called an empire—did result in economic downturns amidst a series of brushfire wars. For nearly nine hundred years, with few exceptions the Sith were a constant source of unrest for the border regions, butting heads with Army and Marine units and patrols of Navy warships scattered throughout the frontier. Throughout this time period, the Republic abandoned hundreds of worlds as the central government grew weaker, with these planets falling under the rule of the continually-expanding Sith Empire.
One of the more notable incidents was the involvement of the 11th Force Recon Platoon, of the 2nd Marine Force Recon Company, in the putting down of a Sith Lord's attempt to implement lost technology as a means for waging war. During a particularly onerous period of time, which later became known as the Republic Dark Age due to the de facto fall of the government, sheer economic necessity resulted in the merging of the 11th and 12th Marine Divisions' constituent battalions into other units. These circumstances did nothing to improve overall morale, and it was only later, with the emerging threat posed by a newly-united Sith front, that the Corps began to amass for a serious campaign.
The Brotherhood of DarknessEdit
“The Jedi are massing what they're calling an 'Army of Light' to deal with the Sith main body at Ruusan. We're going to keep the road open for them.”—Rear Admiral Davig Poitiérs, in a message to his units
When Lord Kaan formed his Brotherhood of Darkness, he put together a string of offensives and counteroffensives that saw heavy involvement by the Marine Corps. Fighting against these newly-invigorated Sith in ship-to-ship battles and as vanguards for the Army and the forces under the command of the Jedi Order, they saw combat on a number of worlds in the Mid Rim of the galaxy, including a rearguard action on Kashyyyk against a horde of Trandoshan slavers.
During the Ruusan Campaign that took place at the height of the war, elements of the 15th and 27th Marine Battalions, accompanied by the 7th Marine Force Recon Company and the 1st and 7th Marine Starfighter Squadrons, served in all manner of roles. Under the overall command of Rear Admiral Davig Poitiérs, they provided Lord Hoth and his lieutenants with crucial battlefield intelligence as well as peripheral military support for the Jedi force on Ruusan itself. In addition, Poitiérs' Marines helped to ensure the protection of supply lines to and from the planet.
Dissolution and rebirthEdit
“The Ruusan Reformation was greeted with great fanfare by the citizenry of the Republic. But, given all that I've seen, one cannot help but wonder if it was in fact a mistake. The Jedi became bogged down in the everyday currents of galactic affairs so much, that they became blind to threats from within, and because of this, they were nearly destroyed.”—Luke Skywalker, c. 44 ABY
With the victory of the Jedi over the Brotherhood of Darkness, many war-weary citizens from throughout the Republic began to clamor for reform. With no discernible threats to galactic stability in sight, the Senate instituted the Ruusan Reformation, which saw the entire military of the Galactic Republic abolished. The task of maintaining the peace fell to the newly-organized Judicial Forces, who worked in concert with the Jedi Order after the Council chose to undertake a greater hand in policing the galaxy. Along with the disbanding of the armed forces came an end to the Marine Corps; however, instead of becoming Judicials, nearly every single soldier and officer deserted the armed forces in a mass exodus, taking their weapons and personal equipment with them. A key prompter of this mass exodus was Rear Admiral Davig Poitiérs, who had earned recognition during the final campaign. He warned the government against the idea of disbanding the military, even going so far as to question the matter in a hearing before the entire galactic legislature.
With Poitiérs' actions as an example, those battalions which stayed together as they left Republic service formed independent mercenary companies, keeping their core values intact and hiring themselves out to nonaligned planets who were threatened by expansionist powers that were outside of Republic jurisdiction. Some cadres of ex-Marines instead hired on with established mercenary bands, most of which kept to their own sets of morals. Some of these bands were controlled by criminal elements, including the Hutts, and for a time the Republic secretly paid the 'good' mercs to keep the 'bad' mercs in check. However, with no real means of holding such traditions without the base of support provided by a strong, central government, these companies had faded from the galactic stage after only a few decades of existence. Many veterans simply retired, or else gave up their martial skills in order to pursue other careers, with no one being recruited to take their places. In the millennium of peace that followed the Reformation, the traditions, values and honors of the Marines were all but forgotten by the galactic populace.
One of the few agencies to keep records of the Corps and what they had accomplished was the Jedi, whose archivists felt that such knowledge and history could not be allowed to vanish. With the rise in power of interstellar corporations and their droid armies, which culminated in the pan-galactic Clone Wars, the legacy of the Republic Marines was once again brought to the fore. As the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic diversified in the face of the shifting tactics and doctrines of the Confederacy of Independent Systems' droid and naval forces, a new brand of Galactic Marines was created. Formed from an elite division of clones under the leadership of Jedi General Ki-Adi-Mundi, these troops were cross-trained in a wide variety of roles, including harsh-weather combat and shipboard fighting. After the war's end and the Republic was remade by Palpatine into the Galactic Empire, these marine units were greatly expanded, serving in the Imperial Navy aboard everything from Victory- and Imperial-class Star Destroyers, to both Death Stars.
Throughout the Clone Wars and the rebellion against the Empire that followed, the need for marines remained paramount. Though relatively few in number, officers throughout the Imperial Navy and the Rebel Alliance possessed some understanding of the Old Republic's military prior to the Ruusan Reformation. Those who remembered the Marine Corps the most tended to be those who spent their careers in the Outer Rim of the galaxy, where conflicts against pirates, slavers, raiders and other organized bands of criminals was the norm rather than the exception. This working knowledge lived on through to the eras of the New Republic and later, when the Galactic Alliance was formed during the Yuuzhan Vong War and which created a branch of space marines that eventually fell under the command of Gavin Darklighter. The New Jedi Order also retained any pertinent records that could be found, as did certain fringe elements, such as the organization run by the smuggler chief Booster Terrik.
Despite this, much knowledge about the training, tactics, doctrine and camaraderie of the Republic Marines was lost. Though their overall impact continued to be seen within the military forces fielded by most galactic governments and how they operated, as of 45 ABY no single entity existed that mirrored the ideals and goals of Admiral Tobonne's vision.
Organization and ranksEdit
Basic unit structureEdit
The Marines, who used the same rank system for officers as the Navy, were originally organized into regiments at the highest levels of field command, and led by a captain or full commander. They were in turn organized into administrative divisions, which were normally commanded by a rear admiral. Each regiment was typically divided into smaller, semi-autonomous units; the organizational system was as follows:
|Unit||Commanding officer rank||Constituent units||Nominal strength|
|Division||Rear Admiral||Three Regiments||925 line soldiers per regiment|
|Regiment||Captain/Commander||Two Battalions||450 line soldiers per battalion|
|Battalion||Lieutenant Commander||Three Companies||140 line soldiers per company|
|Company||Lieutenant Senior Grade||Three Platoons||Forty-two line soldiers per platoon|
|Platoon||Ensign||Three Squads||Thirteen line soldiers per squad|
Companies within regiments would be organized by letters in Aurebesh, running through each battalion; while each regiment had a first, second and third battalion, company identifiers would run from Aurek through Isk across battalion lines. Thus, a Marine might identify themselves as belonging to Esk Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment if they were stationed with that particular company.
Units operating separately also mustered with enlisted and commissioned support staff: this included executive officers for regimental, battalion, company, and platoon-sized units, as well as adjutants, armorers, weapon and equipment riggers, as well as vehicle and heavy-weapon crews where applicable. Medical services were provided by corpsmen that were trained by and attached to the Navy, and were not usually assigned to specific Marine units. Disciplinary matters, such as violation of regulations, were handled by the Navy's Department of the Judge Advocate General, while criminal offenses and activities were investigated by Republic Navy Criminal Investigations (RNCI for short).
The larger warships in the Republic Navy could muster a full battalion, however, most ships maintained only a company-sized presence. Worlds on the fringes of Republic space might garrison a regiment of Marines, alongside two or more regular Army divisions depending on population and strategic value. Small outposts, such as those which contained listening posts, were often staffed only at the company level. When the Marines abandoned regimental-sized field units, the rank scale moved up one notch, which was to say, a battalion would be led by a full commander, while a platoon would serve under a junior lieutenant, with an ensign as executive officer. As before, the system was flexible; battalions could be led by captains, with companies sometimes being led by senior lieutenants. The battalions themselves were also increased in size. The new chain of command became:
|Unit||Commanding officer rank||Constituent units||Nominal strength|
|Division||Rear Admiral||Three Battalions||750 line soldiers per battalion|
|Battalion||Commander||Four Companies||175 line soldiers per company|
|Company||Lieutenant Commander||Four Platoons||Forty-two line soldiers per platoon|
|Platoon||Lieutenant Junior Grade||Three Squads||Thirteen line soldiers per squad|
|Squad||Staff Sergeant||Three Fire Teams||Four line soldiers per fire team|
Unlike with the regiment, the newly-independent battalions identified their companies by the first four letters of the Aurebesh alphabet. This updated organizational system served the Marines well during the years and wars that followed, when small-scale actions could have profound consequences for concurrent or future operations and campaigns. During their history, the Corps itself grew to include thirty-six battalions of combat troops, organized into twelve divisions. This was in addition to the ten Marine Force Recon companies, along with other autonomous and semi-autonomous combat and specialist units and various administrative, logistical, and public-relations units and teams.
Order of BattleEdit
As of the beginning of the Great Sith War, the order of battle for the Marines' active line units was thus:
By the end of the Jedi Civil War, the order of battle for the Marines' active line units had evolved considerably:
|1st Division||2nd Division||3rd Division||4th Division|
|1st Marine Battalion||4th Marine Battalion||7th Marine Battalion||10th Marine Battalion|
|2nd Marine Battalion||5th Marine Battalion||8th Marine Battalion||11th Marine Battalion|
|3rd Marine Battalion||6th Marine Battalion||9th Marine Battalion||12th Marine Battalion|
|5th Division||6th Division||7th Division||8th Division|
|13th Marine Battalion||16th Marine Battalion||19th Marine Battalion||22nd Marine Battalion|
|14th Marine Battalion||17th Marine Battalion||20th Marine Battalion||23rd Marine Battalion|
|15th Marine Battalion||18th Marine Battalion||21st Marine Battalion||24th Marine Battalion|
Though the intervening years had seen an increase in the number of combat units through the restructuring of the Marine Corps, this was due to the fact that the battalion, even as the new primary field unit, was smaller than the regiment. By the end of the First Jedi Purge and Dark Wars that followed the defeat of Revan and Malak's Sith Empire, the Marines' ranks had been severely depleted. Thus, while the Corps could boast nearly thirty-six operational battalions, the sixty years of near constant warfare had reduced overall numbers drastically. Fortunately for the Republic, there were no shortages of volunteers; within another two decades the Marines were back up to full strength and combat capability.
During the Great Galactic War, however, the Marines would once again take heavy losses, with several battalions being put out of action entirely due to casualties. What units that remained fit for combat were used some years later to end the Cold War, when the newly-appointed Commandant Daria Uwe sought to reopen hostilities on the Republic's terms. Many years later, the severe economic downturns that took place during the Republic Dark Age forced the Republic Military to cut back on the size of the Marine Corps. Despite the fact that intermittent conflicts were still ongoing throughout the outer reaches of known space, the 11th and 12th Divisions were disbanded. Their vehicles, equipment and personnel were redistributed among the ten remaining divisions in order to fill out the losses they had sustained.
The Marine Corps Ceremonial Guard CompaniesEdit
“The best kind of protection in the galaxy is the one that the bad guy never sees. While they're contemplating our pretty armor, the guys in street clothes with the FAB bags are ready to cut'em down.”—Anonymous Ceremonial Guard
The first specialized unit of the Marine Corps to be commissioned, the Ceremonial Guard Companies originally consisted of four companies of the best-qualified Marine officers and troopers available. First formed in the aftermath of the Great Hyperspace War, the Guard's primary mission was the protection of the Supreme Chancellor and the Galactic Senate, wherever they might go throughout the galaxy. As the Republic expanded over the millennium between the former conflict and the onset of the Old Sith Wars, the Guard increased in size to seven companies and expanded its role to the protection of consulates and embassies. Though they were organized into company-type formations, each unit of the Guard consisted of six oversized platoons; each company was tasked with overseeing an entire galactic region, with its constituent platoons covering the most important sectors within each region.
Though their armor was designed to be readily identifiable, their training and purpose was quite practical; it was in fact only worn by those Marines who protected officials in transit. Those who watched over stationary politicians and their offices instead wore discrete clothing that hid durable combat suits, and carried powerful blaster carbines in specialized briefcases, called "fast-action blaster" cases or "FAB bags" for short, that could be extracted, assembled, and wielded extremely quickly. Separate from the Senate Guard, they were considered to be expert personal protectors and skilled at spotting defensive strengths and weaknesses, drawing additional resources as needed from a planet's regular Marine garrison. In the wake of the Ruusan Reformation the Ceremonial Guards, like the rest of the military, were disbanded, their role overtaken by the Senate Guard and Judicial Forces as well as the Jedi Order.
Order of battleEdit
By the time of the Great Droid Revolution, the Guard had dispersed to cover the majority of the galaxy where required. The disposition and areas of coverage were thus, with the Outer Rim being divided into two halves along the Corellian Trade Spine and Perlemian Trade Route:
|1st Marine Guards Company||Core Worlds/Deep Core||Coruscant|
|2nd Marine Guards Company||Colonies||Cato Neimoidia|
|3rd Marine Guards Company||Inner Rim Territories||Denon|
|4th Marine Guards Company||Expansion Region||Ord Vaug|
|5th Marine Guards Company||Mid Rim||Ord Mantell|
|6th Marine Guards Company||Outer Rim Territories (south quadrant)||Sluis Van|
|7th Marine Guards Company||Outer Rim Territories (north quadrant)||Toprawa|
The order of battle for each company was different than their counterpart units serving in active battalions. They did not possess organic heavy weapons units, vehicles, or logistical apparatuses, however the Guard did include scout/sniper pairs. The organization of a typical guard company was:
|Unit||Commanding officer rank||Constituent units||Nominal strength|
|Guard Company||Commander||Six Sector Platoons||Sixty-eight soldiers per platoon|
|Sector Platoon||Lieutenant Senior Grade||Four Detail Squads||Seventeen soldiers per squad|
|Detail Squad||Gunnery Sergeant||Four Protection Teams||Four soldiers per team|
Detail squads were those which oversaw the defense of embassies themselves, sending out four-being protection teams to escort Senators, ambassadors, and other high-value government officials when they left such buildings for official purposes. It was because platoons, squads and teams operated with such autonomy—often in different sectors—that the Ceremonial Guard demanded so much from Marines that wished to join them. Soldiers and officers alike were expected to be committed, capable operators who demonstrated complete mastery of the core principles of the Corps, as such protective details could be more unpredictable than actual combat.
Republic Marine Force ReconnaissanceEdit
“You want Marines on that wall, Admiral, Marines to keep their eyes sharp for when the enemy comes to get you. But if you want to see what's behind the enemy's wall, you want my Force Recon boys.”—Marine Commander Hestus Jessup to Vice Admiral Oluth Par'fey, prior to his Force Recon troopers' first war game
In addition to other reforms brought about during the period of reorganization that followed the defeat of Exar Kun's forces, the first companies of Republic Marine Force Reconnaissance units, referred to simply as Force Recon, were created by Commander Hestus Jessup. The first such units to be assembled drew veteran troops from those units which had fought on Onderon during the Beast Wars, soldiers who had training and experience in reconnaissance work and other aspects of unconventional warfare. For six months Jessup oversaw the integration of the first two companies of Force Recon troopers, demonstrating their prowess in a series of war games conducted on Talravin, Metellos, and Fresia and involving a number of established Army garrisons. The results were promising, and Jessup was given the go-ahead to raise more companies, as well as the task of putting together a training regimen and planning how to integrate the new sub-branch into the Corps itself.
By 3,985 BBY the task was largely complete, with semi-autonomous companies being attached to pre-existing divisions based across the Republic and capable of responding swiftly to developing situations. Though in theory they would be directly overseen by the admirals commanding their parent units, in practice they were to be deployed in platoon strength only. Their primary missions involved being sent into hostile territory in order to gather intelligence and harass any enemy forces, either by wiping out isolated pockets of troops, seizing supplies, or sabotaging defenses. Force Recon units were also used to conduct special missions alongside other operations conducted by any of the Republic Military's three service branches, including pinpoint strikes at key defenses or the extraction of high-value individuals, be they friendly or hostile. In protracted fighting, a Force Recon squad might be tasked with bypassing enemy defenses either to secure prisoners for interrogation or computer files to be examined for new data.
The basic structure of Marine Force Recon companies was the same as others within the Marine Corps with the exception that they were made up of three platoons and not four. However, the very nature of their missions demanded a higher degree of autonomy, with the various platoons having their own numerical designation that other, similar units would not have received. The platoons were also slightly larger, with each squad being assigned a dedicated communications specialist in addition to the intelligence officer who advised the platoon's leader. In addition, these smaller units possessed little in the way of heavy firepower, instead relying on small arms and powerful explosives to facilitate their missions. Finally, Force Recon soldiers saw little, if any, shipboard combat.
|Unit||Constituent units||Attached to|
|1st Marine Force Recon Company||3rd, 5th, 6th Marine Force Recon Platoons||5th Marine Division|
|2nd Marine Force Recon Company||1st, 4th, 11th Marine Force Recon Platoons||2nd Marine Division|
|3rd Marine Force Recon Company||2nd, 7th, 9th Marine Force Recon Platoons||8th Marine Division|
|4th Marine Force Recon Company||8th, 15th, 16th Marine Force Recon Platoons||7th Marine Division|
|5th Marine Force Recon Company||10th, 13th, 17th Marine Force Recon Platoons||9th Marine Division|
|6th Marine Force Recon Company||12th, 18th, 22nd Marine Force Recon Platoons||1st Marine Division|
|7th Marine Force Recon Company||14th, 19th, 21st Marine Force Recon Platoons||10th Marine Division|
|8th Marine Force Recon Company||20th, 23rd, 26th Marine Force Recon Platoons||4th Marine Division|
|9th Marine Force Recon Company||24th, 27th, 29th Marine Force Recon Platoons||3rd Marine Division|
|10th Marine Force Recon Company||25th, 28th, 30th Marine Force Recon Platoons||6th Marine Division|
At any one time, an operational battalion would have a forty-five strong platoon of Force Recon troopers attached to it. These troops were among the first to land in any planetary assault, and typically maintained a state of closed communications in regards to the larger units they accompanied, breaking comm silence only if help was urgently needed or the recon platoon itself spotted an immanent threat. During the Mandalorian Wars, a Force Recon platoon infiltrated Zeltros, where they seized a Mandalorian troop transport that was later assigned to Viridian Squadron. As a part of the Republic's effort to liberate Alderaan during the Great Galactic War, a number of Force Recon platoons were involved in gathering field intelligence that proved useful when the time came to begin the operation. This intelligence included keeping tabs on Sith troop movements, allowing such Republic units as Havoc Squad to ambush them.
The Marine Aerospace WingsEdit
“There's nothing quite like terrain-following flying at supersonic speeds while evading detection to get the heart pumping. Forget swoop racing, flying for the Corps is where the real thrills are!”—Marine Lieutenant Chak Ravartin, in a letter to a friend
Starting in 3,987 BBY, during the reorganization prior to the outbreak of hostilities with the Mandalorians, the Marines expanded to include several wings of starfighters, to be equipped with the brand-new Aurek-class tactical strikefighter and later the S-250 Chela-class starfighter. Up until then, the Marines had also relied on Navy assault shuttles piloted by Navy crews, and it was realized that extra aerial support was needed for Marines to be effective in areas of active hostilities or contested landing zones. Since Navy starfighter pilots were expected to be proficient in dogfighting with enemy starfighters in addition to attacking enemy capital ships, they did not have the level of atmospheric combat training that the Mandalorians demonstrated in their raids against the outlier worlds beyond the Republic. What was more, they did not have the same level of expertise with direct ground support operations. In addition, a specialized class of dropship, the T-32z Jarhead-class assault lander, was designed, with pilots initially drawn from the ranks of Navy Search and Rescue units. Some of the more daring smugglers, in lieu of prison time, were given the opportunity to serve as Marine dropship pilots, passing on tactics to the new generation that would eventually replace them.
The Marines' Aerospace Wings were designed to correct this deficiency. By recruiting new pilots from the swoop racing circuits of the galaxy, the Marines were able to quickly field a force of combat-ready pilots who were as comfortable flying through the narrow artificial canyons of a city to attack a ground-based strongpoint as they would be in the vacuum of space. With the exception of dedicated atmospheric and ground-attack training on top of standard space combat tactics, Marine aerospace units were readied and organized on broadly similar terms to their Navy counterparts. Marine squadrons, like their Navy counterparts, also used specific callsigns when communicating within the unit and with the rest of the fleet or force they were attached to. These unique words were chosen when the unit was first formed, and oftentimes became the kernel of each squadron's internal ethos.
|Unit||Commanding officer rank||Constituent units|
|Aerospace Wing||Captain||Three or Four Squadrons|
|Fighter Squadron||Lieutenant Commander||Three Flights|
|Flight||Lieutenant Senior Grade||Four starfighters in two Flight Elements|
Aerospace Wings themselves were typically administrative units only, with the bulk of operations occurring at the squadron level. On large Republic capital ships, a squadron of Marine-piloted Aureks would be assigned to supplement the Navy starfighter units already stationed on board, and would typically take orders from the senior Marine commander. Individual squadrons would also be assigned to ground bases already garrisoned by Marines. At their height, the Marine Corps possessed as many as thirty-seven operational squadrons, which were organized into ten wings. As newer versions of Aurek- and Chela-class starfighters were produced, the various Marine units were among the first to receive such upgrades.
Order of BattleEdit
As of the end of the Jedi Civil War, the order of battle for the Marines' Aerospace Wings was thus, with unit callsigns in parentheses:
|1st Wing||2nd Wing||3rd Wing||4th Wing||5th Wing|
|1st Squadron (Speartip)||5th Squadron (Aurodium)||8th Squadron (Hardnose)||12th Squadron (Zerta)||16th Squadron (Piledriver)|
|2nd Squadron (Gundark)||6th Squadron (Deathball)||9th Squadron (Bastion)||13th Squadron (Knockout)||17th Squadron (Flashknife)|
|3rd Squadron (Leebo)||7th Squadron (Razorfish)||10th Squadron (Ondine)||14th Squadron (Valor)||18th Squadron (Honor)|
|4th Squadron (Javelin)||11th Squadron (Hardpoint)||15th Squadron (Yankee)||19th Squadron (Nightstalker)|
|6th Wing||7th Wing||8th Wing||9th Wing||10th Wing|
|20th Squadron (Entertainer)||24th Squadron (Sacktime)||27th Squadron (Mallet)||31st Squadron (Jaxon)||35th Squadron (Torrent)|
|21st Squadron (Bogey)||25th Squadron (Feldnar)||28th Squadron (Harpoon)||32nd Squadron (Joppe)||36th Squadron (Lasso)|
|22nd Squadron (Falconet)||26th Squadron (Nathak)||29th Squadron (Talon)||33rd Squadron (Starhawk)||37th Squadron (Trebuchet)|
|23rd Squadron (Shabu)||30th Squadron (Wardog)||34th Squadron (Horizon)|
The Aerospace Wings started out small, with the first three being formed in 3,987 BBY and two more having been activated by the end of the following year. The last such unit to be formed, the 10th Marine Aerospace Wing, only became fully operational during the initial phase of the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders' invasion of the Republic. Its three constituent squadrons were hurriedly rushed to the front lines in order to replace units that needed to be pulled back to reform and replace their losses. By the end of that conflict, the wings had ben dispersed across the galaxy to such a degree that they were barely reorganized in time to stand against the resurgent Sith Empire led by Darths Revan and Malak. While the Aerospace Wings would maintain this level of strength until the dissolution of the Marine Corps during the Ruusan Reformation, these first two decades of warfare had done much to strain their resources them in terms of pilots and equipment. Nevertheless, they continued on and were eventually replenished with improved models of the Aurek fighter and other craft.
“With great rank comes great responsibility, Makeup. But woe betide any poor dumb private who thinks that this axiom doesn't apply to them!”—Gunnery Sergeant Tuffass, to a recruit
The Marine Corps used a modified rank structure that combined a system of enlisted and non-commissioned officer ranks similar to that of the Army with the commissioned officer ranks utilized by the Navy. This system had several benefits, including making it easier for Army officers to oversee Marine enlistees and NCOs, and for Marines to adjust to having superiors who were commissioned as naval officers.
Since the Marine Corps made up a fairly small percentage of the Republic military, there were no provisions for the rank system to include the upper admiralty. In fact, vice-admiral was the highest rank that could be held within the Marines, and was given only to the serving Commandant of the Marine Corps. Marine officers who held the rank of captain or rear admiral, being educated in fleet operations as well as ground tactics, typically served as staff officers or liaisons to major Navy or Army commands, though in times of war they sometimes oversaw the deployment of larger units. In some rare cases, captains would actually serve in combat; this occurred most often during the Mandalorian conflict and the Jedi Civil War that followed.
The various grades of enlisted personnel contained three ranks unique to the Marine Corps: Lance Corporal, Gunnery Sergeant and Master Gunnery Sergeant. The first was equivalent to the Army's rank of Specialist and the Navy's rank of Senior Crewer, both of which were the last of the lower ranks below the system of non-commissioned officers. The ranks of Gunnery and Master Gunnery Sergeant also held a unique subculture within the Marines; holders of these ranks were often affectionately referred to as "Gunny" by their superiors and subordinates alike. As the highest-ranking NCOs that most troopers were likely to associate with on a more or less regular basis, gunnery sergeants were regarded as the conduit between the officers that gave the orders and the soldiers who had to carry them out. Master gunnery sergeants, on the other hand, were the ones who introduced newly-commissioned officers to the realities of service in the Corps, taking them through courses that helped to integrate them into field duty and their place in the chain of command.
|Insignia||Marine Rank||Navy Rank||Roles and Responsibilities|
|No insignia||Recruit||Recruit||Enrolled in Basic Training through an enlistment contract, held until graduation.|
|Private (Pvt)||Apprentice Crewer||Common trooper rank, held by Marines who have graduated boot camp and are undergoing advanced training; typically held for six to nine months before promotion.|
|Private First Class (PFC)||Crewer||Common trooper rank, held by Marines who have completed advanced training and assigned to a line unit; typically held for ten to fourteen months before promotion.|
|Lance Corporal (LCpl)||Senior Crewer||Common trooper rank; often served as squad specialists or acting fire team leaders; typically held for sixteen to eighteen months before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Corporal (Cpl)||Petty Officer Third Class||Lowest non-commissioned officer rank; often served as fire team leaders; typically held for two years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Sergeant (Sgt)||Petty Officer Second Class||Second NCO rank; often served as platoon specialists or seconds to squad leaders; typically held for twenty-four to thirty months before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Staff Sergeant (SSgt)||Petty Officer First Class||Third NCO rank; often served as squad leaders, company-level specialists, supervisors of civilian support staff, or junior drill instructors; typically held for three years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt)||Chief Petty Officer||Fourth NCO rank; experienced NCOs that often served as platoon sergeants (lead unit NCO) or as senior drill instructors; typically held for forty to forty-five months before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Master Sergeant (MSgt)||Senior Chief Petty Officer||Fifth NCO rank; experienced NCOs that often served as staff aides to company- or battalion-level officers or as drill instructors for advanced training courses; typically held for four to five years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|First Sergeant (1stSgt)||Master Chief Petty Officer||Sixth NCO rank; highly-experienced NCOs that often served as company sergeants (lead unit NCO) or senior drill instructors for advanced training courses; typically held for five to six years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt)||Command Master Chief Petty Officer||Seventh NCO rank; highly-experienced NCOs that often served as staff aides to battalion commanders or post-graduate trainers for new officers; typically held for six to seven years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Sergeant Major (SgtMaj)||Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer||Eighth NCO rank; highly-experienced NCOs that often served as battalion sergeants (lead unit NCO) or as staff aides to flag-rank officers; typically held for eight years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Command Sergeant Major (ComSgtMaj)||Sector Master Chief Petty Officer||Ninth and highest regular NCO rank; highly-experienced and -vetted NCOs that often served as regimental (later division) sergeants or as senior aides to flag-rank officers; no further promotion possible unless commissioned as an officer or appointed by the Commandant.|
|Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (CorpsSgtMaj)||Chief Petty Officer of the Republic Navy||Highest possible NCO rank; highly-experienced and -vetted NCO that served as the figurehead and advocate for the Marine Corps' enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers; held by one being at a time, appointed by the Commandant.|
|Insignia||Marine Rank||Army Rank||Roles and Responsibilities|
|No insignia||Officer cadet||Officer cadet||Enrolled in the Marine Corps Academy, held until graduation.|
|Ensign (ENS)||Second Lieutenant||Lowest officer rank held by Academy graduates; often served as platoon XOs or pilot officers within starfighter squadrons; typically held for eighteen months before promotion or earlier for meritorious service|
|Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)||First Lieutenant||Second officer rank; often served as platoon leaders or element leaders within starfighter squadrons; typically held for three years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Lieutenant Senior Grade (LT)||Captain||Third officer rank; experienced officers that often served as company XOs, outpost commanders, or flight leaders within starfighter squadrons; typically held for four to five years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Lieutenant Commander (LtCMDR)||Major||Fourth officer rank; experienced officers that often served as company commanders, battalion XOs, or leaders of starfighter squadrons; typically held for six years before promotion or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Commander (CMDR)||Lieutenant Colonel||Fifth officer rank; highly-experienced officers that often served as battalion commanders or staff officers within larger Marine units; typically held for six or seven years before promotion by selection board or earlier for meritorious service.|
|Captain (CAPT)||Colonel||Sixth officer rank, first based on competitive promotion criteria. Highest commissioned field rank; highly-experienced officers that often served as staff officers, senior field commanders, or aerospace wing leaders; typically held for eight years before promotion by selection board.|
|Rear Admiral (Lower Half) (RADR)||Brigadier General||Seventh officer rank, second based on competitive promotion criteria. Lowest flag rank; long-serving, experienced career officers that often served as staff officers to major Army or Navy commands, or as Marine division commanders; typically held for ten years before promotion by selection board.|
|Rear Admiral (Upper Half) (RADM)||Major General||Eighth officer rank, third based on competitive promotion criteria. Middle-lower flag rank; long-serving, experienced officers that often served as senior force commanders or governmental liaison officers; typically held for the remainder of active career unless appointed by the Galactic Senate.|
|Vice Admiral (VADM)||Lieutenant General||Final officer rank; middle flag rank that could be held only by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Could only be conferred upon an individual by Senatorial appointment, after recommendation by the serving Supreme Chancellor after retirement of previous Commandant.|
Awards and citationsEdit
“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.”—Anonymous Marine officer
Like the rest of the Republic Military, the Marine Corps also bestowed awards and citations upon its officers and soldiers for acts of heroism, outstanding performance in the field, or other noteworthy achievements. The only example of a medal that could be awarded to a Marine that was also given to Army and Navy personnel was the Cross of Glory; below that, the Corps had its own structure for and system of decorations, citations and awards. Many of these honors reflected the cultural ethos of the Marine Corps, for example the three-tier award system that rated an individual's skill with small arms—those levels being basic, sharpshooter, and expert. In addition there were significant numbers of non-combat related awards and badges, which could be earned during training or ordinary line service during peacetime. These included badges that reflected a Marine's dedication to the Corps, or demonstrated that the recipient had successfully passed one or more of the advanced training courses that were available.
These medals could only be earned during times of war or other combat situations, such as border skirmishes, internal interventions, and police actions. Recipients had to be recommended for awards of this nature by their commanding officers; in the case of high honors such as the Cross of Glory or the Marine Corps Star, a small board of inquiry would be established to review the recommendation and issue the citation. Flag officers of all three service branches, however, could bestow such awards without the need of a review board. The earning of multiples of the same award were reflected by clusters—small, gold bezels—which were affixed to the ribbons of each medal.
As was the case with all three branches of the military, Marines operating under the command of or serving in close coordination with units of the Republic Army and Navy, if they were deemed worthy, could also earn medals that were normally issued to Army and Navy personnel. This typically happened only during wartime, and usually involved the soldier performing acts that fell outside of the normal duties expected of a Marine. Incidents could include, but were not limited to, coming to the aid of an Army unit on the front lines, or providing emergency support for Navy personnel during space combat operations. Such citations included the Navy Orb, a high decoration similar in grade to the Marine Corps Star, or the Silver Shield, the Army equivalent of the Silver Comet.
|Cross of Glory||Highest||Awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in combat operations against an armed aggressor. Typically required review board but could be directly awarded by an officer of flag rank (Rear Admiral/Brigadier General or higher) in the field.|
|Marine Corps Star||High||Awarded for acts of heroism involving great risk of life and limb, in combat operations against an armed aggressor. Typically required review board but could be directly awarded by an officer of flag rank (Rear Admiral/Brigadier General or higher) in the field.|
|Marine Corps Distinguished Service Order||High||Awarded for acts of courage and/or selfless leadership during combat situations which result in successful mission completion OR minimizing of loss to life and matériel. Typically recommended by unit leader and approved by higher echelons.|
|Marine Corps Silver Comet||Medium||Awarded for conspicuous bravery in the face of enemy fire OR for continuous acts of initiative and tactical excellence during sustained combat operations. Typically recommended by unit leader and approved by higher echelons.|
|Marine Corps Bronze Comet||Medium-low||Awarded for single acts of initiative or bravery which result in high mission performance OR continuous meritorious service during sustained combat operations. Typically recommended by unit leader and approved by higher echelons, or awarded later upon review.|
|Marine Corps Crimson Cross||High to low||Awarded for having sustained wounds during the course of combat operations (different grades issued depending on wound severity, up to and including death in combat). Automatically given to personnel who meet criteria.|
|Marine Corps Combat Badge||Low||Awarded for having engaged in combat with an armed foe who is an enemy of the Republic. Automatically given to personnel who meet criteria.|
|Marine Corps Civilian Service Award||High to low||Awarded for contributions to the war effort or combat operations on behalf of the Marine Corps by civilians not otherwise enlisted or commissioned therein (different grades issued depending on level of contribution). Typically required review board but could be directly awarded by an officer of flag rank (Rear Admiral/Brigadier General or higher) in the field or after the fact.|
|Marine Corps Victory Medal||Low||Awarded for service during a major galactic war in which the Republic triumphed (various ribbons indicated different conflicts). Automatically given to personnel who meet criteria.|
These ribbons marked the different versions of the Marine Corps Victory Medal that was given to individual Marines who saw service with the Corps during major galactic campaigns, regardless of their capacity. Earning these campaign citations, along with the medal itself did require that a Marine had served within the theater of hostilities and, thus, taken part in the campaign's prosecution in some way, shape or form. The following nine versions were among the more noteworthy ribbons issued throughout the history of the Corps:
|First Sith War ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the Great Hyperspace War|
|Droid Revolution ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the Great Droid Revolution|
|Onderon Campaign ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the Beast Wars or Freedon Nadd Uprising|
|Great Sith War ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the Great Sith War|
|Mandalorian Invasion ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the Mandalorian Wars|
|Jedi Rebellion ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the Jedi Civil War|
|Sith Imperial War ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the Great Galactic War, the resulting Cold War, and the actions that precipitated the resumption of hostilities|
|Sith Insurgency ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the New Sith Wars|
|Ruusan Campaign ribbon||Given to Marines who served during the Ruusan Campaign|
Citations were also given to Marines who had served on various Republic-aligned planets for a year or more at a time. These were considered to be mementos rather than actual awards; nevertheless, they were typically displayed on a Marine's dress uniform along with any other medals, badges, or citations.
Proficiency and service badgesEdit
These awards and badges were typically earned during training or peacetime service. Some awards superseded others; in these cases, the one with greater prestige was worn by a Marine who had earned both during the course of their careers. These included badges that identified individual involvement with branches such as Marine Force Recon or the Marksmanship Team. Other such badges were indicators of how versatile individual Marines could be, or how skillful they were in the use of blaster weapons.
|Bronze Aerospace Wings||Worn by starfighter pilots, support personnel, and officers serving within the Marine Aerospace Wings, as well as dropship crews|
|Force Recon badge||Worn by Marines serving or who have served in Republic Marine Force Reconnaissance units|
|Scout/Sniper Service badge||Worn by graduates of Marine Corps Scout/Sniper Training whether or not they serve as scout/snipers|
|Infiltrator/Saboteur badge||Worn by Marines who underwent and graduated from Infiltration, Reconnaissance and Sabotage Training|
|Field Demolitions Expert badge||Worn by Marines who underwent and graduated from Tier 1 Demolitions Training|
|Heavy Weapons Proficiency badge||Worn by Marines who underwent training in the deployment and use of heavy weapons|
|Close-Quarters Combat badge||Worn by Marines who underwent and graduated from Close-Quarters Combat training|
|Technical Proficiency badge||Worn by Marines who were skilled with technical applications, including computer, vehicle and droid operations and repair|
|Vehicle Crew badge||Worn by Marines who piloted or crewed the various support vehicles utilized by the Corps|
|Expert Rifle Marksmanship badge||Worn by those who qualified with an "expert" rating on blaster rifles and carbines during Basic Training (top tenth percentile of possible scores)|
|Rifle Sharpshooter badge||Worn by those who qualified with a "sharpshooter" rating on blaster rifles and carbines during Basic Training (top twentieth percentile of possible scores)|
|Basic Rifle Marksmanship badge||Worn by those who qualified with a "basic" rating on blaster rifles and carbines during Basic Training (top thirtieth percentile of possible scores)|
|Expert Pistol Marksmanship badge||Worn by those who qualified with an "expert" rating on blaster pistols during Basic Training (top tenth percentile of possible scores)|
|Pistol Sharpshooter badge||Worn by those who qualified with a "sharpshooter" rating on blaster pistols during Basic Training (top twentieth percentile of possible scores)|
|Basic Pistol Marksmanship badge||Worn by those who qualified with a "basic" rating on blaster pistols during Basic Training (top thirtieth percentile of possible scores)|
These awards, honors and citations were primarily accrued during peacetime service, however some were issued during times of war. Most of these badges applied to individual Marines, but others were unit-related, particularly those that related to the public-service units of the Corps. The Chancellery Unit Citation and Combat Readiness Ribbons were awarded to individual units, which could range from individual companies to entire divisions depending on the circumstances; the former citation was awarded only by the sitting Supreme Chancellor, while the latter was given by the Commandant of the Marines.
|Chancellery Unit Citation||Awarded to Marine units that demonstrate exemplary performance in their duties during combat or peacetime operations, as recognized by the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Senate|
|Combat Readiness Ribbon||Awarded to Marine units that demonstrate high efficiency scores during peacetime field exercises as recognized by the Commandant of the Marines|
|Occupation Force Ribbon||Awarded to Marine units that uphold the values of the Republic while serving as part of occupation forces on worlds hitherto belonging to enemies of the Republic; only awarded during or immediately after wartime|
|Four-year service stripe||Given in four-year increments to enlisted Marines; worn in groups on the lower sleeves of dress and service uniforms|
|Ten-year service stripe||Given in ten-year increments to enlisted Marines who have served for more than twenty years; worn in groups on the lower sleeves of dress and service uniforms above their four-year stripes|
|Marine of the Year||Awarded to one Marine, either officer or enlisted each year, as determined by the Commandant, the Admiralty, and a poll of all holders of captain and commander rank, for outstanding overall service|
|Ceremonial Guard Ribbon||Given to Marines who serve or have served within the Ceremonial Guard Companies, protecting government officials as well as embassies, consulates, or other government offices|
|Fleet Service Ribbon||Given to Marines who demonstrate exemplary service while serving aboard warships of the Republic Navy or other allied governments|
|Frontier Service Ribbon||Given to Marines who demonstrate exemplary service while stationed at frontier outposts along the Outer Rim of the galaxy|
|Marksmanship Team Badge||Given to Marine officers and enlistees who qualified for and participated in shooting events as part of the Marine Corps Marksmanship Teams|
|Red Gundarks Badge||Given to Marine pilots and service crews who serve or have served with the Red Gundarks flight demonstration team|
|Musicians' Badge||Given to Marine personnel who perform or have performed with the Marine Corps Band|
|Prisoner of War Ribbon||Given to Marines who were captured or interred as a POW during wartime and either escaped, were liberated by Republic forces, or were released from custody after hostilities ended; automatically awarded to those meeting requirements|
|Survivalist's Ribbon||Given to all Republic military personnel who successfully complete the SERE training course; same ribbon awarded for all service branches|
|Drill Instructors' Ribbon||Given to Marine Corps non-commissioned officers who demonstrate consistent skill and results while training new recruits|
|Innovative Service Citation||Given to Marine officers and enlistees who demonstrate strategic or tactical initiative during field training exercises, or demonstrate innovative thinking and talent through the course of normal duties.|
|Re-Enlistment Medal||Given to Marine enlistees who show dedication to the Corps by re-enlisting upon the expiration of their first term of service|
|Good Conduct Medal||Given to Marines who serve for two years or more without a single recorded disciplinary infraction including non-judicial proceedings and courts-martial|
|Fitness Medal||Given to Marines who achieve high marks in physical fitness training as well as in combat preparedness drills|
A Marine's full collection of awards, honors, citations and badges was worn on their dress uniforms, in ascending order according to the importance of each ribbon. The amalgamation, colloquially referred to as a soldier's "salad bar" due to the colorful nature of the various ribbons, served two purposes. Firstly, it was a personal reminder of a Marine's experience in service to the Republic; secondly, it demonstrated to others the extent and extant of the person's commitment to the soldiering trade. The salad bar itself consisted of four distinct elements: on the right breast just above the pocket was placed a name plate; above that, if earned, went the Chancellery Unit Citation, Combat Readiness Ribbon and Occupation Force Ribbon (if earned); over this was displayed either the Red Gundarks Badge, Musician's Badge, or Marksmanship Team Badge (if earned).
Upon the left breast pocket's upper flap was placed a Marine's shooting honors for blaster rifles and pistols; above this was the collection of rectangular ribbons which marked the other awards and citations earned in the course of an individual's service. These began just above the pocket and were worn four in a row with each new row starting at the center and moving outward; the ribbons themselves were placed in order of prominence that was dictated by awards regulations and began from right to left, facing the wearer, in ascending order. Above this was worn the Marine Corps Combat Badge, and above that was placed whichever proficiency or service badge a Marine had earned; in the case of multiple badges, the highest-ranking was the one most typically worn. Pilots with the Marine Corps Aerospace Wings wore Bronze Aerospace Wings instead of the Combat Badge and any proficiency awards.
Though the more colorful elements of the salad bar were relegated to the dress uniform, some decorations were still retained on the Marines' other uniforms. The service uniform, which was worn more often, retained the name plate, shooting honors, combat badge (if earned) and whichever proficiency badge a Marine had earned. These were worn on the uniform jacket as well as the blouse which was worn underneath, either short or long sleeve. The more ubiquitous battle dress uniform dispensed with the shooting honors, and the badges and name plate were replaced by embroidered cloth patches that were either sewn into the jacket itself or attached using hook-and-barb strips. Unit patches were also worn on the service and battle dress uniforms; upon a Marine's left shoulder was placed their division badge, while on the right they wore their regimental (later battalion) insignia.
Tactics and deploymentEdit
Overall tactical doctrineEdit
“Luck is the difference between a good battle plan going bad, and a bad one going well.”—Marine axiom, as quoted by Laera Reyolé
The Republic Marines were first formed within the Republic Navy, and intended to serve as adjuncts to a warship's security personnel. Trained in close-quarters combat using both ranged and melee weapons, they became effective at repelling boarders and even at boarding enemy warships. Admiral Sakira Tobonne, who had originally outlined the concept of the Marines and served as their first Commandant, soon realized that these skills would translate well to urban warfare. Overall, the Marine Corps saw itself and its units as shock troopers, able to overwhelm their enemies and provide a conduit for funneling reinforcements onto contested areas or battlefields, leaving the tasks of city, region, or planetary occupation and protracted fighting to the Republic Army.
In the years leading up to the Mandalorian Wars, the Republic Marines diversified radically. While they had always—and continued to be—experts in small-unit tactics on dense urban battlefields, a greater emphasis was placed on flexibility and initiative. The regiment was abandoned in favor of the battalion as the largest self-contained unit, with emphasis placed on company and platoon commanders becoming more proactive and able to adapt to changing battlefield circumstances. While still officially classified as a subdivision of the Navy, the Marines adopted such tactics as scout/sniper pairs, infiltration and extraction teams, as well as commando operations which included sabotage, high-value target neutralization options, and the raiding of an enemy's vulnerable rear areas and logistical support. This model for organization and operation remained largely unchanged throughout the rest of the history of the Republic Marines, due in large part to its success against the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders and the Sith Empire under Darths Revan and Malak.
“No plan survives contact with the enemy.”—Marine axiom
All soldiers and officers were trained in the Three As, as the Marine Corps referred to the set of basic principles of combat: awareness, alacrity and adaptation. Each was significant on its own; awareness referred to the necessity of knowing as much as possible about the operation, the enemy, and the developing situation; alacrity meant carrying out assignments, orders, or plans quickly and in good order; adaptation stressed the ability to change one's perspective and tactics in accordance with how an operation proceeded. All three of these principles provided the basis for the fourth, and most important axiom: anticipation. According to Marine Corps philosophy, it was better to be able to anticipate what one's enemy might do than to be forced to react to what they had already done.
Developed by Admiral Tobonne himself during his pirate-hunting career prior to the foundation of the Marine Corps, these principles were drilled into enlisted recruits and officer cadets from the very first day of instruction. Further training courses continued to emphasize them, reaffirming a Marine's understanding before moving on to the specialized training for which the course was designed. Army and Navy personnel who joined the Corps by going through the Inter-Service Training School were expected to learn these principles as well; they were considered so vital, in fact, that the first three weeks of the nine-week course had been designed to ensure that these axioms overrode the inductees' prior Army or Navy training. As the reputation of the Corps grew, some civilian security and law enforcement agencies, and even some mercenary companies, began to adopt most or all of these principles.
“You go where they send you, that's the long and short. You either learn to love traveling the galaxy, or you learn how to get out.”—Marine Sergeant Denaas Bekuur, in his memoirs
Marine Corps units saw shipboard and planetside duty throughout the Republic, though they saw the majority of their service on the outer reaches of the explored galaxy. Ideally, every warship in the Navy of frigate class or greater would have had a cadre of Marine troopers assigned to it, though in practice this was rarely maintained. Foray-class blockade runners were the smallest ships that would receive a Marine detachment, carrying only a squad; Hammerhead-class cruisers, being the mainstay of the Outer Rim fleets during the Mandalorian Wars and Old Sith Wars, could carry a platoon. Larger capital ships such as Interdictor-class cruisers might carry two companies, while command vessels such as Centurion-class battlecruisers or Inexpugnable-class tactical command ships could field an entire battalion's worth of officers and soldiers. These numbers were in addition to any regular Army troopers that would normally serve as part of a warship's crew, however it was rare for an entire battalion to ship out aboard a single vessel, no matter how large. In addition, the starfighter compliment aboard these classes of capital ships would often be augmented by at least one Marine squadron.
Marine units were also assigned to many of the frontier worlds of the Republic, the size of their garrison usually dependent on how valuable or populated any given world might be according to a number of factors that included the overall galactic situation. Small listening and communications posts might be guarded by a single company, but they would oftentimes have support from ground-based Marine starfighters in addition to priority access to the HoloNet in order to report relevant information or request reinforcements or extraction in the face of attack. On worlds that were strategically valuable or else heavily-populated, Marines served as supplementary forces; part of this included ceremonial duties such as serving as the guardians of embassies, consulates, and other government agencies and the buildings in which they conducted business. In these cases, Marines utilized the services and support of vehicles from the Army and Navy, as dedicated Marine support units were seen as more important to reinforcing the frontier. The size of such supplementary forces was never greater than two companies' worth of personnel. The most notable—as well as the only—exception to this rule was Coruscant itself, which always maintained a battalion of Marines on a rotating basis both to provide security for the galactic government and as a means of providing its soldiers and officers time to rest and replenish.
Individual troopers, officers and pilots could expect to see a variety of such duty assignments during their initial six-year commitment, even if they did not choose to pursue a long-term career in the Corps. Officers and enlistees usually served in at least two different units during a given term of service, oftentimes in entirely different regions of the galaxy. While peacetime tours for individual soldiers could last for up to two Standard years, combat deployments were kept to a maximum of six months before a unit was rotated away from the fighting in order to rest, replenish and retrain before being brought back to the front at a different sector. The goal of this was to maintain a sense of mobility, so that a Marine trooper or their unit would not become too comfortable in one place and be more capable of adapting to new environments and conditions. Nevertheless, the Marines did maintain permanent administrative posts, such as stations at various Ordnance/Regional Depots including Ord Cestus, Ord Pardron, and Ord Trasi.
Deployment duties and functionsEdit
“Marines flying about the galaxy in tin-can warships wish they were serving groundside, and dirtdown Marines wish they were hyping around with the Navy. Having experienced both, I prefer the more stable sensation of a planet beneath your boots.”—Lieutenant Senior Grade (Ret.) Garyn Guye, longtime holodrama technical adviser
The day-to-day routine of the Republic Marines varied depending on how and where a given soldier—or unit—was deployed. Marines stationed aboard warships, large or small, led very different lives than they would have if they were assigned to a frontier outpost, or else as the auxiliary contingent to major planetary garrisons. These variations were due mainly to the needs and responsibilities of the given locale; for example, a platoon pulling duty aboard a Hammerhead-class cruiser would not need to maintain watch over a perimeter, and a post garrison would find little use for engaging in close-quarters combat drills.
A Marine unit stationed aboard a Republic warship, be it a small cruiser or the largest of command ships, was expected to maintain an intricate and intimate knowledge of their host vessel. This was strictly-enforced, and it was not uncommon for a soldier who had served aboard a given class, even for a single deployment, to be able to reproduce a ships' schematic from memory. In addition, shipboard Marine units maintained watches that coincided with those held by the Navy officers and crew, which were typically eight hours on, sixteen hours off on a three-watch rotation. Warships which did host a Marine unit typically assigned them to a separate barracks; these tended to be slightly more comfortable than those enjoyed by Army or Navy personnel of similar rank. Rations served to Marine units were also different; due to the physical nature of their duty, shipboard Marines consumed a higher-calorie diet than their Army or Navy counterparts. These were supplemented by "mid-rats"—mid-watch rations consumed as between-meal snacks—which Navy and shipboard Army personnel also enjoyed.
A Marine's watch typically started off with physical training, as was common practice throughout the Corps, though this was expected to have been done prior to coming on-duty. Watch activities consisted primarily of posting and maintaining guard over a warship's high-security areas, such as the reactor core, the main bridge, or the starfighter hanger if applicable. Marine guards would also be posted to the quarters of a warship's captain and command staff, as well as the wardroom as necessary. Captains of larger warships or command ships, as well as visiting flag officers, also received a Marine escort. In addition, a warship's compliment of Marines routinely engaged in snap-drills, testing their reaction time as well as their performance in CQC scenarios. Intrepid commanders also drilled their Marines in small-scale groundside assaults, in case they were needed to help enforce Republic law on the frontier. Marines with technical skills were also given the chance to improve their talents by working with more experienced Navy personnel.
The duties of a Marine assigned to the garrison of a frontier outpost were dictated by the nature and purpose of the outposts themselves: namely, to monitor the borders of the Republic and serve as the first line of defense in case of an invasion by a foreign power. The posts themselves tended to be constructed to best utilize the ground upon which they were placed, with emphasis on defensibility as well as keeping a low profile. No matter the conditions of the planets upon which they were established, all such posts heeded the Coruscant calender and were kept to Galactic Standard Time, the better to coordinate watches and to keep current with the wider galaxy, should information need to be passed along or help required. Like their shipboard counterparts, a Marine serving in such an assignment was expected to know their post intimately; watches were also the same length as those kept aboard warships, however duties were often very different. Troopers assigned to such garrisons would maintain their training in long-range forms of combat, including tactical use of scout/snipers, various heavy weapons, and any support vehicles that might be available.
In addition to maintaining the standard guard watches that an Army base or garrison would maintain, Marine frontier outposts—particularly those placed on uninhabited worlds or those with hostile environments—regularly sent out patrols to scout the surrounding landscape through the use of speeder bikes, landspeeders or airspeeders. These scouting missions were mounted according to the discretion of the post commander, who might dictate one- or two-person patrols conducted once, twice, or up to four times per Coruscant day depending on a given situation. The primary reason for this was to ensure that no foreign presence could establish itself without detection; any being caught up in such a sweep was typically assumed to be a potential hostile and approached cautiously, if at all. Other duties of frontier Marine posts included the monitoring of signals intelligence and cataloging of space traffic through nearby star systems through the use of hypercomm-linked sensor beacons. Such intelligence was passed on to any Republic warship to pass within a post's sphere of coverage.
Unit deployment and interactionEdit
“Forty men and women, working together as one entity and with solid, dependable leadership, can accomplish more than a mob of four hundred beings acting as individuals.”—Admiral Sakira Tobonne, on the importance of small unit command
Though not the smallest sub-unit within the Marine Corps, the well-built platoon was considered to be the key to successful field operations both planetside and in space. While they only rarely operated independently, platoons were thought of as the building blocks for efficient and capable companies, battalions, regiments and divisions. Platoon leaders were responsible not only for the conduct of those under their command, but also for coordination with other field units as well as keeping in touch with the overall chain of command. Because of these responsibilities, officers who would become platoon leaders were strongly encouraged to rely on their executive officers, platoon sergeant, and squad leaders and to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those who established themselves as competent, capable platoon, squad, and fire team leaders often found an increase in their prospects for promotion to higher ranks and greater responsibilities; thus, service in an active-duty platoon was seen as the surest conduit to advancement within the Marine Corps.
The building blocks of the platoon itself were its three rifle squads, each led by a staff sergeant, which in turn consisted of three four-soldier fire teams led by corporals. Like the officers who led the platoon and the units of which it was a part, the non-commissioned officers who commanded these smaller units had to be aware not only of their troopers' strengths and weaknesses, but also how they could be expected to behave in combat and what they could and could not accomplish. Though every soldier and non-commissioned officer knew everyone else within their own platoon, the members of individual squads were considerably closer, while those serving in the same fire team often thought of themselves as near-siblings. The encouragement of such kindred feelings was seen as the foundation for an effective fighting force, with a platoon's leadership sometimes taking on the role of surrogate parent for the younger and less-experienced Marines. The familial nature of the platoon was particularly important in those cases when they did operate independently, for example when being deployed aboard Hammerhead-class cruisers or other, smaller warships.
“Your basic grunt will generally identify with his or her company much more so than they would with their regiment, never mind their division.”—Anonymous Marine NCO, c. 4,706 BBY
Consisting of between one hundred forty to one hundred seventy-five officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers depending on era, the rifle company was the most widely-utilized unit within the Republic Marines. Soldiers tended to more readily identify with their company, and not simply due to the fact that they would list its designation first when sounding off their unit. A standard company was the typical size of a frontier garrison post, as its self-contained and autonomous nature was ideally-suited to the tasks that would be required of such a duty assignment. Because of the interconnected nature of a line company, which had its roots in the rifle platoon, its officers, NCOs and enlistees tended to maintain open channels of communication up the ranks. While officers could connect to the senior lieutenant or lieutenant commander who was in charge, most enlistees tended to look to the company's first sergeant as a role model much in the same way they regarded their platoon's gunnery sergeant. Though not as tightly-knit as the platoon, the company was considered one of the foundations of an individual Marine's life.
Even when operating within the same regiment or battalion, regardless of whether in combat or on a training exercise, a Marine company almost always acted in a semi-independent fashion. This manner of operations had two benefits: first, it allowed unit commanders to maintain a direct link to the situation at hand, preventing any one unit from getting bogged down or diverting the attention of the overall force commander with needless distractions; second, this allowed companies to execute tactical plans in a more fluid motion, with the company commander sending his or her platoons out to accomplish different tasks at different times and in different ways. Furthermore, company-sized formations were ideal for supporting roles when the Marine Corps worked alongside soldiers of the Republic Army and Navy. In keeping with the Marines' doctrine of taking the ground for others to hold, a company could perform the role of spearhead more readily than a larger unit could. Thus, a potential company commander was expected to have proved themselves to be capable leaders and tacticians as well as planners and facilitators.
The regiment and the battalionEdit
“A division's table of organization and equipment looks fine on flimsi, but it tells you next to nothing about what it can actually do.”—Vice Admiral Oluth Par'fey, to a staff aide
When the Republic Marines were first formed and for the following millennium, the primary unit structure was based around the regiment, with constituent battalions and companies sharing a common anchor point for the chain of command. This in turn linked a regiment to its parent division, which as the largest unit within the Corps served as a basis for establishing the presence of Marine forces throughout the galaxy. Like a division, a regiment almost never operated as a whole unit; instead, regimental headquarters were commonly established within the Republic Army garrisons that had already been established on strategically-important worlds. In those rare instances where one or more regiments did take the field, for example during the assault on Yavin 4 at the end of the Great Sith War, their commanding officers would coordinate with the division commander and their staff when formulating plans and allocating resources; this would typically take place aboard the assault fleet's flagship. Actual combat operations were left to battalion and company leadership, however, with smaller-unit autonomy dictated as much by circumstance as the desires of their commanding officers.
Lessons learned as a result of the Great Sith War and other, related conflicts prompted the abandoning of the regiment in favor of a restructured and reinforced battalion. This arrangement had been proven to be more adaptable to shifting circumstances, both within the context of larger battles and in smaller-scale deployments, where only a few companies of Marines were needed to quell a given situation. While the Army retained the use of the regiment and the brigade as subsets of the division, the Marine Corps simply reorganized its regiments into battalions, increasing the number of companies to four and the number of platoons to four per company. This provided increased flexibility while retaining equivalent levels of manpower, enabling a battalion to disperse itself across several worlds or to form together as the situation warranted. Despite this new potential, a battalion commander could not simply order his or her companies to pull up stakes or to scatter; they first had to gain approval for such plans and, more often than not, such deployment orders were handed down from the parent division regardless of intention.
This meant little to the average Marine, who considered their regimental or battalion CO as more of a grandparent that they only occasionally met in passing or heard speak at special occasions. Exceptions were frequent, however, especially during wartime, with many battalion commanders making it a point to ensure that their Marines knew who they were in case they found themselves side-by-side in the heat of battle. Despite this, most enlistees and junior non-commissioned officers identified much more with their platoon and company, having little time or inclination to contemplate the Corps' higher-echelons. As a general rule, only senior NCOs and officers serving in such line units identified with these larger units, as it was their job to relate any and all orders to those under their command.
Unit tactical specializationsEdit
“'I'm just a grunt' is never a valid excuse in the Corps.”—Marine Commander Hestus Jessup
While most Marines served the dual role of line infantry and warship security, exceptional soldiers were recruited into the specialized divisions of the Corps. Every line squad included at least one demolitions specialist, while a typical platoon would include a scout/sniper pair. A field company would include a squad of reconnaissance troopers, which was in turn centered around two scout/sniper pairs and a demolitions and sabotage expert and led by specially-trained NCOs. A full battalion working together would include all of these, in addition to a dedicated intelligence section that reported directly to the battalion commander and commanding officer of the warship or planetary garrison the battalion was stationed with. Since medical and other support services were supplied by the Navy aboard warships and frontier outposts, or by the Army on planetside deployments, there was no need for dedicated medics or vehicle pilots, except in the case of the Marines' own Jarhead-class assault landers and light-armored vehicles.
This up-scaling of tactical specialization allowed for Marine units to be largely modular in nature, so that a reinforced battalion that shipped out with six companies attached to it instead of the usual four would not be bogged down by excess bureaucracy. Similarly, an understrength company or platoon would still have the ability to utilize non-conventional warfare tactics when faced with superior numbers of enemy forces. Advanced individual training, on top of the six months of boot camp that every recruit underwent, ensured that virtually any Marine would be able to, in a crisis, fill in for downed comrades who had received specialized training for these roles. In theory, this also allowed for a smooth transition of leadership should a unit's commanding officer or senior non-commissioned officers be incapacitated during the course of sustained combat operations. This ultimately boiled down to a heavy emphasis on individual soldiers taking the initiative; a Marine was expected to act on the instincts that they had learned in training in order to get the mission done as efficiently as possible.
“Death From Above”—Marine fighter pilot axiom
As befitted their name, the Marine aerospace wings participated in combat in atmosphere as much as they did in the vacuum of space. Nicknamed "flying leathernecks" by their Navy counterparts as a reference to the tenacity of nerf leather, though some believed it also had to do with the general unintelligent nature of the nerf, Marine starfighter pilots were called upon to do more than simply combat other starfighters. Though they were trained in most of the same doctrines, techniques and maneuvers as Navy fliers and organized along parallel lines, the primary purpose of the Marine Aerospace Wings was to serve as additional ground support; thus, Marine pilots received additional, specialized training. In addition, the Corps actively recruited from the ranks of the amateur swoop racing circuits throughout the galaxy, the better to acquire pilots who were already familiar with the concepts of maneuvering in tight spaces and at dangerously low altitudes.
Though Marine pilots were well-equipped to engage enemy starfighters, they were typically held back during fleet engagements. Among the specializations that those who flew for the Marines learned included terrain-following flying, the scatter formation tactic, and the ability to co-ordinate attacks with Marine troopers on the ground. In theory, during combat operations any Marine would be able to access the encrypted operations channel (opchan for short) and request a starfighter strike on a specific target. In practice, however, this was typically overseen by unit commanders, who were often in a better position to know what exactly needed pounding and how hard to pound it. Marine fliers rarely went after capital warships, but they were better equipped to hit targets within asteroid fields and to evade pursuit by enemy forces. During the Mandalorian Wars and Jedi Civil War, and later during the New Sith Wars, Marine fighter squadrons were often sent into enemy-occupied star systems in order to conduct hit-and-fade raids.
Though the various Marine aerospace squadrons were organized into fighter wings, this was only on datafile. On only one occasion, during the series of attacks that marked the end of the Galactic Cold War and the resumption of hostilities between the Republic and the Sith Empire, did the Marine Corps ever intentionally deploy starfighters in wing strength. At all other times squadrons operated autonomously, detached from their parent fighter wings to fulfill varying roles including the augmenting of Navy squadrons aboard capital ships, the supporting of frontier outposts, and as auxiliary units for planetary garrisons. Because of this method of operational deployment, Marine starfighter pilots tended to become quite territorial. Like soldiers in a line platoon, members of a single squadron bonded to a considerable degree, as trust of one's wingmate, one's flight leader, and one's squadron commander was paramount to survival and operational success.
Weapons and equipmentEdit
“All the training in the galaxy ain't worth a bucket of bantha sweat if your gear's crap.”—Marine Sergeant Denaas Bekuur, in his memoirs
Blasters and other weaponsEdit
When they were first formed from the ranks of the Army and Navy, the Republic Marines made use of the same weapons and equipment as the forces they were recruited from. Eventually, after having honed their tactics and doctrine, they began to favor weapons of two distinct types: for short-range work they used blasters with reliable stopping power, such as heavy pistols and compact, rapid-fire carbines; during the Old Sith Wars these roles were filled by the tough DL-3 blaster pistol and the versatile BC-7m blaster carbine, respectively. For medium- to long-ranged field duty, the Corps utilized high-powered battle rifles that could deliver reliable accuracy at ranges in excess of one and a half kilometers; one exemplary model was the BR-12m blaster rifle.
Pistols and carbines were favored for close-quarters combat, often abbreviated to CQC in Marine parlance, such as that which typically took place in boarding actions or room-to-room fighting in urban centers. Blaster rifles, on the other hand, saw the lion's share of service while a Marine unit was stationed out in the field, away from the more civilized parts of a planet. Both types of weapons could be fitted with various attachments, ranging from wide-view optical scopes to glowrods, and even light grenade launchers and slugthrowers that could be attached underneath the barrel. These devices made use of a modular-type rail system, which permitted different soldiers to mount their weapons' accessories at different locations in order to better suit their shooting style. Specialized detachments used highly-modified versions of the long-ranged battle rifles, the result of which further increased their power and accuracy; a trained Republic scout/sniper team, outfitted with a custom-rebuilt BR-12m with specialized sniping scope, could reliably inflict lethal damage at ranges exceeding three kilometers in ideal conditions. When the concept of the assault cannon was introduced, those Marines which were asked to conduct field trials expressed a general disdain for the weapon, and thus no model was ever adapted for service.
Though Marine doctrine and ethos favored precision and mobility over brute strength and overwhelming firepower, the need for and usefulness of heavier types of weapons was still acknowledged and provided for. Depending on circumstances, a squad could include from one to three Marines outfitted either with repeating blasters, grenade launchers that could lob a variety of ordnance types, light proton mortars, portable anti-vehicle missile systems, or a combination of these types. Field units tended to assign their heavy weapons to a single fire team or squad, who would employ their weapons and ordnance as part of a mobile base of fire to cover their comrades' movements on the battlefield. Marine companies and platoons stationed in space, however, placed a much smaller emphasis on the use of larger-scale munitions and delivery systems, as a misplaced explosive or projectile could rupture the hull of a starship, or else accidentally damage components that were vital to continued operations. While shipboard units still maintained their allotment, these were typically kept in reserve, used only on those occasions when they would be called upon to fight on the surface of a planet, moon, or other battlefield where such concerns were minimal. Training in heavy weapons use was typically elective, with Marine volunteers taking courses in the use of various types after having graduated from basic training.
“The right tools for the right job. That's what I love about the Corps—whatever we need, we get.”—Marine Commander Hestus Jessup
In addition to blasters or heavy weapons, Marines typically carried explosives that were somewhat more powerful than those that would normally be carried by their counterparts in the Army, including low- to medium-yield thermal detonators. Each squad included at least one demolitions specialist, who could draw upon the pool of ordnance carried by his or her fellows to achieve any number of objectives, often in non-conventional ways; this was one aspect of Marine demolition training. Most line soldiers within the Corps also carried vibroblades, which were employed not only as last-ditch melee weapons, but also as tools. By the time of the Mandalorian Wars, the Marine Utility Knife Mk. I had been developed and circulated into general service; this item, sixteen centimeters long and nearly five centimeters thick, housed a folding vibroblade of some ten centimeters, in addition to a small hydrospanner, and other miniaturized tools that could be useful in affecting field repairs to damaged weapons and equipment. While not as effective against Mandalorian armor as a blaster or lightsaber would have been, the blade could prove lethal if inserted into the gaps between an enemy's plating.
Filling out the typical assortment of field gear, each Marine was issued a multifrequency comlink, a grapnel hook and supply of liquid cable, an emergency medical kit with kolto injector—which was later replaced by bacta—and extra power cells and gas cartridges for their weapons as well as water and nutrients contained within their armor. Mission-specific equipment, such as nonlethal crowd-control weaponry, specialized demolitions such as anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines, specialized comm gear, and other such miscellaneous devices, would be drawn from a pool as needed and issued in accordance to need as determined by a unit's commanding officers. Marines with specialized training such as recon scouts, fire coordinators, and snipers were issued their own equipment upon joining a line unit, and were the ones primarily responsible for its care and keeping.
“Most of you know how to put on your basic battle armor in your sleep, but Marine armor is a bit more complicated. This suit is vacuum-rated, and its seals will keep out anything from airborne pathogens to nuclear waste, as long as you keep your helmet screwed firmly on your face.”—Captain Laera Reyolé, to the 1st Marine Strike Platoon
Due to the nature of their roles and the fact that they were a relatively small percentage of the armed forces, the Republic Marines enjoyed the use of some of the best suits of battle armor that Republic armorsmiths could craft. Built of tough, reinforced durasteel and comprising eighteen separate pieces, Marines considered their armor to be roughly on par with that worn by the average Mandalorian trooper. The materials used made for a heavier suit than what Republic Army troopers wore, but new recruits were conditioned to accept its bulk by wearing suits that were identical to standard assault armor, but made of significantly heavier materials. These suits would be worn through most of basic training, so that by the time a newly-minted Marine received their standard issue armor, they would be well-equipped to handle any potential hindrances to mobility.
The first type of assault armor, developed in the wake of the Great Hyperspace War, included a large, somewhat bulky cylindrical helmet that appeared to many outside observers to resemble an inverted jar. This resulted in Marines often being referred to as "jarheads," a title that they would never succeed in squelching even after their suits were redesigned and modernized. This new version included a number of key developments, the most noticeable of which were the slimmed-down and upgraded helmet, the replacement of the right shoulder piece with a reinforced pauldron which nested well with Marine-issue blaster rifles (for left-handed individuals, this arrangement was flipped), improved joints within the lower leg armor plating for better maneuverability, and the addition of extra pouches on the utility belt as well as an integrated holster for a sidearm. Marine armor had always been vacuum-rated, but the new set further protected the wearer from exposure to airborne contaminants that included biological pathogens, chemical irritants and agents, and the fallout from nuclear weapons.
Because a Marine's armor was intended to last for a long time outside of combat, many soldiers and officers personalized their suits. On the surface, this was typically limited to small personal markings and the application of mission-specific camouflage as required, while internal variances might be quite different; this also included not wearing certain parts. Force Recon Marines and those who served in scout/sniper pairs, since their skills were of little use in shipboard combat, typically eschewed use of the full set of plating, preferring to wear the chest and back plates, shoulder armor, grieves, boots and helmet over a slate-gray body glove. The ensemble would then be painted a generic gray-green and festooned with local flora to form a sort of "ghillie armor" that would enable them to more easily conceal themselves among whatever terrain they operated in. Demolitions experts would have a hardened equipment case welded to their back plates, in addition to more pouches on their utility belts. Vehicle crews and starfighter pilots, who were not expected to engage in personal combat, were instead issued a hardened flight suit with a self-contained life support system that could be sealed within moments if vacuum exposure was thought of as immanent.
Since the Marine Corps recruited members from all over the Republic, accommodations had to be designed into the basic armor in order to be of use to members of various non-Human species. Bothans, Twi'leks and Rodians were three examples, and their needs were largely met with the design and use of species-specific helmets. Those worn by Bothans and Rodians were roomier at the crown and sides in order to provide space for their larger ears and, in the case of the latter, head-spines and antennae. The needs of serving Twi'leks were met by the design of a helmet with an extra-large rear portion that hung low across their back, which allowed them to comfortably protect their sensitive lekku and still achieve a full vacuum seal. Other species whose physical parameters were sufficiently different from baseline Humans to need special pieces simply consulted either the Corps' in-house armorsmiths or a sufficiently-qualified Navy quartermaster, who would make any necessary alterations or else come up with larger- or smaller-sized equipment. In addition, left-handed individuals would be issued with pauldrons designed for the left shoulder, as Marine weapons were ambidextrous.
Serving Marines did not spend most of their time encased within their armor; in fact, it was only worn either as part of a sanctioned mission or when combat was expected to occur within a few moments' notice. For this reason, soldiers and officers were issued three different types of uniforms: a full dress uniform for ceremonies and formal occasions, a service uniform for day wear in populated areas, and the utilitarian battle-dress uniform. For physical training purposes, Marines were given standard athletic sweatwear in two varieties, long-sleeved and -legged, and short-sleeved, short-bottomed; both styles of top were emblazoned with "MARINES" in block Aurebesh.
Often nicknamed "dress reds" due to their overall color of Republic Red trimmed in gold, at least one set of this uniform was maintained by every Marine, no matter their rank. The uniform itself consisted of a red tailored jacket with two breast pockets bound with a gold neck clasp and piping down the center. A white belt with a gold buckle, bearing the Marie Corps seal, bound the jacket. Trousers were of a less intense and lighter shade of red, with a wide gold stripe running down the outer leg on each side. The ensemble was finished off with a pair of sturdy maroon leather dress shoes and a red hat with black bill, gold Marine Corps seal, red middle and white top. Uniforms of this type were most often worn for ceremonial unit functions, such as the greeting of a new commanding officer, a visit by an officer of flag rank from the Army, Navy or Marine Corps, or celebrations of government holidays including Corps Day. In addition to these uses, Marines would wear their dress uniform at formal occasions both military and civilian in nature, including such instances as weddings, funerals, and other occasions where formal dress was called for.
There were small but noticeable differences in the dress reds worn by officers and those worn by enlisted personnel and NCOs. Officer uniforms were distinguished by their black shoulder epaulets, upon which their rank insignia was placed, and the white cuffs trimmed with gold thread; enlisted and non-commissioned uniforms had no epaulets and their rank was worn on their upper arms, along with four- and ten-year service stripes worn on their forearms, which lacked the cuffs. On their dress uniform a Marine would display all of the honors and achievements that he or she had earned during their service with the Corps, be they personal or unit citations, combat awards, medals or proficiency badges, in addition to a tag which bore the person's surname. The individual's name and unit honors were worn over the right breast, while personal honors and badges were worn on the left in a mosaic that was referred colloquially as one's "salad bar."
Referred to as "service greens" due to the green drab color of the jacket and trousers, at least one set of this uniform was maintained by every Marine no matter their rank. The uniform was similar in cut to the dress uniform, consisting of a green jacket with two breast pockets and bound by a buckled belt of similar color. Unlike the dress uniform, however, the jacket's styling included a series of four buttons, each of which was cast with the Marine Corps seal and was worn over a beige buttoned tunic. The ensemble was finished off with a pair of sturdy black leather shoes and a green drab hat with black bill for officers, and a round, four-point hat called a "campaign cover" for enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers. Uniforms of this type were most often worn daily during duty hours by Marines who worked with or were stationed in close proximity to civilians and population centers. They were also worn for off-base excursions during down time, such as when a Marine went into a town or city to visit establishments or see friends or relatives.
There were small but noticeable differences in the service uniform worn by officers and those worn by enlisted personnel and NCOs, aside from their covers. Officer uniforms were distinguished by their red shoulder epaulets, upon which their rank insignia was placed, and the red bands around their cuffs; enlisted and non-commissioned uniforms had no epaulets and their rank was worn on their upper arms, and service stripes were worn on their forearms. On their service uniform a Marine would display only their rank, a unit patch worn at each shoulder designating their division and battalion, a nameplate with their surname, the combat badge if earned, as well as their shooting skill and proficiency badges. These decorations were repeated on the tunic, which was usually short-sleeved, allowing for the removal of the uniform jacket according to necessity or protocol.
Battle dress uniformEdit
By far the most prevalent uniform worn by officers and enlisted personnel, the Battle Dress Uniform was a basic, hard-wearing set of garments festooned with pockets and with a belt upon which pouches for all sorts of utility gear could be attached; these included a holster for a blaster pistol, pouches for power packs and gas canisters, as well as other equipment. Simply referred to as BDUs, every Marine was issued three sets upon enlistment. The tailoring was the same for both officers and enlisted personnel, and only differed in the smaller, black rank badges worn on the left collar. The jacket was worn loosely-buttoned over a simple shirt and the trousers were bloused over the sturdy leather combat boots, with the "utility cover" rounding out the ensemble. Other than rank, decorations were limited to a name tag and subdued versions of the combat badge if earned, and the Marine's individual proficiency badge.
Battle dress uniforms were the uniform of choice whenever a Marine was assigned to a warship or a frontier outpost, though working Marines still wore them when assigned to more civilized worlds or larger training bases. Most training exercises were conducted with recruits and instructors wearing their BDUs, save for those in which armor was worn. This included advanced training courses such as demolitions training, infiltration, recon and sabotage training, or scout/sniper training. Though the uniform itself remained largely unchanged, different camouflage patterns were gradually introduced for specific types of environments. Overall gray eventually became the norm for shipboard service, while green/gray/brown became the pattern of choice for duty on most terrestrial planets. Battle dress uniforms of this type were so popular that many short-term enlistees kept them after discharge, wearing them for such activities as recreational hunting or wilderness exploration. Imitation BDUs were also sold to civilian clients at sports equipment retailers and so-called "army-navy stores."
Vehicles and droidsEdit
“A more impressive cannon-fodder army I've never seen before in my life.”—Anonymous Marine officer, after witnessing Sentinel droids in action
The Marine Corps made use of few classes of vehicles, as most of their needs in this regard were met by the Navy or Army. Those that the Corps did utilize included assault shuttles, such as the T-32z Jarhead-class assault lander, a heavily-armored and -shielded landing craft developed and manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards, that was equipped with a pair of twin blaster cannon turrets; and lightly-armored repulsorlift vehicles such as the GP-22b infantry fighting vehicle, a land-based attack transport that was produced by Rothana Heavy Engineering, that possessed a turreted heavy laser cannon in addition to slots in its armored sides for blaster rifles. While Jarhead-class landers were kept aboard Navy warships as the primary means of inserting shipboard Marines onto and extracting them from various battlefields, planetary garrisons were typically equipped with up to four GP-22bs per company. These repulsorlift combat vehicles could transport a half-squad of troopers in addition to the two-person crew, while the assault landers were capable of transporting more than a full platoon. Both vehicles were capable of being converted into ambulances, with each able to carry half of their normal compliment when pressed into service evacuating casualties.
Marine units, particularly those stationed on frontier worlds, were also assigned supplemental forces of battle droids, ranging from the ubiquitous Sentinel droid to various marks of assault droids and other models. These were typically optimized for a variety of defensive roles; they were ideally-suited for use as sentries during day-to-day operations or as supplementary line units in the case of a full-scale attack. Though capable of operating in a semi-autonomous capacity depending on the skill of their operators and field programmers, groups of these droids were typically controlled from within an established Marine garrison from which they would receive general deployment and targeting orders. Most Marine troopers and officers considered them to be expendable, however certain others took care to keep these inorganic auxiliaries in full working order and utilizing their strengths in any plans that they might craft. In addition, droid support was critical to the successful operation of Marine outposts, with various models providing traffic control and other utilitarian tasks that freed soldiers for duty elsewhere.
Billeting and provisionsEdit
“Marine Corps chow is the best in the military—until they send you dirtdown for a week-long slugging match with the Mandos.”—Anonymous Marine trooper
Whether they were deployed on frontier posts, aboard warships, or garrisoned in major population centers, Marine Corps personnel were typically billeted in utilitarian fashion. Barracks facilities were simple and efficient, with the enlisted soldiers living in platoon-sized communal quarters while the non-commissioned officers shared a smaller room which was somewhat more comfortable; this was the case on warships as well as in surface postings. Junior officers paired up on room assignments, while their mid-level counterparts might have a small single-occupancy space. Aboard ship, a senior field officer's quarters doubled as sleeping area and office; when stationed planetside, their billets were two-room suites which contained sleeping quarters and an outer office. Space for personal effects for all Marines was usually limited to what they could keep in their footlockers or quarters, however this was not due to regulations; rather, the mobile nature of the Corps and its units conditioned soldier and officer alike to get by with a minimum of trinkets, mementos, or other trophies. Most such acquisitions were sent back to their families or civilian homes.
Because the Marine Corps was considered to be an elite branch of the Republic Military, members typically enjoyed rations that were above average while in garrison or aboard ship. Such provisions—and the personnel who cooked and served them—were provided by the Navy; most warships tended to segregate Marine diners from their Navy counterparts in order to avoid inter-service rivalry. On frontier garrisons this was largely the same, with the exception of such provisions being prepared by civilian contractors who also helped to maintain each post. During field operations, however, the typical Marine trooper carried only the most basic survival rations. This was due to the operational tempo of the Corps; because of their nature as a mobile reaction force that took ground but did not hold it, most missions typically only lasted for a day or so before they would be resupplied or moved on to another area. During protracted assaults, or when a particular operation called for a long-term field deployment, then more rations were carried. Such supplies were the same as those issued to the Navy and Army.
“Marine training ain't for the faint of heart, and it ain't for the guy off the street, either. It takes guts and dedication to cut it as one of us, and if the DIs don't sense it in you...well, you've had it.”—Marine Sergeant Denaas Bekuur, in his memoirs
The level of training given to Republic Marines was intense and grueling, both physically and psychologically. The Basic Marine Training Regimen, often referred simply as boot camp and taking place at one of a number of Marine Corps Recruit Training Depots, lasted for six months from time of induction to graduation as a Marine private. The length of this training was necessary in order to prepare the recruit for the trials of a six-year enlistment period. The very first week, referred to by recruits and drill instructors alike as "Hell Week," revolved around an initial twenty-four hour period of nonstop physical exercises that were interspersed with obstacle-course running under simulated combat conditions provided by live-fire blaster weaponry and concussion grenades.
The rest of the week was never the same for each training cycle, with the various senior and junior DIs mixing things up as they saw fit to impress upon the recruits exactly what they could expect to experience during wartime. Recruits who were unable to complete Hell Week due to accidental injury would be given the chance to go at it again, but those who chose to quit voluntarily were shipped off to the Republic Army or Navy due to the fact that they had still agreed to a term of military service. If a recruit made it through, which eighty-five percent of trainees did, then they passed through three separate phases, each of which was two months long.
Basic Physical TrainingEdit
“The more you sweat in training, the less you will bleed in combat.”—Marine drill instructor axiom
Upon the completion of Hell Week, the recruit would pass through Basic Physical Training, or BPT, where they would learn Marine-style calisthenics and other forms of physical exercise that were intended to condition their bodies to withstand long periods of stress. This period also covered basic hand-to-hand martial arts, wherein recruits learned unarmed combat training that drew inspiration from the various Echani forms. While it was not as graceful, it put more emphasis on power and the ending of fights quickly—which was in keeping with Marine doctrine. Also during BPT, recruits would be exposed to all manner of potential irritants and impairments, such as flashbangs and gas grenades, in order to experience their effects under controlled conditions. In the last two weeks of Basic Physical Training, the recruits would be issued their first suits of training armor, which was actually heavier and more cumbersome than those issued to line units, in order to acclimate to the idea of being so encased. For those two weeks, recruits were not allowed to remove the armor under any circumstances, except for doffing their helmets during mealtimes and when attending to personal hygiene.
Basic Combat TrainingEdit
“Center mass equals a sure kill.”—Marine axiom
After completing the BPT courses, recruits would then enter Basic Combat Training, or BCT. During this phase, recruits would learn to master the proper uses of blaster pistols, carbines and rifles as well as the basics of melee combat with vibroblades as well as unarmed combat. Physical exercises were continued, though at a less vigorous pace, and were mainly used as a means of continuing to keep recruits in shape and into the habit of staying in shape. Blaster marksmanship was seen as the keystone of a successful Marine; thus, this phase was the most critical time for any recruit despite their potential in any other field or endeavor. Recruits were drilled extensively on the proper maintenance and field repair of common types of blasters, so that they could be better acquainted with that type of weapon. Marksmanship training also included shooting at stationary and moving targets from stationary and moving positions, and targets ranged from durasteel cutouts either embedded in the ground or mounted on repulsorlift sleds, to blaster-equipped training remotes that fired back as they attempted to evade the recruits' fire.
Advanced Combat and Tactical TrainingEdit
“If warfare was all about point-and-shoot, the Republic wouldn't need the Marine Corps.”—Marine drill instructor axiom
Recruits who passed their Basic Marksmanship Test went on to the final phase of basic training, Advanced Combat and Tactical Training, or ACTT. At the beginning of this phase, the drill instructors would pick temporary squad and fire team leaders from within their units, assigning them to oversee the other recruits; these training NCOs were typically selected from among the best performers and encouraged to explore the concept of combat leadership. ACTT continued to emphasize the honing of a recruit's marksmanship skills and proficiency with other types of weapons, but it also introduced the many-fold problems and theories of battlefield tactics and strategies. This phase typically took recruits away from the well-established courses and other familiar areas of a Marine training facility and out into the field, where they would learn about terrain and how to use it as cover and concealment. Other training included tactical formations and deployments, including rappelling training for use when deploying from assault landers or other forms of shuttlecraft, as well as simulated combat drills using practice weapons and target harnesses in platoon versus platoon actions.
The Blast FurnaceEdit
“Heat and pressure are what forges diamonds from graphite.”—Marine drill instructor axiom
Upon the successful completion of Advanced Combat and Tactical Training, Marine recruits were taken through a last phase of training before being inducted into the Corps. This seventy-two hour period, nicknamed "The Blast Furnace," was intended to serve as the final test of everything that the recruits had learned during their time in boot camp. During the three day exercise, no recruit was permitted to sleep, and they were given only two high-calorie meals at twenty-four and forty-eight hours in. The first day consisted of forced marches in full armor and field gear, capped off with a night obstacle course run under live-fire conditions. Afterward, the recruits would share their experiences amongst themselves and their DIs, exchanging ideas and feelings about the progression of their training. At dawn the next day, the recruits would go through a series of field problems, once again using simulated weapons and target harnesses. These were also interspersed with more forced marches, and the field problems lasted well into the following night. The last day combined marching with more tactical problems, but the marches were plotted and the battles were led by the recruits themselves with no intervention or advice from their DIs. After completing this grueling course, the gathered units of recruits were pronounced true Marines in a quiet, solemn sunset ceremony led by the base's commanding officer and attended by their drill instructors.
Advanced training coursesEdit
“A Marine who goes directly from boot camp to the field will very quickly become a dead Marine.”—Anonymous Marine drill instructor
Though individuals who successfully passed through boot camp were considered to be Marines in full, their training was by no means complete. Depending on their proficiency scores and personal preferences expressed during training, newly-minted troopers could be offered spots in any number of advanced courses. These were designed to emphasize diversity amongst the Corps, ensuring that each successive generation of soldier was as well-rounded as was possible; while a Marine might go through infiltration training, they might not necessarily be assigned to a reconnaissance unit. The Corps offered a number of different options for enlisted personnel upon their graduation, and most took at least two courses before joining a line unit. Those who failed a given course were typically denied the chance to reapply, though exceptions were made depending on any mitigating circumstances.
Close-Quarters Combat TrainingEdit
“Close the distance, close the kill.”—Marine CQC axiom
By far the most popular secondary training course, Close-Quarters Combat Training, or CQCT, built upon the foundations laid in the BCT and ACTT phases of basic training. It emphasized short-ranged combat with blaster pistols as well as melee combat, including higher-tier unarmed fighting styles and advanced training with vibroblades and other melee weapons. CQCT courses lasted for one month, and took place almost exclusively aboard old and decommissioned warships that had been stripped of nearly all useful equipment and permanently anchored in orbit above Marine training bases. Troopers lived and trained aboard these vessels, and exercises and other combat drills could take place at any time, the idea being to impress upon the trainees that shipboard combat was rarely scheduled in advance. In order to graduate CQCT, training classes had to demonstrate teamwork and mastery of their environment in a number of mock battles against their compatriots.
“Battlefield destruction isn't so much a science as it is an art form. A well-placed mine can hold up an entire enemy column, leaving them ripe for an ambush.”—Marine axiom
Since knowledge of explosives and other types of demolition ordnance was often necessary on the battlefield, many new Marines underwent demolitions training. This was divided into two sections. Tier 2 Demolitions Training was a basic, three week-long course that taught new soldiers how to properly handle the explosives and other munitions that they were most likely to be issued during combat operations, both on a planet and aboard starships. These included various types of grenades, mines and other equipment such as concussion munitions, breaching charges and blasting caps. Nearly all participants passed the basic course.
Those who achieved results within the upper twentieth percentile of their training class were given the opportunity to take Tier 1 Demolitions Training, which was a highly-advanced version of Tier 2. Overseen by long-serving combat veterans, this extension course lasted for another four months and took place in a wide variety of environments and situations. Those who graduated from Tier 1 training were regarded as having become virtual bomb-factories unto themselves. Marines with such training were capable of scratch-building just about any kind of explosive ordnance with scrounged materials, or else dismantling all manner of improvised devices while out in the field with the aid of the right tools.
Heavy Weapons TrainingEdit
“There is no overkill. There is only 'Open fire!' and 'I need to reload.'”—Marine axiom
Though they were not as prevalent among Marine units as their Army counterparts, training in the use of heavy weapons was still offered to newly-graduated troopers. The heavy weapons course itself lasted for four weeks, with trainees choosing to specialize either in heavy energy- or projectile-based weaponry. The first category included repeating blasters, crew-served blaster cannons, and other heavy energy-based weapons, while the second represented warhead launchers and other projectile weapons, such as light proton mortars, grenade launchers, or portable anti-vehicle missile systems. Nearly all Marines who took the course passed, and typically did not pursue any other specialized training; thus, they were typically assigned to line units as specialists.
Infiltration, Reconnaissance and Sabotage TrainingEdit
“The sneakier the infiltration, the more explosive and gratifying the exfiltration”—Marine axiom
Often nicknamed Invisible Rascals and Sneaks Training School, this training course first required new Marines to have passed the basic demolitions course at the very least, though completion of the advanced course was preferred. The two-month class imparted the essentials of scout training, including lessons in silent movement, cover, concealment and camouflage, and infiltration techniques to the trainees. Basic training in inter-service cooperation was also given, which enabled soldiers to act as fire-coordinators between the Marines and units of the Army and Navy for units in the field.
Once these were mastered, students went on to complete another two weeks of sabotage training, which drew upon knowledge acquired during demolitions school. This second phase taught soldiers how best to utilize explosives and other munitions against pinpoint targets during small-scale operations that might be part of a larger action or a covert mission behind enemy lines. Those who passed IRST but did not go on to scout/sniper school typically went into training for service with Republic Marine Force Reconnaissance.
“Being a sniper isn't just about shooting bad people at ludicrous distances. It's about getting in, getting the kill, and getting out without anyone realizing you've been there.”—Marine scout/sniper axiom
Considered the most elite secondary training course, scout/sniper training required candidates to have passed both demolitions school and the IRST course with high scores. In addition, soldiers wishing to become scout/snipers had to have consistently demonstrated high degrees of marksmanship skills throughout basic training and any other advanced courses that they had undergone. Throughout the three months of training, recruits further honed their scouting, observation, and marksmanship skills to a degree that was over and above that which was considered "perfect" by the previous courses. Recruits also learned how to use field datapads to monitor the tactical situation and assess any battlefield conditions that could affect their work, as well as how to coordinate the activities of supporting units within the Republic Army and Navy; this built upon the foundations established in IRST. Such duties included identifying enemy positions and/or calling in coordinates for precision strikes from artillery, starfighters, or capital ships in orbit.
During the course of training, the various applicants were paired up so that each could be cross-trained in scouting and sniping roles; these partnerships would last well beyond deployment if both succeeded in passing the course. The grueling nature of the training and high grading scale resulted in an acute dropout rate, with only thirty to forty percent of accepted candidates passing the entire course. It was so demanding, in fact, that any Marine who managed to achieve results within the upper tenth percentile of the course's scoring possibilities was highly-encouraged to meet with a representative of the Jedi Order so that they might be checked out for possible Force-sensitivity. If this turned out to be the case, they would then be evaluated for possible Jedi training. Such instances of hidden potential being uncovered in this way occurred at least six times throughout the history of the Marine Corps.
Enlisted Leadership ProgramEdit
“Officers issue the orders, we're the ones who implement them.”—Marine NCO axiom
Regardless of any advanced training courses that a new Marine might have attended, certain recruits were singled out for additional training in battlefield and tactical leadership skills. The Enlisted Leadership Program, or ELP, was where such training was given; entry into this course was based on both objective and subjective observations of a recruit's performance during boot camp and advanced training. Most classes were small, with only five or so Marines chosen from any given training company, which allowed for individualized instruction from senior non-commissioned officers. The two month ELP course emphasized two aspects of a soldier's development; first, by drawing out a recruit's latent leadership qualities and helping to refine their ability to organize resources and encourage others to excel; second, the course built upon the recruit's prior training experiences, teaching them how to assess a battlefield situation and see how it could be influenced for the benefit of the unit. The program culminated in the setting up and overseeing of the opposing force, or OpFor, for a field exercise being undertaken by boot camp-level trainees going through their own turns at The Blast Furnace.
Drill Instructor SchoolEdit
“While it may appear as though we enjoy tormenting the recruits, the truth goes much deeper. Anything we do to them is going to pale in comparison to what they will experience on the battlefield.”—Anonymous Marine Corps senior drill instructor, to a holojournalist
Any enlisted personnel who achieved the rank of sergeant were permitted to apply for service as a drill instructor, though they could also be recommended for this by a senior officer. Acceptance into this most essential role involved the Marine being sent to Coruscant for a special five-week course in order to learn the basics of how to teach recruits, which was taught by a mix of civilian educational experts and experienced DIs who were looking to move up the ranks further. Classes were typically small, so that there was usually a one-to-one ratio between candidates and course instructors, so that each individual would potentially benefit from their teachers' knowledge. It was here that a non-commissioned officer learned as much as possible about the history and structure of the Corps, beyond what they had learned during the course of their previous duties, so that they would be able to pass on such knowledge to the recruits they would have to train.
Successful completion of the school could yield varying results, from an immediate posting to a Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot as a junior drill instructor to promotion in grade and assignment as a senior DI, all depending on the individual's service record and demonstrated abilities. Among the criteria for determining what a Marine would get out of the course, aside from their own rated performance, included what planets and warships the individual had served on, their tested and demonstrated aptitudes, as well as any engagements with enemy forces that they had participated in, if any. Those who served as junior DIs assisted the senior DI during most aspects of recruit training, either passing on information or helping to supervise field exercises. Promotion in rank and position for junior instructors typically came after two to three years of successful work.
Marine Force Recon trainingEdit
“Marine Force Recon soldiers are the best of the best of the best—anyone who says otherwise is a fool or in possession of a powerful death wish.”—Anonymous Force Recon training instructor
As the first Republic Marine Force Reconnaissance units were being deployed throughout the galaxy, a training regimen was developed specifically for this special operations branch. Because of the elite nature of this branch of the Republic Marines, potential recruits were expected to have completed at least three advanced training courses in total prior to consideration. These courses could include or be in addition to IRST training and the prerequisite demolitions course, which was mandatory. The training itself combined all disciplines of warfare, and was the same for officers and enlisted personnel, and consisted of three phases carried out over six months. Classes were small, with a squad of recruits conducting training under four veteran instructors.
“'The Refresher' is exactly what it says on the tin; if you can't cut it here, you're flushed back into the regular Corps.”—Anonymous Force Recon training instructor
This section of training was an accelerated remedial run-through of the advanced courses each recruit had already participated in, with both the pace and expectations raised. It was because of this that classes were small; each training squad was segregated depending on the courses taken and experience in the Marine Corps prior to acceptance in Force Recon training. Recruits were expected to repeat or exceed their previous scores in each rehash; those who did not were dropped from the program. This part, depending on a squad's prior experience, could last from three to five weeks.
“If you're not on top of your game for the next three months, you might find yourself being rent limb from limb”—Anonymous Force Recon training instructor
Considered the most grueling training regimen in the entire Republic military, this middle phase of Force Recon training lasted for three months. The previous training squad assignments were dropped, with recruits being assigned to new squads based on the soldiering skills of line units. Recruits were expected to be on alert at all hours of the day for the entire span, and could be called upon to perform up to fourteen training exercises per week, with up to three in a single day. These exercises varied from simulated small-scale scouting in a multitude of scenarios on every conceivable terrain to assaults on mock strongholds and "shooter towns" populated by combat droids armed with spotting lasers. Squads were only told what a given exercise entailed while en route to the "target" and were judged based on the Three As as well as their performance as a team. Recruits were equipped with the same spotter-harness that was used in all other aspects of Marine training.
To compensate for the grueling pace, recruits were fed a high-calorie diet and while not sleeping, eating, or running exercises, they participated in what was referred to within Force Recon parlance as "creative thinking programs." In reality these consisted of multiplayer sessions of the latest commercially-available holo-shooter games, played as teams against sentient beings from across the Republic via the HoloNet. However, the training squads' teams disguised themselves as ordinary "clans" and using pseudonyms in order to hide their true nature. This was in keeping with the directive that the identities of all serving Force Recon troopers were to be kept secret, lest the enemies of the Republic target them while traveling via civilian means or else on leave.
“Welcome to The Polisher, where we put you back together after having been rendered into ground nerf.”—Anonymous Force Recon training instructor
The last two months of Force Recon training were comparatively easy, even by the standards of Marine Corps basic training. Those who had met expectations thus far in the training program were considered to be probationary Force Recon troopers; thus, this section was designed to integrate the remaining recruits into the squad assignments they would have when they were made operational and placed in line units. The pace of simulated exercises was eased somewhat, so that the thirteen beings of each squad would have the chance to learn how to anticipate the actions of their fellows in response to a given situation. Favoring precision over endurance, each exercise was meticulously planned by the squad itself with only occasional oversight by the instructors.
The exercises themselves, however, were not conducted against combat droids. Instead, squads of recruits would face off against one another, without knowing which squad would face which, with one taking the "offensive" while the other took the "defensive," switching over for a repeat of that particular mission. As this last section continued, however, the various instructors would also participate, usually as a "wild card" for either the offense or the defense as they saw fit; sometimes squads of instructors would remain on one side of the exercise despite the switchover. In addition to these exercises, training squads were taught in refined techniques of silent movement, quick and silent sentry neutralization, explosives handling and sabotage techniques, observational skills, and interpretation of battlefield intelligence.
The final phase came after successfully completing Force Recon training. Upon certification, squads were deployed to the existing companies as-needed; for two weeks, the platoon to which they were assigned was taken off the line and, along with the new squad, ran through a number of field problems based on the prevailing galactic situation. After this integration period, recruits were considered full members of Republic Marine Force Reconnaissance and could be sent on missions alongside their parent units at any given time.
Survival, Evasion, Resistance and EscapeEdit
“Do not dare SERE graduates to eat bugs. They will always do it.”―Anonymous Republic Army psychological warfare specialist[src]
Almost always abbreviated to SERE, this eight-week training course was established in 3,979 BBY and based on principles established by the process used to create the Marine Force Recon branch. The course itself took place within a number of compounds located across remote, barely settled worlds located within the inner regions of the Republic. Fresia was the most popular site for SERE training; its relatively small population of two million sentient beings meant that much of the planet was uninhabited, and it possessed conditions and terrain ideal for testing survival techniques. Though run as an apparatus of the Marine Corps and utilizing veteran Marines as instructors, SERE training could be undertaken by members of all three branches of the Republic Military, with training classes including a mixture of Marine, Army and Navy officers and enlisted personnel. The course had four parts, appropriately dubbed Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape, and covered the physical techniques as well as the psychological mindset required to apply these lessons in the field.
This initial phase taught trainees in the art of basic field survival, including how to test plants and animals for edibility and water for potability dependent on the attendee's species, as well as how to use improvised materials in hunting, scavenging, and foraging. As well, trainees learned how to orient themselves within an unknown environment, how to shelter themselves from hazards such as temperature extremes, precipitation and high winds, and how to pass the time until rescue could come. This latter part was emphasized as one of the most important, as it was believed that boredom was as much an enemy in survival situations as the presence of any hostile military force.
Building upon the skills learned in the Survival phase, trainees learned how to hide themselves from enemy forces who might seek to capture and/or kill them. This included how to read terrain for the presence of enemy forces, how to use it to best conceal oneself from enemy patrols, as well as ways to lose pursuers. Elementary trap design was among the techniques taught during this phase, as was the use of local materials to blend into the countryside and how to foil tracking sensors such as thermal imaging systems and life-form detectors.
This phase focused on what a soldier could expect to encounter if they were captured by enemy forces. Trainees were detained in a simulated prison and subjected to moderate forms of the prevailing methods of torture known to be in use by enemies of the Republic. This was done in order to help soldiers in keeping their heads level if they were forced to endure the real thing. The primary aim of Resistance training was to give the trainee the ability to resist interrogation; this had the ancillary effect of boosting their confidence so that, if the opportunity arose, they could make the most of a chance to escape custody.
The last phase of SERE training, Escape focused on teaching trainees on how to take advantage of opportunities to break free of enemy detention and successfully return themselves to Republic hands. Trainees were taught how to look for structural weaknesses within different types of prisons, for example how to break out of a force cage, or how to undermine the structural integrity of a wall using scavenged or improvised tools. Trainees were also taught a number of basics in how to disguise oneself. In addition, those with experience piloting vehicles were taught how to "hotwire" various forms of enemy transportation in order to make escape attempts more likely to succeed.
“I've heard it said that SERE training adds ten percentage points to the survivability of any soldier or officer who graduates.”—Anonymous Republic Navy warship captain
The SERE experience was wrapped up by a number of scenarios in which classes of trainees were dropped into unknown areas, populated with an indeterminate number of "hostiles"—instructors carrying targeting lasers—in any number of possible fortifications and emplacements. Equipped with only the most basic of field gear, SERE classes were then expected to make their way to a specific rendezvous point by any means necessary. Performance was judged on a number of factors: the ability to complete the mission; whether or not part or the entire squad was captured; the performance of captured trainees in resisting interrogation, and any successful escapes. While extraction could be called in if a trainee squad was faced with imminent overwhelming attack, doing such would severely penalize the squad.
Due to its nature, SERE training was not typically undertaken by Republic military personnel who had only recently entered military service after having completed their basic and advanced training. Graduates were often those who had already joined the special forces branches of whatever service they initially hailed from, including but not limited to the Republic rocket-jumpers, Marine Force Recon, and Navy Search and Rescue; starfighter pilots, particularly those stationed on the frontier, often went through the course as well. Though it was not required for advancement within the ranks, most career soldiers and officers with ambitions on attaining higher ranks took the course as a means of enhancing their prestige. Those who completed SERE training and later used its methods to survive in a combat situation often returned to the program to serve as instructors.
Inter-Service Training SchoolEdit
“Transitioning from Army life to service with the Corps can be...somewhat traumatic.”—Ibratu'na, former Republic Army lieutenant
Since the Republic Marines was first formed as an adjunct to the Navy, it also drew recruits from enlisted soldiers, non-commissioned, and commissioned officers who served with the Navy or the Army. To compensate for these inter-service transfers who already possessed training and practical battlefield skills, the Inter-Service Training School was established on Carida. An expedited version of boot camp and some advanced courses, it lasted for nine weeks and, in essence, converted Navy and Army personnel into Marines. Recruits were broken of various habits and modes of thinking that Navy or Army training instilled, and were instead taught to use whatever skills they possessed in accordance with Marine tactics, doctrine, and esprit de corps. The school only accepted voluntary transfers, which could be requested but were almost entirely based on recommendations from senior Marine NCOs and officers; in rare instances, recommendations made by Jedi Knights who had served with Army, Navy and Marine units were also accepted.
ISTS classes were demanding, however they also had a near one hundred percent graduation rate. Successful completion of the transfer course was typically rewarded with an increase in rank for the trainee, who was then considered a Marine in full. However, among those with whom they would then serve, they were often jokingly referred to as "void Marines" for former Navy personnel, or "mud Marines" for former Army soldiers. In addition, upon the completion of ISTS, the myriad advanced training courses that were available to boot camp graduates were also open to enrollment by inter-service transferees. The only type of inter-service transfer that the Marines did not seek or accept were starfighter pilots, as the Corps preferred to train their own fliers from the ground up in Marine doctrine and tactics.
“If you need a city captured, ask an Army officer. If you need a planet protected, ask the Navy. If you need everything else, ask the Marines.”—Marine Commander Hestus Jessup
While boot camp and the advanced courses that accompanied it served to ensure that enlisted and non-commissioned officers received the best training that could be provided, Marine officers underwent an altogether different kind of induction and training regimen. The majority of officers were trained at the various Marine Corps Academies, which were adjuncts to the major Republic Naval Academies that had been set up on various Core Worlds, while many others were graduates of Officer Candidate School, a program designed to bring enlistees who showed leadership aptitude into the officer corps. Still others were elevated to officer rank through the implementation of a battlefield commission.
The Marine Corps AcademyEdit
“Void-brained egghead officers! Trust me, they'll get you killed faster than the Iridian Plague.”—Anonymous Marine trooper at the Battle of Lannik
As the Marine Corps had first emerged from the ranks of the Republic Navy, cadets underwent their officer training at a number of auxiliary academies that had been set up on various Core Worlds, such as Carida, Corulag and Anaxes. In order to be accepted, potential cadets had to possess high academic marks attained during the course of attending accredited secondary schools. In addition, candidates were expected to have put in training in extracurricular activities that lent themselves toward specialized warfare; these included such activities as computer slicing, vehicle piloting, participating in youth leadership organizations such as the Youth Scouts of the Republic or various other benevolent charitable organizations, or other scientific pursuits. Candidates also had to pass a battery of physical and psychological tests, as well as a basic entrance examination aimed at determining a potential cadet's ability to learn as well as their current level of knowledge. Once accepted, cadets were then shipped off to the closest academy, where they would spend the next four years in academic study and physical exercise.
The typical academic year for Marine Corps recruits was spent in four phases, the first and third focusing on academics while the second and fourth focused on practical training. Cadets were expected to learn the history of the Marines as well as its esprit de corps, famous figures, and illustrious battles and campaigns; in addition, they were expected to achieve the same results in physical exercise, marksmanship, and melee combat as their enlisted counterparts. Where Academy training differed radically was in its increased focus on academics and the incorporation of principles of naval warfare, including basic fleet operations, space warfare tactics, and inter-service co-operation. Though Marine cadets were not expected to be as proficient as their Navy counterparts, they were taught how to fill roles aboard warships that might be rendered vacant through combat action or campaign attrition.
In addition to all of this, Marine Corps officer training was also intended to draw cadets into various areas of military specialization. Since Marine battalions possessed their own intelligence sections, some cadets were taught how to interpret and analyze battlefield intelligence and make recommendations to their commanding officers based on any data that such sources provided. Marine officers were also expected to be able to properly deploy specialized troopers such as demolitions soldiers or sappers, scout/snipers pairs, or reconnaissance squads on the battlefield. Because of these various needs, cadets typically underwent abbreviated courses in those fields, which were typically undertaken in the third and fourth years. As part of the progression from one year to the next the various classes of cadets, in conjunction with their professors, picked their own cadet officers based on their academic and field performance as well as their ability to lead. Graduation came after the completion of the fourth year of study, after which cadets would be granted the rank of Ensign and, after two months of post-academic field training under a Master Gunnery Sergeant, would be assigned to a line unit.
Officer Candidate SchoolEdit
“Make no mistake, the Academy turns out plenty of good officers. But the truly exceptional ones first came up through the enlisted ranks.”—Marine Captain Teeklak Sookanado
Often abbreviated to OCS, this course allowed for enlisted personnel within the Republic military who possessed and demonstrated leadership skills worthy of promotion to officer, to learn their new roles and what was expected of them. Within the Marine Corps, the school was accessible in a number of ways. Enlistees with exceptional qualifications, such as a university degree, could apply for admission upon their recruitment, going there immediately after their successful completion of basic training. An enlistee who performed exceptionally well in basic training or advanced individual training could also be recommended by their commanding officer for possible candidacy. In addition, enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers with proven track records of quality leadership, tactical or strategic thinking skills, or courage and forethought in combat, could be recommended by an officer of command rank. During times of war, OCS also accepted those who had held management positions within civilian organizations, such as businesses, prior to enlistment.
The course lasted for two Standard years, during which candidates learned to hone their leadership abilities, tactical thinking, and strategic planning, as well as more technical skills. Marine OCS combined the two aspects of the curricula employed by their Army and Navy counterparts, and was often considered to be the toughest of the three in which to succeed as candidates were required to learn how to fight effectively both on planets and within starships. Marine officer candidates also received basic training in warship operations, in case they were needed to fill in for casualties suffered by a warship's compliment of Navy personnel; this was a somewhat abbreviated version of the courses undertaken by Academy cadets. After graduation, Marine OCS students were promoted to junior lieutenant, bypassing ensign due to their prior experience as enlistees. Like Academy graduates, they were also eligible to apply for advanced courses at the Republic Military's various War Colleges once they had attained the appropriate rank, which within the Corps was Lieutenant Commander.
“You take this commission, Sarge, and I guarantee you'll get shot right in the ass. It's the fate of all ensigns, y'see...”—Quote from a war holodrama featuring the Republic Marines
The third option for becoming an officer was also the most difficult to achieve. If, during times of war a Marine unit found itself short of officers, then the unit commander could bestow a battlefield commission upon any non-commissioned officer who was deemed capable of ascending to a more prominent leadership position. These were typically awarded to company-level NCOs such as master sergeants or first sergeants, and were voluntary only; if a noncom was offered one, it was their choice as to whether to accept or decline. While officers could be commissioned under such conditions in all three branches of service, in the Marine Corps those who did stayed with the unit in which they had served prior to the promotion. This was in contradiction to Army and Navy practices; the Army would transfer the new officer to another unit in order for them to maintain objectivity, while the Navy would transfer the new officer either to another warship or station, or else a different department within said warship or station.
The Marine Corps did this for a number of reasons, the first and foremost being the maintenance of trust and camaraderie within the unit which the officer was commissioned from. This was due to the fact that battlefield commissions were drawn from those units who had lost officers in combat and needed to maintain an effective chain of command. Another reason was that Marine units often worked in isolation; with Marine outposts typically manned by only one company of troopers at a time, there was little option for transferring individual personnel in and out. The final reason revolved around the process of battlefield commissioning itself; by its very nature it only took place in wartime or under combat conditions. As such, once the current conflict in which the new officer had achieved his or her rank was complete, they were given the opportunity to either attend the Marine Corps Academy or muster out of the Corps with an honorable discharge.
“The difference between tactics and strategy might seem simple to the layperson, but to an officer it is the void between galaxies.”—Vice Admiral Voskel Dun'vei, addressing a class of War College graduates
Though not required for promotion to Commander and beyond, attendance at the War College was highly encouraged for those wishing to extend their careers into the upper echelons of service. The curriculum was the same no matter the branch of service, with classes often containing a diverse mix of Army, Navy, and Marine officers; this was done to further encourage inter-service co-operation and to emphasize the fact that the military could only function effectively when all parts were working smoothly together. For two years, students were taught in the intricacies of strategic military theory and thinking, expanding on the knowledge that had been gained through their initial training and experience in the field. The focus was primarily on grand strategy at the galactic level and its many parts, such as the importance of hyperroutes in coordinating offensives and the economics of warfare.
The standard for graduates of War College were high, though not so much that there were many failures. Those who were accepted had already demonstrated the capacity to understand such high strategy, in addition to possessing the skills to process the combined input of subordinates and form plans. By the second year, students were expected to be able to formulate offensive and defensive campaign strategies for multiple forces from all three branches of the military, including the setting up of logistical support and contingency plans in case some aspect didn't go according to plan. These operational strategies were then put into computer simulations, which pitted random student entries against one another and produced a series of theoretical results, with students continuing to come up with new plans that used the same computerized data runs to ascertain possible outcomes.
In order to graduate, students had to demonstrate an evolution in their strategic thinking skills. This was done by writing a campaign thesis that incorporated the student's primary theory on interstellar warfare, which was accompanied by a detailed operational plan that was meant to fulfill the requirements that were chosen for this final project by their instructors. These requirements involved the setting up of a potential situation that the student then had to resolve, such as an insurrection in the Tion Hegemony or an invasion of the Bright Jewel Cluster by a well-equipped splinter faction. This thesis and plan was then put to the test in an interactive simulation, in which the student would pit his or her plan against one of their instructors. The student was not required to win the scenario in order to graduate; in fact, very few were those who were able to beat their instructor. Rather, the scenario itself and how the student played it was measured and evaluated. Those who graduated from War College with high enough marks might be promoted to Commander immediately, however the majority simply returned to their units, where they might take on additional responsibilities.
“Flight sims can't teach you how to fight, just to fly. They might fix that some day, but not while there's a war on. Until then, you better listen to the veterans and do what they do if you want to survive.”—Marine Lieutenant Commander Chak Ravartin, to new pilots prior to the Battle of Rakata Prime
Though the Navy and Marine Corps approached starfighter combat and training differently, their training courses both lasted for eighteen Standard months. In order to even be considered for training, pilot candidates were required to already possess airspeeder licenses and clean flying records; those with experience in swoop racing were preferred for Marine training. This was due to the fact that flight simulators were not yet sophisticated enough to substitute for actual "stick time." Rather, the pilots would use these sims to learn the controls and basic handling characteristics of the Aurek-class tactical strikefighter, only moving on to flying the actual craft once they had mastered these basics.
Once they had checked out on the Aurek, pilot candidates were put through various exercises designed to bring out their aggressiveness and willingness to enter combat. Gunnery training was conducted using powered-down targeting lasers and pigment-filled proton torpedo shells, in scenarios that ranged from strafing runs through lunar valleys to mock assaults on decommissioned hulks outfitted with their own sets of targeting lasers. Within the Marine Corps, much of the starfighter versus starfighter training time that the Navy put their pilot candidates through was instead spent on space-to-ground scenarios or assaults through congested areas such as an asteroid belt or a dense urban setting. Graduates of flight school were inducted into the Corps as Ensigns and put through the same post-graduation training as their Academy-trained compatriots.
Marine starfighter pilots spent most of their careers flying Aurek fighters, with the more skilled among them being offered the chance to check out and train on the Chela-class fighter before returning to their units to continue their combat careers. Squadron leaders wishing to pursue promotion into the higher ranks of the Corps were required to undergo a year of training at the Marine Corps Academy or, if they wished to pursue positions in Fleet Command, at the Naval Academy. An officer would then attend the War College before being given a new posting.
Culture and ceremonyEdit
Esprit de corpsEdit
“There's no such thing as an ex-Marine. You may be out, but you never lose the attitude or the mentality—no matter how hard you might want to.”—Marine Sergeant Denaas Bekuur, in his memoirs
The ethos of the Republic Marines was built upon the duty of professional service to the Republic, loyalty to one's unit and comrades-in-arms, and dedication to upholding the values of civilization as embodied by the principles of the galactic government. This was embodied in the Marine Corps' motto, "Semper Fidelis," which meant "always faithful" in Old Alsakan. The necessities of war and the role of the Marine Corps, both as front-line guardians and protectors of key figures, brought with them a tight-knit bond. Troopers and officers within the Corps were encouraged to form close, trusting relationships with one another and across the chain of command, the better to be able to back one another up in a fight. Fraternization and even marriage among officers or enlisted personnel was allowed; however, unions between an officer and an enlisted trooper were forbidden in order for each to maintain objectivity. Another common side effect of Marine service was in the transition back to civilian life, whether this was after a single term of enlistment or retiring upon the completion of a twenty-year career. Marines who mustered out typically maintained the habits they had developed during training and deployment, and tended to live simpler lives than most people; this prompted many, including current and former soldiers and officers, to maintain that there was no such thing as "an ex-Marine."
Though operational discipline was tighter than that enforced within the Navy or the Army, Marine units in garrison or on deployment during peacetime or away from the front lines were allowed liberties that Navy and Army units would not normally receive. In combat situations Marines were pushed hard, and the commanders knew that their officers and troopers alike needed to find outlets in order to maintain their combat edge—as well as their sanity. Marines were encouraged to use their down time perfecting their combat abilities, this was accomplished by engaging in such activities as friendly competitions, such as competitive shooting matches with blaster pistols or rifles, sparring matches involving melee weapons or various techniques of unarmed combat, or long-distance endurance runs and races through obstacle courses. Unofficial hostile-environment training was also encouraged and practiced frequently, with unit leaders of all levels organizing exercises in the wilderness of whatever worlds they happened to be stationed upon. Such expeditions usually resulted in the collection of souvenirs and trophies, which were typically sent home by the troopers and officers who had collected them.
Other elements of the Marine Corps' ethos revolved around the interaction between non-commissioned officers and the soldiers they led into battle. Gunnery and master gunnery sergeants were often affectionately referred to simply as "Gunny" by subordinates and superiors alike, both in the field and in garrison and regardless of whether the sergeant was still serving in that capacity or had been promoted or retired. As the conduits between the orders given by officers and the troopers expected to carry them out, NCOs often grew close to the Marines in their units. The function of platoon, company, and battalion-level NCOs was seen as an advocate for each unit's enlisted personnel before the chain of command, both in theory and in practice; thus, potential noncoms had to be of good character and morals as dictated by the zeitgeist of the armed forces. In addition, since basic training could be a traumatic experience for many recruits, sergeants who served as drill instructors had to be both tough and compassionate, seeking out their recruits' impediments or obstacles and helping them to become better soldiers. While some DIs could be more harsh than others, it was the goal of each to see their charges graduate and become fully-fledged Marines.
Perhaps the most important cultural idiosyncrasy of the Marine Corps was in how soldiers identified and bonded with their weapons and armor. The average Marine, before he or she was even allowed to fire their rifle, was required to be able to field-strip and reassemble it, while blindfolded, in less than two Standard minutes; further experience and training pared that time down to around ninety seconds. Marines were encouraged to give their primary weapon a name suitable for an individual of their species and of the opposite gender, with training platoons performing an ersatz wedding ceremony whereupon they pledged to be faithful to their weapon and to have it battle-ready at all times. The object of all of this was to cement into the minds of potential Marines the central idea that, without a weapon, they were essentially useless; this paved the way for the idea that, to the well-trained Marine, anything was or could be made into a weapon with the judicious application of creative thought. The same mentality surrounded the Marines' battle armor; since recruits were required to literally do everything while wearing it for several weeks during boot camp, they were more readily able to adapt to the idea of being encased within it for long periods of time if necessary. Armor was also seen as a potential weapon in its own right, since an elbow to the gut or headbutt to the face of an enemy was much more effective if the elbow and head of the Marine conducting such maneuvers was protected by durasteel plating.
“We take everybody, even those who aren't citizens of the Republic, so long as you can handle the training. I once knew a Chadra-Fan who was absolutely deadly with a sniper rifle—his weapon was taller than he was.”—Anonymous Marine Corps recruiter
Among the armed forces of the Republic, the Marines were far and away the most biologically-diverse, accepting members of species from all over the known galaxy. It was also unique among the other service branches in that a potential recruit need not have been a citizen of the Republic in order to join; all that mattered was whether or not they were physically fit enough to endure basic training, and were capable of understanding Galactic Basic. Those that did join the Corps from outside the Republic were, however, subjected to background checks in order to weed out potential security threats. Citizenship was automatically given to any being who passed boot camp and earned their place in the Corps. So diverse was its makeup that, at most, Humans only made up forty to forty-five percent of all personnel.
This did not mean that training and facilities were conducted with a "one size fits all" approach. Recruits belonging to species whose stature was significantly greater or less than most humanoids were grouped into their own training platoons, testing their mettle against appropriately-sized obstacles and utilizing weapons, armor and gear that would suit their needs while performing the duties of a Marine. Non-Human recruits and Marines were treated with the same respect as their Human counterparts, and were expected to fulfill the same obligations; in addition, Human NCOs and officers were expected to treat alien subordinates as equals, no matter the species. Such coexistence was not always easy, however, and a reporting system was in place to address complaints of speciesism; frequent complaints could see the offender demoted in rank and/or reassigned to other units. Though such cases were rare, egregious violations were punishable by dishonorable discharge and prison time. However, despite these difficulties, the Corps' practices were often held up as examples of inter-species cooperation by politicians from throughout the Republic.
Ceremonial duties and unitsEdit
“Marines aren't just good for fighting, you know, we also put on a helluva show. If it's the band coming to your world, the marksmanship team, or the Red Gundarks, you're guaranteed to be impressed.”—Marine Captain Verhald Olaris, to a holojournalist
Throughout the operational history of the Republic Marines, they served as both practical and ceremonial guards for government offices and the holders of government positions. This stemmed from their first battles, which included the defense of Coruscant during the Sith Empire's attack on the capital world during the Great Hyperspace War, and preventing rogue battle droids from overwhelming the Senate Rotunda during the Great Droid Revolution. Such posts were filled only by Marines whose training and proficiency scores were in the uppermost five percent; this duty, however brief it might be, was considered to be a badge of honor. In addition to this ceremonial role, the Marine Corps fielded an assortment of public-relations units. With the adaptation of the Ruusan Reformation that disbanded the military, however, these units ceased to exist altogether.
Marine Corps BandEdit
“Ever try to play a cantina crowd? I don't recommend it.”—Yen Duursema, Marine Corps Band founder
In 4,925 BBY the first iteration of the Marine Corps Band was formed by Lieutenant Commander Yen Duursema. A Togruta who had graduated from the Marine Corps Academy and risen through the officer ranks as a supply and logistics officer, after her promotion to command of the First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, she began to seek out other Marines who, like her, were talented musicians. Duursema's favored instrument was the Alderaanian flute, but she was also skillful with other woodwind and reed instruments. After combing the Fifth Regiment for a few weeks, she had assembled a thirty-member band, training them in various popular martial tunes as well as some contemporary music. For Corps Day that year, Duursema's band performed their repertoire for the serving Commandant; after pronouncing that the performance was exemplary, he ordered the organizing of a limited tour for the band.
This first group of Marine musicians, playing various brass, reed and percussion instruments, visited a number of the more outlier garrisons that year, bringing with them the latest musical styles from the Core Worlds. The success of this first tour encouraged the formal creation of a musical unit, which under Commander Duursema's leadership eventually grew to include five hundred of the Marines' most talented performers. This pool was divided up into five sub-units, each a full orchestra in itself, that would visit military and civilian centers across the Republic backed up by support staff and a small honor guard. A Marine Corps band would typically perform at the inauguration of a new Supreme Chancellor, at the funerals of high-ranking officers and other officials, at dedications for war memorials or monuments to a significant battle or leader, or during state visits by planetary or sector dignitaries.
Because the band itself was comparatively small, during wartime a number of irregular auxiliaries would be established by band members to serve as small-scale honor guards for soldiers' funerals, drawing members from the units they would visit. The leader of one such group, Lieutenant Olizard Harlu, composed the anthem Sergeant Mulkaehey in remembrance of a friend of his who had died in combat during the Great Droid Revolution. In the years that followed, this would become established as the Marine Corps Hymn.
Marine Corps Marksmanship TeamsEdit
“It's a good thing the Marine shooters aren't allowed to compete for credits...”—Anonymous marksmanship competitor
In 4,924 BBY, not long after the success of the Marine Corps Band in promoting public relations was realized, a unit of competitive sharpshooters was created by Commander Lorna Illior, leader of the Sixteenth Marine Regiment. An expert marksman herself with all manner of blaster-type weaponry, she had developed a reputation as a person who could pick off moving training remotes at distances of over a kilometer with only the most basic of scopes attached to the standard Marine battle rifle of the time. After organizing a series of shooting competitions within her regiment that lasted for over a year, she had assembled a team of twenty troopers and officers that included pistol experts, carbine experts, and rifle experts. Commander Illior furtively entered the members of this team into a number of high-profile civilian competitions, each of which was won by the Marine entrants who, prior to entering, had agreed to donate any winnings to charity.
When word reached the Commandant, he was at first furious that Illior had taken these actions without clearing them with her chain of command. However, the public reaction to the revelation of the Marines' role in setting new standards for competitive shooting was overwhelmingly positive. Buckling to political pressure, the Marine Corps brass refrained from reprimanding the commander, and instead appointed her to oversee the building of several additional teams for exhibition matches and other public-relations events which were often done in conjunction with performances by other public-relations units within the Corps. Illior herself would star in some of these exhibitions, demonstrating her remarkable long-range shooting skills throughout the galaxy. Many years later, members of these teams would form the core faculty of the Marines' first scout/sniper schools.
“Reading Jarhead! is probably the closest any being will get to knowing what it's like to be a Marine, short of joining the Corps themselves.”—Coruscant Weeky editor Mirka Sparx
Jarhead!, the official Marine Corps holozine, was first established in 4,801 BBY by Lieutenant Temuera Mortikai as a source of information and entertainment for his unit, the 8th Marine Regiment. Made up of articles and stories produced by his fellow soldiers, it circulated well within the regiment before being noticed by the commander of the 3rd Marine Division, who approved it for circulation throughout the division's other two regiments. A year later, the monthly publication attracted the attention of Mirka Sparx, a civilian holojournalist who wrote about the publication in Coruscant Weekly. In the wake of her story, the sitting Commandant approved the holozine for general circulation within the entire service branch.
Though it was not the only publication that garnered readership from across the Corps, it was the longest-lasting. Jarhead! was so successful, in fact, that it gained a considerable civilian following and remained in circulation even after the Ruusan Reformation, when the Corps itself was disbanded. Eventually, however, it too succumbed to the changing cultural ethos of the galaxy, its final issue being published in 903 BBY.
Marine Corps Flight Demonstration TeamsEdit
“Swoops and speeder bikes might be fun to watch, but nothing quite beats out the sight of starfighters in tight formation roaring by overhead!”—A holojournalist describes the Red Gundarks in action
In the wake of the re-emerging of the Republic as the dominant government and military power in the galaxy in the aftermath of the Old Sith Wars, the role of the Marine Corps in demonstrating the continued mission of the military was expanded. In 3,949 BBY Captain Caescar Piccolé, who had flown a Chela-class starfighter with the 11th Marine Starfighter Squadron at the Battle of Rakata Prime, began evaluating the pilots of the 3rd Marine Aerospace Wing, which he commanded, for their proficiency in space and atmospheric flight maneuvering. After finding a half-dozen suitable candidates, he began to train them in precision formation flying, something which he himself had shown an aptitude for. After eight weeks of extensive drills that were covered up by declaring them as "urban warfare training," Captain Piccolé sought permission from the Commandant to form what he called "The Red Gundarks."
Impressed with the skills demonstrated in a show put on for graduating cadets at the Corulag branch of the Marine Corps Academy, the Commandant approved the idea of implementing the team as part of the Republic Military's public-relations campaigns. The six pilots of the initial roster were split into pairs, in order to form the nuclei for two additional teams. After acquiring more members from across the starfighter arm of the Corps, the three Red Gundark teams began touring various worlds throughout the Republic the next year. Each of the three teams covered roughly a third of the well-populated galaxy, with their areas of coverage shifting every couple of years as the pilots were rotated back into their units and new ones were brought in to replace them. These tours continued throughout the history of the Marine Corps, ceasing only during times of pan-galactic crisis. Occasionally, however, a performance could be delayed or moved due to the outbreak of localized hostilities.
Public perception and interactionEdit
“Join the Marine Corps. Travel to exotic planets and locales. Meet strange and interesting people. And kill them.”—Popular slogan worn on T-shirts within the Republic
Though the Marine Corps was well-regarded by the rest of the Republic Military and senior levels of the civilian government, opinions from outside the Republic were mixed. Most rival powers, particularly the Mandalorians and the Sith Empire, learned to consider the Marines as worthy adversaries to be treated with caution. Smaller outside elements, particularly the Hutts and their criminal cartels, treated the Corps with disdain, though this didn't prevent them from hiring those who had left Marine service—for whatever reason, including dishonorable discharge—and using them as enforcers or even employing them as raiders and pirates. Other criminal syndicates were also unafraid of hiring ex-Marines to serve as bodyguards or in other useful roles. Twice during the history of the Republic did this prove to be a problem: the first instance occurred in the years after the Jedi Civil War, when the Exchange, among other groups, hired discharged Marines in droves; the second, and by far the more worrisome instance, was in the wake of the Corps' dissolution as a result of the Ruusan Reformation.
The common citizens of the Republic, on the other hand, held a mostly favorable attitude toward the Marine Corps. Though all three branches of the military had their civilian detractors, the Corps came up as a subject for humor—both well-meaning and derogatory in nature—somewhat more often. The holo-entertainment industry in particular loved the Marines, as stories of their exploits and of particularly noteworthy Marines provided much inspiration for fictional holodramas and holo-serials, possibly the most famous being Full Plasma Powerpak, which cast Chazzlukk Ibsenhauss in the role of an infamous drill instructor. Quite a few informative and investigative holo-documentaries were also produced; among the more popular "reality holodrama" themes was following a squad of Marines as they went through basic training. The success of these projects was due in large part to the hiring of retired Marines to serve as technical consultants and advisers, who used their knowledge to enable writers and directors in producing more accurate depictions. One of the most well-known of these was Garyn Guye, who lent his expertise to the production of Full Plasma Powerpak, among other films.
In addition to the holo-entertainment industry, performances of the Marine Corps Band, the Marksmanship Teams, and the Red Gundarks also attracted extensive coverage, some of which were even broadcast across the galaxy. The Marine Corps also maintained a number of community outreach programs. These included the Power to Accomplish Initiative, an effort to prevent at-risk teenagers from entering a life of crime by offering abbreviated versions of Basic Training to instil confidence, as well as the Share the Wealth Campaign that distributed donated foodstuffs to poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Throughout the thousands of years of the Marines' existence and even beyond its disbanding, many thousands of novels, autobiographies, and other media were written and published by Marines themselves; these enjoyed considerable circulation well into the Republic's Golden Age
“A Marine may die; that is an occupational hazard that comes with wearing the uniform. But our spirits will live on in the Corps for as long as it exists.”—Lieutenant Laera Reyolé, prior to the Battle of Bad Alshir
During the four thousand years that the Marine Corps served the Republic, many soldiers and officers rose to prominence throughout the long times of peace and the difficult times of war. Aside from officers such as Admirals Tobonne and Uwe, Captain Piccolé, and Commanders Duursema, Illior, and Jessup, who each left their unique marks upon the evolution of the Corps, there were many who served faithfully from all across the rank spectrum, having come to pledge their service from all corners of the known galaxy.
“There are two types of Marines: hunters and casualties. Any of us could be either one at any given time.”—Denaas Bekuur, from his memoirs
A male Mirialan from Mirial, Denaas Bekuur joined the Corps prior to the outbreak of the Great Sith War. After graduating from boot camp and several advanced courses including close-quarters, demolitions, and IRST training, he deployed with the 10th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division in time to join the assault on Exar Kun's stronghold on Yavin 4. Hardened by what he experienced during this last battle, engaging Massassi warriors while Navy ground spotters marked targets for the orbiting Republic fleet to bombard, he spent much of his career moving from posting to posting. Though he developed a strong dislike for officers that often bled to the surface, he cared deeply for the Marines under his command and made sure to keep them at battle readiness. Throughout his long career he kept a memoir chronicling his service, what he had seen and experienced, and his personal feelings regarding them.
He kept this up throughout the Mandalorian Wars, where he earned several battlefield honors and was offered a battlefield commission at least twice—to go with the many offers of OCS training that he had refused during peacetime. Though he was well past normal retirement age when the Jedi Civil War erupted, he remained a figurehead within the Corps. Even after his promotion to Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in 3,959 BBY, he insisted on taking direct responsibility for the recruits coming through the various training depots across Republic space. In so doing, he helped to ensure that those who would emerge from training to augment or replace those lost in battle were as well-prepared as possible. After his death of natural causes in the wake of the Dark Wars and defeat of the Sith Triumvirate, his memoirs were discovered and published posthumously. Eventually the Carida facility where he received his basic training was renamed in his honor, becoming the Denaas Bekuur Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot
“Admiral Ganymede was a good officer with great ideas. In honor of his memory, his work will be continued.”—Oluth Par'fey, during her inaugural address as Commandant
A female Bothan from Kothlis, Oluth Par'fey was one of many of her species to ascend to the position of Commandant of the Marine Corps. Though she became most famous for her role as a reformer, prior to her appointment she was a career officer who had attended the Marine Corps Academy. A veteran of the Great Droid Revolution, where she had served as a company commander in the 7th Marine Regiment which helped to defend the Senate Rotunda from renegade battle droids, she was later promoted to Rear Admiral and placed in command of the 4th Marine Division, overseeing its operational deployment to Yavin 4 as part of the effort to destroy the forces of Exar Kun and end the Great Sith War which he had started. It was her experiences as both a wartime combat leader and her administrative skills as a division commander which prompted her to greatly expand the reforms initiated by her predecessor, the Duros Sesur Ganymede, who had abruptly died in office soon after his own appointment.
Par'fey's most famous reforms included her abolishing of the Marine regiment in favor of the more flexible nature of the restructured battalion. Though she also oversaw the implementation of the Marine Force Reconnaissance branch as well as the Marines' Aerospace Wings, this was to have the most lasting effect on how the Corps undertook its primary missions. Also under her administration, the ranks of Marine Corps drill instructors began to increasingly become the domain of combat veterans; even those non-commissioned officers who were unable to resume active front-line service—but who were still useful as Marines—were given the chance to pass on their experience and wisdom to new recruits. When certain DIs began to cultivate a culture of aggressive training methods, Par'fey initially resisted the practice. However, after witnessing for herself how effective the proper application of this type of motivation could be, she subtly encouraged its continuance. By the time of her retirement in 3,968 BBY, she had become the longest-serving Commandant, a tenure which would never be matched.
“A Marine might make more money than the average Army grunt or Navy techie, but they make us earn it.”—Laera Reyolé, in a letter to her parents
A Human female from Agamar, Laera Reyolé enlisted with the Marine Corps at the relatively young age of sixteen in order to provide financial support for her family, who had lost their home during a Krath supply raid. Determined to prove herself equal to the rigorous training set for her, she graduated with high marks both in basic training and the advanced courses, including scout/sniper school and the Enlisted Leadership Program. Making her way up the enlisted ranks while serving on a variety of worlds along the Outer Rim of the galaxy, she eventually became a drill instructor at the Carida facility. While there, she developed a reputation as an effective teacher who used positive reinforcement to get results. After three years of such service, she was given the opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School, an opportunity she embraced. After acquitting herself there and being promoted to junior lieutenant, she attended a joint training exercise with the Republic Army before shipping out to the Bad Alshir garrison.
Reyolé's career began to blossom when she oversaw the successful defense of the outpost against the forces of the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders who had been sent to take it during their initial invasion of the Republic. As the war progressed, she continued to lead from the front as her unit was sent into battle against the Mandalorians time and again. This ultimately led to her death in combat during the liberation of Onderon late in the war, but this was far from the end of her career. Revan, who had suspected her Force-sensitive nature, had her resurrected and sent to the Jedi Order's enclave on Dantooine where she trained in the ways of the Force. With the outbreak of the Jedi Civil War she returned to Marine service, leading the 3rd Marine Battalion in a retaliatory strike that opened up a new offensive for the Republic. Her Marine service came to a dramatic conclusion when, after having led the contingent of soldiers escorting the Jedi strike team that captured Revan, her escape vessel was struck by turbolaser fire and seemingly vaporized.
The circumstances of Reyolé's life, in particular her resurrection, service as a Jedi as well as a Marine and later disappearance, would have a profound effect on the cultural ethos of the Marine Corps. Ignited by the officers and soldiers who had served with her in the Third Battalion, tales of her exploits swept through the military like wildfire. Though most of these tales were exaggerated, they tended to revolve around kernels of truth; in particular, much was made of how she vanished after the battle that saw Darth Revan captured—this culminated in a tradition that lasted throughout the rest of the Corps' history, whereupon recruits and new soldiers would say "Goodnight Brain, wherever you are" upon retiring for the night. Other tales and legends also popped up, including rumors that it was not Bastila Shan nor Malak that subdued Revan, but Reyolé herself. Another persistent tale insisted that it was in fact Reyolé who had been the prodigal "Jedi Exile" that ended the Sith Triumvirate and revived the Jedi Order—this was fueled by the fact that the true Exile herself also disappeared at the conclusion of the Dark Wars. Many of the more outlandish tales were put to rest with the publication of a biography by Reeka Chorizzo, who had been a longtime friend of Reyolé, though this also increased her legendary status within the Marine Corps.
“That little shrimp sure does have one tough ass...”—Belton Carter, Tuffass's commanding officer during the Great Sith War
A male Gand from Gand and one of the very first of his kind to encounter the Republic, Tuffass enlisted in the Marine Corps some years prior to the Great Sith War. Despite having little knowledge of Basic at the outset of his training, he learned quickly enough so that by the time he graduated from boot camp, his language skills were as good as any Human. Further training made him an expert with explosives and an uncanny recon scout. Deploying with the 4th Marine Division's 12th Marine Regiment after having been transferred from the 6th Marine Regiment, he had achieved the rank of corporal by the time of the outbreak of the Great Sith War. During the war's final battle at Yavin 4, the as yet nameless Gand served as a fire-coordinator for his battalion, losing his left arm and leg in a surprise counterattack on the landing zone by a group of Massassi warriors. Though grievously wounded, he insisted on continuing to call in strikes, earning the Distinguished Service Order for bravery in addition to the Crimson Cross.
After having regenerated his arm and leg and learning of his commanding officer's remark, he was promoted to sergeant and requested that he be allowed to use the moniker "Tuffass" as a name. This was granted without question, and Tuffass continued in his service with an increase in his aggression, a trait that stemmed from the trauma he had suffered on Yavin 4. Promoted to gunnery sergeant five years after the war's end, he began a long and productive—if highly notorious—career as a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot on Corulag. So infamous were his methods that his name was known even outside of the Corps; by the time Laera Reyolé was able to enlist, she knew of his reputation as well after having examined every available piece of literature on the Marine Corps. As it happened she was assigned to Tuffass's training platoon, where she was forced to "earn" her name back in the eyes of the sergeant. Eventually, Tuffass was forced by age to retire, taking up a home on Corulag not far from the training depot. After the Gand passed away at the age of 98, the boot camp there eventually came to be informally known as "Tuffass Class."
Behind the scenesEdit
The Republic Marines, as envisioned by fan fiction author Sean "Goodwood" Nash, are based heavily upon the United States Marine Corps as well as the Systems Alliance Marines from the computer and video games Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 developed by BioWare. First mentioned in the short story Star Wars: Death and Life, the Marine Corps itself was fleshed out considerably in the novellas and novels that followed within the Tales from the Corps Series, also written by Nash. The various sub-branches, ceremonial roles, schools and academies, and public-relations units, and even the overall ethos of the Republic Marines, were also inspired by the real-world Marine Corps. In addition, inspiration was drawn from certain aspects of the United States Navy such as the SEAL/CRTs and the Blue Angels. Inspiration from a number of non-science fiction works was also part of the article's evolution, including the film Full Metal Jacket directed by Stanley Kubrick. Many of the finer points of Marine Corps culture, tactics and doctrine was fleshed out in the anthology Tales from the Corps, Vol. 1, co-written by Nash and fellow author Britt Roth.
Within the context of the Star Wars universe, the Marines were intended by Nash to bridge what he saw as a critical gap in the way galactic military forces operated, both in peacetime and in war. The only reference for an organization like the Marines in canon, as far as he is aware, was the Galactic Marines formed from a legion of clone troopers during the Clone Wars, and their Imperial counterparts, the latter of which only sees use in the computer and video game Star Wars: Battlefront and its sequel. Eventually, Nash hopes to be able to implement the Republic Marines into sources and stories surrounding the Great Galactic War and the events surrounding the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, developed by BioWare, the company which was also responsible both for the original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game and the Mass Effect series.