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For other uses, see Academy.
"Imperial Military Academy at Cliffside" redirects here. For the Cliffside cantina of Ando Prime, see Cliffside.

"Life at the Carida Academy was full of changes. Some changes were startling, and some were expected. Some studies I did not take to, while others suited me just fine. Obedience, discipline, and loyalty were always drilled into us."
Soontir Fel[1]

The Academy of Carida was a private, and later state-supported, comprehensive military institution. The institution was known by a variety of names such as Caridan Military Academy, Carida Academy, and Academy at Carida while its unofficial name among the Cadets was Cliffside because of its precarious geographic location, on the Spinara Plateau: a five-hundred-foot dropoff along the east side.

The Academy itself was less than one-tenth of the larger, sprawling Imperial Military Training Base, which typically housed more than one hundred and fifty thousand personnel, mostly human males (mirroring the trends of the Imperial culture), including the recruits, cadets, and instructors.

The Academy formed a triumvirate of elite military institutions along with the academies of Anaxes and Corulag and as such it produced a high number of Imperial officer corps.


"Cowards die a thousand deaths."
―Motto carved into the mantel in the ceremonial dining room fireplace[2]

Imperial parade-grounds on Carida.

The Academy of Carida existed around 5000 BBY, at which time its logo was inscribed in the Mascot Moon. Senatorial mandate around 220 BBY established it as a centralized training ground for Planetary Security Forces that maintained order across the Republic, as well as Judicial ground forces. The Academy was also responsible for training the Republic Army during the penultimate military conflicts of the Galactic Republic.

Known then as the Republic Defense Academy, its influence waned in tandem with the Republic's faltering military capability and shift towards increased reliance on the Jedi Order. When the Separatist Crisis threatened to divide the Republic, the Academy's administrators and its Caridan governors supported the Militarist senators attempting to pass the Military Creation Act, hoping to regain the prestige it once held. The role of the Academy during the Clone Wars was training non-clone warriors to supplement the Kaminoan-trained clone troopers and elite clone trooper commanders.

As Palpatine's Galactic Empire assumed the functions of the fallen Republic, a large scale military build-up brought the Academy under state control. Renamed the Imperial Military Academy, the Academy became best known as the central training facility for the Emperor's fearsome stormtroopers of the Stormtrooper Corps, a continuation of its earlier mission during the Clone Wars. As the Imperial war machine accelerated, the compound was expanded to include several other training programs for various branches of the Imperial Service, including the development of a training center for clones that, similar to the Republic's ARC troopers, were bred for greater independence and leadership. Such training included live training supplementing lessons learned through flash instruction. The Academy eventually opened the stormtrooper ranks to non-clones, with a two-year stormtrooper training program well known for its brutality, and thus drawing only the best and bravest army cadets.

The 501st Legion had a special training facility at the Academy.

The reputation of Carida became so strong that it became synonymous with military education and was known by many as simply "the Imperial Academy", despite the existence of several major and hundreds of minor state-operated Imperial academies. By the peak of the Empire, it was uncommon for any officer or specialized soldier to have not spent at least one semester at the Academy. Although Carida was first and foremost the training center for those aspiring to become members of the Stormtrooper Corps, various officers in both the Army and Navy branches of the Imperial Military nonetheless accepted recruits from Carida that didn't make it into the Stormtrooper Corps.[3]

During the Imperial years, the Carida Academy's staff and students numbered over 150,000 total. A full four-year course at the Academy would give the Empire an average of 500,000 credits per student.

Before the Battle of Endor, the Academy was target of an attack coordinated by Rebel pilots. Only four of them survived the assault, including Telsij.[4]

The Academy was destroyed in 11 ABY when Kyp Durron launched the Sun Crusher's resonance torpedoes into the heart of the Carida system's primary star. The resulting shockwave incinerated all planetary life, with the follow up cracking the planetary shell. Within the two-hour warning period Durron provided, it is believed that many of the Imperials escaped with much of their equipment.


The Academy.

The central focus of the Academy was its training of stormtroopers. While other branches and sister facilities were tied into the stormtrooper training program, every trainee that passed through the gates of the Academy participated in the basic training and field exercises of the Stormtrooper Corps before moving on to their more specialized training.

Due to the very high standards of the Stormtrooper Corps, the turnout rate for recruit training in Carida is fairly low, due to most applicants failing to meet the posted physical requirements, while others wash out during training. In large part because of the exceedingly merciless standards, those who do pass is considered a point of honor among the ranks of the Corps. Nonetheless, even those who either fail to meet the physical requirements or wash out are considered viable recruits to both the Imperial Army and Navy.[3]

Live fire field exercises provided practical experience as well as the means to test new weapons in combat situations. In fact, every major military equipment firm built facilities on Carida to allow for easier testing and development.

Carida academy prior to the planet's destruction.

Facilities included:

  • Administration building, an imposing structure with bronze mantigrues flanking its doors.[5]
  • Imperial Military Training Base
  • Imperial Navy Command Officer's School, a senior facilities for training prospective ship captains in advanced naval combat and military command
  • Imperial Engineering Academy
  • Cliffside, a stormtrooper officer's academy
  • Hospital, reserved for injured cadets and soldiers; casualties of Omega Missions made the place busy. A long flight of stairs, with a metal rail separating those going up or down, led to the main entrance, flanked by stone neks, each larger than an assault boat.[5]
  • Office of Cadet Affairs[5]
  • The Quad, a large open area of fused stone, measuring acres. Cadets marched across countless times, for which they called that place "the grinder". Nearby is a heroic statue of the Emperor.[5]
  • Storm Commando School
  • Sunstorm

In addition, aside from experimental weapons testing,[3] prospective stormtrooper officer candidates undergo lessons in:

  • Unarmed combat;[6]
  • Wilderness survival;[3]
  • Desert warfare simulations;[3]
  • Underwater battle tactics;[3]
  • Flash-memory instruction in military history;[3]
  • Self-discipline through emotional suppression;[3]
  • Education in the principles of the Emperor's New Order[3]


A cadet looking at one of the giant statues of the Academy of Carida.

Centered at Spinara Plateau and surrounded by dagger-like mountains, the Academy was composed of several impressive buildings that acted as living and dining space, training areas, as well as administrative and Caridan government offices. At the center of the campus was a large citadel[7] with architecture designed to echo the ancient buildings of Coruscant and Raithal, despite its relative youth. Enormous turrets and minarets dotted the upper walls of the citadel[7]; the southernmost turret housed the Academy's private HoloNet transceiver.

The campus itself contained facilities for both basic and advanced training. Numerous outbuildings, drill fields, rifle ranges, and storage and training facilities surrounded the main quadrangles. Decommissioned Imperial walkers were placed along major promenades as imposing reminders of the Emperor's might. Decorations included an immense "heroic" statue of Palpatine.[5]

The Academy Dean resided in the Dean's Residence.

Rom Mohc had installed a surveillance system to keep an eye on mischievous cadets. Cameras and robotic eyes high above the ground, fed images to the Commandant's undeground office; one wall was filled by a video mosaic of hundreds of screens.[5]

Cadets underwent four years of physical training, study and intentional sleep deprivation, stemming to mindbending fatigue. Before their graduation and commission, cadets underwent a final Omega Mission.[5] The cost for feeding, housing and educating the cadets, costed more than half-million credits in the course of these four years.


Cliffside graduation ceremony

Preparing for the graduation parade, the cadets were drilling many times; having to make a turn before the precarious edge of the cliffside dropoff, a bright yellow line was used; avoiding that required correct orders, right teamwork and concentration: anyone who stumbled or tripped over it, would be scolded before performing fifty pushups.

Preparing for the day, maintenance workers, freshmen, and droids worked all night to install temporary structures such as grandstands and pylons flying pennants, battle flags and heraldry. Senior officers, and some parents who could make it, also came to attend. Ranks of infantry and a company of imperial walkers (AT-ATs and AT-STs) are also assembled while waves of TIE fighters flew above the rooftops, and the Regimental Band played marches, all under hovering camera droids.

The cadets dress and shine their uniforms, are inspected and undergo a lecture on deportment, then assemble in front of their dorm according to their height and alphabetic order, although not without arguing over their placement, regarding the danger of passing by the literal Cliffside. The Cadet Company Commanders led their companies towards the Quad. Marching around its west end, they passed by the hospital, the platform of the officials and the administration building, the engineering complex, and straight to the cliffside; once a column arrived at the southeast corner of the grounds, they would skirt the edge, and at the order of the Cadet Company Commander, who was marching next to the inside flank, they wheeled left. After a second issue, the company followed the quad's north side, and took position in front of the VIP platform. This critical part of the ceremony required concentration, unison and good timing; in 4 BBY, Cadet Company Commander Stor's voice froze when his company was marching towards the cliff, and the whole first rank fell to their deaths; by 1 BBY the toll rose to thirty-six cadets, almost half of them being on the right flank, but that year had no casualties.

The Commandant introduced the guest speakers, and then a list of names and accomplishments of those in the top ten percent of the class. General Mohc would walk among the ranks and handed the honor baton.

The ceremony ended with three cheers for the Emperor and tossing caps into the air. The graduees were dismissed in a pandemonium, either to meet their friends are family, or join dinners and parties in the dorms.

Faculty and staff[]

Notable students[]

Behind the scenes[]

Prior to the development of the Academy of Carida in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, the Raithal Academy was established as the most prestigious branch of the Imperial Academy.



Notes and references[]