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"There goes another one."
―Chief gunnery officer Lieutenant Hija, to Gunnery Captain Bolvan[src]

Chief gunnery officer, also known as a gunnery chief, was an assignment given on Star Destroyers of the Imperial Navy, and also on pirate and privateer ships, where the position was also known as weapons officer. In the Imperial Navy, under the gunnery captain's command, the chief gunnery officer managed the main weaponry of the Star Destroyer. For pirate ships, the chief gunnery officers were in charge of drills, supervising weapon and shield maintenance, and commanding tactical situations, and were also responsible for shipwide security and boarding teams for privateer and other larger vessels. During the Galactic Civil War, Lieutenant Hija and Niclara Varnillian served as Imperial chief gunnery officers, while Reagal Eron was an Imperial chief gunnery officer during the time of the New Republic.

Description[edit | edit source]

Chief gunnery officer,[2] also referred to as gunnery chief,[3] was an assignment on the Star Destroyers of the Galactic Empire's Navy, which could be given to a naval lieutenant. Only one member of this officer rank could serve on the same starship.[2] The chief gunnery officer managed the main weaponry of the vessel under the command of the gunnery captain.[1]

Chief gunnery officer was also the name given to a position on pirate vessels, with weapons officer used as another name for those chief gunnery officers. Those individuals were responsible for drills, supervising weapon and shield maintenance, and commanding tactical situations during actions. When the pirates proceeded to boarding target ships, the chief gunnery officers would use threatening laser cannon fire to make sure their targets would quickly heal, alongside ion cannons and tractor beams to bring in prizes. On privateer and other larger ships, chief gunnery officers were also responsible for shipwide security and boarding teams.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

Early Imperial period[edit | edit source]

"Prepare for an orbital bombardment of Falleen—centering on the research facility, and everything within 40 kilometers."
―Darth Vader, to Lieutenant Hija[src]

The Human male[5] Lieutenant Hija served the Imperial Navy as the chief gunnery officer aboard the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Devastator, where he managed the Star Destroyer's main weaponry.[1] In 7 BBY,[6] he was in charge when the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader ordered the bombardment of the planet Falleen in order to stop a bacterial plague that was spreading from a laboratory on the planet.[7]

Galactic Civil War[edit | edit source]

"I sure as tundin' didn't sign up to kick Rebel butt in a pink ship."
―Chief gunnery officer expressing disdain at new assignment aboard a havod-refurbished Victory-class Star Destroyer[src]

Lieutenant Hija

Seven years later,[8] during the battle of Tatooine in the Galactic Civil War, Hija, still serving aboard the Devastator, spotted an escape pod jettisoned from the captured Tantive IV, one of the Rebel Alliance's CR90 corvettes. However, his superior, Gunnery Captain Bolvan, ordered him not to fire because the Star Destroyer's gunnery sensors indicated that no lifeforms were aboard. The escape pod, in truth, contained the Rebel droids C-3PO and R2-D2, in possession of the stolen plans for the Empire's DS-1 Orbital Battle Station superweapon.[1]

Later in 0 BBY,[8] shortly after the battle of Tatooine, the Human female Niclara Varnillian became chief gunnery officer on the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Pulsar in between the Empire's destruction of her homeworld Alderaan and the Battle of Yavin.[9] In 3 ABY,[10] Varnillian was on leave on the planet Ord Mantell when she recognized Alliance operatives Lieutenant Commander Anson Blazer and Lieutenant Alton Lochner. Along with Imperial soldiers, Varnillian botched her attempt to capture the pair, resulting in a firefight that led to several Imperial soldier and civilian fatalities. When Varnillian returned to the Pulsar after all but two of the Alliance operatives escaped, she was subsequently demoted for the failed mission.[9]

In 2 ABY,[11] a chief gunnery officer was assigned to serve aboard a Victory-class Star Destroyer which had been refurbished, as part of a group of 100 total of its class, with havod metal alloy plating and resulted in a subsequent reddish coloration. As a result of the reddish color, the chief gunnery officer was one of many who subsequently requested transferring out of their assignments aboard the refurbished Destroyers.[3]

New Republic[edit | edit source]

"That afternoon I requested reassignment to the navy and I've been happy here ever since."
―Chief gunnery officer Reagal Eron expressing relief at no longer being around bounty hunter Boba Fett after reassignment to the Imperial Navy[src]

At some point following the formation of the New Republic, Reagal Eron served as the chief gunnery officer of the Star Destroyer Eradicator. During that service, Eron recounted a prior incident, having previously served as the adjutant of Imperial Governor Isis, of witnessing bounty hunter Boba Fett collect his reward for the capture of pirate Feldrall Okor.[12]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The rank of chief gunnery officer first appeared in the December 1976 novelization of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope,[1] ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster.[13] Hija's scene also appeared in the released version of A New Hope, released in 1977.[5] In the novel, Hija was referred to as one of Bolvan's chief gunnery officers,[1] but later sources suggest that there was only one of this officer on the Devastator.[2][14][15]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Star Wars: Behind the Magic
  3. 3.0 3.1 SWAJsmall.jpg "Galaxywide NewsNets"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 10
  4. Pirates & Privateers
  5. 5.0 5.1 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  6. Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook reveals that the bombardment of Falleen was ten years before the events of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, which occurred in 3 ABY, according to The New Essential Chronology.
  7. WEG icon2.jpg "The Lesser Evil"—Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook
  8. 8.0 8.1 The New Essential Chronology dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which starts with the battle of Tatooine and ends with the Battle of Yavin, to 0 BBY.
  9. 9.0 9.1 SWAJsmall.jpg "Wanted by Cracken"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 8
  10. The New Essential Chronology dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY, and SWAJsmall.jpg "Wanted by Cracken"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 8 mentions the firefight on Ord Mantell was one year prior, making 3 ABY the date for the chronologically earlier event.
  11. The Essential Atlas states that the Battle of Yavin occurred in year 35, which is the zero point of the BBY/ABY year-notation system, so the difference between the calendar based on the Battle of Yavin and the Great ReSynchronization's year-notation system is thirty-five years. This date is derived from simple math based upon the 37:4:28 date established in Galaxywide NewsNets.
  12. WEG icon2.jpg "This Guy Just Doesn't Care"—Galaxy Guide 10: Bounty Hunters
  13. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novelization, Special Edition foreword by George Lucas
  14. Star Wars Encyclopedia ("Hija, Lieutenant")
  15. The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 42 ("Hija, Lieutenant")
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