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"Stay on target!"
―Davish Krail, as Gold Five[1]

Davish Krail, known by his comrades as "Pops," was a veteran BTL Y-wing starfighter pilot who flew for the Alliance to Restore the Republic. He had been flying for nearly twenty years before joining the Alliance, and served at the organization's base on Dantooine alongside his old friend Garven Dreis. He was given command of a Y-wing squadron at some stage, but eventually served under Jon Vander in Gold Squadron.

When the Death Star entered the Yavin system in 0 BBY, Krail was amongst the pilots sent by General Jan Dodonna to destroy the battlestation. He accompanied Vander and Tiree in the first attack on the station's exhaust port, but during the trench run, his allies were gunned down by Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith. Aborting his run, Krail too was shot down by the Dark Lord, but not before alerting Dreis, commander of the X-wing fighter unit Red Squadron, to the threat.



Since at least 20 BBY,[3] the Human male[1] Davish Krail flew starfighters,[3] and over the course of his career, he fought in many engagements. He had kept the same helmet over the years, and eventually it was battered to a state that it was no longer useful. One of Krail's friends during his earlier flying years was Garven Dreis,[4] who flew with the Rarefied Air Cavalry.[5] By the time of his joining the Alliance to Restore the Republic, he was a veteran pilot,[3] and was given command of a BTL Y-wing starfighter squadron at the Alliance's base on Dantooine.[6] Also serving at the base was Krail's old friend, Dreis.[7]

With younger pilots such as Ryle Torsyn under his command,[6] Krail eventually came to be known as "Pops," since he was in his elder years while serving the Alliance.[4] He was later assigned to Jon Vander's Y-wing Gold Squadron, and flew as Vander's wingman under the call sign of "Gold 5."[3] Krail personally supervised all maintenance and repairs on his Y-wing.[8] He and his comrades were transferred[6] when the Alliance was later forced to abandon the Dantooine base and relocate to the Great Temple of Yavin 4.[1]

The Battle of Yavin[]

"Gold Five to Red Leader! Lost Tiree; lost Dutch!"
"I copy, Gold Leader."
"They came from behind!"
―Davish Krail and Garven Dreis[1]

In 0 BBY, the Alliance prepared to strike at and destroy the Galactic Empire's Death Star superweapon. Technical readouts to the station had been delivered to the Great Temple by Princess Leia Organa, allowing Alliance High Command to devise a plan of attack. It was the intent of General Jan Dodonna to have snubfighters approach the station, fly down one of its surface trenches, and fire proton torpedoes down a two-meter-wide exhaust shaft. The warheads would hopefully go down the shaft into the battlestation's main reactor, and ultimately destroy the superweapon.[1] Since the Y-wings were best suited for bombing runs,[9] Gold Squadron was selected to make the first attack against the exhaust port. However, in bringing the plans to Yavin 4, Organa and her companions had been tracked by the Imperials, and as a result they had brought the Death Star itself to the Yavin system.[1]

Left with little choice but to begin his attack immediately while the Death Star bore down on Yavin 4, Dodonna launched Dreis' X-wing Red Squadron, Vander's Gold Squadron,[1] Merrick Simms' Blue Squadron,[10] and Green Squadron against the station.[4] Krail flew on Vander's wing as usual, and as the Alliance fighters neared the station, the veteran pilot followed his commander toward the target shaft. Meanwhile, Dreis and his "Red Boys" drew the battlestation's defensive fire away from Gold Squadron. Eventually, the Imperials launched Black Squadron, composed of TIE/LN starfighters, to deal with the Alliance fighters. While TIEs fought with Red Squadron, Vander, Krail, and Tiree began their attack run on the Death Star's exhaust port.[1]

Vander's, Krail's, and Tiree's Y-wing fighters in the trench run

As the trio began their descent into the trench, Vander marked the exhaust port's location. When in the trench itself, he ordered Krail and Tiree to switch all their power to their front deflector shield. As they were beset by cannon fire from turrets within the trench, Vander requested that Krail estimate just how many defensive turrets the trench had. The veteran completed the task while hurtling down the trench, and supposed that there were approximately twenty in total, spread between the station's surface and its towers. As they neared the exhaust port, Vander switched to his targeting computer before the defensive fire abruptly stopped. Krail suggested that they switch to rear deflector shields, and advised his comrades to be wary of possible enemy fighter attacks from behind.[1]

Sure enough, Vander immediately identified three enemy fighters headed for their position. One of them was a TIE Advanced x1, piloted by Lord Darth Vader.[1] Since they could not fend off the enemy craft and attack the objective simultaneously, the trio were forced to doggedly continue toward the exhaust port, in spite of the threat.[4] The new arrivals entered the trench behind the trio, and Vader quickly shot down Tiree. Vander began panicking, and protested that the trench was too small, restricting his evasive options. Krail continually beseeched Vander to focus on his objective, but the younger man continued to fret, urging the veteran to move away from his fighter and loosen up formation. The requests were made in vain, however, as Vader swiftly dispatched Vander as well.[1]

Krail's Y-wing is destroyed, killing him in the process.

The loss of Gold Leader proved to be too much for even an experienced veteran like Krail.[4] Now alone in the trench with Vader on his tail, Krail pulled out of the run and contacted Dreis, informing the Red Squadron commander of Gold Squadron's failure.[1] With his last breath he informed Red Leader that Vader and his wingmen had attacked them from behind, before the Dark Lord shot down and killed the veteran. Dreis would also be killed by Vader shortly thereafter, but Red Squadron pilot Luke Skywalker eventually succeeded in destroying the station to win the day for the Alliance.[1]

Personality and traits[]

"How many guns do you think, Gold Five?"
"Say about twenty guns; some on the surface, some on the towers."
―Jon Vander and Davish Krail assess the Death Star's defenses[1]

An experienced man and fighter pilot, Davish Krail would retain a determined demeanor while others would frantically panic. When Tiree perished under Vader's guns during the Battle of Yavin, Vander began to lose sight of the objective as he feared for his own safety. Admonishingly, Krail, who was the older man, tried to keep his superior dedicated to his task. Although he failed in that act, he did use his final moments to aid his allies with intelligence. Over his years of service, he had kept the same battered helmet,[4] although he did not wear the chinstrap when going into battle.[1] Krail had graying hair.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

Davish Krail was portrayed by Graham Ashley in George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. He had technically first appeared in Alan Dean Foster's novelization of the film. In the novel, he was identified as "Pops." The novel had also identified what was Gold Squadron in the film as Red Squadron, and hence, the character was identified as "Red Five," which was the callsign given to Luke Skywalker in the film. The "Red Five" designation was also used in A Guide to the Star Wars Universe. Krail's character in the film was referred to as "Gold Five," with the exception of one instance in which Garven Dreis addresses him as "Gold Leader." One of Gold Five's lines in the radio drama adaptation of the film was spoken by Tiree in the film itself.

The character was given the name of "Davish Krail" in the 1995 "Premiere Limited" set of the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. In 1998, however, Jude Watson would identify "Gold Five" as Talos Merkin in Star Wars Journal: Captive to Evil, which was initially assumed by fans to be a mistake. Many years later, Jason Fry revealed that he considered Merkin to be one of the candidates for the role of Red Twelve in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, thus indicating him to be, in fact, a separate character.[11]

There is a reference to Krail in the video game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. When destroyed, the Dwarven Gyrocopter unit will utter "They came from behind!" before disintegrating, in a very similar way to Gold Five in the movie. Blizzard Entertainment staff has confirmed that this is one of many intentional references/homages to Lucas' Star Wars universe.



Notes and references[]

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