- "We signed up to be soldiers, not an execution squad."
Elite Squad Troopers were special forces troopers who served the early Galactic Empire prior to the termination of cloning production on Kamino. In the aftermath of the Clone Wars, the first conscripted soldiers joined the Imperial Army, which, at the time, consisted mainly of the clone troopers who once served the Galactic Republic. Imperial officers such as Vice Admiral Rampart and Admiral Wilhuff Tarkin supported the Empire's initiative to supplement and eventually replace the clones with willing recruits.
A team of highly trained Elite Squad Troopers, ES-01, ES-02, ES-03 and ES-04, served under Clone Commander CT-9904. Their introduction to the ranks of the Imperial Military threatened the interests of the Kaminoans, whereas Tarkin saw them as further evidence that the Empire would be better served by a cheaper conscription force than an expensive clone army.
History[edit | edit source]
- "Tell me this, clone. If you all are so efficient, how come the Empire's scouting soldiers like us? Sounds to me like it's time for a change."
- ―ES-01, to CT-9904
Elite Squad Troopers were soldiers who served in the Imperial Special Forces during the early days of the Imperial Era. In the aftermath of the Clone Wars and the Galactic Republic's transition to the Galactic Empire, the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic became stormtroopers of the newly formed Imperial Military. However, as a result of the cost of the cloning operation on Kamino, Imperial officers such as Admiral Wilhuff Tarkin and Vice Admiral Rampart believed that the New Order would be better served by a service conscription force instead of a clone army. Rampart was particularly convinced in the potential of recruits who willingly enlisted in the Imperial Army, unlike the Kaminoans' clones who were programmed for loyalty. Hence, Project War-Mantle was implemented to begin the process of supplanting the clones of Jango Fett with natural-born humans.
With Tarkin's support, Rampart formed a team consisting of four Elite Squad Troopers, ES-01, ES-02, ES-03 and ES-04, led by Clone Commander CT-9904 "Crosshair." As the only member of Clone Force 99 who complied with Order 66, CT-9904's Elite Squad was deployed to the planet Onderon to finish the mission that his brethren refused to carry out. The special forces unit tracked and killed the Onderon rebels, but failed to locate their leader Saw Gerrera. ES-01 refused to comply with CT-9904's orders to execute the civilians who were captured alongside the rebels, having enlisted to become a soldier rather than a member of a death squad, and was consequently executed by the commander. The remaining members of the Elite Squad complied with the order given by CT-9904, who watched as his troops killed the prisoners. In spite of Gerrera's survival and the loss of ES-01, Tarkin was impressed that the Elite Squad succeeded where the genetically defective clones did not. He decided that the clone troopers would continue to serve in the Imperial Army until the Empire was ready to fully replace them with natural-born conscripts.
While Tarkin approved of Rampart's initiative to improve the Elite Squad Troopers by having them train under an enhanced clone such as CT-9904, their success in the field concerned Prime Minister Lama Su and Doctor Nala Se. With the genetic material of Jango Fett becoming less reliable for the production of new clone troopers, the Kaminoans were determined to create a superior clone in the hope of securing their future in Emperor Palpatine's New Order.
Training[edit | edit source]
- "With more time and training, our forces will be unlike anything the galaxy has seen."
Elite Squad Troopers were highly skilled enlisted recruits. They were tasked with neutralizing anti-Imperial insurgents throughout the galaxy in order to prove the effectiveness of non-clone troops.
Vice Admiral Rampart introduced the first Elite Squad Troopers as some of the best trained soldiers in the galaxy to Admiral Tarkin. Given sufficient time and resources, Rampart believed that his soldiers had the potential to become an unprecedented military force. It was the Vice Admiral who suggested that the Elite Squad Troopers complete their training with a skilled clone, such as CT-9904, as their instructor and commanding officer. Lama Su had argued that recruited conscripts would never achieve the caliber of the clone troopers who were trained since their creation, however Rampart countered that clones' skills could be learned by enlisted volunteers.
Equipment[edit | edit source]
The members of the first Elite Squad were outfitted with suits of armor worn over a body glove. With the exception of its dark gray appearance and the helmet's green T-shaped visor, the armor was similar in design to that of the Phase II clone trooper armor. They used the same weapons as standard clone troopers, such as the DC-15A blaster carbine and the DC-15A blaster rifle. Additionally, ES-04 carried a flamethrower during her time in CT-9904's squad.
A version of the Elite Squad Trooper's armor was worn by CT-9904, and was therefore similar to the design of his old Katarn-class Commando Armor. Aside from the new armor, CT-9904 continued to use the 773 Firepuncher rifle and a DC-17 hand blaster, weapons which had served him during his time as a sniper in Clone Force 99.