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"Red Leader, this is Gold Leader. We're starting our attack run."
―Jon "Dutch" Vander[src]

Jon "Dutch" Vander was a Human male and an experienced pilot who joined the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War. He fought in the Battle of Yavin, flying a BTL Y-wing starfighter as Gold Leader, but was shot down by Darth Vader.


"Loosen up!"
―Vander's last words before his death[src]

Vander's Y-wing starfighter

A Rebel starfighter pilot nicknamed "Dutch", Jon Vander was stationed at the Rebel Alliance's Renforra Base prior to the Battle of Yavin.[2]

At Renforra, Vander led Specter Squadron, flying a BTL Y-wing, his preferred starfighter, under the designation Specter One. By the time of the Battle of Yavin, Vander proudly wore the emblem of Specter Squadron on his helmet.[2][3][4]

Some time before the Battle of Yavin, Vander served as Princess Leia Organa's pilot for a Rebel mission to the Belassar system. On their journey to the system, Vander told jokes to the Princess, who would later remember him as a friend.[5]

Vander also participated in an attack on an Imperial supply outpost on Kashyyyk, with Hol Okand as his wingman.[6]

By 0 BBY, Vander had been transferred to the Alliance's Massassi Base on Yavin 4, where he was present for General Jan Dodonna's briefing for the upcoming assault on the Death Star. During the briefing, Vander questioned the ability of the Alliance's snubfighters to destroy a target of the space station's size, and later gave Princess Leia a look of concern when Dodonna mentioned that the exhaust port was only two meters wide.[1]

Despite his skepticism, Vander would fly his Y-wing, now designated Gold One, as Gold Leader, leading his squadron on one of the battle's first trench runs. Informing Red Leader Garven Dreis of his attack, Vander led the run, followed by Gold Two Tiree and Gold Five Davish "Pops" Krail. Vander ordered his pilots to transfer all power to their Y-wings' front deflector screens as a defense against the Death Star's turbolaser turrets observed by Krail, and to activate their targeting computers. When the turbolaser fire abruptly ceased, Krail advised his fellow pilots to stabilize their rear deflectors and watch for enemy fighters as Darth Vader's TIE Advanced x1 and his wingmen, flying TIE/LN starfighters, entered the trench. Vader quickly shot down Tiree, causing Vander to lose his composure, ordering Krail to loosen formation. Krail refused, insisting they stay on target, while Vander in turn was killed by Darth Vader. Krail reported Tiree and Vander's deaths to Dreis, joining them shortly after.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

Vander during the Battle of Yavin

In Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Angus MacInnes plays the pilot identified as Gold Leader. One of his wingmen, Gold Five, has a line mentioning squadron mates named Tiree and either Hutch or Dutch—the enunciation is unclear. Gold Five is referring to Gold Leader and Gold Two, but the film provides no way to determine which call sign is Tiree and which is Dutch/Hutch.[1]

This pilot first appears in the A New Hope novelization. In this version of the Battle of Yavin, the Y-wing squadron is Red Squadron rather than Gold. Red Five, identified only as "Pops," speaks of a pilot named Dutch, but—as in the film—it is ambiguous whether he means Red Leader or Two.[7]

The film's screenplay, as it appears in the original 1979 edition of The Art of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, uses the Gold Squadron designation for the Y-wings. Here, too, Gold Five mentions Dutch, who could be either Gold Leader or Two.

The 1984 A Guide to the Star Wars Universe clarified that Dutch was Gold Leader and Tiree was Gold Two.[8]

In 1995, the Star Wars Customizable Card Game was the first source to indicate that "Dutch" was a nickname and that his full name was Jon Vander.[2]

Most other sources over the years, such as the Star Wars Encyclopedia, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, the Star Wars Trading Card Game, an official action figure, and the current Databank entry, give this pilot's name or nickname as Dutch. However, the version of the screenplay in the 1997 book Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays gives his name as "Hutch." This variant was also used in the subtitles of the DVD of the film a decade later.

Vander's helmet prop — or one of a matching design — was later used by "Hobbie" in The Empire Strikes Back,[9] and by Grizz Frix in Return of the Jedi as well as a different, unidentified pilot on Home One in the film.[10]


Vander flying as Gold Leader


Notes and references[]