- "People love the X-wing pilots because they think of them as the great fighters of the Rebellion. See? People haven't forgotten the war. It's just that it was all so very long ago."
- ―Senator Varish Vicly
Rebel pilots, also known as Rebel fighter pilots were pilots who served both the early rebel movement and later the Rebel Alliance under the Alliance's starfighter corps. They fought in countless battles against the Imperial forces during the lead up to and during the Galactic Civil War. They piloted starfighters such as A-wings, B-wings, X-wings, and Y-wings, as well as low altitude vehicles such as T-47 airspeeders.
Battle of YavinEdit
Before the Battle of Yavin started, pilots of the Rebel Alliance were given a task to destroy the Galactic Empire's superweapon, the Death Star. With the valuable information R2-D2 provided after Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor found it on Scarif, the Rebels learned that the Death Star had a small exhaust port which might be a good spot to place proton torpedoes in order to destroy the space station, because Galen Walton Erso projected the port betraying the Empire and giving a chance to the Rebels of destroying his station.
Once the mission briefing ended, members of Red Squadron and Gold Squadron were assigned to their X-wings and Y-wings. Soon after they were launched to space, they entered the Death Star's magnetic field and began the attack. During the attack run on the station's surface, they encountered turbolaser defenses. Due to the X-wings' small and fast body, the station's turbolasers weren't quite effective to the Rebel fighters. Noticing that fact, the Sith Lord Darth Vader personally led a TIE/ln space superiority starfighter squadron in his TIE Advanced x1 to bring down the Rebels himself.
During the race in the trench, Vader killed several Rebel pilots including Gold Squadron members Jon Vander, Dex Tiree, and Davish Krail; Garven Dreis, leader of Red Squadron; and Biggs Darklighter, close friend of Luke Skywalker. As Vader took aim at Skywalker's fighter, however, the Millennium Falcon, piloted by Han Solo, appeared from above, and destroyed one of his escort TIE fighter pilots. As a result of Solo's distraction, Skywalker had a clear chance to fire torpedoes to the exhaust port. Aided by the Force, the torpedoes entered the exhaust port, reached the Death Star's main reactor, and caused a chain reaction which ultimately made the entire structure explode.
When the battle ended, the only surviving rebel pilots with the crew of the Falcon were Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, and Evaan Verlaine. After the Royal Award Ceremony, Verlaine accompanied Princess Leia Organa in a mission to rescue the survivors of Alderaan.
Battle of HothEdit
Although the Rebel Alliance achieved a major victory at Yavin, they were eventually forced to abandon their base and settled down at a remote ice world of Hoth. They were found by one of the Imperial probe droids searching through the galaxy, and as a result, Death Squadron came to the Hoth system.
But because of Admiral Kendal Ozzel's mistake, the Rebel Alliance noticed the approaching Imperials and activated a planetary shield generator which could protect their base from orbital bombardments. With the plan to bombard the rebel base from orbit precluded, Vader Force choked Admiral Ozzel to death and ordered General Maximillian Veers to lead the ground forces and destroy the shield generator.
While the Empire was planning the assault, the rebel defense line was formed to hold off the attackers until the rest of the Alliance members evacuate the planet. When the rebels spotted the Imperial AT-AT walkers, rebel pilots employed T-47 airspeeders to face them.
Rogue Squadron, led by Luke Skywalker, led the air defense against the Imperial AT-ATs. Wedge Antilles and gunner Wes Janson utilized tow cables to entangle an AT-AT's legs to disable the Imperial Walker. This strategy was effective by focusing on the weak spot of the walker, but they were eventually defeated by the superior firepower of the armored walkers, forced to either retreat or shot down.
Battle of EndorEdit
One year after the devastating defeat on Hoth, the Rebel Alliance gathered for planning a large-scale assault on the newly constructed second Death Star. When the Alliance Fleet exited hyperspace in the second Death Star's vicinity. Realizing that it was a trap, the fleet, led by Admiral Gial Ackbar, and several rebel pilots with General Lando Calrissian in charge, engaged the Imperial fleet in point-black range.
During the battle, Blade Squadron, which consisted of A/SF-01 B-wing starfighters, encountered the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Devastator commanded by Admiral Jhared Montferrat. Despite the disadvantage in firepower, two rebel pilots, Gina Moonsong and Braylen Stramm, managed to hit the Star Destroyer's navigational shielding, leading to the destruction of the ship.
When the Death Star's shield was down, several pilots, including Norra Wexley, entered the Death Star's superstructure with the Millennium Falcon, piloted by Calrissian and Nien Nunb, to reach the station's reactor core and destroy it. Meanwhile, an A-wing pilot Arvel Crynyd flew his craft towards the bridge of the Super Star Destroyer Executor. By his sacrifice, the bridge was destroyed, bringing the massive star destroyer to its end.
Inside the Death Star, Wedge Antilles took a shot on the Death Star's power regulator. The following shot by the Falcon destroyed its main reactor and they flew their way out. The Death Star exploded just after the Falcon came out, and later on Endor, the rebel pilots celebrated their victory with the Ewoks and the rest of the Alliance members.
By the end of the Galactic Civil War, many citizenry would look back on the conflict with nostalgia, while others worried that the lessons of the war had gone unheard to the younger generation. To them, the pilots and heroes of the past were nothing more than figures in a textbook, while pilots of the New Republic enjoyed massive popularity and rejoiced in the peace of their time, without the requirement of sacrifice or hardship.
Upon the rise of the First Order, pilots of the Resistance Starfighter Corps would borrow the uniforms, codes and tactics of the old Rebellion, led by several veteran Rebel pilots of the Galactic Civil War. Among the Resistance's ranks included Nien Nunb, the ex-smuggler turned war hero, along with Gial Ackbar and other celebrated members of Alliance High Command. Furthermore, the new pilots of the Resistance would all be trained in flight maneuvers named after pilots of the old war, such as the Skywalker Swoop, Antilles Intercept, and Porkins Belly Run, along with utilizing updated X-wing fighters, such as the T-70.
Rebel pilots often were trained on the fly by their superiors, while most new recruits already possessed keen starfighting abilities. It was common practice for rebel pilots to be taught and utilize the scatter protocol, which set up a practice of randomly choosing a path through hyperspace after each operation before rendezvousing with the Alliance Fleet in an attempt to evade any possible Imperial pursuit.
Rebel pilots wore orange, blue,green, grey or red flight suits with a flak vest and life support box on top. Their flight helmets were often decorated with the Alliance starbird although could be customized with squadron insignia or images of personal significance.