- Rocket-jumper leader: "OK boys, we're only two miles above the city."
- Rocket-jumper: "Two miles, is that all? Damn. One time on Cyborrea, we had to drop from sixteen miles up! No air, full space gear…"
Rocket-jumper leader: "Save the bragging for after the battle. Recon reports heavy door-to-door fighting between the Beast Riders on the one side and dark-side army on the other. We're dropping down into the middle of it. So strap on your packs, jack up your blasters and get ready to jump!"
Rocket-jumper leader: "Launch door open…"
Rocket-jumper leader: "And…launch!"
- ―Republic rocket-jumpers deploy over Iziz[src]
The Rocket-Jumper Elite Advance Unit (R-EAU), known commonly as the Republic rocket-jumpers, was an elite soldier equipped with a rocket pack, used by the Galactic Republic millennia before the rise of the Empire. They were organized as a part of the Republic Army.
- "At 0300 we established an airhead. At 0308 we encountered armed resistance. By the time the rest of the army arrived at 0400, there wasn't any character left for them to fight."
- ―Master Jumper Barkin's journal
The rocket jumpers held two primary objectives on the battlefield. The first was to hold the line until reinforcements from the Republic arrived or assistance was received from either heavy artillery or starship. Their second mission directive was to provide limited forms of reconnaissance, as well as conduct rescue and quick response operations. After they developed their reputation as an elite force, the rocket-jumpers began to participate in special ops missions such as VIP extractions as well as the destruction of enemy weapon emplacements. Republic rocket-jumpers were also deployed to break stalemates and sieges by dropping straight into the heavy fighting. While these were the normal purposes of the unit, it was known that they were also capable of taking part in large scale engagements where they served as a forward response element.
Due to the group being an elite unit, as well as the dangers faced on their missions, only the most skilled of combat officers and soldiers were allowed to join them. Out of those that joined, only 8% of candidates managed to receive a rocket-jumper billet. Those soldiers part of the unit were infamous for their bizarre behavior when not on duty hours, with it being noted that they engaged in drinking, fighting, and a number of stunts. It was known that most patrons avoided locales where rocket-jumpers congregated and such locations were the most difficult to insure in Galactic City.
Despite all this, they were dedicated soldiers while on a mission and maintained that discipline on the field. They were expected to succeed on the battlefield, or die trying. Due to their high level of discipline, they refused to fail or surrender under any circumstances, putting their mission objectives before anything and everything else. This meant that only the most qualified as well as dedicated of troopers were allowed to serve the Republic in the role of rocket-jumpers.
The unit was initially formed in the year 11,000 BBY when a reliable form of jet-propelled packs was developed. During the Pius Dea Civil War, which ended Pius Dea domination over the Galactic Republic, rocket jumpers played an important role in the Jedi victory over Pius Dea forces on Ord Carida. Since that time, they participated in major battles which included the Second Herglic Feud, the Waymancy Storm, the Gank Massacres and the Quesaya Border Conflict. Senator Netus served with them prior to his service as Minister of Defense. During the Great Droid Revolution, they were defeated by Juggernaut war droids in a battle over Monument Plaza on Coruscant. Ironically, the droids had been originally commissioned by decorated rocket-jumper veteran Supreme Chancellor Vocatara during the Gank Massacres.
Following a call for Republic aid from Jedi Knight Ulic Qel-Droma during the Freedon Nadd Uprising on Onderon, they deployed from rocket-jumper troopships in the skies of the capital city of Iziz. Supporting the Beast Riders of Onderon in battle against Naddist forces, the rocket-jumpers descended through hostile artillery fire to engage the ground-based enemy.
They were ultimately disbanded in the year 1000 BBY, following the Ruusan Reformation which saw the Republic Army vanish and be replaced by the Judicial Forces. While they no longer operated, the tactics of the group continued to live on. During the Clone Wars, the newly formed Grand Army of the Republic made use of clone jet troopers that employed the same lightning tactics as the old rocket-jumper divisions. The Galactic Empire also continued the practice by commissioning Airtrooper military units. In this later era, the Republic rocket-jumpers were one of a number of special forces noted in the history of the galaxy, where they stood alongside such units as the Freedom Warriors and Atrisian Assault Corps.
By the time of the Galactic Empire, the stormtrooper TX-5532 cited the Rocket-Jumper Elite Advanced Unit as being the closest equivalent corps of elite, first-attack soldiers to the Stormtrooper Corps.
- "Straight from the Horse's Mouth: A Guide to the Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Universe, Part 3" – Star Wars Insider 28
- Tales of the Jedi Companion
- Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
- Gundark's Fantastic Technology: Personal Gear
- The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
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- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
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- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide