- "Soldiers can't choose their battles. A soldier fights for an imperfect nation, not a perfect ideal."
- ―Soran Keize
A soldier, also referred to as a warrior, was a being who fought in defense of an organization, government, or ideal.[source?] Soldiers could be trained and organized to fight as part of an army or militia, whereas others served as special units. Soldiers who fought purely for monetary income rather than political alignment were known as mercenaries. Soldiers could serve in more roles than front-line fighters, as they could be stationed at an installation or serve as guards. Officers would serve as leaders for soldiers, fighting and commanding alongside their troops or commanding from a more secure location. Infantries were army branches made up of soldiers. Difficult combat made up part of the life of a soldier.
The Galactic Republic was protected for centuries by the Jedi Order who served as peacekeepers but maintained they were not soldiers. The Republic was also protected by the Judicial Forces, while the Galactic Senate on Coruscant was protected by the Senate Guard and its elite Commandos. Republic member worlds like Naboo and Mon Cala typically had their own soldiers, such as the Royal Naboo Security Forces, Mon Calamari Guard, or Royal Onderon Militia.
With the eruption of the Clone Wars, the Republic formed the Grand Army composed of clone troopers considered the greatest soldiers in galactic history. They fought against the Droid Army of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. While the Separatists notably used battle droids instead of flesh and blood soldiers, there were occasions where organic troops were deployed, such as the use of Geonosians during the First and Second battles of Geonosis. After the war, the new Galactic Empire used the clones as the basis for the the Imperial stormtroopers who served as elite soldiers and shock troops, a practice continued by the First Order. The Galactic Empire also made use of elite soldiers selected from the Stormtrooper Corps called death troopers, which were used to guard high-placed Imperial officers.
The Alliance to Restore the Republic had Rebel troopers who were its ground forces fighting against the Empire. The New Republic had a standing army, but its decision to ignore the First Order meant the Resistance had to rely on lightly-armored troopers like its predecessor.