- "Think of yourselves as a hand. Each of you is a finger, and without the others you're useless. Alone, a finger can't grasp, or control, or form a fist. You are nothing on your own, and everything together."
- ―Kal Skirata
A clone commando, also known as a Republic commando and later an Imperial commando, was an elite soldier of the Grand Army of the Republic and later the Stormtrooper Corps. Often working in groups of four, clone commandos were assigned to carry out covert operations too delicate for regular clone troopers. Covert infiltration, sabotage, demolition and assassination were standard tasks for the clone commandos.
When Order 66 was issued by Chancellor Palpatine near the conclusion of the Clone Wars, the Jedi Order became targeted for extermination while Palpatine brought a swift end to the Old Republic by declaring himself emperor of the first Galactic Empire. The remaining Republic commandos were rechristened as Imperial commandos and incorporated into a special forces unit attached to the 501st Legion, under the command of the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
However, a minority of commandos refused to comply with Order 66, either out of sympathy for the Jedi or due to other personal reasons. For instance, Ion Team did not carry out the command to kill their Jedi officers, viewing it as an invalid order and not believing that the Jedi would betray the Republic, and instead opted to ensure the survival of General Roan Shryne. Other commandos fled to Mandalore, choosing to go into hiding rather than serve as the enforcers of the Emperor's New Order.
- "...You will be superior to your more common brethren. For you are a commando, an elite unit, something truly special."
- ―Taun We
Soon after the Kaminoans began developing the Galactic Republic's secret clone army on their homeworld of Kamino, a special forces unit was conceived as a necessary addition to the overall operational effectiveness of the new military force. Jango Fett, a Mandalorian bounty hunter and the genetic template for the entire clone army, was confident that progeny would be engineered into the best soldiers in the galaxy, but also knew that there were situations that regular infantry was not suited for. As a result, he requested for a special batch of clones that he would personally train as Advanced Recon Commandos. The Kaminoans reluctantly agreed, but due to their disappointment in the failed prototypes, they felt little confidence that the second generation of ARC troopers would meet their expectations. Thus, they compromised with Fett; the bounty hunter would be allowed to train his ARC troopers while the Kaminoans proceeded with their plan to create the clone commandos, otherwise known as Republic commandos.
Unlike the ARC troopers, the Republic commandos would be more loyal and susceptible to following orders without question, yet they would still retain greater ability for independent thought than the standard clone troopers. This however could not prepare them for Order 66. Thus, they were to be the perfect balance between two extremes. With a greater capacity for independent thinking, the commandos would be better suited to handling delicate missions with complicated objectives. If necessary, they would also be capable of devising their own way for completing missions. By being indoctrinated with absolute loyalty to the Republic, the commandos would not be difficult to control as the notorious Null-class ARC troopers were.
The first batches of clone commandos were separated into squads, also known as "pods", of four clones each, in reflection of the native aiwha hunting pods from Kamino. In addition to being subjected to the computerized flash-training program, the commando squads were divided amongst the Cuy'val Dar, a group of professional mercenaries covertly brought to Kamino and hired to train the commandos in a variety of ways, such as teamwork, infiltration methods, demolition techniques, assassination and much more. The majority of the trainers were Mandalorians, such as Kal Skirata and Walon Vau; the rest were mercenaries of different backgrounds. Although Fett's Cuy'val Dar were primarily responsible for the commandos' training, Kaminoan scientists personally oversaw the development of their creations as well. Taun We took a vested interest in the training of Delta Squad's leader, RC-1138, and helped to guide him throughout the first ten years of his life.
The Clone Wars
When the Clone Wars erupted between the reigning Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems, the clone commandos had just completed a decade of training and were prepared for deployment into Republic service. The Kaminoans' efforts to breed a special forces unit resulted in a number of small, operational squads, each capable of carrying out self-contained or campaign-augmenting missions. They were also highly trained and fiercely cohesive, yet capable of carrying out a variety of mission profiles.
As the Clone Wars began with its first battle on the Separatist world Geonosis, the clone commandos were among of the first units deployed onto the battlefield, undertaking stealth missions to disrupt and destroy droid factories; Delta Squad was responsible for assassinating Geonosian Lieutenant Sun Fac. However, due to the fact that the Jedi had not yet been prepared to lead an army, nor could they distinguish clone commandos from regular infantry troops, roughly fifty percent of the commandos died in the first battle. Despite their training as elite soldiers, the commandos were unfit to perform the role of the infantry-based clone troopers. In the aftermath of the battle, squads that survived intact were kept together, such as Delta Squad, while surviving commandos from various squads were merged together, thus creating new units like Omega Squad. Over the course of the Clone Wars, the commandos were set to work in various other flash-points across the galaxy, wreaking havoc on the Separatist forces.
Throughout the Clone Wars, there were many different opinions about the commandos. Some clones were impressed by the commandos' status within the Grand Army and were awed by their skills as a special forces unit. Other clones, especially the ones belonging to the infantry-based units, disliked the commandos and felt that their reputation was grossly exaggerated. Later in the war, many clones grew to hate the commandos' for their delving too much in the Mandalorian culture. Prior to the Clone Wars, Alpha-Ø2, a defective ARC trooper, went rogue and escaped from Kamino. He reunited many Mandalorians into a new mercenary force and fought against the Republic on behalf of the Separatist cause; the treason of Alpha-Ø2 even resulted in a Mandalorian assault on Kamino, where many of his clone brethren were killed in defense of their homeworld.
Due to the Mandalorians' declaration of war against the Galactic Republic, as well as the fact that they were led by a treacherous clone of Jango Fett, many clone troopers rejected their genetic template's heritage and began to despise anything that had to do with the Mandalorians, including fellow clones who still imitated certain Mandalorian customs and traits. The clone troopers of the 2nd Airborne Company, having suffered high casualties against the Mandalorian Protectors, displayed open contempt for Omega Squad, a unit of clone commandos that felt deeply connected to their Mandalorian roots. As far as the vast majority of clones were concerned, the Mandalorians had become enemies of the Republic, and the mere notion that some of their own brethren behaved like the enemy was deeply offensive to the clones that swore absolute loyalty to the Republic.
While the clone commandos were generally acknowledged as a superior breed compared to the majority of the standard-issued clone troopers, the only clones in the Grand Army that superseded the commandos in skill and reputation were the ARC troopers. Though the Null-class ARCs were still regarded as anti-authoritative and problematic, they were useful as intelligence operatives. The more well-known Alpha-class ARC troopers, trained by the hand of Jango Fett himself, were acknowledged as the absolute best and most elite force that the Grand Army of the Republic had to offer. Their reputation was so renown amongst the clones that not even the commandos challenged the superiority of the ARC troopers. Omega Squad felt a mixture of respect, awe and fear in regards to the ARCs. RC-1136 admitted that the ARC troopers were the only people on the Republic's side that he feared; RC-3222 regarded the ARC troopers as the clones that were closest to emulating Jango Fett in skill and personality, describing them as "pretty well raw Jango."
The Rise of the Empire
- "Vader's set up a special assassination unit of former Republic commandos and ARCs within the Five-oh-first solely to hunt Jedi, deserters and sympathizers."
- ―Mereel Skirata
In the waning hours of the Clone Wars, the Sith plot to seize control of the galaxy was realized after a thousand years of preparation. Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith and the true identity of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, initiated the near-extermination of the entire Jedi Order by issuing Order 66 to all clone troopers. Trained from birth to be unflinching loyal and to obey all legal orders without question, the clones executed their orders, thus resulting in the immediate deaths of thousands of Jedi throughout the galaxy. After Palpatine declared himself Emperor shortly afterward, the 25,000 year-old Galactic Republic ceased to exist, clearing the way for the rise of the Galactic Empire. Among the many changes that were enacted to reflect the Emperor's New Order, the Grand Army of the Republic was soon reorganized into the Imperial Army and Stormtrooper Corps respectively, the clone troopers were re-designated as Imperial stormtroopers, and the Republic commandos were rechristened as Imperial Commandos.
As the Emperor's new apprentice and Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet, the Sith Lord Darth Vader wasted no time in taking on his task to exterminate all surviving Jedi that escaped Order 66 and fled into hiding. As such, all of the remaining ARC troopers and Imperial commandos were incorporated into the 501st Legion as a new special forces unit, thus placing them under Vader's direct command. In addition to their new role as Jedi hunters, the Imperial commandos were also tasked with tracking down and killing anyone who either sympathized with the Jedi, or aided them in any way. Another objective that the Imperial commandos took on was to hunt down and exterminate clone deserters and traitors, mostly former Republic commandos and rogue ARC troopers.
Among the first to compose the ranks of the Imperial commandos were the remaining members of Delta Squad and Omega Squad respectively. Although still capable at operating in the field, due to their combat experience as veterans of the Clone Wars, one of their primary tasks was to train the Empire's newly-engineered clone stormtroopers. However, the new clones were barely a standard year old, having been speedily grown through Spaarti technology. As a result, they were far less independent-minded than the clone troopers from Kamino, and much more likely to depend upon the flash training and rhetoric that they had been taught. As soldiers, the Spaarti-Fett clones demonstrated poor marksmanship skills and disregarded traditonal strategy for a simple charge towards the enemy. Commandos such as IC-1136 were shocked and exasperated by the operational effectiveness of the Empire's latest clone soldiers, or lack thereof.
Under the 501st Legion, the Imperial commandos were divided into slightly larger squads than the "pods" that operated under the Old Republic. Galaar Squad and Omega Squad were combined into the Imperial Squad 40. Due to the commando casualties in the Clone Wars and the traitors that deserted the Empire, it was clear that the Imperial commandos' ranks could not be filled only by the first generation commandos that served under the Republic. In addition to the remaining commandos, the 501st Special Unit was also composed of regular clones grown from the Spaarti cylinders, much to the dismay of the original clone commandos. 
As previously mentioned, not all of the Republic commandos chose to obey Order 66. A small minority of commandos disregarded the command from the highest level of Republic authority, either out of sympathy for the Jedi Order or due to different personal reasons. With the exception of IC-1309 and IC-1136, the remaining commandos of Omega Squad fled in exile to Mandalore. Due to the subversive influence of Sergeant Kal Skirata, and having been indoctrinated into Mandalorian culture, Omega Squad's commandos had been harboring thoughts of desertion for some time prior to Order 66. Instead of serving Emperor Palpatine, they opted to start a new life on Mandalore while also living as fugitives. Also, the Republic commandos of Ion Team regarded Order 66 as an invalid command and refused to execute their Jedi officer Roan Shryne. But unlike the deserters who retreated into hiding on Mandalore, Ion Team was unable to escape from the Empire's wrath. With the 501st Legion behind him, Darth Vader confronted Ion Team and personally killed two of its members; the remaining two commandos were captured alive by the 501st stormtroopers.
- "Ah, one of the deluxe models. Come to save us with your 'superior' training?"
"This 'deluxe model' is the only thing standing between you and a bloody death. So you best be showing some respect, trooper."
"Y-yes sir! W-what are your orders, sir?"
- ―Anonymous clone trooper to Boss
Clone commandos were trained by a group of one hundred elite training sergeants chosen by Jango Fett, of which seventy-five were Mandalorian mercenaries. These men and women, known as the Cuy'val Dar trained the commandos in a variety of tactics and fighting techniques, but the impressionable commandos also developed a few behavioral traits similar to their instructors. The first generation of clone commandos were selected from the regular clone batches and then segregated into "pods" of four, effectively forcing them to depend on each other and work together in order to survive. During their training, commando squads were often pitted against each other during combat sessions.
Clone commandos were trained in live-fire exercises, giving them a sense of the reality of combat long before the regular clones. Anti-terrorist training was conducted in a building nicknamed the Killing House. Though many commandos failed to survive their exercises, the rest learned rapidly, allowing them to become better soldiers. However, the the loss of fellow squadmates was felt by any commando who lost a vod—a brother. The commandos also experienced near-death torture to train them in resisting interrogation, and many clones were left mentally scarred from the experience.
By the end of the commandos' training, the Kaminoans were very pleased with the results. Although unfit to fight on the battlefield as infantry soldiers, nor capable of performing complete solo operations like the ARC troopers, the clone commandos nevertheless demonstrated themselves as a new breed of warriors that few could challenge. Neither the regular clone troopers or even the elite ARC troopers could match the clone commandos in organization and team-work. Despite the fact that many commandos were indoctrinated in Mandalorian culture and regarded each other as brothers, the Kaminoans were impressed enough to dub their experiment a complete success.
Each clone commando was trained to handle a specialized task, varying from commando to commando. Some, like Sev, specialized in sniping and assassination. Others, like Fi, specialized as medics and received more advanced training than their other brethren in that field. Others, like Boss or Niner, showed more leadership potential and acted as squad leaders. Some, like Scorch and Darman, showed a natural skill with demolitions ordinance and acted as demo specs. Others, like Fixer or Atin, were trained to be able to handle a variety of technology-based tasks, such as slicing computers.
Integration into trooper training regime
- "Not quite ARCs, sir. Not like clone troopers, either. We don't work alone and we don't work in formations. We just look the same."
It appears that the clone commando program was so successful that some clone troopers were trained in commando skills and tactics. Some commando-trained troopers were CT-19/39, a recon trooper killed on Praesitlyn; RC-5108/8843, a former bomb disposal expert taken under Kal Skirata's wing; the clone trooper squad that accompanied Mace Windu and Valiant during the hunt for Darth Sidious; and the non-ARC members of The Muunilinst 10.
- DC-17m Interchangeable Weapon Systems
- Katarn-class commando armor
- E-Web heavy repeating blasters
- Accelerated Charged Particle Repeater Guns
- Accelerated Charged Particle Array Guns
- Improvised explosive devices
- Bore bangs
- Flash-bang grenades
- EMP grenades
- Frag grenades
- Ion grenades
- Stun grenades
- Geonosian force pikes
- LJ-50 concussion rifles
- Knuckle plate vibro blades
- Night Ops Armor
- DC-17 hand blasters (Seen used by RC-1138)
- WESTAR-20 blaster pistols
- Kamino saberdarts
- Commando recon droids
- Ribbon charges
- Hydraulic shearing machine
- DC-15s side arm blasters
- Wookiee Guided Rocket Launchers
- EMP disruptors
- Detonation packs
- Thermal detonators
- EWHB-12 heavy repeating blasters
- Wookiee dual missile turrets
- Geonosian Elite Beam Weapons
- Miniature bacta tanks
- Thermal detonator tape
- Bacta sprays
- Heads-up displays
- Dampener aerosols
The commandos were heavily armed with an array of weapons and technology that were often vital to the success of their missions. They had at their disposal an impressive arsenal of blasters, sniper rifles, and anti-armor launchers, all part of the configurable DC-17m Interchangeable Weapon System. They also carried either DC-15s side arm blasters, or shotguns. Wearing advanced Katarn commando armor, clone commandos were the ultimate soldiers. Because the armor was silvery-gray, the other clone troops called them "shiny boys". However, some squads would put special colors on their armor, or a number of dots on the left breast armor pad to symbolize rank and position in the hierarchy of the squad. Other squads would opt for improved camouflage, as was the case with Omega Squad, which wore matte black armor, and Yayax Squad, who wore gray splinter camouflage.
By default, the commandos were trained with the DC-17m, but oftentimes other weapons would be used or issued to them, depending on the situation. Katarn-class armor also featured a retractable knuckle plate vibro blade for melee combat. However, they were also supplied with an array of non-Republic exotic weaponry, such as slugthrowers, Accelerated Charged Particle Array Gun, Accelerated Charged Particle Repeater Gun, LJ-50 concussion rifle, LS-150 Heavy Accelerated Charged Particle Repeater Gun, improvised explosive devices, bore bangs, flash-bang grenades, and EMP grenades.
Often one member of the squad would be given an E-web repeating blaster. This was an extremely cumbersome and heavy weapon as it had to be moved in several parts. When used by normal troopers, the E-web was manned by two troopers but such was the training given to the commandos that it was only manned by one. Some times commandos would each carry a section of E-web, dividing it into four parts if the mission required moving fast and/or over long distances.
Shortly after the rise of the Empire had begun, the newly christened Imperial commandos received a new set of armor, painted in the Imperial uniform white and later employed a similar divison titled Storm commandos. Although IC-1136 preferred the old Katarn armor, the new Imperial armor helped him to forget about his past service to the Republic, as well as his dead secret wife, Etain Tur-Mukan Other commandos were not excited by the change as well, but nevertheless wore their new Imperial armor without complaint.
- First Battle of Geonosis
- Mission to Qiilura
- Coruscant spaceport siege
- Mission to Ord Mantell
- Mission to Fest
- Mission to Coruscant
- Mission to the Corellian-Perlemian Intersection
- Mission to the Chaykin cluster
- Battle of Gaftikar
- Battle of Haurgab
- Battle of Tirahnn
- Mission to Yorn Skot
- Mission to Kashyyyk
- Battle of Coruscant
- Battle of Praesitlyn
- Mission to Garqi
- Battle of Deko Neimoidia
- Battle of Murkhana
- Mort's mission to Kashyyyk
- Battle of Sarrish
Rank and color notation
- "Clone troopers are well disciplined. Even the Alpha-batch ARC troopers—surly though they are—are predictable, in the sense that Fett gave them precise orders that they continue to obey. But the commando batches are almost as unpredictable as the Nulls, and the Nulls are as good as being Skirata's private army. That's the problem with having intelligent clones trained by a ragbag of undisciplined thugs—they've turned out at best idiosyncratic, at worst disobedient. But they'll probably win the war for us. Tolerate them."
- ―Assessment of Republic Commando cadre by Director of Special Forces general Arligan Zey to Iri Camas
The standard color of the Katarn armor worn by Republic commandos was silver-gray, regardless of rank. However, an experiment by the Kaminoans allowed for one squad, Delta Squad, to paint their armor as they saw fit and to test its effects on morale in combat. Delta Squad's superior performance during the Battle of Geonosis would pave the way for all other commando squads to paint their armor as well. Some commandos decorated their armor to their individual tastes or according to rank, while others, such as Omega Squad, ordered identical suits of matte black stealth armor, as they found the regular armor was easily spotted when crossing an open field.
Delta Squad used circles on the left breast plate to designate rank. Boss, being the leader, had four circles. The other three squad members had two circles each, but only Fixer's are visible through the naked eye. Sev's and Scorch's are only visible through vision enhancement devices such as the electromagnetic scope of the DC-17m's sniper rifle attachment, possibly because the three of them share the same rank but Fixer is the accepted second-in-command.
Clone commando units
- Fate unknown
- 05 Commando battalion (Bardan Jusik's & Etain Tur-Mukan's Battalion)
- Battalion unknown
Behind the scenes
In the customization menu during multiplayer online gameplay there are a number of skins available for the clone commando. These include Night Ops, Demolitions, Ranger, Sniper and Recon.
The term "clone commando" is misused in the novel The Cestus Deception, in which it is used to describe a squad of ARC troopers that form part of the novel's cast. Additionally, the term is used oddly in Jedi Trial, which portrays clone commandos as being deployed in waves led by an ARC trooper, rather than in groups in four as is usually seen in Clone Wars-related media.
- Star Wars: Republic Commando
- The Clone Wars: Decide Your Destiny: The Way of the Jedi
- Republic Commando: Hard Contact
- Omega Squad: Targets
- "Honor Bound"—Star Wars Tales 22
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 3 – "The Package"
- The Cestus Deception (First appearance)
- Republic Commando: Triple Zero
- Republic Commando: True Colors
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Witches of the Mist"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Missing in Action"
- Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel
- Jedi Trial
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 6 – "The Drop"
- Labyrinth of Evil
- Reversal of Fortune
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 4 – "Orders"
- Republic Commando: Order 66 (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars: Republic 78: Loyalties
- Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command 1
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (video game) (Helmet only)
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith The Visual Dictionary
- The New Essential Chronology
- "Guide to the Grand Army of the Republic"—Star Wars Insider 84
- Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary
- "Q&A"—Star Wars Insider 95
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- Galaxy at War
- Scavenger's Guide to Droids
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded
- The Essential Reader's Companion
- "Unexpected Journeys"—Star Wars Insider 140
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Republic Commando: Hard Contact
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 Star Wars: Republic Commando
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2
- ↑ Guide to the Grand Army of the Republic
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Republic Commando: True Colors
- ↑ The History of the Mandalorians
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel
- ↑ Star Wars: Battlefront II
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Imperial Commando: 501st
- ↑ Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Jedi Trial
- ↑ Labyrinth of Evil
- ↑ Star Wars: Clone Wars
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 The Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Republic Commando: Triple Zero
- ↑ Omega Squad: Targets
- ↑ "The Package"
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Republic Commando: True Colors
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Galaxy at War
- ↑ uk.tv.ign.com: Republic Commandos Invade The Clone Wars