Boarding an enemy ship, crawling through its ducts like some rodent looking for crumbs, takes a special brand of guts. Not every being can do that, and damn few have the right training.
—Admiral Sakira Tobonne, advocating for the Republic Marines
Sakira Tobonne was a pioneering leader in the Galactic Republic's naval forces. Tobonne, a Human male from Anaxes and a graduate of the Republic Naval Academy, spent his early career serving aboard warships patrolling the Outer Rim of the Republic. After receiving command of his own cruiser, the Wayrunner, he spent three years rooting out and subduing pirates and slavers along the frontier. During the course of these missions, he used his knowledge of warships to devise ways to organize and train his ship's security personnel, so that they would be more effective in other areas of combat.
Upon his promotion to Commodore, he and his staff began to develop special equipment and tactics for use by Navy personnel in situations similar to those which he had encountered while commanding the Wayrunner. When Tobonne was promoted to Rear Admiral in 5,006 BBY, he began advocating for the formation of a Marine Corps, an autonomous service branch that would fill the gap between the Navy and the Republic Army. As he envisioned it, the Corps would use the tactics that Tobonne had developed during his years of pirate-hunting on the Rim. His vision, enacted at the height of the Great Hyperspace War, would help to preserve and protect the Republic from then until the adoption of the Ruusan Reformation.
A soldier is good on land, fighting soldiers. A pilot is good at flying in atmosphere and space, fighting other pilots. What we need is a new kind of soldier, capable of fighting on land, in space, or on a starship. A sort of amphibious soldier, a Marine, if you will.
—Admiral Sakira Tobonne
Sakira Tobonne was born on Anaxes in 5,048 BBY as the scion of a long line of Republic Navy officers, a commonality among those of his homeworld. Following his family's tradition, he entered the well-established Republic Naval Academy at seventeen standard years of age. Graduating near the top of his class, he held posts aboard Republic warships for the first ten years of his career, learning much about the Outer Rim.
At age thirty-five, Tobonne was given command of the Wayrunner, a small Republic cruiser that was tasked with anti-pirate patrols along the Republic's then-most recently-blazed hyperlanes. During the course of his mission, Tobonne learned the value of training in shipboard combat as he routed pirates and slavers along the fringes of known space. In just three years, he had successfully lured twelve pirate frigates into ambushes and overrun three pirate bases, using the drills he had devised for his security troops to either capture or destroy them.
Founding the Marine Corps
Tobonne was promoted to Commodore after returning to Coruscant, where he began to advocate for increased combat training for Navy personnel serving aboard warships. At the same time, he and his staff used what resources were available to them to develop specialized weapons, armor, organizations, and tactics for use by ships' security. This culminated in the idea of forming an autonomous unit within the Navy to organize, equip, and train these personnel. After his promotion to Rear Admiral in 5,006 BBY, he began to actively campaign for the creation of his brainchild, which he had dubbed the "Republic Marines", to serve as a sub-branch of the Navy so that it could project force not only onto planets, but other starships as circumstances dictated. The Admiralty, however, listened with only half-open ears; it took the outbreak of hostilities with Naga Sadow's Sith Empire to press home the necessity of forming such a group. Even as Sadow's forces raided Coruscant, the Galactic Senate approved appropriations to create the Marines, naming Admiral Tobonne as its first Commandant.
Admiral Tobonne used his authority to fill the new branch with his vision: elite soldiers capable of defending themselves, their vessels, and the citizens of the Republic, no matter the circumstances. Under his leadership, the Marines grew quickly, recruiting exceptional soldiers from the Army and Navy as well as civilian police agencies. He organized them into flexible regiments made up of semi-autonomous units that could be molded to fit the type of vessel they would serve on. In addition, he oversaw the implementation of the tactics, weapons, and equipment that he had developed in the years prior to the outbreak of the war.
Eventually, the stress of building up the Marine Corps began to weigh down on Admiral Tobonne, though he kept his suffering private. He retired from the military in 4,983 BBY, returning to his homeworld where he died in 4,977 BBY of natural causes. He was interred with full military honors, with the eulogy given by the sitting Supreme Chancellor.
Tobonne was remembered as a long-time combat veteran who used his knowledge and experience as a firm advocate for the continued evolution in military strategy and doctrine within the Galactic Republic. In the centuries that followed his death, he would be remembered as the "father of the Marine Corps," and his date of birth, dubbed "Corps Day," would be observed as a branch-wide holiday whenever possible, until the Corps itself was disbanded as part of the Ruusan Reformation in 1,000 BBY.
Personality and traits
Forty men and women, working together as one entity and with solid, dependable leadership, can accomplish more than a mob of four hundred beings acting as individuals.
—Admiral Sakira Tobonne, on the importance of small unit command
Coming from a family steeped in a tradition of service to the Republic Navy, Sakira Tobonne naturally gravitated toward a career as a naval officer. During his military service, he proved to be a calculating individual who nevertheless cared for those who served alongside him and, later, under his command. Though he regarded military discipline as a key factor in winning battles, he was not a harsh taskmaster. He rode the officers and beings under his command hard during combat, but in off-duty hours he encouraged a relaxed atmosphere and encouraged the bleeding-off of stress. He was unwilling, however, to let his people get away with bending regulations, particularly if he felt that such actions placed the ship or their crewmates in jeopardy in even the slightest degree.
As Tobonne rose in the ranks, he also developed a sense of responsibility to the Republic as a whole. This was reinforced during his time serving as captain of the Wayrunner, when he came to realize that the Army and Navy alone would not be enough to keep the Republic safe. It was this sense of duty which drove him as he trained his security personnel in the tactics that would eventually become the building blocks for the formation of the Republic Marines. His tenure as the first Commandant was not without its downs, however, as administrative difficulties often cropped up as the first Marine divisions were organized and trained. The stress of such responsibilities eventually wore Tobonne down, though he determinedly kept the effects private.
Talents and abilities
Sakira Tobonne was an expert at small-unit and ship-to-ship naval tactics, and he possessed a keen knowledge of how to exploit the strengths and weaknesses of many types of warships. Having grown up in a military family, he was well-prepared for his education at the Republic Naval Academy on Anaxes, earning honors during his time there and graduating near the top of his class. Tobonne was also a crack pistol shot, spending much of his off-duty hours perfecting his technique against all manner of targets ranging from training remotes to his own shipmates, who would don spotting laser target vests for training.
Behind the scenes
The character of Sakira Tobonne was created by fan fiction author Sean "Goodwood" Nash. Though he does not yet appear in any literature, Nash created the character in order to give context to the founding of his fanon creation, the Republic Marines. Nash hoped to be able to mention him in a future work within his Tales from the Corps series, which he was able to do with the publication of Tales from the Corps, Vol. 1.
The character artwork was created by melding the primary images of Forn Dodonna from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Cede, from its sequel. Fellow Fanoneer Karohalva once remarked on the image, dubbing the collage "black Mario."
- Tales from the Corps, Vol. 1 (First mentioned)