That little shrimp sure does have one tough ass...
—Tuffass's commanding officer, Lieutenant Belton Carter c. 3,996 BBY
Gunnery Sergeant Tuffass, service number 3137-0666TA, was a male Gand from the planet Gand and one of the very first of his kind to encounter the Galactic Republic. He enlisted in the Marine Corps under the name "Gand" some years prior to the Great Sith War, as at the time, he had not yet earned his identity. Despite having little knowledge of Basic at the outset of his training, Tuffass learned quickly enough so that by the time he graduated from boot camp, his language skills were as good as his fellow Human recruits. Further training gave him a proficiency with explosives and his prior findsman training served him as an uncanny recon scout. Having achieved the rank of corporal by the onset of Exar Kun's war, Tuffass was deployed with the 4th Marine Division's 12th Marine Regiment. During the war's final battle at Yavin 4, the as-yet-nameless Gand served as a fire-coordinator for his battalion. He lost his left arm and leg in a surprise counterattack on the landing zone by a group of Massassi warriors. Though grievously wounded, he insisted on continuing to call in strikes, which earned him the Distinguished Service Order for bravery, in addition to the Crimson Cross.
After he had regenerated his arm and leg and learned of his commanding officer's remark, the Gand was promoted to sergeant and requested that he formally be allowed to use the moniker "Tuffass" as a name. This was granted and Tuffass continued in his service with an increase in aggression that stemmed from his time on Yavin 4. Promoted to gunnery sergeant five years after the war's end, his aggressive tendencies served him when he began a long and productive—if highly notorious—career as a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot on Corulag. His methods were considered so infamous by the Marines and civilians, that his name was known even outside of the Corps; by the time Laera Reyolé was able to enlist, she knew of his reputation as well, after she had examined every available piece of literature on the Marine Corps. Laera was assigned to Tuffass's training platoon, where she was forced to "earn" her name back in the eyes of the sergeant.
Starting from 3,977 BBY and continuing for the next seven years, Tuffass was transferred to the recruit depot on Carida, where he continued to train recruits before his return to Corulag and resumption of his career there. For three years during that time, he served alongside Reyolé, who had in turn been elevated to gunnery sergeant and spent this time training her own recruits. In 3,949 BBY, Tuffass was forced by age and failing health to retire. He took up residence on Corulag, not far from the training depot. During his retirement, he would often frequent the local post of the Veterans of Galactic Wars, where he and other retired service personnel would trade war stories. Tuffass died of old age in 3,920 BBY and was given a funeral on Corulag with full military honors. The boot camp at the training depot would eventually come to be informally known as "Tuffass Class."
Recruiter: “And your name is...?”
Recruiter: “Excuse me?”
— Tuffass and the recruiting sergeant
Tuffass was born on Gand in 4,018 BBY, and was inducted into an orthodox findsman sect at an early age. The initiation required the ammonia-breathing Gand to subject himself to chemical baths and genetic manipulation, which induced the growth of hooked, serrated ridges on his arms and legs. As a findsman initiate, Tuffass was trained to use these growths as weapons in the Gand style of martial arts. He was a devout follower of his sect's religious worship of his home planet's enshrouding mists, which included the usage of meditation and rituals. During his meditations, Tuffass interpreted an unfamiliar sign in the mists and was motivated to find out what it could mean. At about that time, the Gand species was beginning to put out feelers in an attempt to understand the galaxy. Seeing an opportunity to find out what the symbol meant, he eventually left his sect and journeyed forth as part of one of these expeditions. After a long search of those publicly-available records which had been pulled by these scouts, the Gand found the sign that he had seen during his rituals. Discovering that it was the symbol of the Republic Marines, he concluded that the mists had sent him on a new path. Tuffass then arranged transport for himself to Coruscant in 4,002 BBY, where he immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps and was given service number 3137-0666TA.
Tuffass had, at the time, a very limited understanding of Basic and even fewer speaking skills. His enlistment was also confusing to the recruiting sergeant, as Tuffass was one of the very first Gands to encounter the Galactic Republic and as such, his species' native language had not yet been added to the galactic translation database. He had not yet earned his name, either, and signed up under the designation of "Gand." Tuffass was then sent to Carida for training and due to his limited knowledge of Basic, he was enrolled in a number of language courses; this served the dual purpose of teaching him enough Basic to undergo Marine training and providing the Republic with valuable insight into his own tongue. During his training at the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot, he picked up enough idioms and slang from his drill instructors so that by the time he graduated from boot camp, he could articulate himself as well as his fellow Human recruits. Tuffass, however, still adhered to Gand language protocol and referred to himself in the third person, as "Gand," as he felt that he had not yet earned his name. After graduating from basic training, he received further instruction in the use of explosives and his previous findsman training served Tuffass as he signed on to become a recon scout.
Earning a nameEdit
PFC Lir: “Let's get you out of here, sir!”
―Tuffass at the Battle of Yavin 4[src]
Tuffass: “No, Gand will not be moved. Fire mission danger close—grid square three-seven-one by Aurek Forn Krill!”
Tuffass had achieved the rank of corporal by the outbreak of the Great Sith War. As the conflict intensified, he was deployed to the 4th Marine Division's 12th Marine Regiment, after he underwent training to become s fire coordinator liaising with the Republic Navy. During the war's end in 3,996 BBY, the as-yet-unnamed Gand was part of the Republic force that was sent to Yavin 4 where, partnered with Private First Class Jondon Lir, he served as a fire coordinator for the battalion during the final battle. When his unit's transport reached the landing zone, however, Exar Kun's Massassi warriors soon had them pinned down. Tuffass, shimmying forward on his belly, was able to sneak up to the enemy position and, using a pair of fragmentation grenades, eliminated all but two of the warriors. After finishing off the survivors, he began to set up his gear while the rest of his unit secured the bulwark.
The Massassi, however, were able to organize a counterattack, with a group of them charging Tuffass's battalion and breaking through the perimeter. Tuffass, focused on spotting targets, was taken unawares and caught by one of the Massassi. The warrior, huge by comparison, crushed the Gand's left arm and leg while attempting to dismember him, only to be shot down by another Marine. Despite the injuries he had sustained, Tuffass declined to be removed from the battlefield, instead insisting on continuing his duties. After securing his comm gear and with PFC Lir spotting targets, he succeeded in calling down fire from the orbiting Republic warships, which caused the counterattack to falter and stall. In the wake of the battle, his commanding officer commented that the Gand "sure does have one tough ass."
Eventually, Tuffass was evacuated by the Republic Rim Fleet's medevac personnel and transported to a medical frigate. His mutilated left arm and leg were then amputated and he was fitted with prostheses while the limbs regenerated. Aided by kolto treatments, the Gand was able to regrow the lost limbs within three months. His left arm and leg were slightly shorter than his right, however, and due to the difference in length, Tuffass walked with a slight limp. He declined the usage of any orthopedic appliance to compensate, as he did not want to show any perceived weakness. For his dedication to his service on Yavin 4, however, Tuffass was awarded the Marine Corps Distinguished Service Order for bravery, as well as the Crimson Cross in recognition of his battle wounds.
After his arm and leg regenerated, the still unnamed Gand returned to active duty with a promotion to sergeant. He learned of his CO's comment regarding his previous exploits and approached the officer with what the officer initially found to be an odd request; the Gand wanted to be given a name. Specifically, he requested to be permitted to use the moniker "Tuffass" as his name. The commander granted the request without hesitation and Tuffass was finally permitted to refer to himself by something other than "Gand." When he received his new name tag, he held it in higher regard than the medals he had earned. His demeanor changed as well, since the battle, as Tuffass began to exhibit more aggression. He continued to serve in the Corps, but he was not able to return to front-line service due to the injuries that he had sustained.
Do you dare judge Tuffass by his size, maggot?! He will chew you up, spit you out, and piss on your carcass if you don't drop and give him twenty!
—GySgt Tuffass to his recruits
Tuffass spent most of the next five years on various desk assignments, eventually making sergeant and then staff sergeant. In 3,991 BBY, Rear Admiral Oluth Par'fey was appointed by the Galactic Senate as the new Commandant of the Marines. A veteran of the Great Droid Revolution and the Great Sith War, she recognized the need for drill instructors to have battle experience. Among those selected was Tuffass, who upon accepting was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant and assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot on Corulag. Influenced by his own native culture, Tuffass decreed that his recruits had to earn their identities and he would model his methods around Gand ideals. He would refuse to call cadets by their surnames, opting instead to refer to them by the often-derogatory nicknames he gave them and, when in his presence, insisted that the recruits refer to themselves in third person. He would even confiscate their name tags, which the recruits could earn back if they proved themselves sufficiently worthy in his eyes. Tuffass used his short stature to his advantage and was known to stand on a recruit's back while the individual would do push-ups. He also demanded that recruits look directly in front of them, as he would not tolerate a lower-ranked individual to look down on him, nor would he look up to them. His methods were considered infamous within the Marine Corps and had even gained notoriety within certain aspects of the civilian population as well.
Around 3,982 BBY, Laera Reyolé enlisted in the Marines at the age of sixteen and was assigned to Tuffass's platoon. The twenty-year veteran Gand made no exceptions for Reyolé and expected the Human girl from Agamar to train just as hard and to earn her name the same as the other recruits. Reyolé—who was keen on joining the Marine Corps because of their higher rate of pay and she needed the money to help support her family—did her best to meet the expectations and goals set by Tuffass. She was finally able to do this by her conduct during a training exercise that involved her squad being ambushed by another training platoon using powered-down laser weapons. Tuffass himself was so impressed with Reyolé's performance that he awarded her with a space on his informal "Wall of Names"—a wall in the Gand's office where recruits that had impressed him could immortalize their identities. In addition to Reyolé earning her name back, the sergeant promoted the young woman to recruit squad leader and, after her graduation from boot camp, endorsed her application to the Enlisted Leadership Program.
For seven years starting in 3,977 BBY, Tuffass was transferred to the Recruit Training Depot on Carida, where he continued to train platoons of recruits. During that time, for a period of three years, he shared this duty with Reyolé, one of his former students who had in turn become a drill instructor. Though the two sergeants had vastly different training styles—as Reyolé preferred to train by example in an environment of positive reinforcement—in off-duty hours, the two were sociable and often went on weekend liberty together. When Reyolé was offered the chance to attend Officer Candidate School by the base's commander, Captain Teeklak Sookanado, Tuffass encouraged her to take the opportunity to advance in the ranks and develop her leadership abilities.
Tuffass returned to duty on Corulag, where the lighter gravity helped to ease the pain he had suffered while on Carida, blaming that world's higher gravity for being harder on his joints. In 3,961 BBY, he learned of Commander Laera Reyolé's death and was in attendance at her funeral, which was conducted alongside the memorial services for many other Republic soldiers. He remained on Corulag and aside from a year-long break in 3,959 BBY, when he traveled to Coruscant for surgery on his back and knee, he continued to train recruits for another eleven years until his retirement in 3,949 BBY. His old war injuries had finally taken their toll on his body and despite his surgery, Tuffass suffered from progressive arthritis in his back and right leg due to years of compensating for the length difference in his left. No longer able to keep up with the recruits, the Gand retired from service with a retirement party being held in his honor, which was attended by many of the surviving Marines that he had trained. He took up residence on Corulag, near the training depot, and spent his days at the local post of the Veterans of Galactic Wars where he would trade war stories with his fellow servicemen. He had also acquired a recreational pilot's license and would often fly ultralifts on the weekends, as piloting the single-engine craft did not put as much stress on his arthritic joints. Tuffass died at the age of 98 in 3,920 BBY, and was given a funeral with full military honors and interred in Curamelle National Cemetery. The boot camp eventually earned the informal title of "Tuffass Class."
I didn't think there was a Marine alive who didn't know of Tuffass.
Tuffass's long career of service had an impact upon the Marine Corps that went far beyond the lessons learned by the many successive classes of recruits he taught. Though his insistence upon earning name re-recognition was and remained unique, so many of his charges ended up as drill instructors themselves that most of his other methods soon became part of the Marines' esprit de corps. For the rest of its existence, the Corps carried the reputation of having the toughest and most aggressive DIs in the Republic Military, an impression that was encouraged throughout the Corps, particularly in its recruitment efforts. This was further exploited by the galactic entertainment industry, as such personalities were considered well-suited for war and war-related holodramas. Tuffass himself was the inspiration behind a number of characters in such stories, including eccentric war veterans, and a fictitious DI portrayed by actor Chaz Ibsen. He was also the focus of a biography, titled Marine of the Mists and penned by former recruit and then-Lieutenant Commander Reeka Chorizzo.
Personality and traitsEdit
Tuffass is called Tuffass because he has a tough ass. That is all.
—GySgt Tuffass in a more candid moment
Tuffass was raised as an orthodox Gand and as such adhered to his culture's language protocol by referring to himself in the third person, even when in the company of the larger galactic society. For most of the early part of his active service record, he was known simply as "Gand" until he earned his name in 3,996 BBY. He held Gand ideals in high regard and was proud when he was permitted to give himself a name, as he felt that with his meritorious service on Yavin 4 despite bodily injury, he had earned his identity. Tuffass was resilient and was determined to see his work through to the end. He never intended to retire, but was forced by age and arthritic joints to do so. However, he remained near the training depot and insisted that he be contacted if the Marine Corps ever needed his services.
Tuffass was proud of having earned his identity and decreed that his recruits should do—and feel—the same. He was self-conscious about his height and demanded that recruits not look down on him, as he refused to look up to them. However, when in the presence of his commanding officers, colleagues, and civilians, he would make a point to meet their gaze. As a drill instructor, Tuffass was harsh on his recruits and maintained an imposing presence to compensate for his short stature. He claimed to be aggressive because he cared and that he wanted to see his recruits succeed and earn their names. He was proud of Laera Reyolé and felt that Reyolé herself should be equally as proud of having earned her name tag as she was of any awards received.
Since his service on Yavin 4, Tuffass suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and exhibited aggressive tendencies. He worked his recruits hard as he wanted to make sure that they were mentally prepared to be able to handle anything, as he did not want them to succumb to the enemy in the same way that he felt he had. While off-duty, the Gand worked to keep his flashbacks and aggression in check with meditation or by frequenting the gym. He was not vocal about the mental trauma that he had suffered, as he perceived it to be a sign of weakness; only a select few outside of his commanding officers ever knew of how he had come to receive his injuries. He was also wary of recruits of larger species, such as the Yaka, and would often be harsher on those recruits. After his retirement, the flashbacks became less frequent and Tuffass was more relaxed, however he still remained guarded about his mental health.
Tuffass was, at times, stubborn, especially when it came to matters regarding his own health. He had often refused treatment for his progressive arthritis, as he did not want to broadcast to others what he perceived as a weakness. However, Tuffass was not without a personable side. Outside of his duties, he was often sociable; he was known to be friendly to colleagues and civilians. After his retirement, he remained in contact with other veterans and his former recruits. Tuffass also had a fondness for chocolate, particularly chocolate deserts that were filled with ground nut butter. He would at times purchase those items from the commissary and keep them in his office. He liked to freeze the dessert prior to eating it, as he preferred the texture of the ground nut butter when it was chilled.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Marine sergeant: “Sithspawn, you scared the star stuff out of me, Private!”
―Tuffass, during his first day of Infiltration, Reconnaissance and Sabotage Training
Tuffass: “Gand apologizes, sir, but he is very good at what he does.”
As a member of the Gand species, Tuffass possessed a durable exoskeleton and was able to continue his duties despite injury, which had led others to comment that he had a "tough ass." He also possessed regenerative capabilities, which allowed him to regrow his left arm and leg after amputation. The regrowth was aided by kolto treatments and Tuffass made use of prostheses until the process was complete. His left leg, however, did not grow to its original length and as such, he walked with a slight limp. He eventually developed arthritis in his right hip and knee, as well as in his lower back, due to having to compensate for the difference.
When Tuffass was a findsman initiate, he learned to augur omens from the mists of his homeworld through the usage of meditation and religious rituals. He also trained in martial arts, which served him during boot camp. His findsman abilities augmented his recon scout training and he used those talents as a fire-coordinator. He trained as an explosives specialist, and excelled at gas training, due to his race's natural ability to hold their breaths for an extended period of time. As a drill instructor, Tuffass would put his troops through a harsh training regimen, which would include him standing on a recruit's back as that individual did push-ups. His methods may have been questionable, but the Corps saw their effectiveness and made no attempt to alter the Gand's ways of doing things.
Tuffass spoke his native language and was fluent in Basic, however, he was only functionally literate in the latter. He could read enough Basic in order to complete flimsiwork, but his Aurebesh handwriting was sloppy and at times illegible. He preferred to write in Gand script, and would do so for his own personal journals and notes. If he were required to write in Aurebesh at length, Tuffass made use of voice-recognition software.
Do you see this piece of wood, maggots? Tuffass advises that you familiarize yourselves with it—it is his Clue-By-Four, which he will use to beat clues into your rot-grubbed brains!
—Tuffass, introducing the Clue-By-Four to his recruits
Tuffass was a member of the Gand sub-species with ammonia-breathing lungs and as such made use of a specialized respirator when in an oxygen-rich environment. His respirator was custom-designed, with shorter tubes and compact canisters, so as not to impede him while on active duty. Like his fellow Marines, his combat armor was vac-sealed, however his armor was pumped full of ammonia so that he would not need to wear his breathing apparatus underneath. He was proficient in the usage of the DL-3 blaster pistol and a chopped-down version of the BC-7m blaster carbine, as well as with a variety of explosives, such as thermal detonators.
In his office, Tuffass kept a narrow wooden plank, in which he had engraved "Clue-By-Four" in Aurebesh. This plank was 1.5 meters long and was usually leaned against his desk. While he would often mention the usage of it to his recruits, he would not do much more than brandish the board for intimidation purposes. After his retirement, Tuffass donated the Clue-By-Four to the VGW post, where it was mounted on a wall in the meeting hall. During his tenure on Carida, the high gravity aggravated his arthritis and Tuffass utilized orthopedic stabilizing braces for his knee and lower back, usually hidden beneath his uniform. With his advancing age, his arthritis gradually worsened and Tuffass made use of a cane to aid in his mobility.
Behind the scenesEdit
Tuffass originally started off as a joke between Star Wars Fanon Wiki administrators Trak Nar and Goodwood before Goodwood suggested that Nar develop the character. With Goodwood's help, Nar eventually gave Tuffass a history and a character design. Tuffass's name is a play on the phrase "tough ass," and his personality was loosely based on noted U.S. Marine drill instructor and actor R. Lee Ermey. The character was further developed to attempt to break away from the initial archetype, with the addition of Tuffass's post-traumatic stress disorder, and fondness for chocolate.
The depiction of Tuffass in this article is based in part on Goodwood's work in creating the uniforms for the Republic Marines. The character was drawn in pencil as Nar referenced to the uniform images, then the image was scanned and rendered in color. Aside from at least four unpublished character studies, Tuffass made his fan fiction debut in Tales from the Corps, Vol. 1, the first anthology of short stories from the Tales from the Corps series. The short story Nom de Guerre, co-written by Goodwood and Nar, revealed how he received his moniker.