You're Vanguard now. You have chosen to commit your life to this organization, and to those we serve. You are the best the galaxy has to offer.
—Tasaz Mexxa, to a class of graduating Combat recruits, 23 BBY
The Vanguard was a private security contracting organization, founded in 93 BBY by Lerak and Riema Mexxa, Doja Hasagaiwa, and Kal Raan. At the time of the Clone Wars, the organization was led by Tasaz and Narra Mexxa. By this point, the Vanguard's reputation had spread across the galaxy, especially with regard to the armored exoskeletons that the company came to employ for their more public operations. After the fall of the Republic, the Vanguard proved influential in the formation of rebel movements. After the fall of the Empire, the organization was revitalized under new leadership.
The Vanguard was founded to provide private security services, but later expanded into the fields of military research and development, espionage and intelligence gathering, and limited combat operations. The company started with sixteen members, including the four founders, equipped with half a dozen surplus plates of Mandalorian armor and armed with an array of blaster pistols and Kal Raan's personal slugthrower rifle. In an early effort to establish a better reputation without exhausting their accumulated sixteen hundred credits, Riema Mexxa stole paint and cloth from local suppliers to make the armor appear uniform. Soon after, the company was contracted to escort small shipments of electronics from Coruscant to the planet of Carida, on which they would later construct one of several underground safehouses under the supervision of Tasaz and Narra Mexxa.
Rise to Power
From the organization's founding until 76 BBY, the Vanguard remained a relatively minor player in the field of security contracting. However, in 76 BBY, a Vanguard security team successfully ended a hostage situation on Pantora, saving the lives of two Republic Senators in the process.
Soon after this operation, the Vanguard began receiving contracts and funding from the Republic, which enabled the Vanguard's development of the armored exoskeletons that would become emblematic of the organization. Two years later, Doja Hasagaiwa left the organization due to ideological differences with the Mexxas and Kal Raan. His daughter, Tika Hasagaiwa, would later prove instrumental in the formation of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Later Vanguard operations, such as their involvement in the Horuz Uprising, which saved the life of Chancellor Finis Valorum, served to increase their operational capacity and funding.
At the start of the Clone Wars, the Vanguard employed 13,226 personnel. Arador and Mayla Mexxa had retired to the Cuvacia System, leaving the company in the capable hands of Tasaz and Narra Mexxa. At this time, both of the couple's children, Leveren and Katira, served as the leaders of combat squads. The latter of the Mexxa siblings, as well as her unit, were the first Vanguard personnel to see combat in the war. The Vanguard was quick to mobilize their intelligence assets to gather information on the CIS, and was subsequently involved in several sabotage operations against Separatist facilities.
Over the course of the war, Vanguard forces became increasingly more involved with Republic and Jedi forces, and participated in several combined operations in the conflict's latter years. Notable operations included the invasion of Celanon, the defense of Naboo, and the battle of Coruscant. After the fall of the Republic, many Vanguard personnel elected to remain with the organization, which had fallen under Leveren's command, and had chosen to fight alongside the surviving Jedi and clone troopers.
Over the course of the war, the Vanguard had suffered three hundred and fifty-seven personnel killed in action, primarily in the loss of three of the company's corvettes, but it had grown to 17,927 personnel. During the battle of Coruscant, the dreadnought Vanguard and battle cruiser Eternal were destroyed, resulting in the loss of anther two hundred ninety-two personnel, including Tasaz and Narra Mexxa. Additionally, twenty-seven combat personnel were lost in the defense of the Jedi Temple and smaller actions across the surface of the planet.
Rise of the Empire
After the fall of the Republic, Darth Maul established the first Galactic Empire, and proceeded to use CIS and surrendered Republic forces and materiel to hunt the surviving Jedi, clones, and Vanguard. In the days after the battle of Coruscant, 8,035 personnel voluntarily retired from the Vanguard, an offer Leveren had extended to all the personnel under his command. As the Empire proceeded to establish its control over the galaxy, Vanguard forces became involved in both direct attacks against Maul's forces and the training of insurgent and rebel cells across the galaxy. The organization's numbers began to dwindle through both combat losses and voluntary retirement, the latter of which disproportionately affected the Vanguard's upper command ranks. In 2 BBY, Leveren met his fate at the hands of Maul and Darth Vader, and command fell to Katira, who dedicated their remaining forces and equipment to the newly-formed Alliance to Restore the Republic.
After the collapse of the Empire, Katira reestablished the Vanguard in a form markedly similar to its original function. The organization grew until the First Order attack on the Hosnian system, at which point the elements of the organization that had survived the attack joined forces with the Resistance.
The Vanguard was organized into eight branches: Fleet, Training, R&D, Intelligence, Security, Combat, Medical, and Command. Additionally, the organization also had a military rank system, though the individual ranks available varied depending on the branch.
- Vanguard Fleet operations involved the use, maintenance, repair, and deployment of the Vanguard's ships, which ranged from the Lance strike fighter to the dreadnought Vanguard. Most personnel in Fleet served as technicians and maintenance supervisors, but the branch also employed pilots, gunners, bridge crew, and an extensive supply network.
- All personnel involved in training activities were veterans of other branches, and served to educate and prepare new recruits, as well as coordinating and executing ongoing training activities.
- Vanguard Research and Development was the second most secretive branch of the Vanguard, with facilities spread across the galaxy. Their operations involved the development and testing of ships, weapons, armor, and other technologies for the Vanguard. This branch was responsible for the development of Vanguard exoskeletons, a process that was as removed as possible from the public eye to avoid the spread of Vanguard combat technology to unsavory forces. In addition, a small Vanguard shipyard orbiting the planet of Basilisk outfitted the Vanguard's fleet, an asset that proved indispensable during the Clone Wars.
- The most secretive Vanguard branch, the Intelligence force was divided into two types of units; reconnaissance agents and espionage agents. Recon forces were used to prepare for operations by Security or Combat units, mapping and disarming defenses, preparing ingress, egress, and extraction points, and monitoring enemy movements. Espionage agents were deployed to gather information and infiltrate enemy organizations. These agents were responsible for discovering threats to the Vanguard and the Republic, as well as the assassination or capture of enemy agents or other personnel.
- The original branch of the Vanguard, Security involved ensuring the safety of designated individuals or groups. Security forces served across the galaxy, and were most often employed escorting Republic VIPs to or through potentially dangerous areas, although they also saw action in counter-terror operations. Security personnel in the field were equipped with medium exoskeletons and weapons with short barrels and folding stocks for operation on ships and other enclosed areas.
- Equipped with the heaviest armor and most powerful weapons the Vanguard could supply, combat teams were involved in military operations, acting as special forces or shock troops. They were trained and equipped to fight in any conceivable environment, and they saw extensive action against the Separatists during the Clone Wars. Combat squads had the most direct interaction with Republic ground forces, and many soldiers developed a deep respect for the clone troopers alongside whom they had served.
- The Medical branch was charged with caring for Vanguard personnel with regards to both physical and mental health. Kal Raan established the medical service two years after the Vanguard's founding, and in 46 BBY, the Vanguard purchased Animas Counseling Services, the services of which they had employed since 88 BBY to counter rising rates of post-traumatic stress and anxiety among personnel who had seen combat. After the fall of the Republic, Medical personnel who remained with the Vanguard provided counseling to many Vanguard personnel and some Jedi, a service that proved invaluable in maintaining cohesion among the surviving Republic ranks. The Medical branch is not to be confused with the Medic specialization given to members of Security and Combat squads, although these personnel did receive medical training from members of the Medical branch.
- The Mexxa family had remained at the top of the Vanguard's command structure since its inception. As the company grew, they had assembled an upper and lower advisory board to serve as administrators. Every member of the boards was a veteran of one of the previous branches.
Main article: Vanguard Rank Structure
All Vanguard personnel passed through the ranks of Cadet (P1), a rank given to personnel in basic training, and Recruit (P2), a rank given to personnel in Advanced Individual Training. After AIT, rank and responsibilities varied heavily depending on branch.
After the hostage rescue on Pantora, the Vanguard gained a positive reputation among many members of the Republic Senate, as well as being viewed positively by the general population. However, after the institution of the Combat branch, opinions among the populace began to divide, with some holding an understandable suspicion of the organization that was allowed to carry out unsanctioned military actions and extrajudicial killings. For the average citizen of the Republic, however, Vanguard operations meant a safer life, a reassurance that became all the more welcome during the escalation of hostilities before the Clone Wars. After the defeat of the Republic at Coruscant, their continued military actions saw them branded terrorists by a galaxy largely tired of conflict and longing for peace. Finally, during the New Republic, the Vanguard was looked upon as a valuable peacekeeping service, though those old enough to remember the organization at its prime found it to be less than impressive in its scope and mission.
Members of Note
- Lerak Mexxa
- Riema Mexxa
- Doja Hasagaiwa
- Kal Raan
- Arador Mexxa
- Mayla Mexxa
- Tasaz Mexxa
- Narra Mexxa
- Leveren Mexxa
- Katira Mexxa
Behind the Scenes
The pictures of the Vanguard logo and armor were designed in Hero Machine 3 (http://www.heromachine.com/heromachine-3-lab/).
In the Galaxy at War mod for the video game Men of War: Assault Squad 2, the author uses models of the Cerberus Centurion, Trooper, and Dragoon from the video game Mass Effect as the models for Vanguard Combat, Security, and Recon units, respectively.
The Vanguard exists in an alternate Star Wars timeline, in which Darth Maul leads the Separatist alliance to victory over the Republic and installs himself as Emperor.