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Up to date as of February 04, 2010

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A Chiss pilot in Galactic Alliance-style flight gear; this image may depict one of the officers of the Chiss squadron after its amalgamation with the X-wing unit Twin Suns Squadron in the last days of the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion.
"You've seen how Jag and his pilots operate. Well, multiply that by ten and you might come up with something that approximates your average Chiss. Remember, Vanguard Squadron represents the imaginative, risk-taking extreme."
Mara Jade

Vanguard Squadron was a volunteer squadron raised on Hapes during the Yuuzhan Vong War by Jagged Fel and his Chiss wing guard Shawnkyr Nuruodo, based around the two Clawcraft of their scout element.

It is important to note the distinction between this Vanguard Squadron and the full Chiss Squadron which subsequently arrived from the Unknown Regions to serve under Colonel Fel; but in the closing stages of the conflict, the Chiss pilots were flying under the Vanguard Squadron designation, and given the intertwined operational histories of the two units, they are treated together here in a single article.

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Vanguard Squadron

Jag Fel gained command of a Clawcraft squadron in the Household Phalanx around 24 ABY, and by the time of the Battle of Ithor in 25 ABY, he led a group of three squadrons, known as force Spike. At some point in the following two years, in circumstances that are still unclear, he ceded command of this unit, so that by the time of the Fall of Coruscant in 27 ABY, he was without a command. When his father subsequently authorized him to return to former New Republic space on a reconnaissance mission, he was accompanied only by his wingmate Shawnkyr Nuruodo. Flying as Vanguard One and Vanguard Two, they had strict orders only to scout for the Household Phalanx; but from the start, Jag was planning to recruit more pilots.

The resulting unit, known as Vanguard Squadron, was raised on Hapes, and accordingly consisted mostly Hapan volunteers, but also included Kyp Durron, whose squadron had been destroyed around him for the second time since the start of the Yuuzhan Vong War. This squadron served in the defense of Hapes, and later, when Jag joined Twin Suns Squadron under Jaina Solo's command, leadership of Vanguard Squadron was taken over by Shawnkyr.

Chiss Squadron

At some stage after the Battle of Borleias, a full squadron of Clawcraft arrived in former New Republic space - a unit normally referred to simply as the Chiss Squadron. It appears that, by this stage, the Household Phalanx was in the process of integrating itself under Defense Hierarchy command. It is unclear, though, which precise part of the complex Chiss military apparatus the Chiss Squadron represented, nor can it be said for sure whether they had been sent specifically to reinforce Jag or arrived on a separate reconnaissance mission. It is possible that they were Jag's own squadron, the unit which had elected him as its commander in 24 ABY; it is even possible that their designation was "Vanguard Squadron", and that Jag and Shawnkyr's designations as Vanguard One and Vanguard Two had reflected preexisting positions as this unit's commander and executive officer: but none of these hypotheses can be directly proven. Whatever the case may be, Jag quickly took command of the newly-arrived Squadron, and on his own initiative, he kept them in the front line against the Yuuzhan Vong, fighting alongside Jaina Solo's Twin Suns Squadron.

Approximately three months before the Battle of Ebaq 9, the Chiss Squadron was detached from Twin Suns, and they were assigned to patrol the Hydian Way, grouped with a squadron of New Republic E-wings. Jag and his pilots subsequently rejoined the main New Republic force to participate in the Second Battle of Ylesia, and probably the major clash at Ebaq. It is not clear what had become of the Vanguard Squadron raised on Hapes, or whether Shawnkyr had rejoined Jag; but after Ebaq, she certainly returned to the Unknown Regions to report to her superiors.

Shanwkyr's departure reduced the Squadron to only nine active-duty pilots, further diminished when Jag and two others were reattached to Twin Suns Squadron as part of the task force under the command of Han Solo. Although Jag initially considered his second-in-command, Eprill, and a young female pilot named Sumichan for this duty, he went instead with the eager male warrior Miza, who was killed in a skirmish at N'zoth, and the cool, Csilla-born female Jocell.

Defense of Mon Calamari and Liberation of Coruscant

During the mission to Csilla in 29 ABY, Mara Jade Skywalker referred to the Chiss squadron at least once as "Vanguard Squadron", and by the final stages of the war, the Chiss pilots were undoubtedly flying under the Vanguard Squadron designation, although it is not clear exactly what this signifies in terms of overall unit composition. Non-Chiss pilots may have still been serving in the squadron as late as the skirmish at Selvaris, but after the Battle of Mon Calamari, the Vanguard Squadron roster had been reduced to six Clawcraft, including the fighters of Jag, Shawnkyr and Eprill. These were amalgamated into Twin Suns Squadron, and flew as part of that unit during the Liberation of Coruscant, with Jag as Twin Lead and Shawnkyr as Twin Four. At least half the pilots of this newly-formed Twin Suns Squadron were Chiss.

It is not known whether the Vanguard Squadron, Chiss Squadron or Twin Suns Squadron designations were subsequently retained or revived; nor is it clear whether any of the pilots continued to serve together after the war.

Behind the scenes

In the dramatis personae for Dark Journey, Jag Fel is named as "commander, Chiss squadron". This is clearly a generic title for a Chiss squadron, rather than a unit designated "Chiss Squadron", and to confuse matters further, Jag holds no such squadron command in the course of the novel: his previous command is explicitly identified as a multi-squadron force (as it was in Dark Tide: Ruin), and in the course of the novel, he first leads a two-ship Chiss scout element, around which he forms Vanguard Squadron from volunteers recruited on Hapes. In Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream and Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand, no further Chiss pilots appear: Jag transfers to Twin Suns Squadron, and his Chiss wingmate Shawnkyr Nuruodo takes command of the Hapan volunteers of Vanguard Squadron.

A squadron of twelve Chiss Clawcraft appears abruptly at the start of Destiny's Way, where they are said to have been detached from Twin Suns Squadron in the weeks following the Battle of Borleias. The first references to Chiss Squadron as a designation occur in Force Heretic I: Remnant, and this designation is used consistently through the Force Heretic trilogy, but there is one dialogue reference to them as "Vanguard Squadron" in Force Heretic II: Refugee, and by The Unifying Force, they have certainly acquired the name formerly used to denote Jag and Shawnkyr's Hapan volunteers.

Various explanations are possible for the confusion of names and the changing numbers of Chiss pilots, but it is unclear whether any such dynamics were conceived of by any of the authors: the very existence of "Chiss Squadron" and their subsequent identification as "Vanguard Squadron" may represent nothing more than Chinese whispers and breakdowns in communication between authors and editors.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that many of the novelists would seem to have been confused by the distinction between House Phalanx forces and the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet, as established in Vision of the Future. As a result, the political allegiance, chain of command and rules of engagement of "Chiss Squadron" are utterly unclear.

Appearances

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This article uses material from the "Vanguard Squadron" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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