Grand Army of the Republic
|The Grand Army of the Republic
|Supreme Chancellor Hiram Drayson
| Cloning Began Year -35
Adopted by Galactic Senate Year -25
The Grand Army of the Republic was the name given to the armies of clones who served the Republic during the Clone Wars.
Origins and Discovery
The origin of the Clone Army is still shrouded in mystery. The surviving cloning specialists on the ocean world Kamino report that around the year -35 GCT, a humanoid male visited them, claiming to be a representative of the Jedi Order. The man, whose name was not preserved, said that he was acting under orders of the senate of the Galactic Republic to commission a massive army of clones on their behalf. The cloners received the Clone Template from him, as well as a access to several accounts at many different banks across the galaxy and instructions to keep this order a closely guarded secret. The Kaminoans, an insular species living on an uncharted planet themselves, hold confidentiality as a value and accepted the terms. Once the deal was complete, the man left, never to return. The Kaminoans continued their work in secret with no further contact from the Republic for ten years.
In Year -25, the Jedi Counsel sent master Bodo Baas to investigate rumors of suspicious traffic and industrial activity in a section of Outer Rim that was believed to be devoid of planets or space stations. During the course of his investigation, Master Baas stumbled upon Kamino and was shocked to discover the first batches of clone soldiers fully mature. Although the cloners claimed that the Jedi and Republic had ordered the clones, no record could be found on Coruscant of any debate, let alone decision of that nature. He quickly returned to the Jedi Temple with the records the Kaminoans could offer, and the mystery only thickened. Not only could they not discern who had placed the order and under what authority, but the bank accounts that were funding the army were untraceable. With more questions than answers, the Jedi announced their discovery to the Galactic Senate, who were still reeling from the growing Separatist crisis.
Little is known to this day about the origins of the Clone Template used to creation hundreds of billions of soldiers. One theory suggests the template was an amalgamation of several different candidates chosen for their health, stamina, and intelligence. The more popular theory is that the template was taken from one individual, a Mandalorian bounty hunter known only as "The Last Mand'alor". His true identity has been lost to time, intentionally destroyed, or is perhaps still a deeply classified secret in the Imperial archives.
One of the main benefits of clone soldiers is the opportunity to utilize Flash Learning. Flash Learning is a process where certain skills, knowledge, or reflexes can be encoded in genetic material, making the clone naturally adept at certain skills or in some cases demonstrating complete knowledge and mastery of a skill or subject upon reaching maturity. Researchers studying the Clone Template have discovered flash learning genes that were used to give the clones advanced working knowledge of blasters combat, melee combat, and loyalty- supporting the Mandalorian hypothesis. Once produced, the clones began an extensive program of study, training, and indoctrination which comprised their whole day. When the clones were old enough, they began specialized training on weaponry, piloting, and tactics led by experts in their fields, contracted by the Kaminoans. Many of these outsider instructors also had ties to Mandalorian communities. By early adolescence clones would be selected for areas of expertise, whether that be a certain area of combat proficiency or non-combat positions such as medicine, communications, or logistics. Those clones who showed extraordinary motivation and ability were chosen to undergo yet more training, either for command ranks or for elite units.
After the War
The soldiers of the Grand Army served valiantly during the course of the Clone Wars and distinguished themselves for their loyalty and bravery on behalf of the Republic. At the end of the war, the Galactic Republic transitioned itself into the Galactic Republic under the Supreme-Chancellor-turned-Emperor Hiram Drayson. For the first several years of the transition the clone soldiers remained in service, eliminating Separatist holdouts, hunting down surviving Jedi, and restoring peace to the Empire's worlds. While clone units still comprised the backbone of the Imperial Army and Navy, the Empire, now consumed in the First Imperial Civil War found itself divided and in need of yet more soldiers. Emperor Drayson unwilling to wait for more clones and believing that further reliance on clone forces would jeopardize his rule, began recruitment and conscription of soldiers from Imperial worlds.
As the struggles within the nascent Empire continued to drag on, the accelerated growth rate of the clone soldiers began to take its toll. Those clones who had not already retired were unceremoniously discharged in Year -10, and much of the now obsolete ships and vehicles constructed for the Grand Army were decommissioned and either sold for scrap or sent to backwater worlds to bolster their law enforcement agencies and planetary defenses. Still ever-loyal, most of the clone swallowed their disappointment and did their best to adapt to civilian life. Many found work in the security and mercenary fields, while yet others found themselves in service industries such as shipping or maintenance. Those disillusioned with the Empire or their treatment even joined rebel cells and turned their training against the Empire they once defended. A good portion, however, struggled to adapt to an ever-changing galaxy and became lost without a war to fight, and ended up destitute. Groups like the Ternion Corps advocated for the welfare of clone veterans, but much of the Empire's citizens were content to put the war behind them and were unresponsive to the plight of the army that had once defended them.
The Grand Army of the Republic is the largest and most expensive clone army produced to date. It is also the largest known cloning operation, and the Clone Template holds the record for the most cloned individual in galactic history. As such, their impact on the galaxy has been incalculable. Not only did the Clone Wars forever reshape the galaxy and directly lead to the current Second Galactic Civil War, but having an army that had no ties to the population they served transformed the way an entire generation related to war and its costs. It also set a precedent for massive military budgets and standing armies, which the Republic's successor Empire has only expanded. It is also believed that the entirely-human makeup of the army further reinforced anti-alien biases around Republic/Imperial sectors.
But the Grand Army of the Republic has also left the galaxy another kind of legacy. These soldiers were humans, humans who after the war started businesses and families. Even after more than two decades since they stopped being produced, more people have the Clone Template DNA than were ever produced in the cloning facilities. While they may not be perfect replicas, their naturally born descendants have reshaped the gene pool of countless worlds and contribute to the economy.
Clone Wars veterans groups like the Ternion Corps continue to advocate for these soldiers and their descendants through lobbying, financial assistance, support groups, and reunions held across the galaxy. They also produce educational holos and materials to combat propaganda about the war and the clones that has come out of both sides. Additionally, veterans within Ternion Corps have restored discarded cloning equipment and have sought to keep the legacy of the Grand Army alive by producing clones from the original template, believing the clone army was the best fighting force the galaxy has seen.