Description: Imperial Gunner
Detachment: Imperial Gunnery Corps
Context: Star Wars Episodes IV, VI
Operating the immense weaponry of the Imperial starfleet are skilled gunners dressed in specialized uniforms. The gunner's features are entirely obscured by a large, sweeping helmet with a single wrap-around visor. The dark helmet helps suppress some of the dangerous flashback from such massive cannons as the turbolasers and superlaser found aboard the original Death Star.
Imperial gunners were recruits from the Imperial Navy's piloting program that were either still in training or washed out. Even though they did not make it into becoming pilots, Imperial gunners nonetheless possessed keen eyes, superior reflexes, and a rapport with specialized equipment, and as such they were tasked to use their skills with weapons to handle the powerful turbolasers and ion cannons of Imperial vessels, such as Star Destroyers and World Devastators.
On both Death Stars, the gunners, often called Death Star gunners, had the additional job of maintaining a careful balance of energy in the battle station's superlaser. The gunners were trained as a group, and also spent months calibrating weapons and running through countless scenario engagements with battle plans devised by Tarkin's staff as well as simulated fleet battles against the Rebels in the thousands. As a consequence of the drills, alongside their computer-linked helmets, the gunners could aim, power-up, and fire the superlaser with synchronized precision. 168 Imperial gunners were necessary to man the superlaser's eight firing stations at the Superlaser Fire Control for optimum performance, with a minimum of 14 gunners manning each of the controls of the initiator laser cannons. In addition, those Imperial gunners who worked directly in the tributary beam sections often had their backs towards the tributary beam's brilliant stream of energy, which made them unable to actually witness the beam directly despite their visors protecting them. In addition, some also had to close their eyes before the beam blazed at full intensity due to some of them not wearing computerized enclosed helmets.
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