I have wanted to write to you and send you these pictures for a while, but have not had a chance until now.
At this time I remain stationed on Endor and my current assignment and coordinates are classified/restricted. That is why I have written longhand instead of using HoloNet-messaging.
By some crazy miracle, I received my assignment to General Solo’s strike team right alongside you.
None of us in the squad had any idea that you would be joining us on that mission and the look of surprise on everyone’s face when you came aboard the briefing room told me that no one else knew either.
Sir, I humbly doubt that you will recall but you passed directly in front of me as you walked through the hatch. I could hardly believe that you were standing in front of me, and had to squint to make sure I was truly seeing the hero of the Alliance.
You are also my hero and truly an inspiration.
I do not have any surviving family after the destruction of Alderaan (which seems like an eternity ago), and while I know no one can ever replace my parents or my brother, the ideals and standards that you personally have embodied ever since you killed the Death Star over Yavin have made you seem more like family to me than just a ranking officer.
Forgive my enthusiasm sir, but the stories I have heard about your own personal struggles have inspired me to remain vigilant in this fight and hopeful for the future of the Alliance and the galaxy.
They are simply incredible, all the things you have managed to accomplish.
I do not entirely know how you did these things, because you seem to have a strength and power within you that I do not understand, and some of the stories the troops pass around make you sound like some kind of wizard.
I hope that is not overstepping bounds, but I am sure you are aware of some of the stories already.
One thing I know for certain is that you, like me, lost your family to the damned Empire. When you came aboard Yavin HQ and immediately received flight status on the most important Alliance mission to date, you were an instant legend among the troops.
Forgive me again, but there were some that wondered just what the hell you thought you were doing. But others saw that you had a hand in miraculously bringing Senator Organa’s daughter back from the dead.
Word of Alderaan’s fate had just reached us and I was still stunned.
My parents and brother had only just gone back to attend my grandfather’s funeral.
Most of us boots assumed that the Organa family was also lost. Morale fell immediately, and we doubted that the Alliance would be able to continue operations.
There were a few deserters.
But when that junked-out YT touched down and we saw the Princess walking down its ramp, we knew that nothing was over. Like yourself, Princess Organa is a beacon. We know that as long as you both are in this galaxy, there will always be hope for the future.
Yes sir, I am quite certain that you will never die.
After the evac of YAVIN HQ, no one in my squad was quite sure what became of you. Some said you had been captured by the Empire, but I knew better — there was no way in hell that you would be captured.
I was assigned to covert ops on Sullust during the time that Echo Base was established and attacked, but we heard what happened there.
When I next saw you, in sickbay aboard the Redemption — well, excuse the language — but you looked like hammered gundark shit.
I still don’t know exactly what happened to you, but I saw your arm. I have not lost any part of my body to this war — may be part of my soul — but seeing the determination on your face as you looked out the port with your arm around the Princess was another defining moment for me.
Some said that you had come face to face with Darth Vader on Bespin. FACE TO FACE!
I cannot imagine what that would be like, nor how anyone would come out of that fight alive. But it made me think that maybe those stories about your hidden power were all true.
All of them.
After all, you’re the man who turned off your targeting computer and made the Death Star killshot on your own. How in the HELL, sir?
You’re a legend and I hope you know it.
Commander Skywalker, you embody the truth of what it means to be family. You never gave up on General Solo, and the tale of the Battle of Carkoon only added to the fantastic stories being told about you in the ranks.
Yourself, Princess Organa, General Calrissian, and the mighty Chewbacca… you all killed Jabba the Hutt. Then you burned his barge down. Entire syndicates had tried to do that, but you took him out. To save your pal. Like it was nothing.
Again, how in the HELL, sir?
That is why being part of a team fighting alongside you was truly an honor and a call to man up like never before. General Solo got us planetside and the rest of the mission was a blur of reloading my rifle as fast as I could, right up until we saw that radar installation die in a beautiful fireball.
The brass, the politicians and the flyboys like to say “May the Force be With You.”
I do not know exactly what that means.
Boots like me say, “For Alderaan.”
Pardon me again, but when I saw that dish go up in flames I shouted, “That’s for Alderaan, YOU IMPERIAL BASTARDS!”
I wish you could’ve seen it. Anyway, we cleaned up and locked down the prisoners and then we watched the sky.
You may already know most of what happened to us after you departed. What you may not know is that Princess Organa assigned three of us to tail you when you left the natives’ tree village. She didn’t give us details, only that we were to intervene with force if the skulls tried to harm you.
In all honesty, we had no idea what in the hell was going on, but I saw you walk straight into an Imperial outpost and hold your arms out wide. We held position for a while after they escorted you away. I don’t think I breathed the entire time.
The next day, when we saw that fireball in the sky to match the one we had made on the ground, we knew that somehow you had done it again.
I know that Commander Antilles and General Calrissian fired the killshots, but there is a new story making the rounds: Some say that the reason you allowed yourself to be captured was to run interference against Palpatine and Darth Vader while we did our thing down here and the fleet killed the Death Star up there.
If that is in any way true… that is the story to end all stories.
Did you plan to walk out of there alive? What power do you possess, that gave you the strength to stand up to those two? They represented all that is evil in this galaxy… which means that you now represent all that is good.
I will stop embarrassing myself now, sir.
I just wanted to tell you in no uncertain terms that you are truly my hero. None of us are in this for fame, and I know that none of us have drawn any pay. We are in this fight to uphold the ideals of freedom. You are the man I will always look to when I need direction.
It’s been an blessing to live in these times and an honor to fight by your side.
Respectfully and most sincerely,
MAJOR H.T. REXTEN, SPECFORCES PATHFINDERS (ENDOR STRIKE TEAM)
P.S. – Please keep the pictures, Commander. I’ve got a lifetime of memories.
P.P.S. – For Alderaan