The 42nd Squadron (also known as Squadron 42) is the legendary volunteer unit assigned to the UEES Paul Steed (CV 023), 2nd Fleet, United Empire of Earth's Navy. The unit participated in many in many combat campaigns including the Second Tevarin War's infamous Battle of Centauri. The 42nd enaged the Vanduul in 2910 and 2911 while under the command of "the smart tough lady" Captain Aria Reilly, with notable combat pilot Lt. Terrence Nolan.
Founding (Between 2542, 2546)
Founded during the First Tevarin War, The 42nd Squadron was designated as a disciplinary unit to handle problematic pilots, defined by military parlance of the time, as a “keel squad”. Often considered disruptive and not dependable, these highly trained pilots represent significant investments of the Navy’s time and resources, deemed too valuable to simply lock up or discharge in the middle of a war. While the squad had flown in many battles, they did so without distinction, often at the periphery of the fight.
Battle of Centauri (2610-06-24)
During the battle for Centauri, Second Tevarin War, under the command of Captain Alexandra Dunlevey, the reputation of the squadron changed. Captain Dunlevey noted in early reports that these keel squad pilots were some of the best she had ever seen. She concluded the snap decision-making and self-confidence that made them great pilots often resulted in a resistance towards the Navy’s traditional command structure. Determined to turn her squad around, Dunlevey tried an experiment where, rather than outlining a specific flight path and mission plan for her pilots, she simply told them the pickup point. The experiment proved to be a success.
During the battle, the Tevarin used planetary attacks as a diversion forcing the Navy to focus on defending the populace rather than the route to Elysium. Captain Dunlevey recognized the strategy, knowing that while it would possibly hold the Tevarin back long enough for reinforcements to return, Naval casualties would be high and minimal damage would be done to the Tevarin fleet. The result would be another stalemate, prolonging the war. Dunlevey convinced Admiral Fraser of the value of her squad, as well as a strategy to give up the Jump Point to Elysium. As the Tevarin fleet approached the Jump, UEE carriers slowly retreated beneath the enemy barrage. With the long-sought goal finally in sight, Tevarin Warlord Corath’Thal ordered the fleet through to Elysium. However, the Jump Point was unable to accommodate the full Tevarin flotilla, forcing the normal defensive formation to be stretched out near the opening, exposing the more vulnerable targets.
Captain Dunlevey and her pilots had been "floating dead" in their Retaliators, hiding among debris waiting for the Tevarin ships to surround them. Just as the first Tevarin ship was about to travel through the jump point, the 42nd seized the moment, powered up their spacecraft and began their attack. Dunlevy issued a simple order “Take out the shields”. The Tevarin quickly dispatched fighters but the damage was already done. The 42nd had managed to do what no one else in 7 years of war had accomplished.
With a significant portion of the Tevarin’s defensive capabilities disabled, the UEE carriers renewed their attack, raining destruction upon the enemy that had plagued them for so long. Though Corath’Thal managed to escape through the jump with a handful of ships, the Battle for Centauri sounded the death knell for the Tevarin armada. Following the conclusion of the war, Captain Dunlevy and her fearless Squadron 42 received commendations from Imperator Messer II, beginning their transformation into the most renowned squadron in military history.
Battle of Vega II (2945-10-05)
The 42nd Squadron was present during the 2nd Fleet's famous defense of Aremis, Vega under Admiral Bishop against the Vanduul. The 42nd was commanded by Ryan Enright piloting a F8 Lightning. Under his command was Cal Mason who piloted a F7 Hornet while giving orders to several Retaliator bombers. This battle was considered the catalyst for the Vanduul War.