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Trooper Survival Guide


The Mission of the 501st Legion

Organizational Structure

Legion Command

The Legion Command is the chief administrative and management group of the 501st Legion It’s roles are encompassed by the elected officers who fill the offices of:

  • Founder (permanent):TK-210 Albin Johnson
  • Legion Commanding Officer (LCO) - Elected by the general Membership
  • Legion Executive Officer (LXO) - Appointed by Legion Commanding Officer
  • Legion Membership Officer (LMO) - Appointed by Legion Commanding Officer
  • Legion Captain of the Guard (LCOG) - Appointed by Legion Commanding Officer
  • Legion Public Relations Officer (LPRO)– Appointed by Legion Commanding Officer
  • Legion Merchandise and Branding Officer –(LMBO) Appointed by Legion Commanding
  • Officer Legion Web Master (LWM)- Appointed by Legion Commanding Officer
  • Legion Charity Liaison (LCL)- Appointed by Legion Commanding Officer
  • Other Officers and Staff as required or Appointed by Legion Commanding Officer

Legion Council


Detachments are the costuming units of the Legion. Their role is to assist new and old costumers alike in the understanding, formation and build¬ing of costumes. Detachment Leaders and their administrative staff assist the LMO and GML’s in understanding unknown or misunderstood basic standards for costumes within their category of expertise. Detachment Officer’s are comprised of: Detachment Leader (DL)– elected by the detachment Membership Detachment Executive Officer or assistant detachment leader(DXO)-appointed by detachment leader


Trooping Guide

Ok you’ve got you armor and are ready for your first troop, or you 100th troop. Here is a compellation of the words of wisdom from your fellow members of the 501st Legion. It has been compiled from many posts on the Legion forum as well as personal experiences and anecdote heard throughout the years.

There are many reasons for trooping with the 501st Legion, raising awareness for a cause, promotional appearances, assisting in fund raising for charities, and just plan having a good time. There are typically two event classifications, canon and non-canon. A canon event is an event where the requesting organization requires a specific group of characters. Typically cannon events are either Original Trilogy (OT) or Prequels (Clone Wars). For an OT event only screen accurate original trilogy characters will be allowed to participate in the event. For a canon Prequel event only screen accurate Clone Wars era costumes from the movies or television series will be allowed. Screen accurate means unmodified armor, no custom paint schemes, no added badges, palderons, or overt identification or tags on the armor. Special note for Expanded Universe (EU) characters: Expanded universe characters are characters that are only documented in non-movie or television sources such as books, conics, graphic novels and video games. EU characters may be excluded from canon events at the request of the event promoter or the garrison command staff. How a troop is orchestrated: Trooping opportunities come from several sources both official and unofficial. Official troops are frequently generated through the Garrison or Squad command. They consist of events that are requested through the Legion request an appearance web page, direct requests from individuals and organizations to the command staff or direct requests or events organized by the Legion itself.

Legion Events are typically multi-garrison or large regional events such as national and international promotional events like the Cartoon Network Clone Wars television series or DK Star Wars book releases. National events often require a coordinated effort across many garrisons and will be locally coordinated by the garrison command staff. Frequently final event details are still being arranged up until a few days before the troop so don’t loose heart if you think things are a bit vague Most troops will typically be posted on your Garrison Web Forums. There may be specific call requirements for an event, set by the requesting organization such as 1-Vader, 6 Stromtroopers, arrive at 5:30 pm troop from 6:30 until 9:00pm…. Etc.

Or an event may be a general call for as many troopers as the garrison can muster your garrison command staff should list all the requirements in the event posting.

Typically for new events the garrison staff or event captain will post an interest request post it is important that you respond to these posts especially if you are interested in trooping the event. The interest post is used by the Garrison Command Staff to determine if the troop will be viable. If little or no interest is expressed by the Garrison Members than the Command Staff will likely decline the event request and tell the event requester that the 501st Legion is unable to appear at this time. If there is sufficient interest the staff will typically request confirmation that you are defiantly able to troop the event. Important note: DON’T commit to doing an event if you don’t intend on doing the event! Conversely if you do commit to doing an event make every effort to attend, we all know stuff happens and unforeseen emergencies can arise that may prevent you from attending, however once committed the reputation of the Legion and Garrison are now on the line to provide the confirmed troopers for the event.

Know The Code

Trooping is intended to be a fun and rewarding experience. It gives us all an outlet for creative expression through the construction and creation of our costumes and the development of our personae as Star Wars characters. It important to note that although we are all in this for fun we are representing the Star Wars universe to the public and should behave in a professional manner at all times when in costume. The Legion code of conduct is the guideline for behavior when in character and as a member of the 501st. community.

Pre Troop Briefing

Before trooping you need to make sure everything is in working order. Look for wear and tear, dirt, stains, scuffmarks etc. Clean and polish as necessary. Stock up on extra batteries, bottled water and repair supplies, in general just do a basic check of your kit. Try on your armor before your first troop. Wander around try the stairs. You will quickly discover what fits and what doesn’t and learn the meaning of the term “armor bite”

Create a packing list, laminate it and keep it in your armor bin. Check you armor kit the day before. (make repairs as needed) Always have printed or written directions of where you are to meet. Share cell phone numbers with you fellow troopers. Take care of your feet! Wear insoles for those long troops. Check you repair kit, restock what ever is missing.

Remember: The longer you’re in the armor, the hotter it gets. Testing out your armor at home for 15 minutes is not the same as trooping for two hours. Even in air conditioned locations, heat can be an issue.  Used black permanent marker or other permanent label method to discretely write my TK id# on the inside of ALL my armor parts. If you drop during the event or forget anything while packing up it will increase your chances of return from a fellow member.

If you are on special medication or require special medication due to allergic reactions, be sure to share that with those around you and let them know where they can find it for you and how to administer it in an emergency. Let them know the warning signs.


Trooping is why we are all here, the important thing is to have fun, entertain the crowd and stay safe and healthy. There are two potential dangers that can easily be overlooked while trooping, Heat Exhaustion and Hypothermia. Heat exhaustion occurs when your body gets overheated and can no longer support its natural cooling mechanisms, See side bar for more information on the symptoms and treatment of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Hypothermia, although less common for a trooper that heat exhaustion is a potential danger in colder climates or at outdoor events in a cool, wet and windy environment such as a parade, see side bar on the symptoms and treatment of hypothermia.

Arrive Early

Check in with your fellow Legion Members and the event coordinator when you arrive at the event. If you are the first trooper there, check in with the event sponsor or venue point of contact. If possible, before you suit up, walk the venue or area you’re going to be trooping look out for potential hazards, choke points, and blind steps.

  • Use bathroom BEFORE getting into armor. 
  • Don’t troop if you are sick, dizzy, tired or under special medication.

If you are on special medication or require special medication due to allergic reactions, be sure to share that with those around you and let them know where they can find it for you and how to administer it in an emergency. Let them know the warning signs.

Hydration is Important

Make sure you have enough food and drink during the whole trooping time (as trooping is quite exhausting, especially for beginners). 

  • Always behave as a stormtrooper is expected to, don’t force public to do things they don’t want (being prisoners... and so on). 
  • Watch out for kids, they are short and our field of view isn’t the best. You don’t want to hit them by accident
  • Be polite 
  • Always carry extra batteries for your fans. 
  • If you had been asked for something you are not sure about, always send them with your officers! Do not invent an answer!!! 
  • Always make reference to your local unit website and 501st website 
  • Remember: We DO NOT SELL anything!!!! We make our own costumes.
  • Never troop alone! always have some friend with you (cases where you are a lone trooper in your area) 
  • DO NOT expect ANYTHING in return. Don’t expect free parking, don’t expect food, don’t expect gifts, they may happen but don’t expect them. 
  • Remember to take a break every now and then.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings

Even if you are in costume and not a handler, be mindful of your fellow troopers and if you notice someone badgering them, get a handler or step in yourself and discreetly move the trooper out of the situation. 

  • Always walk with a wall behind you (don’t think anything funny guys ), because there is always THE idiot willing to look smart in front of his friends to sneak behind and grab the detonator or steal your gun in the holster (breaking the whole belt by doing so). 
  • Watch out of people who are too enthusiastic... they could be dangerous for your costume. Over friendly hugs really hurt when in full costume  
  • Try to get a spot in front of the equestrian units in your local parades. 


The handler or Imperial Support Staff is a vital part of any successful troop. You are the eyes and ears of your fellow troopers. It is your job to keep everyone safe, on time and damage free. You will likely be asked questions about the Legion and be asked to take photos of people with the troopers.

  • Be the eyes and ears of the armored troopers: 
  • Watch out for children that get underfoot easily, so they don’t get stepped on or whacked with a blaster or backpack. Children are a big part of any event, since they love storm troopers, and are usually a little too overjoyed to see them. (Some adults act the same way too)
  • Stop the troopers when someone wants a picture and you have time, if not try to play ambassador and let them know you’re in a hurry to get somewhere. 
  • If the event has specific times and places for things “herd” the troopers to where they need to be when.
  • Be the time keeper, keep the troop on schedule. Often troopers will need to be somewhere specific at an event. If the troops need to be somewhere keep an eye on the time, at a reasonable time before they need to be there, politely inform the people around the troops that they need to go and escort the troopers to their new destination. You might want to add some extra time because invariably they will get stopped along the way for “just one more picture”
  • Remind the troops of breaks and make sure they take them. From time to time, about every half hour or so, check in with your helmeted characters to make sure they are doing ok, this can be a simple as a look and a “thumbs up sign” or discreetly stepping up and asking how they’re doing. If the troops need a break politely let the public know that your trooper needs to go for a few minutes and escort them back to the pre-event staging area / dressing area.
  • Act as a buffer / body guard for the troop. (Someone always wants to push Vader’s Buttons or try to “steal” a nice E-11 Blaster, hijack a thermal detonator, or stick stickers on the armor.)

This is when a handler is really needed. They should step in between the costumer and the child and the costumer should then turn their back and walk away. You don’t want to touch the child if you can avoid it, but you want to become a barrier between them and the costumer.

First Aide NoteYou should only be providing medical care in certain situations.
  • You are a family member of the afflicted individual and you know what their condition is, and are authorized to assist.
  • You are a qualified individual, i.e. First Aid/CPR certified.
  • Some of our members are military corpsmen/women, police officers, or firemen/EMT’s. These folks are qualified to assist.
  • If you are not a qualified individual, please stay with the injured member and immediately send another bystander for help.
  • Street Sweeper / Pack Mule:
    • Pick up various random pieces of armor that may fall off during the troop.
    • Carry look after, wallets, watches, cell phones etc.
    • Purveyor of Water (giver of life)
  • Act as “official” garrison photographer:
    • Take lots of trooping shots.
    • Offer to help take shots for the public. “hey would you like to get in the picture too?”
  • Dresser:
    • Help people armor/de-armor if needed.
    • Carry a fix-it kit.
  • Garrison Ambassador
  • Answer questions on the Garrison / Legion, why we are there, etc so the people in costume can act that character...
  • Hand out PR stuff like stickers, temporary tattoos, business cards, flyers, etc.

One part of being a handler, beyond all of the standard helping out here and there, is to be mindful of where you are at. When we make an appearance, those in costumes should be up front and center. You want to make sure when your a handler your not “in the shot” when people take photos of video. Group shots for us are different obviously. However, when walking in parades or mingling at events, you want to stay behind those in costumes so you’re not blocking someone’s shot or having someone try and figure out why that trooper is hanging out with someone in civilian attire.


Parades are special cases. Frequently a parade organizer will set specific rules and limits on non-costumed support personal. In a televised parade you may be requested to march on a specific side of the troopers so as to minimize the possibility of you being in the television shot. Parade duties typically include taking photographs of your troopers, picking up bits and pieces of dropped armor (watch for hand back plates and thermal detonators) and herding cats. Troopers like to interact with the crowd and my have a tendency to slow down or get side tracked by photo requests, Keep them moving.

Personal tools
The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm's preferred Imperial costuming group. Star Wars, its characters, costumes, and all associated items are the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.