Garuda Team (ガルーダ隊 Garūda-tai) is a fighter squadron in the Republic of Emmeria Air Force's Eastern Air Region Air Defense. It serves in the REAF's 8th Air Division as its 28th Fighter Squadron, and is stationed at Gracemeria Air Force Base.
During the Emmeria-Estovakia War, Garuda Team became invaluable to the Emmerian war effort as it helped decide the outcome of many crucial battles during the war, forcing Estovakia's armed forces to dedicate entire operations to the destruction of the squadron. Garuda's renown resulted in its members becoming national heroes for the Emmerian people and helping Emmeria emerge victorious in the war.
Garuda Team is the player's squadron throughout Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
Garuda Team was formed in 2013 upon Talisman's assignment to the Eastern Air Defense Division. The squadron was tasked with defending Gracemeria, Emmeria's capital city, from any possible attack. Until mid-2015, the squadron was solely comprised of Talisman.
Invasion of Gracemeria
On August 30, 2015, Estovakia launched their invasion of Gracemeria. During the emergency scramble, AWACS Ghost Eye assigned Marcus Lampert, callsign Shamrock, to the squadron as Talisman's wingman.
Garuda Team, along with the rest of the Emmerian forces, fought valiantly to defend Gracemeria. They nearly drove out the Estovakian invaders, but were forced to retreat after the P-1112 Aigaion wiped out large portions of the defending forces and the elite Strigon Team entered the battle. During the retreat, one of Garuda's pilots managed to damage Strigon Leader Victor Voychek's aircraft; he was forced to eject, injuring his legs in the process and ending his flight career.
- "Garuda 1, I've got a hunch we'll be going home a lot sooner with you on board."
- ― Shamrock to Talisman
On November 24, Estovakia sent a squadron of bombers to destroy Vitoze and the Emmerian forces stationed there. Garuda Team was sent up with other air squadrons to defend the city from the approaching bombers. They were successful in this operation, allowing Emmeria to begin drafting plans for a counterattack.
Three days later, Emmerian forces began their counterattack. They aimed to penetrate Estovakia's defensive line in Sipli Field, leading to the battle of Sipli Field. This was Garuda Team's first operation in which the squadron supported Emmerian ground troops on multiple fronts. Garuda successfully provided close air support, allowing the ground troops to retake Sipli.
Garuda Team then participated in the battle of Bartolomeo Fortress a month later, supporting Emmeria's ground troops as they retook the fortress and regained control of the island. During the battle, two members of Strigon Team attempted to provide support to the stationed Estovakian troops, but Garuda shot down both Strigon pilots.
After successfully retaking Khesed Island, the Emmerians prepared for a landing operation on the southern tip of the continent in late January 2016. The resulting battle of Ortara saw Garuda Team support the landing forces on multiple fronts to help establish a beachhead.
Garuda Team was assigned one week later to act as relief for the Emmerian ground forces surrounded by Estovakians in the ongoing standoff in Silvat Town. Garuda's arrival over the combat airspace was a source of joy among Emmerian troops as they began to request close air support from the squadron. A front-line Estovakian unit attempted to retreat, with support from two Strigon Team pilots, but Garuda shot down both Strigon planes and destroyed the retreating unit.
From this point forward, Garuda became well-known among Emmerian forces and Estovakia began to take notice of the squadron. In subsequent missions, Emmerian forces would call on Garuda directly to provide close air support.
Destroying the Aigaion
During the following battle of the Selumna Peaks, Garuda Team was nearly successful in aiding the Emmerian forces to push through the mountain range. However, the P-1112 Aigaion fired its Nimbus missiles at the Emmerians once more. They began to retreat while Garuda defended them by shooting down all of the Aigaion's UAVs that helped the Nimbus missile tracking system.
Emmeria determined that retaking San Loma would be vital in destroying the Aigaion and its missile system. Garuda Team took part in the liberation of San Loma on February 15, in which they supported Emmerian air, land, and naval forces as they captured different sectors in the city. Garuda also protected them from cruise missile attacks by destroying Aigaion's drones in the airspace. During the operation, Garuda shot down Estovakian ace pilot Goran Rosandic, as well as another Estovakian pilot who Melissa Herman and Ludmila Tolstaya resuscitated.
A battle plan to destroy the Aigaion and its Aerial Fleet was drawn up from San Loma's airfield. Garuda took part in the assault on the Aerial Fleet, acting as the lead squadron in the attacking force. Shortly after initiating the attack, Aigaion's escorts—the P-1113 Kottos and P-1114 Gyges—as well as the Strigon Team engaged the Emmerians, resulting in a massive and fierce air battle. Garuda whittled away at the Aigaion's escorts and Strigon Team, and eventually, Talisman dealt the final blow on the Aigaion, sending it crashing into the sea. Garuda also shot down Lorenz Riedel, a Belkan defector responsible for the Aerial Fleet's design.
Estovakia now considered Garuda Team (especially its squadron leader, Talisman) a major threat. Strigon Team, which had been using the Aigaion as a mobile base, was relocated to Gracemeria and assigned a new squadron leader: Ilya Pasternak, who was given the task of shooting down Talisman.
Defying orders and redemption
- "Ghost Eye, what the hell do you know about losing a family member. I'll take whatever the hell action I see fit!"
- ― Shamrock
Emmeria continued to advance towards Gracemeria, resulting in the battle of Ragno Fortress and the battle of the Moloch Desert. Garuda Team participated in both battles, providing close air support and dealing the final blow especially to Ragno's air defenses.
During the battle of the Moloch Desert, Emmerian forces were ordered to retreat after Estovakia threatened to use weapons of mass destruction on Gracemeria if Emmeria advanced any further. Shamrock, who had not been told the gravity of the situation, disobeyed the retreat order; Strigon Team entered the airspace to shoot down Garuda Team, and Shamrock returned fire. Talisman supported him in shooting down all of the Strigon members. When they returned to base, Talisman and Shamrock were penalized for defying a direct order and were restricted to doing nothing more than accessing their barracks.
Over the next 24 hours, the Emmerian military gathered intelligence on Estovakia's WMD plans, discovering that the chemical catalyst was being transported in Fort Norton. The Joint Chiefs of Staff conceded that the only squadron capable of this infiltration mission was Garuda Team, so they lifted Talisman and Shamrock's restrictions and ordered them to go on this sortie.
Garuda successfully infiltrated Fort Norton and destroyed the WMD catalyst, but on the pilots' return flight, they were intercepted by a large battalion of Estovakian fighters. Garuda fought off the opposing aircraft long enough for other Emmerian squadrons to arrive and provide support. With their combined firepower, the Emmerian squadrons shot down all Estovakian fighters. Garuda's commendations and medals were restored following this operation.
Liberation of Gracemeria
Shortly afterward, Pasternak—the new squadron leader of Strigon Team—entered the airspace piloting a CFA-44 Nosferatu and ordered his squadron to retreat. Garuda engaged him, and after an extended battle, Talisman shot Pasternak down. While Pasternak was unsuccessful in defeating Garuda, his sacrifice allowed Strigon to escape the combat area.
- "Let's go, Garuda 1! It's time to finish this!"
- ― Shamrock
Suddenly, Guy Stewart and Ghost Eye detected cruise missiles and Estovakian fighter squadrons approaching Gracemeria. Garuda and the other Emmerian squadrons entered battle formation, destroying all of the cruise missiles and protecting the city from further harm.
Emmeria's armed forces determined the source of the cruise missiles to be Chandelier, an asteroid defense weapon thought to be abandoned. Garuda led the Emmerian squadrons in the battle of Sonne Island to destroy Chandelier's cooling units, supported by data provided by Victor Voychek (who had betrayed his country to prevent mass civilian casualties), Melissa Herman, and her daughter Matilda. After the Emmerians destroyed all of the cooling units, Shamrock bravely entered Chandelier's backup cooling area, gathering data but getting shot down in the process. Talisman destroyed the backup cooling unit, then flew into Chandelier's gun barrel and destroyed its core. Chandelier began to collapse, and the Emmerians declared victory. Talisman flew home as Shamrock was supposedly picked up by a rescue team.
- "Talisman, this is it. This is what we've been fighting for."
- ― Shamrock
Shamrock, whose legs were damaged in the crash, was confined to a wheelchair until he began physical rehabilitation, likely grounding him permanently. He visited Melissa Herman's home after the war concluded in order to meet her and Matilda since their assistance helped them destroy Chandelier in his final sortie. It is not known if Talisman retired as well, or still served in Emmeria's Air Force for some time after the war.
- There is evidence to suggest that Garuda Team was a three-man squadron early in the game's development:
- Early screenshots show three pilots using the same aircraft (see #Gallery).
- The Garuda Team emblem shows three stars, implying three aircraft in the same way that Galm Team's emblem shows two stars for two aircraft.
- The prototype video for Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, which is based on Ace Combat 6's engine and believed to be set in Gracemeria, shows the player forming up in a flight of three at the end of their air battle.
- "Garuda" is used in Hindu to refer to the constellationYellow Squadron was named.
- The callsigns of the two members of Garuda Team - Talisman and Shamrock - are both symbols of good luck.
- In Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception, an enemy ace named Garuda can be found in the mission Pinned Down. The ace flies a Mirage 2000D.
- In the mission San Loma Assault, Garuda Team's emblem is referred to as a "Piasa Bird emblem" by an Estovakian soldier. The Piasa Bird is a dragon in Native American mythology.
- The quote also implies that the squadron's emblem was somewhat inspired by the Piasa Bird.
<ref>tags exist, but no
<references/>tag was found