Get to Know Your MI501st :: January, 2011

Doug Fesko
Legion ID: 501
Joined May, 1999

Well before the movies premiered in theaters, Doug's dad managed to get a comic book of Star Wars in 1976 and gave it to him for Christmas. Being that he was only four years old and could barely read, he wasn't exactly able to follow the story. He says, "I thought the Empire was the good guys (they were the ones wearing white, after all), and Chewbacca was an evil monster." It wasn't until he saw the movie half a year later that it all made sense.

Spring forward to 1999 and Doug is reading comic book and comes across an ad for a convention called Star Wars Celebration. He wanted to go, and why not since he had just purchased a Don Post TIE Pilot helmet and was looking for an excuse to make a complete TIE Pilot costume. An event with thousands of people focused solely on Star Wars was certainly worth both the effort on the costume and the trip to Colorado.

So, with Black BDUs, medieval boots, gauntlets, homemade chest armor and chest box attached to the helmet with flexible metal hose, homemade patches, and a wrist communicator, he had his first Star Wars costume. It all fit into his carry-on luggage and he was on my way to Colorado with his wife in tow.

Upon arrival at the convention, he donned the costume in public for the first time in the parking lot. Doug says, "Walking through that lot was so inspiring as kids and adults alike stared [open mouthed] and cried out in delight at the sight of me." He posed for the first of many pictures for his new fans. Such experiences were continuous over the next three days, and he was hooked on costuming. But he was not member of the 501st, yet.

It was during the convention that he met up with members of the Swiss Garrison of the 501st Squad who showed up in force for Celebration. It wasn't long before he had met nearly the entire 501st Squad – more than 20 Imperial costumers all together. They explained to him how before an event they would coordinate amongst themselves trips to such events as conventions and always showed up in groups to achieve a spectacular presence. He very much wanted to be a part of that. "Any time I was hanging out with at least a few of these 501st members, we'd be ‘trapped' for a half-hour or more while crowds of people took photographs and I loved every second of it," says Doug. As soon as he got home, Doug sent in a picture of himself from the convention and became an approved member of the club, making him the first official member from the state of Michigan. The club was growing rapidly following Celebration and already was totaling more than 30 members. However, the closest members to him were a handful of troopers in Chicago and another small group in Toronto, so he did a lot of traveling those first few years to various events. Within a few months the club had grown to more than a hundred members and the name was changed to the 501st Legion.

While Doug has trooped many different events, Celebration II is probably his favorite event overall. "Any event that is entirely Star Wars themed is up at the top, and with 501st members acting as staff and security for the vastly overwhelmed convention organizers. We added a level of immersion in the Star Wars universe I had never seen before or since," says Doug.

Doug is also recognized by his designation or Legion Member ID of TK-501, but just how did he obtain one of the coolest designations within the Legion? "Back when I joined, the preferred way of determining your member ID number was with your birthday. So, when [501st Legion founder] Albin Johnson approved my membership photo, he gave me a call and asked what my ID number should be. I replied, ‘Well, as my birthday is on May 1st, I'd like the designation 501.' He laughed and said ‘So you're the trooper who finally takes that one!'”

When not in costume, Doug is a computer programmer who designs data acquisition and process control software for engineering applications.

Doug's hobbies outside of the 501st include live-action role play (LARP), steampunk costuming and his very own Star Wars online comic. He is involved in multiple fantasy LARPs and a future LARP based on the Firefly series. His love of costuming extends here where he has made a number of detailed costumes for the various characters he portrays. He is working on a near-future mercenary LARP making use of Airsoft weapons. Doug started a steampunk costume last year, and has been to one steampunk event so far. He also draws a Star Wars online comic called Dewback Wing based on an online role play board he has been a part of since around the time he joined the 501st. Check it out! Shameless plug:

Being a member of the Legion has affected Doug in many positive ways. He traveled a lot in those early years when the 501st Legion was in its infancy and it seemed like every event occurred in some other state. He traveled to Chicago, Minneapolis, Pittsburg, Toronto, Montreal, Greensboro, Atlanta, Orlando, Columbus, and many other locations that he would otherwise not have seen. Along the way, he met a lot of great people and made great friends at every event. He has marched in numerous parades including Walt Disney World, spoken with numerous celebrities, and been on-stage with "Weird Al” Yankovic.

"My life wouldn't be nearly as rich and wonderful without the 501st”- Doug Fesko

View Doug's profile...

All Featured Troopers:

Apr '19: Mathew May
Oct '12: Joel Aldrich
Aug '12: Scott Jones
Jul '12: Rob Miller
Jun '12: Jennifer Rodriquez
May '12: Julie Balk
Apr '12: Derek Lane-Waters
Mar '12: Zachary Titus
Dec '10: Jesse McClear
Nov '10: Carl Nelson
Oct '10: Michael Arnold
Sep '10: Chris Brown
Aug '10: Justin Overholt
Jun '10: Rome Ohnui
May '10: Jackie Wagensomer
Apr '10: Shannon Trombley
Mar '10: Aaron Combs
Feb '10: Martin Pondell
Dec '09: Rob Brang
Nov '09: Robert Amid
Oct '09: Tiffany Murphy
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. © 2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.