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The Elite Guard were introduced in Transformers: Animated as the primary military organization of the Autobots, commanded by Ultra Magnus and including such notables as Sentinel Prime, Yoketron, and Jazz. It was involved in the Great War with the Decepticons, and continued to exist after the war's conclusion. Optimus Prime and Elita One trained in the Elite Guard alongside Sentinel, all three joining after the end of the Great War, but Optimus was expelled after the three embarked on an ill-fated, unauthorized expedition that resulted in the apparent death of Elita. It would be decades before it was revealed that she survived, hideously transformed into the techno-organic Decepticon Blackarachnia.
Bumblebee and Bulkhead later joined the Elite Guard boot camp and were trained by Sentinel, then with the rank of Minor. Along with cadets Ironhide and Wasp, they sought entry into the Elite Guard, but only Ironhide ended up making it into the group of the four. Wasp was arrested as a Decepticon double agent, having been framed with Bumblebee taking the lead in the events leading to his arrest. Sadly, Bumblebee and Bulkhead were then expelled for being implicated in an "accident" that left Sentinel injured, and subsequently ended up on Optimus' crew with Ratchet and Prowl, the latter a former student of Yoketron's.
Aboard the ship Steelhaven, three of the Elite Guard-Ultra Magnus, Sentinel, and Jazz-arrived on Earth in search of Optimus Prime and his crew, last known to have been in possession of the AllSpark. The group remained on Earth for a time, but prepared to depart after failing to detect any further sign of Decepticon activity on Earth due to Megatron employing signal dampeners created by Isaac Sumdac. The discovery of Starscream, who had been concealed by his own means, prompted the Elite Guard to leave Optimus' crew on Earth to continue searching for Decepticons while they left to address the threat of Decepticon uprisings on the edge of the galaxy. Unbeknownst to them, this was engineered by Megatron himself in a bid to lure the Elite Guard away from Cybertron so that he and his forces could take the planet using a covertly constructed Space Bridge.
Fortunately, Megatron's plan was thwarted by Optimus' crew with the assistance of Elite Guardsman Blurr, but the group was later attacked from within by Shockwave, who had long been posing as Intelligence Chief Longarm. This left Ultra Magnus in critical condition, leaving Sentinel Prime in temporary command. Sentinel also took Jazz and the twins Jetstorm and Jetfire to Earth in search of Wasp, who had escaped from prison, and was able to secure several Decepticon prisoners, most of whom were caught by the bounty hunter Lockdown. After discovering the continued existence of Blackarachnia, he set out to return to Cybertron and establish himself as Magnus, though he was forced to call on Optimus for help during a prison break aboard ship.
The "Wings of Honor" fiction from Fun Publications introduced a Generation 1 version of the Elite Guard that included Thunderclash, Kup, Flak, and Landshark, who operated aboard the vessel Eight Track. This group was later dispatched to Beta 9 after the Decepticons shot down a transport ship by Magnum.
In Transformers: Shattered Glass the Elite Guard was formerly commanded by Hyperdrive but eventually fell to the command of Thunderclash, who could combine with his fellow member Nightbeat in order to form Nightclash.
Robots in Disguise
Though not featured in the Robots in Disguise animated series, "Ask Vector Prime" revealed that this continuity also had an Elite Guard, led by Storm Jet and consisting of Sideways, Mirage GT, Nightcruz, and Scavenger. This group would face numerous enemies, from Jhiaxus and his Destructicons to the Elder Gods.