Major General Rolf Emerson was Chief of Staff to the Supreme Commander of the United Earth Forces during the Second Robotech War. Emerson, and his wife Laura, were made godparents to Dana Sterling and Bowie Grant who were left under his care while their parents joined the Robotech Expeditionary Force.
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Emerson was a High Ranking Officer of the Southern Cross (ASC) Army before the SDF-3 departed from Earth. He was a good friend of Vince Grant, and after the SDF-3 departed from Earth with Vince, he agreed to take care of Dana and Bowie while their parents left Earth in search of the Robotech Masters on Tirol.
The Second Robotech War
Emerson was the Leader of the Southern Cross's Fleet. He led many skirmishes against the Robotech Masters, most of which resulted in retreats due the Masters's superior technology. During this time, he had a troubled relationship with Bowie who thought of him as a cold and calculating man.
During the Masters's final assault on the Southern Cross, he was captured and taken prisoner alongside Marie and Dennis until the 15th Squadron arrived to rescue them. He died after taking a shot that was meant for Bowie. On his deathbed, he took the blame for the disputes between the pair — telling the Squadron to not make the same mistakes that the United Earth Government had. His final words were "Goodbye Bowie." (Masters Saga: The Invid Connection)
Behind the scenes
During the Kickstarter for the TV series Robotech: Academy, great emphasis was put on the return of Rolf Emerson and Anatole Leonard to the series. One update, showing a design, promoted "ROLF EMERSON IS BACK." Designs showed a Macross-Saga-like coat and cap over his original uniform.