Donitz grew up on Ziost, where the planet's Sith history profoundly affected the culture and thinking of its people. When he came of age, flying for the Empire was a matter of course, and he made ace before he was nineteen. He collected few friends along the way, although the ones that he made were deep and lasting. His relationships never interfered with the mission. It seemed Donitz lived only for combat. After the Battle of Endor, Donitz's services were in high demand; any warlord would have paid well to have him on their roster. Donitz ended up with Majere's fleet, calling itself the Vast Empire, based near Byss, and he served in the Deep Core until the time came to merge with the New Imperium. He distinguished himself in the NI right from the start. He survived both the Battle of Mizar and the Battle of Varnus, two of the bloodiest battles of the war, both with record kills.
For Donitz, flying came as naturally as breathing. It wasn't the thrill that he lived for; it was fulfilling his mission. He flew for the New Imperium because it was his duty, not because he shared its ideals. He did not let attitude or personal issues get in the way of what needed to get done. The NI's other ace, Maarek Stele, developed something of a friendly rivalry with Donitz. To Donitz, however, rivalries were petty, and he never considered Stele as such, though Maarek chafed when Donitz was given command of the First Fleet's starfighters in orbit during the Battle of Varnus.