Grew Up… in 1950s America. Though Benjamin Willard was raised with traditional American values, his most formative experiences were still ahead of him.
Living… in Saigon, Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. He’s been aimlessly wandering around during his R&R, waiting to be given a new mission. When Captain Willard receives his assignment, he is long past ready to go back into the fray. He hasn’t left his room in days and has consumed little besides hard alcohol. His psyche is strained and his sanity questionable as he embarks on his mission up the Nung River.
Profession… U.S. Army officer working for the MACV-SOG unit. U.S. intelligence has just put Captain Willard on a classified mission: to track down Walter Kurtz, a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces – a man feared to have gone rogue. It is reported that Kurtz now commands his own forces of native Montagnard troops deep in the Cambodian jungle. Willard’s mission is to find Kurtz and terminate his command “with extreme prejudice.”
Interests… he has few “normal” interests. After serving in Vietnam for three years, his re-integration into home-front society failed. Now Captain Willard’s only interest is getting back out into the jungle, the only place he feels at home.
Relationship Status… divorced. While still in Saigon, Willard reflects on being on leave and his recent divorce: “I’d wake up and there’d be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said ‘yes’ to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle… Each time I looked around the walls moved in a little tighter.”
Challenge… hunting down and terminating Walter Kurtz, without going mad himself. Willard, already psychologically troubled by war, is now forced to wonder what could drive a model officer and potential future general to such madness. He asks himself, “How many people had I already killed? There were those six that I knew about for sure. Close enough to blow their last breath in my face. But this time, it was an American and an officer.” As he gets closer to Kurtz, Willard’s sanity is pushed to the brink as he finds out what it is that could make a man break ties with everything he knows.
Personality… contemplative, detached, brooding, and cautious. Outwardly, Willard is an officer with a promising future. He’s a skilled soldier and leader. But Willard has a very different inner life, a gloomy and taciturn one filled with violence. He’s man of few words, with little capacity for social graces.
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