Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Don "Wardaddy" Collier

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About Him

Living… at the forefront of violence. The home of Don Collier – everyone calls him “Wardaddy” – is a battle-worn Sherman tank, slowly crawling further into Germany during the Allied Army's final European campaign of WWII.

Profession… sergeant of the 66th Armored Regiment 2nd Armored Division. That means he commands a tank crew. Due to sitting in the rotating turret above the rest of the crew in order to see out of the hatch and direct the tank, Wardaddy has earned the affectionate nickname "Top." Indeed, he seems to collect nicknames.

Interests… staying alive and killing Germans. During his long tenure in the army, Wardaddy has seen some rough things, and as a result he has a fairly one-track mind. The mission at hand is all he needs to be interested in. Everything else is a distraction, and distractions are dangerous. Wardaddy is desensitized to violence and actively encourages others to be generous with their bullets. While he may seem to be promoting indiscriminate killing, his priority is keeping his crew alive.

Relationship Status… single. Wardaddy takes fighting for the army seriously, and part of that means keeping attachments minimal. There’s a war on, after all.

Challenge… keeping up morale. Members of Wardaddy's regiment are serving in a long and harrowing war, and a state of profound weariness has begun to settle in among the troops. Grappling with fear and disillusionment, soldiers turn to Wardaddy for guidance. At points unable to make sense of the horrors of battle, Wardaddy nonetheless does his best: "Ideals are peaceful, war is violent."

Personality… gruff and guarded. Wardaddy is a man of few words, which serves him well as a leader: when he speaks, everyone listens. He presents himself as a hardened warrior, but in the close quarters of his tank, he builds strong bonds with his crew. Revered for his blunt and often contrary wisdom, Wardaddy earned his name by acting as a paternal figure to many of the younger soldiers. Jaded by several combat tours, Wardaddy cuts through the pleasantries of common conversation and states the hard facts as he sees them. When asked about the end of the war, he replies, "It will end soon. But before it does, a lot more people gotta die."

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