Edward Welsh
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Edward Welsh

The Thin Red Line

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About Him

Living… as he would put it,“in a world that’s blowing itself to hell as fast as everybody can arrange it.” Such is First Sergeant Edward Welsh’s assessment of the situation. The year is 1942. Sgt. Welsh is aboard a Navy transport with the men of C Company, headed straight for Guadalcanal. As the troop carrier nears the Japanese-held island, intense internal tension builds within each man. C Company is approaching what is sure to be a fight – one they all know will cost many lives.

Profession… U.S. Army First Sergeant in C Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. His main responsibility is to keep up the chain of command and ensure that his men stay in line. Sgt. Welsh sees himself as a taskmaster, a man whose job is to make sure each man does his. He espouses the belief that all a man is his job. He says that beyond surviving and doing your job, there’s nothing you can do for anybody else. This is what the sergeant says – whether he believes it or not is another question.

Interests… being alone. While the men socialize, and drink (provided they have liquor), Sgt. Welsh sits by himself in a secluded spot, smoking a cigarette. Sgt. Welsh entertains only his own interests, which he keeps to himself entirely.

Relationship Status… none. Though many of the men have girls back home, Sgt. Welsh makes no mention of having a lover or, for that matter, anyone to go home to.

Challenge… finding a reason to fight. It seems there’s nothing for a man to do but look out for himself; hold onto what’s his. That is, unless there’s some kind of higher purpose to serve. Such is the central issue at stake in the conversations had between Welsh and Witt, a private in C Company. Witt espouses the belief that there’s something more to all this mess than survival. But Sgt. Welsh has a different view. He tells Private Witt, “In this world, a man, himself, is nothing. And there ain’t no world but this one.” 

Personality… cynical, despairing, and misanthropic. Though there’s also a deeper courage and resolve that Welsh possesses, hidden beneath his intensely reserved appearance.

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