About Combat! - Part 2
WILLIAM G. KIRBY
Tough, quick-tempered, troublesome, and a
skirt-chaser, Kirby is the show's "bad boy." He's been AWOL more than any other
man in the outfit and once broke up a French cafe in a brawl over a woman. He transferred
into Saunders' squad after D-Day. In his previous outfit he had been a squad leader, but
was busted. He was court-martialled for desertion under fire on August 7, 1944; but thanks
to Saunders and Caje, the charges were dismissed (episode "Hill
256"). Though a wise-cracker and complainer, Kirby is a good man in a fight. He's
the best man in the squad with a bazooka and in first season becomes the squad's B.A.R.
man (Browning Automatic Rifle).
His father is from Iowa; his mother and brother George live in Chicago. His sister Ruth
was engaged to Eddie Kopachek, an intelligence officer and childhood friend of Kirby's.
Kopachek was captured by the S.S. and beaten to death under interrogation (episode
"Retribution"). Kirby claims to have grown up on the streets, never seeing a
tree until he was ten years old. Back home he was known as "Wild Man" Kirby. He
went through basic training in Trenton, New Jersey. He enjoys wine, hard liquor,
cigarettes, poker, and women. He was a buck private for most of the series, being promoted
to Private First Class late in season four. Saunders sometimes leaves Kirby in charge of
the squad in his absence.
Paul ("Caje") LeMay is the dark-haired Cajun from New Orleans who usually acts
as the platoon's French translator. He moves with the lithe grace and agility of an
athlete. He often is tasked to scout ahead and to take the point while on patrol. He is
five-foot ten inches tall with hazel eyes, slight and wiry. Caje is gregarious and
friendly. He is possibly a bit of a philanderer: he's received three "Dear John"
letters while in Normandy. While not in battle he sports a dark beret with U.S. insignia;
while in battle the beret is secured on a shoulder. D-Day was probably his first military
action. On Omaha Beach his best friend Theo, a fellow Cajun, was killed before his eyes,
which destroyed him--he panicked and deserted his squad, but later redeems himself under
fire (pilot episode "A Day In June" Note: in the
pilot this character was called Paul "Caddy" Cadron). Caje becomes a mainstay of
the platoon, often taking charge of the squad in Saunders' absence and once made temporary
leader of another of Hanley's squads (episode "Losers Cry Deal"). But Caje has
another breakdown at end of season one when he accidentally kills a French civilian,
making an orphan of the man's young daughter Micheline ("No Trumpets, No
Drums"). With help from Saunders, this wound heals. Caje is a southpaw who fires
an M-1 rifle left-handed but writes right-handed. He is probably Catholic (often displays
detailed knowledge of Catholicism and is sometimes seen genuflecting and crossing himself
in Catholic churches). His younger sister is married and recently gave birth. His mother
and father are living.
At six-foot, six
inches tall, Littlejohn is the gentle giant of Company K. Kind-hearted and friendly,
Littlejohn finds some good in everyone he meets. Though he seems a hayseed, he's
perceptive about people and is hard to con. This Nebraska farmboy is everyone's friend,
except Kirby's (though even their antagonism fades after second season). His closest
association is with Billy Nelson. The two are inseparable buddies. He and Billy both
landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, though they were at that time not in Saunders' squad. This
PFC is only referred to as "Littlejohn"; whether this is a nickname or his last
name is uncertain (even Dick Peabody, the actor who played Littlejohn, doesn't know
whether or not Littlejohn is a nickname; the character was named by Robert Altman, and he
never said). Littlejohn is a good rifleman, but is sometimes bumbling and clumsy. He had a
girlfriend back home, but she no longer writes to him. His family owns a farm; his parents
are both living; he is close with his uncle and he has a kid brother. Littlejohn is
respectful of his elders and of nuns, shy around women, and usually removes his helmet
when entering a church.
Page 1 2 3 4 [....Continue]