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About Combat! - Part 4
by Jo Davidsmeyer


BILLY NELSON

billy8.jpg (13768 bytes)The All-American boy-next-door, Billy is Littlejohn's side-kick and the youngest member of the squad. He has a charming, boyish grin, a beautiful face, and is rather gullible. The squad uses his helmet to make coffee in and to boil the occasional chicken. If going by the book, this private is not a good soldier, always getting things wrong and mis-handling his equipment. But in the field he's a man you can count on to watch your back. He is short, with light brown hair and blue eyes. He landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day alongside Littlejohn; neither man was in Saunders' squad at the time. Billy volunteered for the Army, but now just wants to get a purple heart and a ticket stateside. He likes Glen Miller music and once in a delirium dreamed of dancing with a girl named Evelyn. He has a mother and kid brother waiting for him at home.

In his first appearance on Combat! ("The Celebrity"), Billy Nelson appears to have died, but he returns as a semi-regular character later in the season. Neither his resurrection in season one, nor his disappearance after season two are ever explained.

McCALL

mccall.jpg (13347 bytes)Blond with rugged good looks, this PFC joined the squad in the fifth season. He is battle-hardened and has a sharp tongue. Though he is open and sociable, nothing is known about his personal life or habits. (William Bryant, the actor who played McCall, also appeared in the episodes "Cat and Mouse", "The Long Walk", and "The Leader.")

 

 


NOTABLE CHARACTERS


KELLY : A smart-alecky, smooth operator, Kelly appeared in several first season episodes. He dies a senseless death trying to put on a pilfered pair of German boots (episode "Survival").

GRADY LONG : Long was Saunders' close friend and the squad's first B.A.R. man. Grady's death in the episode "Far from the Brave" deeply affects Saunders, making him withdraw from his men and his Lieutenant. Saunders tries to close himself off from new replacements, but soon learns that the pain of losing one of his men cuts as deep whether he knows them well or keeps them at a distance.

ALBERT BAKER : Baker joins the squad in "Far from the Brave" as replacement for the B.A.R. man who died replacing Grady Long. He appears throughout season one. He is a fresh-faced kid with straw-blond hair.

DAVIS : Corporal Davis is a stocky, feisty little man who appears irregularly with the squad in seasons one and two. He often is part of Hanley's support staff. He dislikes Billy Nelson, thinking "the little twerp" will lose the war for them.

CROWN : Crown joins the squad in "Rear Echelon Commandos". He mouths off at every opportunity and is a shirker. He just wants to be transferred back to special services where he can continue as a disk jockey. Eventually Saunders molds him into a good frontline soldier. He is young, short, and has blond hair. He is seen off and on in season one. (Note: The actor is seen in similar roles in seasons two through four, but the character played is not Crown.)

TEMPLE : Temple is another misfit who joins the squad in "Rear Echelon Commandos." A ballet dancer before the war, Temple has been a calisthenics instructor for the Army. He is fearful about his first mission, but winds up using his ballet skills to save the patrol. In "I Swear By Apollo" he is killed by a mine.

brock2.jpg (14971 bytes)BROCKMEYER : This beefy blond is the squad's radio man and German interpreter in season one. He is a corporal in early appearances, but by the episode "Next In Command" he is a buck private. No explanation for his demotion or disappearance after first season is given. (The actor who plays Brockmeyer, Fletcher Fist, appears in later seasons as different characters in "The Glory Among Men" and "The Long Wait.")

AVERY : Before and during the battle of St-Lo, Sergeant Avery was the platoon sergeant for King Company. Saunders respected and emulated this tough, savvy soldier. Avery was listed as missing in action at St-Lo, but Kirby was certain he ran under fire, abandoning his men. Months later when Avery shows up dressed as a French civilian, Saunders and he must prove that he's not a deserter. But the truth is worse--the months of peace and hope he enjoyed while trapped behind enemy lines broke this soldier, making him afraid to risk his life again (episode "A Gift of Hope").

CAPTAIN JAMPEL : Captain Jampel is cited in many episodes as the commander of King Company (though other commanders are occasionally mentioned). In the episode "The Sniper", Jampel is referred to as a Major. Jampel is played by several actors in the course of the series. He is always portrayed as strong-willed and by-the-book. 

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