Colonel Kilgore

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    I’m afraid I have a hard time agreeing with General Lee’s quote, “It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we would grow too fond of it.” For me, war is such a blast that I don’t know what to do with myself.
    "Smell that? You smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... Victory. Someday this war's gonna end..."
    Colonel Kilgore, Apocalypse Now

    In most if not all war movies, there is a sadistic captain, sergeant or other officer who seems to actually enjoy the war. He runs into battle with a smile on his face and seems sad that the war has to end someday.

    Named after Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, though you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a pun on "Kill-Gore" we made.

    Not necessarily The Neidermeyer (who is characterized by the relationship between him/her-self and his/her subordinates), and usually not a General Ripper (who's paranoid and crazy), nor a Sociopathic Soldier. Not necessarily mean to the troops or totally obsessed, just someone who enjoys the war a bit too much. Any commanding officer from a Proud Warrior Race will automatically be this trope; just expect the words "honor in battle" to be thrown around a lot more. Generally a Blood Knight.

    Examples of Colonel Kilgore include:

    Anime and Manga

    • You see the page image? That's Tanya Degurechaff from Saga of Tanya the Evil and he is actually a poor example at best (despite the opening and closing songs of the anime). His main goal is actually to be safe in the rear. Furthermore he considers war inherently wasteful. That said he can enjoy war. The page image for example is shortly before mopping up routing infantry, which is probably quite safe and easy compared to some of the other tasks he had to do. That said, at least at times, characters did think that Tanya does like war (or at least being in very dangerous parts of the war). The caption is something Tanya said (or thought) in the Light Novel before he became an officer.
    • A less villainous Gundam example would be the original Mobile Suit Gundam's Ramba Ral. He's a pretty nice guy who none the less seems to genuinely enjoy fighting. The point is driven home quite nicely in the novelization, where instead of a soldier he's a secret service agent & bodyguard to Zeon dictator Gihren Zabi, a job he finds no pleasure in & which causes problems in his relationship with his love interest, Hamon.
    • The Major from Hellsing, "Gentlemen... I love war."
    • Zolf Kimblee of Fullmetal Alchemist was one of these during the Ishvallan war. In a campaign in which nearly everyone else was demoralized and guilt-stricken by the atrocities they were committing, Kimblee happily did his job and speaks about loving the sound of screaming and the atmosphere of the battlefield.
      • In the first anime, Basque Grand was cast as this (in contrast to his Reasonable Authority Figure persona in the manga). They also cranked Kimblee's tendencies towards this up to the point where he's more of a Psycho for Hire.

    Comic Books

    • In Garth Ennis's run, especially in the miniseries The Punisher: Born, the Punisher is said to enjoy violence. In Born, Castle tricks a general threatening to close down his firebase into standing in a sniper's view, is said by the narrator to be in love with combat, and apparently "talked" to with a supernatural force which claims that Castle wants battle and urges him to take a deal that will make his war last forever. When everthings falling apart and castle is surrounded by VC, he agrees to the deal. Only afterwards is it revealed that the price of survival and continuing war is his family.
      • Marvel Knights flat out portrays Castle monologuing how he wanted Vietnam to last forever.
    • G.I Joe's drill instructor, Sgt. Slaughter fits this trope to a tee.


    • Quite obviously the Trope Namer is Colonel Kilgore from Apocalypse Now. Oddly enough, he seems to care for civilians, for example, personally assisting a Vietnamese woman and her child to be evac'd in the Recut. Ironically, the scene where he's introduced has him refusing water to an enemy combatant who is dying of thirst, juxtaposed with fleeing civilians.
      • In the Recut, he actually offered water to the soldier, stating that "any man willing to fight with his guts dropping out can drink from my canteen any day" whilst being asked to let the man die by his own aide. A soldier comes up and announces the arrival of the main character and he immediately forgets about the dying man. Also, he attacked a heavily defended outpost to go surfing, fully aware that the enemy would take the outpost back afterwards.
        • Actually he forgot the soldier after being informed of the surfer's arrival. Not an officer, someone he had orders to meet up with, just a surfer he was a fan of. The wounded guy moaning and reaching for the water as Kilgore walks away would almost be funny if it weren't so sad.
      • The canteen line was actually said by a US soldier(or possibly a Marine) in Real Life. If memory serves correctly, this happened during the Tet Offensive.
      • It was General Patton, in North Africa in WWII, about a wounded German prisoner.
      • Also, during the attack on the Vietnamese village, Kilgore coldly orders his gunner to gun down a fleeing Vietnamese family because one of them, a young girl, threw grenades at a helicopter trying to evacuate wounded soldiers. Gunning down the girl would be understandable but the rest of the family....
      • Kilgore's not sadistic, he's far from being evil, he's simply ruthless. He's out to win. He doesn't want you to suffer, he just wants you to die. That's his job. Also he likes waves that break both ways, from the middle. Two guys can ride at the same time.
        • Not only is it his job, but like anyone's job, his mind's not particularly on it. He walks around mortar bombardments without so much as ducking. The survivor of a battle's not as important as someone who'd share his hobbies. The man takes pride in his work, of course—the napalm line being obvious—but notice as he bemoans the very same napalm as ruining the waves to an utterly terrified soldier he recruited to go surfing. His is a special kind of insanity in the movie—where everyone else loses their mind because of what they're doing to survive, or the realization that they won't survive, Kilgore's utterly convinced that nothing there can kill him, and so pays little mind to the horrors around him.
      • One of the more horrifying things about Kilgore is that he's almost completely indifferent to the death and destruction he causes on both sides - he's far more interested in surfing than any kind of strategic advantage that would come from taking the village.
    • Staff Sargeant Bob Barnes from Platoon to the point of being a Psycho for Hire.
    • Spartan King Leonidas in 300.
    • James of The Hurt Locker - though he gets his fun primarily from disarming bombs. Hunting terrorists will do, though.
    • The Battle of the Bulge has the fanatical Colonel Hessler: after disabusing his driver of the idea that the Ardennes offensive will allow Germany to win the war:

    Conrad: "I don't understand. If we have not won, and we have not lost, than what is happening?"
    Hessler: "The best thing possible is happening. The war will go on!"

    • Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar. It helps that Kilgore was one of the inspirations for the character.
    • Pretty much all of the Bastards from Inglourious Basterds, especially Donny.


    Tabletop Games

    • Warhammer 40,000 Orks live for war. Just about every Warboss gleefully charge into to the fray of any battle without second thought(or any), followed by countless more Orks charge right in with their choppas and guns regardless of weather they win or loose.
      • Literally. It makes them bigger and stronger. That's also how their societal hierarchy works - the bigger you are, the more fights you've walked away from. Their currency is "teef", and it's fortunate that they make shark orthodonture look tame.
      • Any Eldar Exarch has been lost on an Aspect Path is this - doubly so, because that's what distinguishes squad leaders. Their battle commanders ("Autarchs") are Eldar who went down an Aspect Path, had the raw willpower to claw their own way back into what we would consider sanity... and then rinse and repeat.
      • The Imperium has Warmaster Macharius, the only thing in his mind is war, and more worlds to conquer, when he thought he couldn't conquer and more worlds he would fall to his knees and weep.
        • Fortunately (for this trope and for players) the grim and dark 41st millenium is in no danger of peace.

    Video Games

    • Most of the Team Fortress 2 characters probably count for this, but of particular note is The Soldier, who continued fighting in WW 2 until 1948 because he didn't realize it had ended and was enjoying killing Nazis too much. Of course, by Nazis, we mean normal Germans—considering where he first arrived (Poland), maybe not even that close.
    • According to his bio, Bill in Left 4 Dead. He's overall a good guy, but suffered from aimlessness and general resentment of his retired life until the Zombie Apocalypse hit, at which point he became the de facto leader of a group of survivors with no military training and helped them become Badass.
    • Colonel Volgin, oh, God, Colonel Volgin.
      • Big Boss himself is arguably an example of this trope. He decides that he only feels truly alive when he has a gun in his hand and he has someone to shoot at, and so he creates his own Private Military Company where he can make a profit out of war and participate in any conflict he chooses without restrictions from military officials. The arguable part is that despite being a warrior Big Boss still has morals and doesn't fight simply because he can, he won't take missions that he views as corrupt.
    • Colonel Cobar of Killzone, whose love of war is second only to his loyalty to General Metrac.
    • The Hellscream lineage in Warcraft. Grom Hellscream drank demonic blood twice to defeat a powerful foe and skirmished with enemy forces even against direct orders. His son Garrosh may be even worse; he's fought Thrall for leadership of the Horde, goads King Wrynn into a fight whenever he can, and (if the rumors about the Cataclysm expansion are true) invades the Night Elf lands in the middle of the apocalypse and is responsible for the death of Cairne Bloodhoof.
      • Through to be fair he isn't solely responsible for Cairne's death. As told in The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, Garrosh's weapon was poisoned when he allowed Magatha Grimtotem to anoint it prior to a duel Cairne challenged Garrosh to because he disagreed with Garrosh's style of leading the Horde and thought he was responsible for a massacre on a peaceful meeting. While dueling, Cairne keels over from a minor blow, and it looks like Garrosh killed him. Garrosh then gives his support to Baine Bloodhoof after Baine takes his justice on Magatha.
    • Referenced as a weapon in Bayonetta, a pair of twin Rocket Launchers are named Lt. Col. Kilgore.
    • Call of Duty: World at War has Sgt Reznov, who ruthlessly kills as many Germans in his path. He may have done it for two reasons, 1) revenge and 2) spare then from being sent into prison camps.

    Web Animation

    • Parodied in Red vs. Blue with Sarge, leader of the Red team. So strongly does he believe in Red Army propaganda, that Grif has come to realise that if Sarge ever claims to have bad news, chances are it's going to be something good like: "Looks like those peace treaties are making progress."
      • Sarge isn't even good to his own men, with his primary strategies being suicide runs even when not necessary, and what little favor he finds in them is largely based on who's kissing up best.

    Real Life

    • Even though Adolf Hitler never reached the rank of colonel in the German army, this trope pretty much resumes his idea of war, hence the persecution of pacifists in Nazi Germany and, of course, World War II. He even called WWI the best time of his life.
    • General George S. Patton. Perhaps somewhat appropriately, he died in an accident shortly after the war ended. The movie played it up.
    • A certain Company Commander in the US Army's 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment said this to his four platoon leaders.

    "Last time I was in Iraq, I killed three men, with my own weapon. Fuckin shot 'em dead, killed 'em. I enjoyed that. I really did, man. Killing people is fuckin fun. You get this kinda bloodlust. It's hard to control sometimes."


    "It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it."
    Cpl. Joshua Ray Person, The Killer Elite

    • Early 19th century Russian Romantic poet Mikhail Lermontov. Also known as "the Demon" (that's what Chechens called him), or "Lieutenant Death" to friends. By his own account, his affair with bloodshed was very much love at first sight; he cut out a Chechen highlander's heart in a flawless, artistic manner in his first battle during a Chechen rebellion that happened while he was exiled to the Russian military in the Caucasus, and never lost his love for war ever since. Hence his nicknames.
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Churchill allegedly declared following VJ day that "If it wasn't for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years!"