Study Guide

Captain Stewart in Fallen Angels

By Walter Dean Myers

Captain Stewart

Stewart is in charge of Alpha Company, which includes Perry's platoon. He's not someone Perry sees on a day-to-day basis. More often, Perry just hears about him. And the topic that comes up, again and again in Perry's platoon, is their captain trying to get promoted to Major.

As far as the guys in the platoon, no one's all that interested in the politics of upper-level army career guys, but they are concerned about how it affects them. Stewart needs a high kill count to get a promotion, so he volunteers his men for the most dangerous missions, hoping they'll kill more Vietcong that way.

It's like a really grisly version of LinkedIn. And hard to get more self-absorbed than that, according to Perry and his friends (after all, they're the ones who have to do the killing and the risking their lives).

You could look at it another way, though. You could say that Stewart's just trying to do a good job and help win the war, and that means volunteering his company for tough situations.

But if he wasn't trying to get promoted, would he be reporting inflated kill counts? Ponder that.

Perry only sees Stewart outside combat on two occasions, and both are when Stewart shows interest in his letter-writing—he even offers Perry a desk job based on his writing skill. So not a total bad dude.

Still, Stewart is a figurehead, whether he's just in it for himself or whether he's under pressure the guys in the platoon don't understand. Either way, that makes him a good scapegoat for everyone's anger. Sorry about it, Stew.

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