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Weird History
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15 Stories From The Wild Life Of David Hackworth, Who Inspired Two 'Apocalypse Now' Characters

3 Sep 2020 5.6k views15 items

He inspired not one but two characters in Apocalypse Now. David Hackworth, the inspiration for Colonel Kurtz and Bill Kilgore, admits that he went wild in Vietnam. After shooting at his own men and opening a whorehouse, Hackworth hopped on his surfboard to escape a court martial.

In his book About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, Hackworth chronicled the highs and lows of his military career. He snuck into the military at the age of 15 and became a captain at 20. He tested recruits by dropping a decoy grenade at their feet. And his own men put a bounty on his head. 

All the way up to Hackworth's passing in 2005, he was one of the most controversial figures in the military. He openly criticized the country's policies in Vietnam and transformed himself into a legend. The true stories of Hack's life are almost more fantastic than anything in Apocalypse Now.

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