Sergeant Major Ben Williams, hero of “The First Bayonet: A Novella” by Steven Hildreth, Jr.

Who are you?

Sergeant Major Ben Williams (US Army, retired), CIA paramilitary officer

What is your problem in the story?

A friend of mine asked me to break his cousin out of an Egyptian prison, but the politicians won’t spring her because they’re afraid of offending the Egyptians. I’m going off the reservation.

Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?

I could write a novel about how many problems I have that aren’t mentioned in the third-person account of my misadventures in Cairo.

Do you embrace conflict?

Yes. It is what I was trained to do, what I was born to do. I learned that in El Salvador, back in ’83.

How do your friends see you?

I have very few friends. The ones I do have see me as a dependable person with no tolerance for BS.

How do your enemies see you?

From a few meters away, facing the business end of my rifle.

What are your achievements?

Some would cite my Medal of Honor from the Gulf is an achievement. Others would state that the private military firm I started is one. Personally? My best achievement is every deployment where I brought my men home in one piece.

Do you have any skills?

Ranger School, Special Forces Qualification Course, Operators Training Course, Muay Thai instructor’s certification, black belt in Gracie Brazilian Jiujitsu…at least, those are what I’d choose to put on a resume.

Do you have money troubles?

I used to…my second ex cleaned out the bank account when she left.

What are you afraid of?

Coming back from a deployment with less shooters than I went over with.

What makes you angry?

Politicians. Stupidity. Needless brutality. Closed-mindedness.

What do you regret?

I regret letting my second ex walk out with the kids. I wasn’t in a right state of mind back then. I wish she would have seen that, or that I could have found the words, or that I could have trusted her to try and understand if I explained it to her.

What, if anything, haunts you?

Losing my entire team in the Gulf.

Do you have any distinguishing marks?

Crossed muskets on my right shoulder. A skull with a knife through the head and the Regimental Scroll over it all. Samoan tribal tattoos on my left pectoral and shoulder. Too many scars to count.

What in your past had the most profound effect on you?

Losing my men and having my second ex walk out on me.

Click here for an interview with: Steven Hildreth, Jr., Author of The First Bayonet”