Stars of long-running television juggernauts. Firearm-wielding heroes battling British rule, invading aliens and all things in between. Hollywood icons who've brought their skills to bear in uniform — in courtrooms, in cockpits, even under the sea.
The grab bag of contestants remaining in the third round of Battle Bracket: Clash of Characters shows the depth and breadth of the full field, but only these 16 have a chance to claim the title of the greatest fictional military movie or TV character ever. A bit about each matchup is below; head here to cast your ballot and use the hastag #BattleBracket to campaign for your choice on social media.
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone, Rambo series) vs. Staff Sgt. Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt, Fury): Rambo has demolished all comers in the first two rounds, while Wardaddy's wins have come by thin margins, including a Round 2 victory over Chuck Norris' character in "Delta Force" by only a handful of votes.
Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson, The Patriot) vs. Maj. Alan "Dutch" Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Predator): Martin has removed both Jack Reacher and Steve "Captain America" Rogers from the bracket. Schaefer's no joke: He took out Lt. Topper Harley ("Hot Shots!") in Round 2 with nearly 85 percent of the vote.
Col. Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men) vs. Captain First Rank Marko Ramius (Sean Connery, The Hunt for Red October): Hollywood legends square off in roles from movies that also featured actors still attached to the bracket — Tom Cruise in "A Few Good Men," James Earl Jones in "The Hunt for Red October."
Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan) vs. Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise, Top Gun): Different eras, different services, similar star power — early Round 3 results have Maverick in a hole.
Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey, Full Metal Jacket) vs. Sgt. John Stryker (John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima): Neither icon has been challenged through the first two rounds, but if early vote totals are any indicator, Gunny Hartman is well on his way to repeating what "Full Metal Jacket" did to the field in 2015's Military Movie Madness.
Maj. John Reisman (Lee Marvin, The Dirty Dozen) vs. Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now): Badass officers collide in this classic contest, but the winner will be a heavy underdog in the regional final against either Hartman or Stryker.
Capt. B.F. "Hawkeye" Pierce (Alan Alda, MASH) vs. Col. Robert Hogan (Bob Crane, Hogan's Heroes): Pierce edged Capt. James T. Kirk in Round 2 by less than half a percentage point — the closest matchup in Battle Bracket history. Next up for Hawkeye is Hogan, who is no stranger to fierce opposition.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon, NCIS) vs. Lord Darth Vader (James Earl Jones/David Prowse, Star Wars series): On the surface, there's not much in common between the characters. But if you look deeper into the mind of web searchers who have trouble keeping their celebrity names straight, you can find a connection.
Third-round voting ends Friday. Make your voice heard here.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.