He was everybody’s kid brother. Played by Tom Lowell when he was only 19 years old. Apparently he got the part quite on the fluke when he met with the director of Combat while in the studio cafeteria where he was taking a break from filming an episode of The Twilight Zone.
An affable character; who was always doing something stupid which he would have to own up to his buddy Little John. For example, he was once trying to tighten a loose grenade pin but he lost the pin in the dirt and couldn’t find it until Little John found it for him.
I think that he was also included in the series to provide somebody that everybody could love and to form an emotional bond with; but also to form an affinity for when they get wounded. Because Billy Nelson gets wounded quite a lot, to Little John’s dismay.
The first time he caught one was in The Celebrity, where he got shot in the chest due to his idol, Del Packer freezing up when he should’ve taken the German out. This was after Billy expressed a wish to Little John about getting one of those “million dollar wounds” where they ship you back to the states a “hero”. Little John then reassured Billy that he didn’t want to leave “this man’s Army” because he likes it there. Billy, a bit confused, took Little John’s advise and forgot about it.
Billy got wounded a bunch of times which was enough to get him multiple Purple Hearts and to have been sent home, but you saw him return every episode being perfectly fine.
He was a solid soldier. You never saw him mess around on the battle field as he did his part and fought bravely along with the other main characters. Saunders usually gave him the job of cover fire and the job of assaulting to Caje. I don’t remember seeing Billy lob very many grenades into enemy positions.
The Celebrity – Gets wounded in chest