Sam Trautman

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Samuel Trautman, Colonel
First appearance First Blood
Last appearance Rambo III
Created by David Morrell
Portrayed by Richard Crenna (films)
Alan Oppenheimer (Rambo: The Force of Freedom)
Aliases Company Leader (field names)
Gender Male
Occupation United States Army Colonel
Family John Rambo (friend)
Nationality United States American

Colonel Samuel "Sam" Trautman is a fictional character in the Rambo novel and film series. His first appearance was in David Morrell's novel First Blood. His character was expanded on in the film series where he was played by Richard Crenna, although Kirk Douglas was cast in the part, had been outfitted and shown up on the first day of shooting. It was then that Douglas, already unhappy with the ending, decided more rewrites were required. Director Ted Kotcheff and producers Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna strongly disagreed and Douglas left the production. Richard Crenna was then contacted and arrived on set the next day. Marketing stills of Kirk Douglas in the uniform of Col. Trautman exist and are now part of the extras on the DVD of First Blood.


Military service[edit]

Sam Trautman was born in 1929 and joined the United States Army at the end of World War II. After serving in the Korean War, Trautman joined the fledgling Special Forces and gained a commission. At the start of the Vietnam War, Trautman began his first combat tour as an adviser to the ARVN. Following his return to the United States, Trautman was selected to form a special forces unit along the lines of S.O.G.. It was here that Trautman first met John Rambo, who at that time was a young man who had left both his home and an abusive father. Over the months in training, Trautman became a substitute father for the young Rambo, especially as Rambo was the youngest of the group. When Trautman completed the group's Special Forces training, they were sent on the first of two tours of Vietnam. Trautman's team received the code name of Baker Team and usually consisted of eight men.

The known members of Baker Team were John "Raven" Rambo, Delmore Barry, Joseph "Joey" Danforth, Manuel "Loco" Ortega, Paul Messner, Delbert Krackhauer, Giuseppe "Greasy Cunt" Colletta, and Ralph Jorgenson. Rambo, Barry, and Trautman are said to be Baker Team's only surviving members from Vietnam, though Barry eventually dies of cancer (possibly from multiple myeloma) the summer prior to the events of First Blood.

First Blood[edit]

Trautman is flown in from Washington, D.C. to warn the Hope, Washington, sheriff's department of the extent of Rambo's capabilities once Rambo starts a one-man war against the brutal deputies. But nobody listens and Trautman is the only one who can effectively communicate with Rambo. Trautman later stops Rambo from killing Sheriff Will Teasle, listens to his traumatic war memories and persuades Rambo to surrender.

Rambo: First Blood Part II[edit]

After Rambo's rampage in First Blood, he was arrested and sent to work in a quarry. Trautman is now a member of Delta Force and was part of the operation to rescue POWs in Vietnam. Trautman uses his influence to have Rambo released from prison to join the mission in the Far East so he can get a pardon. But when Rambo rescues a POW, CIA bureaucrat Marshall Murdock realizes that his war profits may be in jeopardy and forces his people to abort the mission, allowing Rambo to be captured by the Vietnamese and their Soviet Russian allies. Trautman, unable to help Rambo, knows that Rambo will survive and return for revenge, and argues with Murdock about the situation, warning him of Rambo's anger. After Rambo comes back to the base, he gives Murdock an ultimatum to rescue the remaining POWs. Rambo then shares a few words with Trautman before leaving.

Rambo III[edit]

Trautman tracks John Rambo down to a Buddhist Monastery in the jungles of Thailand and tries to convince Rambo to join him on a mission in Afghanistan to supply Stinger missiles to the Afghan Mujahideen rebels, fighting the invading Soviet armies. Rambo refuses to join, because he wants to put his violent past behind him and start a new life, and Trautman understands. On the way to deliver the shipment, however, Trautman gets captured by the Soviets in Afghanistan and Rambo decides to launch a one-man rescue mission into the Russian prison camp so he can get his only friend back home. Once again, Trautman's warnings about Rambo's brutality fall on deaf ears, and Trautman is saved by John.

Rambo (2008)[edit]

The character's fate after Rambo III was never explained in Rambo IV, but because Richard Crenna died before the film was made, it can be assumed that Trautman died between Rambo III and IV. Trautman appears in archive footage from the previous films. The fourth film is dedicated to his memory.

In other media[edit]


Trautman's relationship to Rambo in the book First Blood sharply contrasts that portrayed in the movie of the same name. In the book, Rambo barely remembers Trautman, and in fact, after hearing his voice, he strains to recall him. Trautman then identifies himself as "Director of the school that trained you" over the car radio. In the book, Rambo doesn't reply to him, and, in fact, says to himself, "The Bastard. Turning on your own kind [referencing Trautman's assistance to Teasle]." Their one significant interaction comes at the end of the book, when Trautman tells Teasle that he "took the top of his [Rambo's] head off with this shotgun."

In the movie novelizations of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III, more insight is given into Trautman and Rambo's complex friendship, and reveals that Rambo confided his painful childhood memories from his abusive father to Trautman, and states that he has become his real father.


Sam Trautman was featured in Rambo and the Forces of Freedom voiced by Alan Oppenheimer. Here, he is not only the commanding officer of Rambo, but also of his allies. He would call in Rambo and his allies to fight the criminal organization S.A.V.A.G.E. led by General Warhawk.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Crenna played a Trautman-type character as a send-up in the film Hot Shots! Part Deux, a parody of action movies, especially the Rambo films. He would even wear a similar costume to the one he wore in Rambo III.
  • In the film Commando, the character General Franklin Kirby is based on Trautman. Even some of Kirby's lines in a deleted scene are virtual repeats of Trautman's lines from First Blood.
  • Colonel Roy Campbell from the Metal Gear-series is directly based on Trautman. Crenna's appearance was also used for his mugshot in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.
  • Heidern, from The King of Fighters, is an homage to Colonel Trautman. This is probably because his subordinate, Ralf Jones, is based on Rambo. The Aircraft Carrier that Heidern is in charge of is also named after Colonel Trautman.
  • World of Warcraft features a character named Colonel Troteman.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]