During the First Bug War War and shortly before the Battle of Klendathu, Lieutenant Willy was placed in command of the Wildcats, also known as "Willy's Wildcats". John Rico, Dizzy Flores, Ace Levy and most of their training unit were transferred to the Wildcats, who were subsequently ordered to participate in the Corvette Transport Bull Run, via Fleet Battlestation Ticonderoga.
When the invasion began, Willy dropped with his unit onto the planet surface. As the commanding officer, he personally led the initial charge as his men advanced towards the enemy. Shorty thereafter, the Wildcats discovered several Warrior Bugs supporting two Plasma Bugs firing upon the fleet, who were still in low orbit at this time. Lieutenant Willy immediately ordered the troopers to vaporize the Plasma bugs with Tactical Oxygen Nukes fired from handheld Rocket Launchers.
After the Plasma Bugs were neutralized, Lieutenant Willy ordered a charge into the valley ahead, thus resuming the Wildcats' advance. While leading a squad, a lone Warrior Bug unexpectedly engaged the Lieutenant, quickly slicing him to pieces before his inexperienced troopers could effectively respond.
- Unlike other film characters originating from the novel, Lieutenant Willy's novel counterpart, Willie (also known as Captain James K. Will in the 1976 board game), is never directly mentioned throughout the book.
- Starship Troopers (1997 film)