We are soldiers! We do the dirty work so our families and our countrymen don't have to be afraid! They shouldn't even know that a thing like this exists!
— Lt. Col. Preston Packard (Kong: Skull Island)
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The battle-hardened leader of the Sky Devils helicopter squadron, which is set to be decommissioned in the dark final days of the Vietnam War, Packard is struggling to turn his back on a war he cannot win. When his team is offered an assignment to lead the airborne survey of Skull Island, he seizes the opportunity for one last mission before rotating home with men who have become closer to him than family.
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After planning an expedition to the recently discovered Skull Island, Bill Randa begins to recruit several beneficial people to assist in both travelling and surveillance of the island. Amongst the recruits for the expedition was Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard, leader of the soon-to-be decommissioned Sky Devils team, who is immensely eager to get back into the fight following the Vietnam War.
Packard and his men are taken near the island via the Athena research and transport ship where the helicopters await flight as they acknowledge the massive perpetual storm surrounding the island. The Sky Devils take off shortly after and the pilots begin to struggle due to the storm. Packard inspires his men by reciting the story of Icarus over the radio and his team eventually manage through the storm and into Skull Island.
Everyone stares in awe at the island's wonder while Packard, mostly emotionless, commands his men to split up and take the Landsat team to the ground. As the Sky Devils begin dropping seismic charges onto the ground, they are promptly attacked by Kong as a shocked Packard looks on.
With one helicopter down, Packard viciously orders the remaining men to fire at the giant ape, which only angers the Titan further. In an act of desperation, Packard orders the recovery team to retrieve injured men from a nearby helicopter. Kong, however, intervenes and crushes them.
Packard's helicopter begins moving towards Kong and begins firing upon him; the giant ape jumps over them and causes the helicopter behind him to instead fire at Packard's. The two aircrafts then collide with one another, knocking each out of the sky. Still alive, Packard manages to undo himself from his seat and attempts to rescue another soldier inside, but the helicopter is grabbed by Kong who tosses it away. With rage in his eyes, Packard looks up at Kong as the monster continues taking down the rest of the Sky Devils and roars.
- Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization (2017)
- Godzilla vs. Kong: The Official Movie Novelization (2021) [mentioned]
- Preston Packard's name is a reference to the defunct Packard Motor Car Company, a carryover from a version of the Kong: Skull Island script that began in Detroit.
- J.K. Simmons was originally cast as Packard, but dropped out of the movie due to a scheduling conflict. Samuel L. Jackson accepted the part as soon as he heard it was for a King Kong movie without even reading the script.
- Packard's line "Hold on to your butts!" is a reference to Samuel L. Jackson's role as Ray Arnold in Jurassic Park, in which his character used this line as well.
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