The film lost a lot of its swagger for me once he was left behind by the plot.
Ya'll are missing the point of the whole movie - just as in the Heart of Darkness
- it's a story about a journey from "here" to "there" - and this particular journey is America's journey to war in Vietnam (kind of war generally).
Willard is a mess - he belongs on the mission - he serves no other role. Everything is nice, neat and tidy when he gets the briefing (freakin' brass, man, always live the high life) - then, as he goes "up" the river, things get worse and worse - order breaks down and ultimately it is an individual battle for survival.
And, just as he predicted, he became what he was sent to destroy.
You fellas should read a book or two.