A retired U.S. Army Colonel, and one of the primary antagonists of The Thaw, though not actively until later in the novel. The colonel is the main character of my Only The Dead story published by TL;DR press. Cortland was born in 1941, attended West Point Military Academy, and was a veteran of many wars, including the Vietnam War, where he did two tours of duty, Grenada, and the Gulf War. Cortland’s son Isaac was killed in the Gulf War, and his wife died soon afterwards of a stroke, leaving him alone in the world. His final battle as a U.S. military officer was the Battle of New Orleans, where he was called back to active duty after retirement to try and help wage war against the dead.
The colonel is driven by a desire to obliterate the dead, who he sees as an affront to God, from the world. Cortland also believes that Sam Hayes is leading the colony astray, and that if he is able to contact NORAD when the Gardeners journey to the Fort Collins Seed Vault, he will be able to lead a campaign against the dead, and bring about the rebirth of agriculture and civilization.