- "Good thing you came when you did. They move us around a lot to harvest the crops. Only been there a week."
- ―Banks on the camp.
Banks (real name Lt. Whitfield C. Hamilton) was an American prisoner of war for over seventeen years who was rescued by John Rambo and Co Bao. He appeared in Rambo: First Blood Part II. He was played by Andy Wood.
According to the Rambo: First Blood Part II Survival Mode, Whitfield C. Hamilton was born in Lexington, Kentucky on December 6, 1943. He graduated from Lee High School in 1959 and later the University of Kentucky in 1963. Hamilton entered the U.S. Air Force Officer Candidate School in June of 1963 and became a pilot. He was trained in fighter/tactical ops at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada from 1965 to 1966. He was deployed to the Vietnam theater in October of 1967. On January 5, 1968, Lt. Hamilton was flying his first "sortie" in a F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber when he was struck with a surface-to-air missile and his aircraft exploded in midair. No chute was observed and he was presumed deceased by the United States Military. In reality, he had survived the crash and was captured by the North Vietnamese communist forces.
Banks is first seen sleeping in the North Vietnamese Army prison camp, under squalid conditions. He is seen with a jungle tarantula crawling over him. His teeth are in bad shape, he visibly has not bathed in months, he is wearing tattered clothing, he has a full beard and is frighteningly thin. Rambo is shocked by these conditions and Banks becomes the first POW Rambo rescues from the prison camp as soon as he sees that Banks has been tied to a makeshift cross and is about to die. Rambo decides to use Banks, who is in desperate need of rescue, as his human example of how POWs are still being held in Vietnam.
For most of the film, Banks is the only POW Rambo rescued in Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Banks tells Rambo and Co that it's a good thing that they came when they did, as the NVA move them from camp to camp quite often. Banks says that they had only been in the camp for about a week. When he asks what year it is and Rambo tells him 1985, Banks is shocked for how long he had been held captive. It looks like Rambo will get Banks back to safety, but they are soon captured again by the NVA and their Soviet Russian allies. Rambo is tortured by a crude electrocution device made of bedsprings, but he refuses to comply with Podovsky's demands. Podovsky says that if his life doesn't mean anything to himself, then maybe Banks' does.
Podovsky instructs his slow-witted and brutal henchman Yushin to sear Rambo with his own knife which he pulled out of a fire, leaving a scar on Rambo's cheek. Podovsky then tells Yushin to put the heated blade into Banks' eyeball. Banks is grabbed by Yushin but before he can put the hot blade into his eye, Rambo agrees to talk. Yushin throws Banks back down and kicks him hard in the gut for good measure. Luckily, before he has time to talk, Rambo succeeds in escaping and later breaking Banks and multiple other POWs out of another prison camp in a Soviet helicopter. Banks is the doorgunner of a GE M134 Minigun and uses it to shoot at Podovsky's helicopter.
Rambo has to make an emergency landing at the hangar because the helicopter's engines are damaged. Banks' life is saved when medics immediately give him an IV and tend to his maladies. Banks is last seen waving farewell to Rambo, thanking him silently for saving his life. In the novelization, he gives him the thumbs up and tells him that he "did good".
It is unknown what became of Banks after his rescue, although it can be assumed he returned to the States and was awarded the Purple Heart and granted an honorable discharge from the military, along with considerable back pay, and may have tried to have a peaceful and prosperous life as a civilian. When Trautman said Rambo would be recommended for another Medal of Honor, he declines, saying Banks and the other POWs should get it instead, as they were ordinary men who endured incessant brutalities.
Banks appears in the 2014 Rambo: The Video Game, giving a Eulogy for Rambo, and recapping several parts of his life, from his imprisonment in Vietnam, Being harassed by Hope Sheriff's department and running amok in the town, and rescuing POWs in Vietnam, revealing that he was one of the POWs Rambo rescued. He praises Rambo as a hero.
He also apparently faked Rambo's death in order for him to be allowed to try and rescue Trautman, in Afghanistan.
The video game appears to suggest that, like Rambo, Banks was a Green Beret himself.