Yossarian The novel's protagonist is a bombardier, a burgeoning pacifist, and an avowed adversary of Catch-22.
Chaplain Tappman One of the most decent characters in the novel, and consistently a friend to Yossarian, the chaplain grows from a timid, ineffectual fool to a bold and assertive force for reason and justice. Throughout, he is kind and introspective.
Corporal Whitcomb The chaplain's antagonistic, atheistic, sadistic assistant, he initiates the form letters of condolence and is partly responsible for the C.I.D. investigation of the chaplain.
Milo Minderbinder Initially a friend of Yossarian, the mess officer is a genius as an entrepreneur, creating a syndicate that controls the black market. As a human being, his failings include bombing his own men for profit.
Doc Daneeka A flight surgeon who first explains "Catch-22" to his friend Yossarian (Chapter 5), he is listed on McWatt's logs so he can receive flight pay despite his aversion to flying. Pronounced officially dead by the military when McWatt crashes, he is frustrated in his attempts to convince anyone that he is alive.
Mrs. Daneeka Officially informed of her husband's death, she is confused by written pleas for help from Doc Daneeka. She comes into a fortune through insurance policies and moves to Lansing, Michigan, leaving no forwarding address.
Colonel Cathcart The squadron's commanding colonel, who wants to be a general, he keeps raising the number of missions needed to complete a tour of duty. Cathcart has a fear of failure ("black eyes") while yearning for success ("feathers in his cap").
Colonel Korn A lieutenant colonel who is Cathcart's assistant, he is the more clever and sinister of the two and the one who articulates the "deal" to Yossarian.
Nurse Duckett Despite Yossarian's boorish assault on her in the hospital, she later becomes his lover until she decides to marry a doctor, any doctor, because doctors make lots of money. Critics point to Duckett as an example of Heller's difficulty in creating credible female characters.
Luciana A somewhat romanticized young woman with an "invisible scar," she has a brief fling with Yossarian while he is in Rome on leave.
McWatt A bold but foolish pilot, he delights in buzzing Yossarian's tent as well as the bathers at the beach, eventually killing Kid Sampson.
Kid Sampson One of Yossarian's pilots, he is killed by McWatt in a macabre accident.
Lieutenant Nately A nineteen-year-old friend of Yossarian, from a privileged background, he falls in love with a prostitute whom he plans to marry. His argument with a diabolical old man at a brothel in Rome is one of the novel's entertaining debates on values.
Nately's whore Never named, she is one of the most enigmatic characters in the novel. After Yossarian tells her of Nately's death, she tries to kill him on several occasions. Yossarian feels protective toward her kid sister.
Orr Yossarian's tent mate, he is very adept at fixing up the living quarters. On missions, he almost always ditches his plane, intentionally as it turns out. Late in the novel, he is a source of rejuvenation and hope for Yossarian.
General Peckem A Special Services officer, he is in charge of activities such as softball and U.S.O. shows. His ambition is to take over General Dreedle's military command.
General Dreedle The irascible wing commander is always accompanied by his son-in-law, Colonel Moodus, and an unnamed, buxom nurse. At an official ceremony, Dreedle presents the nude Yossarian with the Distinguished Flying Cross, declaring that a man who earns such a medal may receive it in the buff if he prefers.
Lieutenant Scheisskopf Eventually General Scheisskopf, he begins as Yossarian's parade-loving training officer. Scheisskopf's wife has an affair with Yossarian.
Snowden A gunner on the Avignon mission, his wounds prove to be more severe than Yossarian initially can detect.
Soldier in white Encased in plaster and gauze, the soldier's identity is a mystery. In his second incarnation, he is reported to be Lieutenant Schmulker, a burn victim.
Aardvark (Aarfy) Yossarian's incompetent navigator pretends that he can't hear when anyone yells for help. Ultimately, he is exposed as cruel, sadistic, and criminal.
Captain Black Another of the novel's more despicable characters, he is a narrow-minded, sadistic intelligence officer who frustrates Nately by repeatedly procuring Nately's whore for himself. He initiates the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade.
Clevinger An intellectual but foolish friend of Yossarian, his trial before the Action Board (Chapter 8) is one of the best know sections of the novel; he dies on the Parma mission.
Major _______ de Coverley As the squadron executive officer, he procures apartments for the men's rest and recreation in cities about to be captured. His patriarchal manner inspires respect and helps him put an end to the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade. We don't know his first name because no one is bold enough to ask.
Major Major Major Major His first, middle, and last names are "Major" so a military computer automatically makes him a Major. He only holds office hours when he is not in.
Mudd A new lieutenant, he arrives on base and is killed two hours later on his first mission. Because he had no time to be officially checked in, he was never there. His belongings are in Yossarian's tent and known as "the dead man."