He was a member of Jack O'Neill's squad when he was a Captain. On a mission to East Germany in 1982 to extract a Russian spy named Boris, their commander, Colonel John Michaels was killed. It was this mission that The Keeper made O'Neill relive when he was hooked into the Virtual reality pod. (SG1: "The Gamekeeper")
Kawalsky was second in command to Colonel Jack O'Neill on the original mission to Abydos. He was captured by Ra and was set to be executed by Dr. Daniel Jackson but Skaara and the other Abydonians freed him. He then returned to Earth with O'Neill while Daniel stayed on Abydos. (Stargate)
After the mission to Abydos, Kawalsky remained in the Air Force. However, when the Stargate was reactivated by the Goa'uld System Lord Apophis, Kawalsky was questioned for his actions on Abydos and whether he and the team went through with their mission to detect any threats to Earth and if neccessary destory the gate. He was subsequently put into a holding cell for not revealing any information.
Thanks to the help of Colonel Jack O'Neill, Kawalsky was recommended for joining him on another mission to Abydos to investigate the arrival of Apophis. This recommendation was approved and Kawalsky, along with Major Louis Ferretti, O'Neill and Captain Samantha Carter returned to Abydos and found Dr. Daniel Jackson. However, when Apophis arrived on Abydos to find a suitable mate, Kawalsky was not present and returned to find Ferretti injured. He, along with the team, returned to Earth.
In order to locate where Apophis went, Major General George S. Hammond assigned two Stargate teams, designating Kawalsky as the commanding officer of SG-2. Thus, both SG-1 and SG-2 proceeded to Chulak with the address from Ferretti. While SG-1 went to look for, and got captured by, Apophis, Kawalsky and SG-2 set up camp and awaited their return.
When SG-1 escaped, it was Kawalsky and his team that helped the team, Teal'c and the prisoners to escape from an attacking Death Glider. His efforts helped to return everybody back to Earth, however, before going through the Gate, an infant Goa'uld symbiote escaped a dying Jaffa and inserted itself into Kawalsky, without his knowledge. He returned to Earth, thinking it was slight neck pain. (SG1: "Children of the Gods")
- "My friend died on the table"
- ―Colonel Jack O'Neill
After the mission to Chulak, Kawalsky began experiencing headaches and blackouts, which was when the larval Goa'uld took control. He went to the infirmary and was checked out by Dr. Nimzicki who found the entry scar on the back of his neck. The Goa'uld took control of him and killed Nimzicki to keep him from exposing him. Eventually, it was discovered the parasite was within Kawalsky, and with help from Teal'c, the Goa'uld was removed by Dr. William Warner. However, the Goa'uld managed to keep enough of itself in Kawalsky, attempting to return to Chulak, but Teal'c stopped him, holding him in the event horizon of the Stargate. The Gate deactivated, taking a portion of Kawalsky's head off, killing both the parasite and Kawalsky. (SG1: "The Enemy Within")
- In an alternate reality, Charles Kawalsky was still alive and worked at the SGA in 1999. When the SGA was invaded by Apophis' forces, he and Dr. Samantha Carter fled through the Quantum Mirror to our reality. He considered the Colonel Jack O'Neill of his reality his best friend. Consequently, he reacted angrily when he saw Teal'c at Stargate Command as the Teal'c of his reality, who was still the First Prime of Apophis, had killed O'Neill several days earlier. Within days, Dr. Carter started suffering from entropic cascade failure, so it was decided they would have to go back to their reality. Both Carters were able to repair the power booster device, making it possible to contact the Asgard of their reality. Kawalsky and Colonel Jack O'Neill hooked up the device and Dr. Carter went through the Stargate. They were captured along with Daniel and just before Apophis killed them, they were saved by the Asgard. (SG1: "Point of View")
- In an alternate timeline created by SG-1 traveling back in time 5,000 years, Charles Kawalsky was put on the team going on a scouting mission to Chulak in 2005. This was done to help draw Colonel Jack O'Neill out of retirement after he refused to help. Once there, O'Neill and his team, along with Dr. Samantha Carter and Dr. Daniel Jackson, were captured. With the help of Teal'c, they were able to escape. However, Kawalsky and most of the team were killed while trying to escape back to the Time Jumper. (SG1: "Moebius, Part 2")
Behind the scenes
- The Stargate novel gives Kawalsky's full name as Adam Kawalsky though, as it was released before Stargate SG-1, this name is deemed non-canon in the SG-1/Atlantis canon which gives his full name as being Charles Kawalsky
- One of the penguins in the 2005 film Madagascar and its 2008 sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Kowalski, was named after the Stargate character. Other penguins in this film were similarly named after characters from other films or television shows.