Later, Willie breaks a message that says the Caine will accompany a convoy of troop transports to Funafutti. Queeg responds noncommittally. He watches Willie break another message. Queeg is disappointed when the orders are for Lieutenant Rabbitt, not himself. Rabbitt is assigned to a new destroyer being built in San Francisco and is ordered there immediately. Queeg decides not to tell Rabbitt about the orders until a proper replacement is trained. This saddens Willie, because Rabbitt has become a friend. The next day, the commanding officer of the Oaks, Captain Frazer, pays Queeg a visit. Willie witnesses Oaks requesting Rabbitt's release. Queeg initially denies the request, saying there is no replacement for Rabbitt. This is a lie, for Harding is trained sufficiently. Queeg finally agrees to release Rabbitt as soon as possible. Rabbitt finally departs. The sailors envy the Lieutenant's early escape from the Caine and from Queeg. An hour after Rabbitt leaves, Queeg throws a horrible tantrum and bans the entire crew from using water for forty-eight hours.


Willie's reaction to his first taste of war is immature. He has not yet been seasoned by the images of death and the sight of destruction that the older crew of the Caine know well. He becomes reverent of the Navy and its power. He is impressed by the maneuvers of the convoy and the power that it has. He watches the destruction of the Kwajalein as if it were an action movie on television. Willie's revelation while eating the ice cream has less to do with his disgust at the luxury he enjoys than with envy of the marines being blown up. He wants to eat the K-rations and be on the beach fighting, not on a ship completely out of harm's way, enjoying a sundae. Willie is disappointed to find that the shelling sounds like the thumping of mattresses being cleaned on the deck. He does not really understand the ship's proximity to death. He goes about his duty briskly and alertly, eager to do all he can for the war effort. His is the attitude of an inexperienced soldier.

Captain Queeg's does not fulfill the ship's duty to protect the amphibious landing craft. Queeg is a coward, as Keefer observes. Queeg avoids even coming near the side of the ship closest to the line of fire from the shore. However, Keefer's comments are accurate without doing any good. By the Kwajalein battle, everyone on the ship is aware that they have a bum captain. Keefer's constant complaining just makes things worse. He is the leader of one of three factions on the ship. The first faction includes the captain, the second consists solely of Maryk, who is the lone intermediary between captain and crew, and the third consists of everyone else. Though Maryk does his best to keep the disgruntled crew quiet, Keefer leads fosters the spread of disloyalty. The two new ensigns are immediately sucked in to Keefer's side. Willie avoids Keefer's trap and does not condemn the captain by confirming his cowardice. When Harding asks Willie's opinion on the captain, Willie responds by saying that though he is bad, they have to get used to him. Willie is less concerned with slandering the captain then he is with making sure the ship successfully navigates the war. Though laying the blame on Queeg is attractive, Willie and Maryk are the only ones who realize that the captain is still a necessary part of their functioning.

Having Captain Frazer on board is an interesting foil to Queeg. Queeg is uncomfortable in the presence of someone he cannot order around. He never looks Frazier in the eyes, instead focusing blankly on the wall behind him and constantly rolling the two steel balls in his hand. Frazier is initially confused by Queeg's description of the high level of training on their ship but soon sees through it, realizing that the only reason Queeg holds on to Rabbit is because he feels spiteful for not receiving the transfer himself.