Captain Black is pleased to hear that Colonel Cathcart has volunteered the men for the lethal mission of bombing Bologna. Captain Black hates the men and gloats about their terrifying, violent task. He is extremely ambitious and had hoped to be promoted to squadron commander, but when Major Major is picked over him, he lapses into a deep depression, out of which the Bologna mission lifts him. Captain Black tries to get revenge on Major Major by initiating the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade, during which he forces all the men to swear elaborate oaths of loyalty before doing basic things like eating meals. He then refuses to let Major Major sign a loyalty oath and hopes, thereby, to make him appear disloyal. The Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade is a major event in the camp until the fearsome Major —— de Coverley puts an end to it by hollering “Gimme eat!” in the mess hall without signing an oath.
It rains interminably before the Bologna mission, and the bombing run is delayed. The men all hope it will never stop raining. When it does, Yossarian moves the bomb line on the map so that the commanding officers will think that Bologna has already been captured. Yossarian also gives the entire squadron diarrhea by poisoning the food so that they won’t have to fly. The rain then starts again.
In the meantime, ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen tries to sell Yossarian a cigarette lighter, going into competition with Milo as a black-market trader. He is aghast that Milo has cornered the entire world market for Egyptian cotton but is unable to sell any of it. The men are terrified and miserable about having to bomb Bologna. Clevinger and Yossarian argue about whether it is Yossarian’s duty to bomb Bologna, and, by the middle of the second week of waiting, everyone in the squadron is as emaciated as Hungry Joe.
One night, Yossarian, Nately, and Dunbar go for a drunken drive with Chief White Halfoat; they crash a jeep and realize that it has stopped raining. Back in the tents, Hungry Joe is trying to shoot Huple’s cat, which has been giving him nightmares, and the men force Hungry Joe to fight the cat fairly. The cat runs away, and Hungry Joe is satisfied. When he goes back to sleep, however, he has another nightmare about the cat.
Major —— de Coverley is a daunting, majestic man with a lion’s mane of white hair, an eagle’s gaze, and a transparent eye patch. Everyone is afraid of him, and no one will talk to him. His sole duty is traveling to major cities captured by the Americans to rent rooms in which his men can take leave; he spends the rest of his time playing horseshoes. Major —— de Coverley always manages to be photographed with the first wave of American troops moving into a city, a fact that perplexes both the enemy and the American commanders. He seems to be a force of nature, and yet Yossarian is able to fool him by moving the bomb line: Major —— de Coverley has traveled to enemy-controlled Florence and has not yet returned. The narrator relates that Milo once approached —— de Coverley on the horseshoe range, successfully requesting authorization to import eggs on Air Force planes.
We also learn that Colonel Cathcart had attempted to give Yossarian a medal some time earlier. When Yossarian was brave, he had circled over a target twice in order to hit it, and, on the second pass, Kraft, a younger pilot from the division, had been killed by shrapnel. Not knowing how to rebuke Yossarian for his foolhardiness, the authorities decided to stave off criticism by giving him a medal.