Summary: Chapter 10, The Stinking Six
That same night on the island of Funafuti, Louie lies restless. He hears a plane above the island, but doesn’t think much of it and tries to go back to bed. Before long, however, he hears more planes and then a loud boom. Japanese bombers attack the island.
The soldiers and natives on the island scatter. Unable to find a formal bomb shelter, some take to digging foxholes of their own. Others hide under huts and various other structures. The bombing lasts for what seems like an eternity, as shrapnel is blown everywhere and men are reduced to crying and praying.
The morning after, everything is a haze. Some men are traumatized to the point of not being able to talk. Those dead are mutilated beyond recognition. Louie is transferred a station on the east of Oahu. He lives in a daze and takes to drinking. Six men are brought in to replace the wounded and lost members of Super Man. The only one mentioned is named Francis McNamara, or Mac. The crew has no plane, but they are set up in a beautiful cottage right on the beach. The chapter ends with the image of a plane leaving Hickham Field and flying out of sight. It is piloted by Clarence Corpening.
Summary: Chapter 11, Nobody’s Going to Live Through This
On May 27, 1943, Louie wakes up early and decides to run a mile. He clocks in at 4:12, while running on a beach. He is in his best shape ever. Later that day, a lieutenant tells Louie and Pete that the plane piloted by Clarence Corpening, mentioned at the end of the last chapter, had never landed. The lieutenant orders them to search for it. Not having a plane, they are forced into Green Hornet -- a plane that barely works and is feared by all the airmen on the island. Louie, Phil, and nine others head out on the search mission.
When the crew arrives at the area they were ordered to search, Cuppernell and Phil switch positions so that Cuppernell can get piloting experience. Soon after, the men realize the plane is consuming fuel in one engine must faster than the other. They make an attempt to even out the fuel supplies, but first engine fails. Cuppernell yells to an engineer, asking him to feather (balance out) the engine, but doesn’t specify which and the engineer hits the wrong button. The plane starts to fall. All the men can do is put on their life-vests and brace for impact. Right before the plane hits, Louie realizes no one is going to survive.
The plane smacks into the water, and Louie is pulled deep underwater. He is trapped in a coil of wire, being dragged down, still inside of the plane. He fights and fights but can’t get free. Meanwhile, Phil manages to fight his way out of the cockpit and surfaces. Louie passes out. When he come to, still underwater, he thinks he is dead. He manages to orient himself within the plane’s cabin, kick his way free and pull his life-vest. He floats to the surface. He is alive.