Summary and Analysis
Part II Chapter 10: The Stinking Six
Temporarily stationed on the island of Funafuti after the raid on Nauru, Louie and the Super Man crew try to recover from their recent aerial dogfight. Air raid sirens awaken them, warning of incoming Japanese planes retaliating for the bombing of Nauru. The island and many planes are destroyed. “Wounded and dead were everywhere,” Hillenbrand writes. But again, Louie survives.
Like the previous chapter, this one focuses on the constant dangers Louie and his fellow servicemen faced in WWII’s Pacific Theatre. It also signals a new regression in Louie’s emotional and mental state. The pressures of battle—and the losses inherent in war—begin to take their toll.
Up to this point, Louie has been the one dropping bombs on targets. When the Japanese bomb Funafuti, he experiences what it is like to be bombed. He is spared, but the destruction he’s witnessed all around him, including the deaths of and injuries to men he knows, is overwhelming. According to Hillenbrand, “An oppressive weight settled on Louie as he flew away from Funafuti.” Returning to Hawaii, Louie falls into old habits, drinking, fighting, and withdrawing from other people. He is becoming lost again.