As Louie tries to fall asleep in his barracks on the night after the raid, he hears the sounds of bombs crashing down all over military base. The Japanese air force is staging a counterattack. As the bombs fall, everyone on the base tries to find cover. After three passes over the island, the bombers end their raid. The base is in shambles and men lie dead all over the base. Thinking there were two sets of three bombers, someone on the island dubs them “The Stinking Six.”
For the first time, we see the true horrors of war. Up to this point, Louie has only seen the devastation of war from his plane, miles above the ground. He never had to see the blood, guts, and sheer magnitude of suffering.
Before leaving the island to regroup at a base in Hawaii, Louie says goodbye to Super Man. The bomber will never fly again due to the damages it sustained during the raid on the Japanese. Scared of dying and missing home, Louie becomes irritable and sullen in Hawaii. He picks fights, holes up in his room, and tries to forget about the death of his friend Harry Brooks.
His resilience fails him again. Seeing the devastation of war brings out Louie’s darker side, making him slip back into his old delinquent ways. We begin to see that Louie has less resilience dealing with internal, emotional problems, like coping with a friend’s death, than with the external, physical ones like becoming an expert bomber.
Eventually, the army assigns Louie, Phil, and Cuppernell to another crew. The only person of note is Francis “Mac” McNamara, who has a reputation for having a sweet tooth. They are also given another plane – Green Hornet. Barely in working condition, this new plane can only carry out errand missions, but that will soon change.
Hillenbrand’s gives extra weight to this single, seemingly insignificant detail about Mac, signaling its as-of-yet unknown importance. The Green Hornet was also a popular comic book hero, but unlike Super Man, he was hardly invincible, which foreshadows the plane’s quick demise.