After Watanabe leaves, the kind guard Yukichi Kano takes his place and the Bird’s reign of terror ends. William Harris arrives in the camp with a group of new prisoners. The Quack’s beating had taken its toll and Louie notes that Harris looks like a wreck. Fearing for his friend’s life, Louie gives him his one and only Red Cross care box, which Louie would later say was “the hardest and easiest thing” he ever did. Harris’s condition improves.
Louie’s gift to Harris once again proves him to be a man of dignity who is willing to risk his own life to help his friends. Starvation and humiliation do not make Louie lose his humanity or compassion. In this way, he is more “free” than the Bird – who’s lack of self-worth makes him cruel and delusional.
One day, a massive air battle breaks out between Japanese and Allied forces over Tokyo. The Omori prison guards try to keep the prisoners inside the barracks, but the men sneak out and watch the battle from outside. Fifteen hundred American planes and several hundred Japanese planes flew over the camp in battle that day. By that night, Tokyo was in flames.
Again, Hillenbrand provides only the American side of the battle. It is understandable that the POWs would revel in the destruction of Tokyo after experiencing so much suffering at the hands of their guards, but Hillenbrand’s narration glorifies the raid, overlooking its dubious ethics: the raids would kill over 100,000 civilians and injure many more.
On the first day of March, the camp officials transport Louie and Frank Tinker and a few other POWs to another camp called Naoetsu in the western part of Japan. As they take a train west, the snow begins to fall harder and harder. When the arrive at the Naoetsu, snow almost entirely obscures the camp.
Every time Louie transfers camps, his situation deteriorates. The blizzard, a foreboding sign, reinforces the expectation that his new camp will only be worse.
The guards order them to stand at attention in front of a shack in the compound. Suddenly, the door flies open and the Bird runs at the prisoners. Louie collapses from shock and fear.
Louie’s resilience is beginning to fray. For the first time, fear completely overwhelms him.