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by Joseph Heller
Catch-22 Chapter 15 Summary
Captains Piltchard and Wren both love flying combat missions. They think war is the best thing that has ever happened to them. They send Yossarian back to Bologna because the first formation did not get the job done. Yossarian endures one of his scariest flights ever. He hits the target with steely resolve and then is almost shot down multiple times by barrages of flak. During this attack, Yossarian alternates between screaming flight directions at pilot McWatt and screaming obscenities at Aarfy to get out of the nose of the plane and back to his post. Aarfy is strangely unafraid and insolently stays right where he is, even lighting cigarettes and poking Yossarian to distract him. Aarfy's antics distract Yossarian from watching the flak outside and several times, they are almost hit. Each time, McWatt begs for instructions over the intercom. Eventually Yossarian loses his cool (not that he was cool to begin with); he begins smacking Aarfy. Then the plane is hit and Yossarian thinks it's snowing because the flak has torn through the floor of the plane and hit some maps, sending up a shower of white paper. They land safely but many of the men of Yossarian's formation have died behind him. Yossarian hysterically looks for Orr, his roommate, and finally sees his plane, with only one propeller working chugging slowly but surely towards safety. When it is assured that Orr will be safe, Yossarian spits out a string of obscenities – because he's relieved. When he debriefs, he stays only long enough to ascertain that Orr has landed safely. Then he packs immediately for a much-deserved rest leave in Rome.
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