Study Guide

Unbroken Chapter 6

By Laura Hillenbrand

Chapter 6

The Flying Coffin

  • Louie finds one perk to being a flyboy: "women found the flyboy uniform irresistible" (2.6.8).
  • As a bombardier, it's Louie's job to spot targets, program the bombsight that takes over flying the plane toward the target, and yell "Bombs away" when the bombs are, in fact, away. Then the pilot takes over control of the plane again.
  • Louie graduates from training in August 1942. He takes one last photograph with his family and gets on the train to leave, wondering if he'll ever see them again.
  • At the air base in Ephrata, Washington, Louie meets his pilot, Russell Allen Phillips.
  • Phillips is cool, calm, and collected (good qualities for a pilot) and engaged to a girl in Terre Haute, Indiana named Cecy.
  • Other men of note on the bomber crew: Stanley Pillsbury (the gunner), Clarence Douglas (the engineer), Robert Mitchell (navigator), Frank Glassman (radioman), Ray Lambert (tail gunner), George Moznette, Jr. (copilot), and Harry Brooks (girl magnet).
  • The men are set to fly a B-24 Liberator, a plan nicknamed "'the Flying Brick,' 'the Flying Boxcar,' and 'the Constipated Lumberer'" (2.6.27)—and, unlike a B-52, it doesn't know any of the words to "Love Shack."
  • It seems like the men are more in danger of being killed by their flying deathtrap of a plane than by the Japanese.
  • The men are taught how to survive a water landing.
  • Louie and his crew must be super lucky, because "their plane never failed them" (2.6.41)—it's ugly and quirky, but "a noble thing" (2.6.41), just like Benicio del Toro.
  • They name their plane Super Man, and draw a cartoon of Superman on the plane that is so bad, it makes the Brandon Routh Superman movie look good.
  • Before their first flight, Louie starts keeping a war diary and he sends his mother a pair of airman's wings, which she pins to her dress every day.
  • On November 2, 1942, Louie, Phil, and the crew of the Super Man are ready for war.