Once Malarkey departs, Donnie is next. He's so very pleasant-looking, what with his thin and sensible hair, his mild manner, and his relaxed grin. I'd say Clan Wahlberg defied just about everyone's expectations. I mean, who figured either one of the kids would win serious acting roles, much less critical acclaim? Sure, "Cover Girl" was a killer tune, but I think his role in this series might surpass it on Donnie's résumé. Unless they recorded an acoustic version. Winters starts out with a rueful gaze, informing Donnie that soldiers who receive battlefield commissions -- vaulting them from NCO ranks and erasing the "N" -- aren't usually allowed to remain in the same company because of the perception that other non-coms wouldn't show him the proper degree of respect. "It's a good theory," Donnie says politely. He knew this was coming, but still looks like Winters smacked him in the gut with Hitler's photo albums. "It's an idiotic theory, especially in your case," Winters grins. He announces that Donnie has been promoted to battalion HQ, which is darling of him because it keeps Donnie more or less with Easy Company. "I can think of few better [assignments], sir," glows Donnie. He wants to smooch Winters, he's so grateful. Get in line, Donnie -- it winds around the nation and ends somewhere in Idaho. Mischievously, Winters orders Donnie to join him at the airfield because a certain German general is a trifle pissed at having to surrender to Pvt. Babe Heffron of South Philly. "He thinks it's beneath his stature," smirks Winters. Donnie loves it. "I thought 2nd Lt. [Donnie] from West Virginia could soothe his ruffled feathers," Winters adds. Donnie wonders whether this is the sort of gig he can come to expect as part of battalion administration. "Yeah," Winters admits. "When we're not sunning ourselves by the lake." Aw. Donnie's so glowy. If Winters isn't careful, he'll have a string of boyfriends that's longer than the equator.
A gaggle of Easy men arrive at the airfield to watch the German officer surrender. In clipped tones, the general begs Donnie for a minute to address his troops. "That would be fine, General," Donnie says respectfully. Meanwhile, Winters, perched like a stud in his Jeep, spots Ross marching across the field. They make brief eye contact, and Ross keeps walking with nary a gesture of respect. Winters barks, "We salute the rank, not the man." Sickened, Captain Ross turns and half-heartedly salutes Major Winters, a man who got at least four promotions in the course of the series (to 1st Lt., to Captain, to battalion XO, and to Major) compared to Ross's one. If Ross had pepper spray, I swear he'd use it to melt his own eyes if it meant never having to salute Dick Winters again. Liebgott and Nixon watch this with barely hidden satisfaction. Nixon shakes his head in disbelief. Winters just wears a sunny expression, because he won.