Veteranapalooza. We're told that the replacement soldiers sent to Easy Company had to prove themselves to the original members. Most of them were qualified but were awfully green, says one man, who cops to hoping they'd just manage to stay alive or be kept alive by the combat-tested men. In fact, some men thought the replacements tried too hard to impress their new comrades; finally, a man admits, "I didn't want to be friendly with replacements going in, because God, I didn't like seeing them get killed." A replacement himself says, "We were in awe of them," referring to the experienced soldiers with stars on their jump wings.
Sept. 13, 1944. Easy Company is in Aldbourne, England. This episode doesn't make clear why they're still there, when at the end of "Carentan," we saw Donnie tell the men it was time to haul ass back to France. The book, thankfully, shares that a series of cancelled operations kept Easy on friendly shores; by the time the group was ready to load the planes, Allied infantry had already advanced and achieved the objectives. That is, until Eisenhower conceived of a sweeping offensive he thought could get the Allies into Germany.
Lt. Compton, my strapping Buck, narrows his eyes, raises his left arm and aims his dart at ahhhh....Oh, sorry, my mind was totally in the gutter just then. He's actually playing darts against some of the lads; his partner, George Luz, quietly encourages him. Compton's shot lands off the board, and opponent Bull Randleman grabs it with a grin and some sarcasm, saying, "Nice shot, sir." Luz comfortingly counters, "You're having a tough night; people have tough nights. It's all right, sir." Compton laughs merrily, swats Luz's lips off his outstanding behind, and steps aside to make way for a scrawny redheaded Malarkey lookalike called Pvt. Heffron. The youth steps up and expertly hits his shot, ending the game and prompting good-natured laughter from the foursome. Gonorrhea wanders over and jokes, "You're embarrassing the lieutenant, here," then cracks that Heffron's "buddies are missing [him]"; we see three new privates nervously sitting at one of the saloon's tables. Gonorrhea decides to go introduce himself; Randleman tells him to be careful, because it doesn't take much to set those guys off, and Martin teasingly calls them "wild-eyed kids." More laughter, because in truth The Replacements are all completely benign-looking. Compton casually pushes for a wee wager on a second contest; Heffron is confident, so they end up betting two packs of cigarettes on Buck's ability to make one shot.