At their hovel near battalion CP, Donnie debriefs Nixon and Winters...and then tells them about the Hoobler situation. "He was wearing so many clothes, we couldn't tell how bad he was bleeding," Donnie explains. "By the time we got to the aid station, he was already dead. The bullet cut the main artery in his leg." Nixon sighs with regret, but reassures Donnie that with that main artery destroyed, Hoobler was a goner even if they'd gotten right to the wound and to the aid station. God, that really sucks -- after all that fighting, after facing danger and living, he kills himself by sticking a Luger in his trousers and breathing on it wrong. On a shallow personal level, this is why I absolutely refuse to contract Mad Cow Disease. Anything that will have people snickering at my funeral is totally out of the question. Donnie, still troubled, nods and turns to go check on his men, but Winters stops him. "Where's Dike?" he asks. Interestingly, Winters is shivering himself silly -- either the battalion HQ officers don't get special treatment, or Winters refuses any amenities that the lower-ranked soldiers on the line can't get. I prefer to believe the latter. "You want to see him, sir?" Donnie says uneasily. "No," Winters replies, pointedly. "I just would've expected to get this kind of news from him." Donnie pauses, considers the situation and swallows his basest instincts to blow the whistle on the bastard. "Well, I was there, sir," he answers carefully. "I figured it might as well be me." Winters's eyebrow twitches, his face a picture of gentle skepticism tinged with respect for Donnie's integrity.
Donnie wanders through the forest to check on all his men, making sure they're okay and set up in foxholes. He voice-overs that the question of Dike's whereabouts had plagued him, due to long stretches of time when the CO wandered away without warning. "Wouldn't have been so bad if he was just one of the guys in the company, but Lt. Dike was supposed to be leading the company," Donnie says. His narration is really quite flat, although that monotone does reinforce the idea that this is a journal entry reenacted. Donnie stops to help the men dig, pats them on the shoulders, and basically behaves impressively. He muses in voice-over that Winters was a CO everyone adored and respected, and Moose Heyliger never had a chance to follow in those footsteps because a jumpy Allied sentry felled him with a bullet in Holland. "Then came Norman Dike," Donnie tells us. "Dike wasn't a bad leader because he made bad decisions. He was a bad leader because he made no decisions."