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CHAPTER 35: MILO THE MILITANT
Halfoat dies of pneumonia. Yossarian begs Nately not to volunteer to fly more than seventy missions. Nately, however, wishes to fly more missions, so that he will not be sent home. He wants to be near his beloved Italian girlfriend.
Milo meets Cathcart and asks to be sent on more missions. Cathcart is stunned by Milo’s demand. Milo states that he has flown only five missions in eleven months, and wants to have the opportunity to fly more missions in order to gain fame. Cathcart agrees. He tells Milo that he will take on the task of running "M & M Enterprise" while Milo flies more missions. When Milo reveals the extent of the syndicate’s operations, Cathcart decides that Milo’s services on behalf of the syndicate are indispensable. He refuses to give Milo permission to fly any more missions. Instead he accepts Milo’s suggestion that someone else should fly Milo’s mission in his name. Cathcart decides to raise the number of missions to eighty.
At dawn the next day the alert is sounded. The men are rushed to the airfield before they can have a proper breakfast. Intelligence has reported that a disabled Italian cruiser is to be scuttled at the entrance of the harbor at La Spezia so as to deprive the Allied armies of port facilities when they arrive. The intelligence report proves correct and the American airplanes blow apart the Italian Cruiser. However, the American planes have to face a barrage of anti-aircraft fire. In the enduing confusion, Dobbs makes a false move and skids his plane into Nately’s. Both planes crash, and Dobbs and Nately are killed.
Nately’s hopeless love for the Italian will ultimately be one of the causes for his untimely death.
At first, Milo makes Cathcart believe that he is really interested in flying more missions. But soon he is able to convince the colonel that his services for "M & M Enterprise" are indispensable and that only he can look after the affairs of the syndicate. At the same time Milo’s professed disappointment at not being allowed to fly more missions causes Cathcart to agree to force someone else to fly Milo’s missions. Though Cathcart proclaims grandly "What’s fair is fair," nothing he ever undertakes is done with a sense of justice. Dobbs, Nately, and ten others have to die because Milo wants to show the world that he has a good military record.