I stared up at the unlikely and ungainly monster of a loud propeller-driven airship. The Skyraider didn’t look like it could even stay in the air, but there it was, orbiting dependably not more than three hundred feet up. The Gunny nodded toward the 323 radio, also looking like it was from WWII, and held out his hand. I gave him the handset. I could tell right away that the Gunny had never encountered Cowboy because he winced every time the pilot referred to him as Zarkov, the mad doctor from Flash Gordon. I preferred Flash to Junior, but stood without expression listening to the exchange. The Gunny instructed Cowboy to fly the ridge all along our direction of travel to see what he could see and then report back. The 323 apparently had even less range than the Prick 25 we used for command and artillery nets, so I presumed we would not be able to get reports when the plane was at a distance.

“Look, Cowboy, or whatever name and rank you really are, I’m the Gunnery Sergeant down here, not some character in a movie. This is real.”