McHale's Navy

Season 1 Episode 13

The Captain's Mission

Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Jan 10, 1963 on ABC

Episode Recap

Binghamton is practicing his pistol-handling, when McHale reports in, upon his return from New Caledonia. McHale is pretty worried, when Binghamton informs him that, during his absence, he'd taken the 73 out on a combat mission. He goes on to say that they'd had had quite a tangle with the Nips, but that the mission was successful.

"It was rough, I want to tell you, rough." Describes Binghamton, "But we clobbered 'em. It'll be some time before they forget Binghamton, and the seventy three!"

Later, on McHale's island, The Boys are quite happy to have The Skipper back home. McHale quickly presses Parker for a briefing on this mission he's heard about, and Parker relates the story.

Binghamton is having a drink with some fellow Officers, at the Officer's club, during which time, one of them is called away for an urgent battle situation. The two other Captains go on for a while, about how rough the war at sea is, and what action they've seen, making Binghamton feel somewhat ashamed for being 'chained to a desk'.

Binghamton is defending his desk job, when Parker rushes in with an urgent request from the Fleet Commander, asking that Binghamton contact him, at once. Binghamton excuses himself, then turns to the Ensign.

"Parker…" says Binghamton, "This could be trouble."

"Oh it is, sir." Returns Parker. "He says he hasn't had any ice cream in two days"

Binghamton hustles Parker out of the club, as the two other Officers have a good laugh.

Later, in his office, Binghamton is complaining about his situation to Carpenter. Binghamton wants to make a better name for himself, and, since Carpenter's boat is in for repairs, the only boat available to him is McHale's 73. Binghamton then suddenly realizes that McHale is away in New Caledonia, and that now would be the perfect time to take over the 73, and show The Navy – As well as his smug, battle-hardened associates – Just how tough a Commander he can be.

Carpenter comments that he's a bit concerned about Binghamton's assigning himself to active duty, especially with the 73 boat. But Binghamton knows that this is his chance to not only "Bring that gang of cutthroats back into the Navy", but to see some real combat action.

"No matter what I think of that Crew, personally," says Binghamton, "Where ever you find McHale's men, you'll find action!"

Later, on McHale's island, Virgil is getting some action with a native girl, and the rest of the guys are seeing some action at the poker table, when Parker rushes in, with a frantic report that Binghamton is on his way. The guys quickly snatch up the cards, chips, and money, and head for the boat, where they put on a show of shaping up the 73.

All snap to, when Binghamton – Fully armed, and equipped for a battle mission – Steps to the boat. Binghamton assembles the Crew on the dock, and announces the "Exciting news", that he has decided to assign himself to active duty on the 73. He orders Parker to take the 73 out, immediately, and Parker issues the order.

The problems begin immediately, when Binghamton notices that one of the depth charges is improperly rigged. Parker tries to explain, but Binghamton – While pointing out that the situation could be a safety hazard – Inadvertently fires the charge. It sails into the compound, exploding near one of the huts, sending Fuji – Who had been watching from the jungle – Running for cover.

Later, at sea, Binghamton insists on a demonstration of his gunnery skills, taking over Virgil's gun. Parker tries to discourage it, explaining that Virgil has the gun's swivel rigged for his own personal use, but Binghamton will have none of it, grabs the gun, and commences firing, sending all the guys to the deck, as he sprays the boat's topside with 50-caliber fire.

Binghamton, a bit embarrassed, goes below, to monitor radio traffic, for any possible enemy action, but comes up with nothing.

"The Nips must have taken a day off." Binghamton says, frustratedly. "I have a feeling we'll have better luck tomorrow."

The idea of Binghamton's intention to remain in command for another day, is met with a general disappointment from the guys, as they return to base.

That night, The Boys all complain about the situation with Binghamton, and press Mr. Parker for a solution. Parker has no ideas, and Gruber jokingly suggests they sell Binghamton to the Japs. But Christy comes up with a more plausible idea, having heard that Binghamton was being razzed, the day before, for not having any combat experience.

"All he wants is a war story to tell." Says Christy. "So, I say… Let's give him one!"

None of the guys like the idea, at first, but Christy goes on to explain that they don't take The Captain on a real mission – Rather, they make one up. They take Binghamton to Kemo – The quietest island in the area – They go ashore, walk right into a Japanese scout, Binghamton engages in combat…

"He saves our whole Crew," explains Christy, "And we send him back to the Officer's Club, a hero!"

All the guys agree, enthusiastically, with the plan, except Fuji, who's tapped to play the role of the scout.

"Let Captain take shot at me?!" exclaims Fuji. "You frip your rid?! He almost murder me, today… And not even aim at me!!"

But Fuji reluctantly agrees to go along with the plan, after Tinker assures him that the Captain's gun will be loaded with blanks.

The next day, Parker has The Crew assembled on the dock, when Binghamton arrives, armed and ready for action. He gives the order to shove off, and all get aboard, except Virgil and Parker. Virgil takes Parker aside, and quietly explains that Fuji is not aboard, having gone back to the hut for his good luck charm. Parker tries to stall the Captain, but Binghamton is insistent on getting underway, so Parker reluctantly gives the order to cast off.

Later, at sea, Willy receives a radio message, direct from ComFleet, and delivers it to Binghamton. It seems that some enemy activity has been detected on the island of Kemo, and the order is to move in quietly, and report on how big their concentration is.

Soon, they approach the island, and Binghamton scans it's shore through binoculars. He comments that it looks very quiet, but Christy explains that they had approached from the side of the island opposite the enemy, to avoid detection. Binghamton wants to move in, immediately, but Parker buys some time, by suggesting that The Captain scan the surrounding waters, as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Tinker has dressed in a Japanese uniform, complete with helmet, weapon, ammo pouch, and thick glasses. While Binghamton is occupied with the binoculars, Gruber and Happy hustle Tinker up from below, and send him ashore in a rubber raft. Parker buys a little more time, by telling the Captain that he's spotted a periscope "Between ten thirty, and a quarter to eleven" off the starboard bow. But all Binghamton sees is a seagull, and he quickly gives the order to hit the beach.

Tinker rows ashore, and drags his raft into the jungle. Shortly later, Binghamton and the Crew come ashore, and, before heading inland, Binghamton says:

"All right you men… I want you to spread out… Keep low".

"Good idea, sir," returns Parker. "I have an idea this place may be swarming with Japanese".

Little does Parker know how right he is. At the edge of the jungle, where Tinker spies on Binghamton's group, a Japanese soldier comes up behind Tinker, and, thinking he's one of their own, orders him – In Japanese – To come along. Tinker has no choice but to accompany the Japs to their compound, where chow is being served. Some of the soldiers talk to him, in the chow line, and Tinker comes back with an occasional "Ah-so", managing to remain undetected.

As Binghamton and his party make their way through the jungle, Tinker takes a seat on a log, with his chow, between 2 Japanese soldiers. One of the soldiers tries to get him to eat with chopsticks, but Tinker is unsuccessful, prompting the soldier to look behind Tinker's thick glasses. When the soldier sees that Tinker isn't one of them, Tinker throws a handful of food in his face, and makes a quick getaway, with the soldiers giving chase.

Back in the jungle, Binghamton breaks away from his group, to scout ahead. As the guys begin to wonder what happened to their phony Jap, Tinker comes running out of the jungle, warning the others that the "Real Japanese" are on the way. Binghamton turns, when he hears the ruckus, and steps up behind Tinker, sticking his rifle into his back.

"All right, Tojo," says Binghamton, "You're my prisoner."

"Good!" returns Tinker, turning toward the Captain, and removing his glasses and helmet. "Just get me to jail!"

Binghamton, of course, wants to know what's going on, but before Parker can explain, the Japs start firing on them, from the jungle. Parker orders retreat, and he and the rest of the guys – With Binghamton bringing up the rear – Head for the boat.

On the way back to base, Binghamton is furious, and threatens to call for a Court Martial board to meet them at the dock, as soon as he can break radio silence. Parker accepts all blame for the incident, and tells Binghamton the truth – That they were just trying to give him a war story to tell, at the Officer's Club.

Just then, Virgil spots an enemy ship, not far away. Parker orders 'Battle Stations', then turns to his Captain for orders. Binghamton orders an attack, but gets in too big a hurry, and orders "Fire one", before they've come fully around. Christy tries to discourage the Captain, but he'll have none of it, and repeats "Fire one!".

Parker hits the 'fire' button, and the torpedo misses the ship by 100 yards, heads up the beach, and blows up a truck .

"Men…" says Parker, somewhat sadly. "You've just witnessed the first time in Naval history, that a torpedo sunk a truck."

Later, at the Officer's Club, Binghamton relates, to some of his fellow Officers, his somewhat distorted tale of how he engaged the Japanese at Kemo Island. Parker comes in, during the story, and politely puts in a request for a weekend pass for the 73 Crew. Binghamton turns him down flat, but changes his mind, when Parker offers to fill in any details of the story that The Captain might be leaving out.

"Why don't you stop by my office…" says Binghamton, "…And have a talk with me, Parker. When your Crew gets back… Monday."

"Yes sir." Answers Parker. "Somehow we knew we could depend on you."

Before he turns to leave, Parker adds:

"You gonna tell 'em about the truck, sir?"

With a stern look from the Captain, Parker makes a hasty exit, and Binghamton resumes his story.
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