Catch-22 Chapter 13: Major ---- de Coverly
Stately and revered, Major ---- de Coverly fulfills his duties as squadron executive officer by merely pitching horseshoes and renting apartments for the men's rest leave. Renting apartments in recently sacked cities, the regal Major ---- de Coverly is often photographed on the victorious site and he gains the reputation as a noble conqueror. American officials and enemy forces have no idea who he is - nobody even knows his first name! - but they think he must be important since he looks so noble.
Major ---- de Coverly rents some apartments in Rome and the men enjoy orgies with the usual prostitutes. Yossarian fantasizes about a black-haired countess and her daughter-in-law, and also falls for an obliging maid in lime-green panties.
Major ---- de Coverly wears a clear eye-patch fashioned by Doc Daneeka because a stinky old man poked him in the eye with a red rose during a triumphal parade through Rome. Only Milo Minderbinder has the guts to approach the imposing major. Enticing him with the prospects of fresh eggs and butter, Milo the mess officer convinces Major ---- de Coverly to lend him a plane to fly weekly supply runs to Malta. Egg eating catches on and soon Milo is running daily flights for supplies and cooking for every squadron in Colonel Cathcart's group. Milo's trade syndicate is up and running.
Colonel Cathcart remembers the disaster over Ferrara when he had volunteered his men to blow out a bridge over the river Po. Still standing after nine unsuccessful missions, Yossarian's squadron was sent out a tenth time to demolish the bridge. Again the bombers were unsuccessful until Yossarian bravely swung back for a second pass and managed to hit the target. Unfortunately, of the six other planes in Yossarian's formation, Kraft's plane blows up and the entire crew is lost. Yossarian is blamed for the loss. Colonel Cathcart and Lietenant Colonel Korn cover-up the shameful incident by awarding Yossarian a medal for bravery and promoting him to captain. Korn says, "You know, that might be the answer - to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That's a trick that never seems to fail." Chapter 13, pg. 149