The Pensacola: Wings of Gold Episode Guide
A SaltyRain™ Production

Programming Note: The fate of PWOG for season 4 is, at last account, up in the air. It seems certain that Barbara Niven's Kate character will not be returning, and it seems also that PWOG may not be returning ... however, rumors have surfaced that PWOG, while it will not be syndicated for season 4, may be picked up by a US cable network (TNT has been mentioned). More will be reported as it is known.

This Guide is for the television show "Pensacola: Wings of Gold".
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Written By: Steve Mount
Source: Episode Viewing (see also: the Pensacola: Wings of Gold Website).
Episode order shown is aired order.

Links to PWOG Sites

Season 1 - Season 2 - Season 3

Key terms and characters

Kate Andersen
Owner/bartender of The Bucket (originally Kate's Landing), frequented by the Sharpshooters
Capt Butch Barnes (Burner)
F-18 pilot with the Sharpshooters (as a Lieutenant)
F-18 pilot with the Fighting Bandits
Lt AJ Conaway (Buddha)
FAV driver and demolition expert for the Sea Dragons
Capt Arlo Cooper (Paddles)
Instructor Pilot with the Sharpshooters
Fighting Bandits
The focus of Season 3, the Aviation Combat Element of the 18th Marine Expeditionary Unit
Lt Bobby Griffin (Chaser)
Fighter pilot (F-18) for the Sea Dragons
Capt Tucker Henry (Spoon)
F-18 pilot with the Sharpshooters (as a Lieutenant)
F-18 pilot with the Fighting Bandits
Col Rebecca Hodges
Ultimate commander of the Sea Dragons, Kelly's superior
Flight Lt Abigail Holley (Cricket/Mad Dog)
Huey pilot with the Fighting Bandits, on loan from the RAF
Capt Alexandra Jensen (Ice)
F-18 pilot with the Sharpshooters (as a Lieutenant)
F-18 pilot with the Fighting Bandits
Lt Col Bill Kelly (Raven/Raider)
Fighter pilot, leader of the Sea Dragons Team, later CO of the Sharpshooters
Janine Kelly
Bill Kelly's daughter
Capt Steve Kessick (Psycho)
Instructor Pilot with the Sharpshooters
Lt Stanley Langdon (Swamp)
F-18 pilot with the Sharpshooters
Lt Col MacArthur Lewis (Hammer)
XO for the Sharpshooters (as a Major)
Air Operations Officer of the 18th MEU
Lt Annalisa Lindstrom (Stinger)
Chopper pilot for the Sea Dragons
Cpl Roberto Martinez
Kelly's assistant as CO of the Sharpshooters
Lt Wendell McCray (Cipher)
FAV gunner and commo/computer expert for the Sea Dragons
Megan Mulligan
Kate's niece, runs the Bucket when Kate is away
Lt Brian Rappaport
Flight surgeon with the 18th MEU
Sea Dragons, Detachment A
The focus of season 1, the unit's official designation
The focus of season 2, the 107th Squadron (officially VMFAT-107)
Beach-side bar frequented by the Sea Dragons
Spoon's on-again off-again girlfriend
Capt Edward Turelli (Capone)
Cobra pilot with the Fighting Bandits, formerly an F-18 pilot
Dr. Valerie West
Doctor at the Pensacola NAS hospital
Lt Alison Willis (Breaker)
F-18 pilot with the Sharpshooters

Season 2 saw a lot of "nuggets" and IP's (students and teachers). Here is a list of some of them

Lt Thomas Pickner (Slim)
More to come!

Season 1

Yesterday, Upon the Stair... (Part 1)
Dan Ballinger, the commander of an elite special operations group, is injured in a training accident. Colonel Hodges calls Lt Colonel Kelly to be Ballinger's replacement. Reluctantly, Kelly agrees. The unit consists of an F-18 fighter and pilot, a Huey chopper and pilot, and an FAV (Fast-Attack Vehicle), driver, and gunner. A DEA witness extraction operation goes wrong in Columbia, and the team is called in to rescue the DEA team and their aircraft. The unit is shocked, though, by Ballinger's death on the operating table. Kelly and the FAV team find the downed aircraft - it is flyable, but its pilot is injured. After destroying the FAV, the unit extracts itself and the DEA team in the aircraft. Kelly contacts his daughter to try to patch things up between them; Griffin is unaware that the waitress he is courting is Kelly's daughter, Janine.

Yesterday, Upon the Stair... (Part 2)
Griffin twists his ankle playing volleyball, and when the squad visit him in the hospital, they see Ramon Toledo, the man they helped extract from Columbia - he will be giving up his cartel in exchange for a kidney transplant and witness protection. The donor is the Columbian's brother, Miguel, who lives in the US. Toledo gives up information about a couple of DEA agents being held by another cartel, and the Sea Dragons are sent to rescue them - they get the agents, but have to fight their way out of an ambush - Toledo is not being so cooperative after all. He briefly holds Dr. West hostage, then has Miguel's family kidnapped and demands his brother help him escape in exchange for their safety. The Dragons locate Miguel's family and rescue them, and eliminate Ramon Toledo with the help of a fighter-launched missile. Kelly finds out where Janine is working, and Griffin finds out whose daughter she is.

An old flying buddy of Kelly's, Surfer, breaks formation and disappears from radar. The Sea Dragons are sent out to find Surfer while Kelly tries to figure out why his old buddy has gone AWOL. Unknown to Surfer, his plane carried an experimental portable stealth unit, and the military wants it back. Kelly finds militia materials in Surfer's locker. He learns that Surfer was undergoing cancer treatment; his wife did not know. The Sea Dragons find Surfer's wrecked aircraft - near militia territory. The Dragons find the stealth unit, and go searching for Surfer. The militia also find the fighter, steal the stealth unit, and install it in their Cobra. They then go after the Dragons. Surfer's wife Sheila talks to him over an emergency radio and convinces him to come home. He was not joining up with the militia, just using their book as a manual to drop out of society before the Marines took him out of the sky because of his cancer. Kelly asks him to destroy the stealth unit via a remote control on his ejection seat; he does, and the Dragons are able to subdue the militia. Janine asks Kelly if she can move back into the house with him.

It's the Real Thing, Baby
The Cobras, a Navy strike team, are scheduled to run a security check against a nuclear installation, and the Sea Dragons are sent in to run a security check against the Cobras. Using MILES gear and rifles with lasers instead of bullets, the Dragons engage the "enemy". But when the Cobras shoot back with real ammo, something clearly is not right - the Cobras have been infiltrated by an outside organization. They intend to use the installation's computer to hack into the DOD system and grab the specs for systems for US nuclear submarines. The Dragons are able to stop the team, and rescue their hostages. Lindstrom starts to see someone, and is scared to tell him she's a Marine. When he finds out, he bolts, to her chagrin.

A load of weapons grade plutonium is stolen from a clandestine transport, and a tracking device shows that it is now in the embassy of Dahrooma, a new, small African nation, intent on joining the family of nations near the top of the heap. The Dragons are sent a Gulf War veteran, Captain Reeder, a woman who made a strategy called Black Hole work in Iraq. But she is haunted by ghosts of the past, a soldier who died under her command. During the mission to retrieve the plutonium, Reeder tries to abort the mission when she sees the soldier several times. Griffin relieves her of command and takes over the mission. But Odeku, the Dahrooman ambassador, gets away with the plutonium. Reeder comes up with a plan to track Odeku, and they are able to intercept him before the plutonium leaves the country. Janine and Griffin are almost caught making out by Kelly in his house. Kelly tells Janine that Griffin is not to be in the house, and she tells him that she doesn't like him anyway. Kelly asks Valerie to talk to Janine, but Janine is not up for talking. Janine and Griffin finally meet up in his room at the BOQ.

Birds of Prey
Kelly, McCray, and Griffin meet up with a civilian contractor to discuss a new terrain following radar. Griffin is quite taken by the contractor's representative, a beautiful redhead. Kelly tells Griffin that if he's going to go out with Janine, she needs to know she can count on him. After Kelly tells Conaway that he needs to work on his attitude toward Lindstrom, he and Lindstrom go on a Huey ferry mission. The technicians they take along with them hijack the chopper. In a struggle, Conaway is lost at sea, and the copilot is shot. Lindstrom puts down so the hijackers can work on their broken radio, and Lindstrom can attend to the wounded copilot. Conaway makes his way ashore, and sees a smoke grenade Lindstrom is able to set off; he makes his way to the chopper. Meanwhile, a cut-off SOS is traced and the rest of the Sea Dragons go to rescue their colleagues. Conaway is able to distract the hijackers, now joined by the smugglers they are working for. The squad puts them down and recover the missile guidance chips that they were transporting. McCray gets to see his son Christopher, after expecting that he would be missing yet another birthday.

Road Warriors
The Sea Dragons are put in charge of transporting Terenko and Zulenova, two sides in the Cheserny civil war, to a negotiation at Camp Meridian. Lindstrom and Conaway take decoys, McCray and Griffin take the real deal. The decoy truck is attacked by a heavily armed drone vehicle, confirming that some one is trying to disrupt the talks by killing the participants. The truck carrying Terenko and Zulenova is rigged with a bomb, and it blows up, nearly taking McCray with it. The four set out on foot, but soon realize that they are being tracked. They find a device hidden in a binder given Terenko by the US envoy. The envoy says that it was his responsibility to keep track of their whereabouts. Lindstrom and Conaway set out to find the group. Meanwhile, the assassins track them down again, but they are disabled. At the Camp, Terenko finds his pen has been bugged; the pen was given to him by his sister, who admits that she planted the bug. The peace talks appear to go well afterwards. Lindstrom and Conaway start eyeing each other romantically, in spite of themselves.

Grey Ghost
The Dragons are called in to find a rogue lab working on Grey Ghost, a biological weapon once developed by the military. The lab's owner, Corbin, is developing an antidote, so that he can sell Grey Ghost as a weapon to the Sudanese. The lab is empty, though - they track a truck carrying the lab's contents to Texas, and when sheep turn up dead, they track down Corbin and a new scientist experimenting with new antidotes. In pursuit, McCray is hit with a dart filled with the virus. Griffin flies him back to Pensacola while Lindstrom and Conaway track down the new lab. Koenig, the team's biological specialist, is taken hostage and forced to come up with an antidote or be killed. When the team rushes the lab, they find Koenig dying - he found the antidote, and Corbin gave him the virus. Before he dies, Koenig tells them where Corbin is headed. They catch up to him, but Corbin is killed by his buyer. The team is able to procure the antidote from the buyer and rushes it to Wendell's side. Cured, McCray gets to spend some with Christopher. Janine makes Griffin more than a bit jealous when she introduces him to Zack, whom Griffin presumes is an old boyfriend.

Past Sins
The trailer of George Novak, an old friend of Kelly's, is fire bombed, badly burning the man inside. On the scene, Kelly recognizes the smell of napalm. Kelly speaks with some old Marine buddies whom he served with in Vietnam. Their unit was involved in the destruction of a Vietnamese village. One of them, Joe Damian, was blamed for the mistake, though he claimed to be a scapegoat for the unit. Damian tells Kelly that he'd been contacted by some young Vietnamese nationals inquiring about the village. Kelly sends Lindstrom and Conaway to speak to the Vietnamese, but they conclude that they are only after monetary damages, and not revenge. Another of Kelly's old buddies is killed in a car bomb, and Kelly is confined to base when he is threatened. Kelly assigns Griffin to watch Janine, but she sneaks off, determined to go to a concert. She is driving Kelly's truck, which has been wired to explode. The Sea Dragons stop her and get her out just before the bomb blows. Surveillance photos of a man stealing napalm from a munitions dump points to Damian. Kelly and the Dragons pick him up as he heads for a deposition in the Vietnamese lawsuit, wired to the gills with explosives.

Bogey Man
The Sea Dragons are sent overseas to Korea to aid in the patrol of the DMZ after an American fighter plane is shot down by North Korea. Griffin and Kelly take to the air to aid in border patrols while the rest of the team make an amphibious landing to pick up information from a North Korean official - but he waves them off for two days. In the meantime, McCray meets a Korean translator and has serious thoughts about leaving the team to stay in Korea with her and her son. She, however, is not ready to ask Wendell to make such a sacrifice, and pushes him away. Kelly is asked by an old Navy seaman to help him find his daughter - she is working in a Korean club; the owners are using her an as escort. When Kelly and the Dragons arrive at the club, they don't find the daughter - they suspect someone's tipped them off. Griffin discovers that the Australian pilot Fingers is doing business with the club. The Dragons assault a warehouse the club owns, and find the daughter in a cell; they release her. Fingers is taken under arrest. The information that the Dragons are to collect is the person of the North Korean official himself, and it goes without a hitch.

Acceptable Casualties
Former Sea Dragon Addison Reiger, who left the team after Dan Ballinger's death, and left the service soon after that, is being investigated by Jackie Monroe, a Tennessee sheriff, about the deaths of four people. Monroe interviews the members of the team about Reiger. Worried, they all take leave for a few days. In Tennessee, they go to Lamb's Canyon to find Reiger; when they do, he outruns them and the team retreats when they're fired upon. Lindstrom does some poking into the recent crimes, and finds that materials that could be used in a truck bomb have been stolen. Griffin gets info from Kelly that Reiger's father was a tunnel rat, and McCray and Conaway find a tunnel - and find the senior and junior Reigers at the end of it. They plan on blowing a dam that is scheduled to flood their land. Griffin and Lindstrom figure it out, too, and are able to foil the plan by repelling down the dam and attacking the Reigers. Kelly learns that Janine plans on getting a tatoo, and tries to talk her out of it; until he learns that it is to be a rose, to commemorate the sixth anniversary of his wife Diane's death.

Company Town
The Sea Dragons are sent to Boulder Springs, Utah, to find out who or what caused the loss of control of a VR-guided anti-ballistic missile. Boulder Springs is a "company town" for computer technology in the same way the Manhattan Project was for the nuclear bomb, and security is tight - the Dragons go in under cover as EPA researchers. McCray tracks the source of the break-in to the computers of the project's chief scientist. His young daughter, Jesse, admits that she had been hacking in; another break-in occurs, but Jesse says it is not her. Jesse figures out that Donna, someone she'd been helping out on computers, used her to get the main system passwords. They are now using the passwords to access the system and steal encryption and other computer technologies. Jesse goes to confront Donna, but Donna takes her prisoner. The team is able to retrieve Jesse, but Donna tells them that a missile has been launched at a remote, but populated, island off the Pacific coast. Jesse is able to quickly hack into the system and Griffin guides a chaser missile up the ICBM's exhaust pipe. Lindstrom convinces Conaway to call his family to try to patch a rift that has existed ever since he joined the Marines instead of the Army. Janine and Bobby reaffirm that they are going steady.

Trials and Tribulations
The Sea Dragons are backup to some Green Berets during a hostage rescue mission in the Xang Kai province. Lindstrom is accused of killing Jack Zabroiski in a friendly fire incident. Zabroiski says that she shot him just before he died. Lindstrom is forced to surrender her sword and appear before an inquiry. During the hearing, McCray and Conaway testify to the nature of the mission and the heavy fire they came under. Most of the rebels in the village were killed. Things look grim for Annalisa, until the rest of the team does some digging into why Zabroiski was there in the first place. The leader of the mission, Lt. Col. Seever, was on another mission 11 years earlier, when he says five of his team were lost, though other accounts say only two were killed. When intel told US forces that three Americans were being held, the rescue mission was sent in. Kelly and McCray find a woman from that village, now living in the US. She says that her mother was killed by Seever, and the that he abandoned the others when the village militia attacked them. Seever denies it, but Kelly catches a heat-of-the-moment confession for the court - he shot Zabroiski to avoid career repercussions. Conaway confronts Griffin for not being at the hearing to support Lindstrom even though he was not called to testify, saying he is afraid to get too close. Bobby talks this out with a woman he met on the beach, and eventually goes to be at Lindstrom's side. Bobby later finds out the woman is Lt. Commander Keaton of the Navy.

Soldiers of Misfortune
In the Caribbean state of Santiano, the President, the US Ambassador, and the rest of the guests at a birthday party are taken hostage. The leader of the force, Lacombe, is one of President Simone's guards, and wants the $30 million in bearer bonds that is kept in the presidential estate. But there is no money, foiling their plans. In Florida, the Sea Dragons are called upon to help rescue the hostages - one of them is Ashley MacCready, daughter of a billionaire friend to the President of the US. Her identity is initially unknown to the mutineers, but when they learn of it, they demand money from her father. As the Sea Dragons descend upon the compound, MacCready also sends in a mercenary team, which is quickly dispatched. McCray goes in under cover, and helps direct the rest of the team into the compound - they take the mutineers and rescue all of the Americans and help the other guests escape. Lacombe admits that the $30 million never existed; what there was, he spent.

Power Play
Griffin is chosen to test the Milex system, a new system for missile launchers, and a pet project of Col. Hodges. The company test pilot, Allenson, had some trouble with the system and tells Griffin to be careful. Though Griffin tests the system successfully, he is curious about Allenson. He goes to visit him, but finds him dead, the victim of a hit and run. Checking his computer, the Sea Dragons find that Allenson had been investigating some of the circuit boards in the Milex. Kelly finds out that the boards being used in the system are counterfeit, but not until after Griffin has taken off for a second set of tests. The Milex malfunctions, but the team is able to find a work around, and Griffin returns safely to the ground. Belfontaine, the man responsible for using the bogus parts, is taken into custody. Janine is uncomfortable seeing Kelly with Valerie West; though her parents had divorced before her death, Janine wonders why Kelly did not treat her this way when they were married.

Game, Set and Match
AJ helps Rita Garcia thwart a purse snatching. She asks him out to dinner to thank him. AJ goes to the bank to get money to buy flowers and finds he has an unexpected $30,000 in his accounts. He asks the bank to trace the deposits. He also finds that his paychecks are being sent to a drop in Guatemala, where he'd spent some time on assignment recently. He takes Rita out to dinner, but cannot seem to contact her after that. Naval Investigations asks Kelly to turn over AJ's files; he is suspected of espionage. A man in following AJ, seen at the bank and the Tailwind. AJ is unable to catch up to him. The investigation turns up AJ's extra money, his dinner in a restaurant that is a front for Cuban sympathizers, and a package from the Cuban Interests group in Washington. He insists he is being framed. Lindstrom and McCray track down Rita, but she denies ever having met AJ. Suspicion falls on Gus Reynolds, a civilian working for intel. Kelly and AJ track him and find him meeting with Rita. They both flee and Kelly and AJ try to follow them - they are stopped by the FBI, who is watching Gus; they know AJ is innocent, and would have come forward eventually. The Dragons help the FBI track down Gus and Rita, and they catch them before the meet with their contact. Griffin is offered a job training in Yuma, a job a superior officer wants. Griffin gives it up to help out AJ with the FBI team-up.

Lost Shipment
The INS asks to have the Sea Dragons to help them find Javier Nunez, trying to get into the US to buy weapons. Nunez is being assisted by an American. The Dragons find Nunez and his accomplice in a van on the way to Miami. Nunez escapes, but the man is captured. He reveals that he is Griffin's father. He is hospitalized and is interrogated by Bobby about Nunez. Nunez, meanwhile, makes contact with a Russian arms merchant. The Dragons catch up to him, but he is able to escape with his guns. Griffin tells Kelly that he is completely disoriented by his father's appearance. The elder Griffin tells Bobby that he was in prison while he was a child. They find Nunez's hideout and learn he is planning to help Griffin escape to help transport the guns. They arrive too late to stop him, but Griffin left behind a clue where to find them. Nunez shoots Griffin as the Dragons arrive, but he survives. The Griffins share a moment before Bobby's father is taken to by US Marshalls.

We Are Not Alone
A young boy, Casey, finds a weapon in some wreckage he saw fall from the sky. It fell from an Air Force transport; they ask the Dragons to find the cargo. They find the wreckage with the gun missing. Casey uses the gun as a toy and kills a bird with a beam of some kind. He melts some soup cans which Griffin and McCray find - they ask Casey if he'd seen anything but he says he has not. A mysterious black helicopter appears out of nowhere and shoots down Lindstrom's chopper. Kelly demands to speak with the Air Force general in charge, to tell them exactly what they are dealing with, and learns it is an acoustic weapon. The men in black track down Casey. Kelly learns that they are muscle for the manufacturer, trying to get its prototype back; the government did not buy the design, since it was too dangerous to the user, but other governments might be willing to buy. Griffin is able to knock down the attackers as they chase Casey down, and Casey shoots them with his gun, which the Dragons take into custody. Griffin tries to help Janine find an apartment. Annalisa moves in as her new roommate.

Stranger, Lover, Friend
Griffin's fighter collides with a bird at low altitude and he has to land gear up. In the hospital, he can't hold a glass steady, but he tells Dr. West he's fine. He promises to schedule an MRI. He forgets a date with Janine and wonders what else he is forgetting. The Dragons host Captain Steiner, a German fighter pilot, observing the team in action. He suggests their current exercise is a rehearsal. Valerie thanks Kelly for giving Griffin time off for the MRI - Kelly says he never asked. Griffin goes off the deep end. He later reports to Kelly that he is unfit for duty. As Bobby is laid up, Steiner takes his place on the team. Steiner excels, but pushes himself beyond. As a German, more is expected of him. Over the Gulf, unfamiliar terrain, he goes down and is lost. Bobby's MRI comes back clean and he is treated with drugs. The team is called into action - some Guatemalan rebels are making trouble for some American archaeologists. The Dragons make short work of the rebels. Janine and Valerie talk about the Doctor's relationship with Kelly - Valerie is not exactly sure where she stands. Janine breaks it off with Bobby before the mission - she can't handle a father and a boyfriend risking their lives every day.

Great Expectations
The Dragons are in San Diego for some seminars and a convention. While there, Conaway recognizes an old instructor of his - but Max Eagan does not recognize AJ. He has revenge on his mind; revenge on Alexander Comstock, a civilian expert whose military advice helped cause the deaths of some of his men years ago. The Dragons witness the demonstration of the Spectl, a new tactical laser. Eagan's hired goons kill the Spectl's security and steal the laser. Suspicious of the security guards, Conaway and Lindstrom follow and see Eagan and his goons hijack a truck. The local police ask the Dragons to help with the case. Griffin finds Eagan's wife who says she can tell "who he blames." Comstock is airborne for an exercise and Eagan sets up his laser to shoot him down. Eagan has second thoughts but his cohorts don't; with a proper demonstration of the Spectl's abilities, it will sell well on the black market. Eagan is shot while trying to stop them from destroying a civilian airliner.

Broken Wings
The Sea Dragons go to the Persian Gulf for training and evaluation. While there, Kelly and Griffin are offered the opportunity to patrol the Iraqi theater. Airborne, they are shot down by a newly belligerent Iraq. On the ground, Bobby is fine, but Kelly's foot is broken. They start the journey to the Kuwaiti border. The rest of the Dragons cool their heels, denied access to a chopper to help in any rescue. Home, Janine and Valerie await word that they are alive or dead. While they travel, Kelly and Griffin talk about their relationship - is it a father/son thing? Kelly and Bobby signal for help once night falls, but their first rescue attempt is waved off, to prevent an ambush. While evading the Iraqis, Bobby gets a snakebite, lending new urgency to a rescue. The Dragons are able to fly in when the primary chopper has engine trouble. They pick up the downed airmen while the Marines fight off an Iraqi patrol. Back aboard the Tarawa, Janine calls to make sure everyone is OK.

Not In My Back Yard
Airport inspectors find vials of VX gas in the possession of Seaton Palmer. The Sea Dragons are called on to transport the gas to a secure facility. Kelly looks into Palmer's back ground - he is an Irish terrorist. Only six of seven vials make it to the facility, though it was under the constant watch of Conaway, Lindstrom, and Griffin. McCray is back at the base, investigating Palmer's past. One of Palmer's allies, Allyn Fain, sends a message that if Palmer is not released, he will release the deadly gas in Pensacola. The Dragons are able to flush Fain out of hiding, and learn he has planted a bomb near a day-care center. They locate the bomb, but are unable to defuse it in time. Kelly loads the bomb onto a parachute and has Lindstrom take it up high in the sky - Griffin uses an air-to-air missile to destroy it, the VX gas being rendered harmless by the heat of the blast. Lindstrom and Conaway decide to give a relationship another chance. Griffin learns he is up for a nice instructors job. McCray learns that son may be moving in with him. Kelly learns that budget cuts are going to mean the loss of one of his soldiers. Though the VX gas mission is a success based on the whole team working as a team, the cuts go through. Kelly looks through the team's files to decide who has to go.

Season 2

"Badger" Wilson, CO of the 107th Training Squadron, goes down during a routine refresher flight, and the search for a new CO for the squad is on. Col. Kelly is tapped for the position. He is steamed that the Sea Dragons were broken up due to budget cuts, and though his initial reaction to working with new pilots is not a favorable one, he decides to accept the position. At the same time, however, he is being recruited by weapons firm to be an Executive Director, in the private sector, an offer he takes seriously. Major MacArthur Lewis (Hammer), the XO of the 107, tells his new pilots that they are members of the Sharpshooters, class of 9-98. The pilots include Alexandra Jenson (Ice), Tucker Henry (Spoon), Butch Barnes (Burner), and Alison Willis (Breaker). Breaker almost immediately reports to Kelly that she is concerned that Hammer has it out for she and Ice. Kelly tells her he'll keep an eye out. Ice tells Breaker that she wants nothing to do with it. Spoon and Burner go house-hunting and find the perfect place - but Ice would be their roommate. Though they have apprehensions about rooming with a woman, the prime beach-side location wins them over. Hammer tells Kelly that he thinks Ice will do fine, but that Spoon is good at the books but not on the simulator and Burner is great in the sim, but no good in book work. He also complains about Breaker going over his head to talk to Kelly. Kelly looks into Burner's background after he burns out on some sim flights; he tells Burner he has a chip on his shoulder because he grew up in foster homes and youth work camps. Burner asks Kelly to help him get through the training and focus better on his book work. Kelly agrees to try. Kelly also turns down the private sector job.

Burn Out
The nuggets are ready to try their first flight in their Hornets, but Burner is scratched by Hammer; Burner dumped a can of trash in the car of Benson Phelps, son of a local politician. Hammer agrees to let Burner fly, but he has to go through all of the training again. Kelly confronts Hammer about how he is treating Burner - Hammer agrees to give him a chance if Kelly will fly with him. But in the end, Burner asks Hammer to fly with him, so he can show Hammer he can do the job. Spoon's father and new girlfriend (Teri, who is younger than Spoon) come for a visit - his father says he intends to marry her, but she seems to have her eye on Spoon. Meanwhile, Spoon's father pushes him to quit the Marines and come work for him. Ice takes her Hornet up and has a perfect flight, but blows the canopy on landing, earning her an unsatisfactory from Kelly, and one of three possible strikes. She redoubles her efforts in studying - Breaker confronts her, asking if a man would have gotten a strike for her mistake. Ice tells Breaker she wants no part of her crusade. The instructors give Ice a new nickname - Pop Top.

Solo Flight
In her first solo flight, Ice does fine, until it is time to land. One of her engines catches fire - but Kelly is able to talk her down to the tarmac. Kelly has a few words with Cpl. Ed Williams, who prepped Ice's plane. Williams feels responsible for Ice's near-accident, but Kelly advises him to take the rest of the day off. Williams heads for The Bucket to play some pool, but when he loses, he throws a few chairs and is arrested. Kelly goes to talk to Williams' wife, who says it has been Ed's dream to become an officer and fly Hornets. He goes to bail him out of jail, and tells him he should pursue his dream. Burner is hurt jet skiing, and Kate has her masseuse, Dorta, help with his sore muscles. After a painful session, Burner is ready to fly, and turns in an impressive performance. Ice is wary after her flight; Kate talks to her and tells her to take it easy, have fun. Spoon's father invites him to lunch with Teri and he, but when he can't make it, Teri and Spoon take a romantic walk on the beach together. (Thanks to Viper for the details on this episode.)

Breaker has trouble flying too low in the simulated carrier deck landing, and Paddles gives her an unsatisfactory, but not a SOD (Signal of Difficulty). Hammer tells Paddles not to be afraid to give her an SOD if she deserves one. A reporter wants to do a story on Ice and Breaker, but Ice says no; under pressure from Ice, Breaker declines, too. Burner calls Breaker a bad pilot to her face, expressing out loud what a lot of the other nuggets are thinking. Kelly flies with Breaker and works with her to figure out why she's flying too low. Burner meets Dana Mason, and spends a lot of time with her - but learns she is the reporter doing the story on Ice and Breaker. He feels betrayed when she quotes him in her story -- a story which creates a lot of fallout in the squad. Meanwhile, Spoon and Teri discuss what happened between them, but instead of deciding to leave each other alone, they find themselves in each other's arms again. Distracted, Spoon lands on the wrong runway and get himself a SOD. Spoon's father is finishing up his business, and Teri must decide whether to tell him about her and Spoon. She decides to stay with Spoon's father.

Stand Down
Breaker continues to be razzed about the newspaper story, and Burner is itching to tell everyone he also talked to Mason... but he holds off. While Breaker gets ready to fly, Ice notices she has a cold, but Breaker tells Ice she's fine, not taking any medication that would affect her flying. While in flight, Breaker has hydraulic trouble, and has to shut down an engine. As she lands, she loses control - she ejects, but too low for her chute to open, and she dies. Kelly orders a stand-down while the investigation proceeds. He visits Mr. Willis, Breaker's father, to offer his condolences. Dana Mason also visits Mr. Willis, and at the funeral, Willis is hostile toward Kelly. He feels that the Marines gave her a raw deal, rode her too hard. Burner and Ice work through their own demons; Burner about the story, Ice that she had not supported Breaker enough. The investigation shows that the problem was mechanical; there was nothing Breaker could have done. Mr. Willis reads a letter Breaker wrote to him, telling him that she felt she had reached a turning point, that she was ready to try to take the chip off her shoulder and blame no one but herself for her failures, and go on to be a great pilot.

Raid on Osirak
Kelly's niece, Prudence, arrives in Pensacola to visit, but Kelly is called away on a mission. Spoon and Burner, in trouble for running into the mayor's car while dirt bike racing, are assigned to escort her. The college genetics student just wants to have a good time, but being who she is, Spoon and Burner endeavor to keep her out of trouble. Though they initially think her "psycho", she explains that she is always trying to live out of the shadow of her older sister. Kelly, meanwhile, is called to bomb the nuclear reactor in Osirak, Iraq. It is about to go online and can produce weapons-grade plutonium. Hammer is also selected to go on the mission - because of his experience in air-to-ground combat, Hammer is made the leader of the mission. He tries to get Kelly to quit the mission, afraid of losing him as he did Badger; but Kelly insists, and they practice the run until they get it right. Once over Iraq, Hammer's plane is hit, but only damaged - Kelly's bombs destroy the target and the two go home safe.

Burner, Spoon, and Ice are practicing mid-air refueling. As Burner returns to base, he buzzes the beach to impress some girls, and produces a sonic boom. This sets off a chain of events, from broken windows to a lost champion cat, and Kelly comes down hard on him, grounding him and scheduling an administrative hearing where his wings could be taken away. Burner insists he was not supersonic, and Kelly takes his plane up with a wingman, and when the wingman's machmeter reads supersonic, Kelly's plane is still subsonic. Technical problems notwithstanding, Burner still has to face the board. His seemingly sincere apology and willingness to accept the decision of the Board leads to a SOD and his restoration to training. Kate is in danger of losing the Bucket's liquor license after a minor is found to have been served. Kate realizes she is the victim of a push to "clean up the beach" and the desires of Jules Clegg, a councilman who wants to buy up a whole tract of beach front property. Kelly, who helped Kate set up the bar after Max, her fighter pilot husband died in the 1980's, speaks on her behalf, along with a couple dozen other Marines. The Council reinstates her license, foiling Clegg... for now.

The Red Baron
German pilot Major Dieter Rittman, Mongoose, joins with the Sharpshooters in an exchange program. He borrows Spoon's car, and Spoon freaks when Dieter brings the speed up to 90 mph on a narrow bridge and almost trashes the car. Dieter has his eyes on Ice, though she tells him she does not date other pilots in her squad. Dieter notices his hands shaking and gets a prescription from a local doctor. Burner and Dieter fly a mission, but while having a shaking attack, Dieter goes to low and has a near-miss with Burner, who refuses to fly with him again. Ice finds the pills and tells him he must ground himself, or she will tell Kelly. He tells her that when he ejected out of a Tornado during a Paris air show, he saved hundreds of spectators, but screwed up his back. He goes to Kelly's office, then sneaks out the back way, going up for one last flight. Hammer goes up to coax him down, but Dieter makes a nose-dive for the ocean, pulling himself up just in time. Spoon thinks Kate is trying to seduce him, but it turns out all the personal questions are to help plan his surprise birthday party.

A young man walks up to Hammer and informs him that he is his father. Chris tells Hammer that his mother, Amanda, whom Hammer had a relationship with 22 years ago, recently died of cancer, and he has tracked Hammer down from some photos and articles she kept about him. At first, Hammer is dumbstruck, but he eventually begins to like the idea. Chris, who is an auto mechanic, details Hammer's SUV, and then Kate's car. But Kate, Spoon, and Burner soon learn that Chris paid to have the detailing done, and they wonder what else he is lying about. Chris tells Hammer of his dream to open his own body shop, and Hammer volunteers to give Chris $20,000 to buy a shop. Burner tells Hammer about Chris, and he calls Amanda, who is still alive. He gives Chris the money anyway, and is pleased when Chris gives the check back. Amanda told him Chris was not his son, but that she'd used Hammer as a role model. Hammer tells Chris that he would still like to be his friend. Spoon and Burner volunteer to judge a beauty contest, but quickly look for a way out when the contestants find out who they are and start pestering them to vote in their favor.

Wild, Wild West
The Sharpshooters travel to Fallon, NV, for strike training. Kelly meets with an old associate, Will Tangent, call sign Jackal. Jackal runs the training base. He asks Kelly who the best nugget is; Kelly mentions several names of promising pilots, including Spoon. Jackal makes it a point to fly with Spoon, and during their flight, Jackal dogs Spoon hard, finally aborting his mission, saying Spoon was targeting the wrong target. Spoon disagrees, but goes up with Jackal again on a strafing run. Again Jackal aborts the mission, and gives Spoon a SOD during the debriefing. Hammer arrives to take over for Kelly, who goes to Washington for some ceremonies. Jackal tells Hammer that Spoon is dangerous and should be grounded. Kelly gets a call from Jackal's CO that Hammer is causing trouble at Fallon; Kelly returns to investigate. He talks to Spoon and Hammer and reviews Spoon's tapes; he was in the right and reverses Spoon's SOD. Gunner, the owner of a local bar that caters to the military, fills Kelly in on Jackal - he is hoping to take over Kelly's spot, and is trying to make Kelly look bad. Burner meets a girl, Marylyn, in Gunner's bar. He runs into trouble with Marylyn's abusive boyfriend, Monty, and the two end up fighting several times.

Class Strike
After two weeks at Fallon, it is time for the final exam - a class strike. Ice is chosen as the strike leader. Practices don't go off as well as she'd hoped; Hammer tells her that she is in charge now, she must be more of a leader, no matter what. The failures of the others reflect on her. Kelly tells her to have confidence in herself and her pilots; don't be afraid to lead. Spoon meets Gunslinger, an operator of one of the range's mobile SAM simulators. She drops him a hint that Jackal is not playing by the rules - he scouts out the SAM locations and finds that Jackal has had them moved. When Ice learns this, she starts to disseminate false information to all but her flight crew; one pilot who befriends her, Flex, delivers the misinformation right into Jackal's hands. When the time for the strike comes, and Ice deviates from her published flight plan, Jackal's tricks go down the tubes and the Sharpshooters score the course record. Burner continues to help Marylyn break away from Monty, even asking Gunner to put her up in a spare room. Monty is a sore loser and picks fights and even shoots at Burner. Though he offers to take her back to Pensacola with him, Marylyn decides to stay behind and try to find her independence.

Blue Angel
The Blue Angels return to Pensacola, and former Angel Frank "Ripper" Ranson is looking for fresh blood to join the team. He actively recruits Hammer, encouraging him to apply for the Marine slot on the Navy aerobatics team. Hammer is torn between his responsibilities with the Sharpshooters and the desire to hold one of the most prestigious aviator positions attainable. Kelly tells Hammer that he owes it to himself to apply, but in the end, Hammer realizes he has a more important mission training new flyers, and he stays (to Kelly's relief). Meanwhile, Ranson and Kate hit it off, mainly because Ranson reminds her of her dead husband, Max; Max was also a Blue Angel. Ranson takes Kate up in his vintage biplane, bringing her back to her days as a wing walker, and she is almost swept up in the romance of running off with Ranson; but she decides to stay, realizing her feelings are too wrapped up in memories.

The Sharpshooters take a group of kids on an adventure outing, and Burner takes a liking to Ronnie Lewis ... but Ronnie later goes missing, and the Marines start organizing search parties to find him. Before long, the local sheriff, Lamont Gibbs, and a TV crew also arrive on scene, as well as Ronnie's aunt, Joy Daley. Ronnie has been abducted by Wayne and Bonnie, who have been trying to get their hands on Ronnie for some time. Wayne, dressed in fatigues, leads Ronnie through the woods when they encounter a hiker - Bonnie shoots him. When the sheriff and Marines find him, he says that a Marine shot him and had "the missing kid". Bonnie calls in a ransom demand - $250,000. Ronnie is noteworthy because several years ago, his parents both died, and the community donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a truest fund for Ronnie. The ransom demand is broadcast and money starts to flow in. Kate sees Joy speak to Sheriff Gibbs and then sees file footage of Ronnie accepting his trust fund - Gibbs is there, standing behind Joy. Kate questions her about them. She admits knowing Gibbs, and helping him set up the kidnapping. Ice, Burner, and Spoon find the cabin where Ronnie is being held - Spoon is shot and limps back to camp. Burner is captured by Bonnie and Wayne, but he is able to help Ronnie escape. Ice takes him to safety. Gibbs goes to the cabin and Burner overpowers them all, but Wayne escapes, finds Ronnie, and holds a gun to his head. Kelly arrives on a chopper and convinces Wayne to give up Ronnie.

Ice's mother Lauren arrives in Pensacola, to Ice's dismay. She meets Kelly on the golf course. She tells Ice about the man she just met, and when Ice learns "the man" is Kelly, she makes her mother promise not to see him again. But she goes to lunch with him anyway, and Ice is furious. Lauren gets ready to leave, but goes to see Kelly one more time. He takes her into the radio room while Ice is in dog fighting (ACM) training and shows her that her daughter is good at what she does - she's not just doing it to spite her mother. Lauren tells Ice how proud of her she is. Spoon comes in for a landing after his dog fighting exercise, and flies too close to a civilian plane in restricted airspace. The plane crashes, killing the couple on board. Major Swinton arrives to investigate the incident, and Spoon feels like he is being put through the wringer. Burner tells Spoon he know what he is going through. When the investigation is over, Spoon is cleared, but he wants Swinton to apologize for what he'd been put through. Burner pulls Spoon away before he can make matters worse. A new nugget, Swamp, arrives. He is from a previous class, but needs more ACM practice.

Fox Two
A new IP arrives with the Sharpshooters: Capt Morgan Hickman (Rush), who has been an instructor at the Top Gun school. Burner is Rush's first student for ACM training. When Burner gets the best of Rush, Rush dips below the hard deck at 10,000 feet. Burner follows him under the deck and Kelly quickly calls the training off. Back on the ground, Kelly reams both pilots telling Rush that he needs to set an example and Burner that he should be keeping his mind on safety even if his IP does not. Rush signs Burner up for another round; Kelly thinks Rush wants to prove something to himself, or to Burner, but Rush insists he's learned his lesson. While dog fighting, Burner takes too many G's and his canopy develops a leak. Without his mask on, he quickly gets hypoxia, and starts flying erratically. Rush yells and screams at Burner to get his mask on; when he finally regains enough sense to hear Rush, he puts his mask on and they both land safely. Hammer's old XO, Pearly, has been reassigned from a Pentagon desk job to command a flight wing. He needs to requalify on the Hornet. After two IPs tell Hammer that Pearly can't handle the plane, Hammer takes him up himself. The flight is a disaster, and once they land, Pearly decides for himself that it is time for him to hang up his wings. Swamp tries meet a girl, but just as his ACM training is going badly, so are his social skills. Spoon and Burner ask Kate to talk to him, to boost his confidence; Swamp does most of the talking and when Kate tells him that all he needs to do is be himself, he regains his confidence and aces his ACM flight, and gets the girl.

Blue on Blue
Ice is "shot down" by an opfor pilot, Paco. She later meets him in a dance club and when she realizes it is he, she turns down his offer of a date - she doesn't date pilots. Burner makes it a point to repeat her rule to Swamp, who seems enamored of her. Ice gets several poems left anonymously in her locker. She assumes they are from Paco. Burner tells her to go for it - go out with him. It is soon obvious to her, though, that Paco did not write the poems. She gets a message from her poetry writer to meet her - the author is Swamp. Ice tells him that she is rethinking her rules. Spoon and Burner make the ACM training into a competition - is the learned pilot better than the gutsy pilot? Spoon shoots down Kelly when they fly together, though - a blue on blue incident. When Burner and Spoon go up as opposing forces, Spoon pushes his plan too far and goes into a spin - he is able to pull out at the last moment. Spoon's mind may have been elsewhere: Gunslinger arrives from Fallon to meet him, and they have a good time together... until Teri suddenly reappears - she has left his father. Forced to choose between the love that broke his heart, and his new opportunity, he chooses Teri, who agrees to move to Pensacola to be with him.

Cuba Libre
The Sharpshooters are in Key West for more ACM training. They hook up with a local Cuban exile group for some softball, and they're celebrating their game when word comes in that Cuban fighter have sunk a refugee ship. Worse, they later find out that one of the people who was killed was the uncle of Eric and Elena, two of their new friends. Eric and his friend Gustavo take a light plane to Cuba to try to rescue some refugees, but they are shot down in Cuban skies. Meanwhile, during ACM training, Paddles has to bug out of a mission when he hurts his back. He goes in for tests and learns he has a herniated disc, his second in five years. He fears this means the end of his career as a righter pilot. Hammer and Swamp go looking for him when he fails to show for duty - they find him in a bar, drunk; he starts a fight and even hits Hammer before he gets knocked out. The next morning, Hammer says that he needs to take his injury as a challenge, and face it like a Marine. While in the skies, a Cuban fighter approached US airspace. Kelly recognizes the pilot as Col. Diego Ruiz, whom he had met several times. NORAD Col. Drew Campbell arrives to debrief Kelly; he wants to know how Ruiz got through US defenses. During another hop, Ruiz turns up again. Kelly realizes he wants to defect; but when a Cuban squad heads their way, he does not head for the US - Kelly also realizes that he is distracting the Cuban military while his family escapes Cuba. Kelly has an unarmed four-ship squad challenge the Cubans; the Cubans blink and head home, and Ruiz flies back to Florida, to freedom. The arrival of Ruiz is a big boost to the Cuban exile community.

Back in Pensacola, the nuggets do some bombing run practice. While in the air, Burner spots a UFO - giving him the finger. The object turns out to be Clyde Donaldson, an old Vietnam vet who takes to the skies in his lawn chair attached to giant helium balloons. Kelly makes it a personal project to make sure Clyde can share his stories with a new generation of Marine. General Cassidy, a former CO of the Sharpshooters, is retiring, and Kelly throws his retirement party. He asks Kate to be his date; while at the party, Kate wonders aloud why they never go out with each other. Burner saves Lucy, a photographer, from a purse-snatcher. They spend some time together, but when she learns he's a Marine, she bolts. They meet later at a carnival and spend the day together. That night, when they kiss, she bolts again. When she fails to show for a date at the Bucket, Burner finds her and reaches out to her - he is falling in love. They go to her place and make love. Later, Ice spots Lucy shooting pictures of Cassidy and Kelly - and Lucy is wearing a Marine uniform and corporal's stripes. She is honor-bound to report that Burner is fraternizing with an enlisted. Ice confronts Lucy, who tells Ice that she is in love with Burner, and nothing else seems to matter. Ice tells her she's a Marine - that should come first. Burner waits for Lucy at the party, and she arrives in uniform. She tells him the truth. He feels betrayed and walks away. He later tells Kate that he is ready to risk everything for her, but Kate reminds him of her dishonesty. Lucy tells Burner she is ready to quit the Marines to be with him, but he tells her no - he can't trust her.

Touch and Go
The nuggets enter the final phase of training - FCLP, simulated carrier landings. Ice runs into Kelly's godson, Steven Raines, in the parking lot. He sees her later, and the two hit it off, culminating in the two of them spending a passionate night together. The next day, Steven goes to the airfield to observe Ice in her landings. During her run, a deer gets on the runway and she clips it. Fearing her landing gear might be damaged, Psycho orders her to make an arrested landing, her first. She lands fine, but the incident is too much for Steven as he realizes flying is her life. He breaks it off. Before he leaves for home, Ice goes to him, to give him one more chance to stay, but he tells her that if he were with her, he'd be second in her life. Ice is devastated. Teri pressures Spoon to move in with her, but he is reluctant. Spoon's father arrives to Spoon's surprise, but it gives Spoon the chance to tell his dad about Teri - but he already knew, because he'd sent a PI to find her. Spoon is furious and walks out on him. He tells Teri he is ready to move in with her, that his biggest block had been that his father did not know about them. Mr. Henry sees Spoon before he leaves - to tell him that he is proud of what Spoon has accomplished. Hammer and Martinez participate in a 96-hour sleep deprivation study; Hammer retains his composure, but Martinez is a groggy bundle of nerves by the end. Kelly buys a Porsche.

Mr. Henry drops two bombshells on Spoon: he is scared that Tucker will be hurt or worse on the carrier... and that he is dying of pancreatic cancer. The news makes Spoon seriously reconsider his plans. During night carrier landing practice, Ice does poorly; Kate tries to bolster her spirits, but a second bad night causes her to be scrubbed from the live carrier phase of training. Burner, however, does so well that he wins a bet with Kelly, who buys him a bottle of tequila. Navy Lt. Overhauser tries, in vain, to accustom the nuggets with the carrier's layout, with Burner giving him an especially hard time. Spoon tells Burner that he is considering dropping out of training; Burner rants about Mr. Henry, and Spoon counters with insults about Burner's family, leaving a general tension between them; Spoon keeps his father's cancer to himself. Kelly, Burner, Spoon, and Swamp head for the carrier. Kate, Ice, and Hammer cool their heels in the Bucket, and Hammer notices Ice having trouble seeing. He takes her up at night and determines she is slightly far-sighted, easily correctable with glasses. He sends her to the carrier. There, Burner sings the Navy hymn for Overhauser in exchange for a quiet stateroom. Burner and Spoon continue to feud. Burner almost gets sent back to the hard deck for flubbing too many landings, but he nails his last one.

Night Traps
Actress Kristi Blake arrives on the carrier, ready to research an upcoming role in a feature film. She plans to watch Ice to get a feel for her life - but Ice is less than impressed when Blake tells her the plot line of the movie, and knocks Kristi's appearance, demeanor, and attitude. Spoon tells Ice about his father; Ice asks him to tell Burner, but Spoon refuses. Psycho and Whiz worry about Swamp and Burner, afraid that their just-passing grades in day quals could lead to failure at night. Cpl Eddie Williams celebrates being accepted into OCS, but is so distracted by the news that he walks right into the path of Spoon's jet wash on the flight deck, knocking him out with a concussion. Spoon is shaken and he goes to Kelly to turn in his wings; but Kelly asks him to take a little more time to decide. Burner confronts Spoon about going off the flight list; Spoon tells him about his father, but Burner tells him to continue to challenge himself. With her glasses, Ice nails the night landing. Swamp is not so lucky - after a near crash, he is waved off and disqualified. Worse, Burner's plane has an engine fire; Spoon tries to talk him through emergency procedures, but his plane is too badly damaged, and it crashes, just after Burner ejects. The near loss of his friend prompts Spoon to finish what he started. Back in Pensacola, Kate and Kelly toast the class of 9-98; Burner hopped right back in the pilot's seat after the crash and qualified; Spoon, though, took the top score. Kristi Blake finds Ice and tells her that she has rethought her movie, and will be rewriting to portray her role more realistically.

Rules of Engagement
Kelly showcases his soon-to-be-graduated nuggets, but has a hard time convincing anyone to give Ice a good look. Spoon and Burner get invited to a happy hour for the Panthers, whose CO, Spider, has one slot to fill before heading for the Persian Gulf. He talks to both, but finds fault in both - he settles on Burner, though. But when Burner finds blood in his urine, Spider tells Spoon that if Burner is not able, he will take Spoon. Ice, meanwhile, tries to drown her sorrows in booze at Kate's; out of character, she is rude to Kate and tries to drive herself home. Hammer brings her home, though, and checks on her the next morning - he tells her that when he was a nugget, he had trouble getting CO's to look at him because he is black. He tells her he succeeded because he persevered, like she needs to. Jealousy between Spoon and Burner boils over, but the realization that their little family is breaking up makes Ice, Burner, and Spoon take stock. All of the angst and nervousness has the nuggets deliver horrible performances in their graduation exercise practices, but in the end, they prevail and knock the socks off the audience. Kelly and Hammer become the targets of terrorists looking for revenge for their attack on the Osirak reactor. Both are shot at, and FBI agents Margolis and Bigelow try to protect them - but Kelly's new Porsche is rigged to explode, and Kelly realizes it just in time to drive it out on a firing range, seconds before it explodes. At a final get-together at Kate's, Kelly and Hammer dole out the nuggets' flight assignments, with the results as yet unknown.

Season 3

Tip of the Spear
Kelly speaks to a friend, Jack Hightower, on a quick assignment in Egypt. While speaking, Hightower is killed by a car bomb, and Kelly begins to reassess his place in the military. After graduating another class of Nuggets, he asks Col Doug Drayton to be reassigned as Ace in the 18th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Hammer asks Kelly about taking a staff position in the same MEU, and Kelly tells him the opportunity is too good to pass up. When Kelly gets the nod, he calls Ice, Burner, and Spoon away from their current assignments to be on his team. The Aviation Combat Element of the 18th MEU is the Fighting Bandits, and will be in Pensacola for up to six months of training before deployment to the Middle East. Also on the team are Edward Turelli, Capone, a Cobra pilot with a family history of Mafia involvement, and Abigail Holling, a Huey pilot with the RAF on loan to the Bandits. Later, at a gathering at the Bucket, Kate gives Holling a nickname - Cricket. Capone offers a friend's house to Ice, Spoon, and Burner. Spoon's father takes a turn for the worse, and even when Spoon visits him, he refuses to go on chemotherapy for his cancer. Hammer in concerned about Spoon and voices them to Kelly. Kelly, though, thinks Spoon will be OK. When Spoon screws up a live fire exercise, though, Drayton himself asks Kelly about Spoon. Kelly is not happy that Hammer went behind his back to the Old Man, but Hammer reminds him that he has a new role now - he's not Kelly's XO anymore. Spoon does recover his wings, though soon after his father dies. Burner meets Sarah at the Bucket, and starts going to her church events with her.

Gypsy Tumble
Spoon's car is stolen in a gypsy tumble, when a young kid makes it look like Spoon hit his bike - his confederates steal the car when Spoon gets out to check him. Ice suggests Capone may have connections to find the kid and the car. Capone is able to locate the kid, and he is arrested. The police have to release him to his mother; Spoon and Capone talk to the mother, wanting to help Earvin (Magic) Schneider, as well as get Spoon's car back. When Magic doesn't come home, his mother asks that Spoon and Capone help find him - they do, just as he is being beaten by his gang members. Magic realizes that he is headed down a wrong path and manages to get Spoon's car back before he and his mother move away. Kelly's daughter Janine comes to town for a visit and meets and falls for Sgt. Dominguez, one of Kelly's troops. She does not tell Dom her father's name. Kelly taps Cricket to be the "corner man" for the Marines' entry in an upcoming boxing match with Navy. Janine later sees Dom, the boxer, win his match. Cricket tells Dom that Janine is Kelly's daughter, and is angry she may have ruined his career. In an effort to nip problems in the bud, Janine tells Kelly about them. Kelly tells Dom he has nothing to worry about. Burner is away trying to make his carrier qualifications. Col. Drayton suggests a new handle for Cricket: Mad Dog (after he saw her yelling at the referee in the match).

A Wing and a Prayer
Burner is aboard the USS John Stennis to requalify his carrier landing, but he is spooked by mechanical difficulties and another pilot's crash landing. Hammer and Kelly are on hand to watch his flight. But things turn bad when a storm system suddenly catches Burner and moves in on the Stennis. In Pensacola, Spoon and Ice move into the house provided by Capone. Spoon reminisces about his father, opening up to Ice. Ice asks him if she scares men away. One thing leads to another, and they begin to kiss. They are interrupted by someone looking for Louie, the previous occupant. Burner's plane is hit by lightning, and he loses most of his instruments and his radio reception. Ships in the area send up flares for him to see, but he misses them. Spoon and Ice are engaged in another embrace when Capone interrupts them to tell them about Burner. They rush to the base to get updates. Burner loses an engine and is out of fuel. The Stennis rushes to put itself in Burner's flight path, and he spots the deck, just in time. He lands safely, but has a new spiritual feeling, like someone higher than himself eased the storm and held his plane in the sky. Ice and Spoon reconsider taking their relationship to a new level.

Call to Glory
Burner comes home from his carrier training just in time for a major combined arms exercise, with air and ground forces working together. Ice is disappointed to be working on the ground, particularly since she would never work on the ground in real combat; but Kelly tells her the training is invaluable for a pilot. As Ice heads for her contact point, her truck explodes, injuring her and the other soldiers. Although she is OK, her arm is slightly injured, and she must prove it strength to the flight doc, Lt. Lawrence Brandon. Kate notices that Burner does not seem himself - he is upset that everyone is calling his incident heroic, when all he did was fly. He continues to grapple with his feeling that he's discovered a higher power in his life. Spoon presses Burner, who says that he can't figure out why he is still alive, why was he saved? He doesn't care about flying anymore. Spoon tells Burner that for as long as he's known him, Burner has been flying for everyone but himself. Spoon gets jealous of Ice and Dr. Brandon, who has been helping her recover - he has tried to forget what happened between them, but it is difficult. Burner goes to see his mother in a nursing home, and he tells her he forgives her, himself, and that he loves her. Burner turns in his wings, telling Kelly his heart isn't in it, and he hopes the Marines can find him a job working with disadvantaged kids.

Officers and Gentlemen
The pilots are getting survival training from Capt Ray Hartley, a member of the Special Operations Training Group. Col Drayton asks Kelly to host a party for General Barshack, to be given in honor of Senator Hickman, a strong supporter of Maine aviation; and he asks Kelly to bring a date. Hartley meets Kate at the Bucket and the two seem to hit it off - the next day, he shows up at the Bucket at closing time, inebriated. Kate offers to make him some coffee at her place, and Spoon sees them drive off together. But once there, Hartley rapes Kate. The next day, when Ice asks Kate for some relationship advice, Kate snaps at her. Kelly asks Kate to go to the party with him, and she declines. Hartley tells Kate to keep quiet about what happened. Ice confronts Kate, and she tells Ice she was raped, but not by whom. Ice and Spoon, meanwhile, try to find a new roommate - when Spoon mentions Hartley as a possibility, Ice puts two-and-two together and asks Kate if it was Hartley. Though she would not confirm it, Ice takes her information to Kelly. He confronts Hartley, who denies it. Kelly talks to Kate, who confesses she'd been raped before ... and felt raped again in court. Kelly promises it will be different this time, and she presses charges. Hartley is arrested. Kate takes Kelly up on his date offer. Capone invites himself to be Ice and Spoon's new roommate.

During a war exercise, several Stinger missiles are found to be missing. NCIS investigator Stoddard suspects a local neo-Nazi group with an inside connection. Cpl Dwight Schaeffer, new to the MEU, pulls Ice out of her burning fighter when a leaky hose spills fuel. Hammer pulls Schaeffer's burning shirt off his body and finds a swastika tattooed on his back. Stoddard suspects Schaeffer, but when it is found that the first stolen Stinger turned up before Schaeffer came on board, he is cleared. Stoddard wants to use him as an undercover operative, over Kelly's objections, but Schaeffer refuses. Hammer relates a painful story of a racial attack on him and his father to Schaeffer, just before recommending him for a medal. After Schaeffer's uniform is defaced, he attacks a black Marine; Kelly is furious. Lt Chadway, in charge of both, takes Schaeffer aside. He tells Schaeffer he stole the Stingers, and that he is going to do it again. Schaeffer wants to go, too. On the way out of the ammo dump, they are stopped by Stoddard. Chadway shoots himself and Schaeffer is taken under arrest. Kelly reveals that he knows Stoddard and Schaeffer are a team, using this tactic to ferret out people like Chadway. Schaeffer goes to Hammer to tell him he is doing this work to make up for past misdeeds, and he hopes Hammer understands. Capone moves in with Spoon and Ice just in time to meet Teri as she comes to visit. Ice sits through an uncomfortable lunch with her. Later, Spoon and Teri decide to give them selves a few days to see if they can work things out. Ice advises Teri that Spoon is worth the wait. Though they fight about each other's ability to commit, Spoon chases after her before she can leave, and they decide to keep working on their relationship.

Burke's Breech
An old Vietnam compatriot of Kelly's, Gen. Mitchell Burke, is now working as a civilian advisor. He is in Pensacola to help teach a tactic he invented, Burke's Breech. Combining land, air, and helo forces, the maneuver is designed to punch through an enemy stronghold. Capone is selected to work with the General at the exercise HQ. Capone worries when he hears Burke appear to flashback to Desert Storm, and when Burke orders helos too close to air-dropped explosives, Capone calls a checkfire, halting the exercise. Burke later tells Kelly that he called the checkfire, but Capone hesitated in relaying his order. After mulling it over by cooking some soup, Spoon and Ice convince Capone that he needs to tell Kelly the truth. When he does, Kelly confronts Burke, who accuses Capone of lying. Kelly goes to visit someone Burke served with in Kuwait and learns that they were exposed to nerve gas there. The effects may finally be showing on Burke. Kelly goes to see Burke when he learns Burke has resigned as an advisor. Kelly tells Burke he is his hero - Burke gives Kelly his personal weapon as a memento. Spoon thanks Kate for giving Teri a job at the Bucket while she's in town. Mad Dog is making a video for her folks in England, annoying everyone. But when a rival group steals Reggie, the MEU mascot, her video is useful in identifying the kidnappers, the 232 Warthogs.

Behind Enemy Lines
Ice and Spoon head to a convenience store for milk just as Bobby Tobin and his girlfriend Tracy enter to rob the store to get drug money. With Ice inside, Spoon sees the robbery and calls it in, and then tries to stop it armed with a baseball bat. His plan is foiled with a couple gunshots. Kate's electricity goes out when her jukebox trips the circuit - Kelly promises to help her clean up the melted ice on her floors. Headed home, he sees Spoon with some cops and stops. One of the hostages is an off-duty cop and when he draws his gun, Bobby shoots him. Once Bobby learns he's a cop, he prepares for the worst, even rigging the back door to explode. Bobby is in no mood to speak to police Lt Rohas, but Ice convinces him to talk to Kelly. Kelly asks if Capt Brandon can go in to look at the cop. When he arrives, he is dead, though Ice tells him to pretend he is alive - she also gives him a message about the back door. Ice tries to convince Tracy to give up, but she refuses, and Bobby smacks her around. The police try to rush the back door, but abort when Kelly figures out Ice's message - but the door blows anyway, injuring a cop. The mayor asks the Marines to send in a chopper for medevac, and Mad Dog flies in. Tobin thinks the helo is for him, and he exits the store with Ice. A sniper takes Bobby out. Spoon comforts Ice after the ordeal and takes her home. Capone learns of Kate's troubles and visits the local mob boss who handles jukebox and video game rentals. As a favor to his family, Capone asks Mr. Francetti to fix and modernize Kate's equipment.

True Stories
During an urban warfare exercise, protestors force a cancellation, and when one protestor falls off a bridge, Kelly's command chopper, piloted by Mad Dog, rescue the man. Kate introduces Mad Dog to country music when singer Gary Allan visits - Kate knows Allan from "the old days" when Max flew. Because of the delay, though, Mad Dog is not able to go to Allan's concert; so Kate arranges for Allan to play at the Bucket, specially for Mad Dog. Kelly informs Spoon that the 232 Warthogs are returning from deployment. He plans a "mission" to finally rescue Reggie, which goes off without a hitch. Capone's brother Johnny stops in for a visit. FBI Agent Harding meets with Capone and tells him that Johnny is mixed up with Russian mobster Antoine Marisovich. Johnny tells Capone that he was brokering some diamonds for Antoine, and discovered Antoine killed a customs agent to get the diamonds. The FBI wants Johnny to cooperate with them to bring in Antoine. Marisovich pays Capone a visit and threatens him, then goes after Johnny, though he eludes Antoine and his thugs. Johnny tells Capone about Antoine's girlfriend Katia, who was being beaten by Antoine. He gave her some of the proceeds from the diamond sales, which is why Antoine is so hot. Johnny and Capone agree to meet with Marisovich while wearing a wire. Capone asks Kelly for a little time off, and a little help. As the meeting proceeds, the Marines land and Antoine flees, only to be captured by the FBI.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell
A new pilot, Bear, screws up a bombing run when Ice is in command, though he convinces her not to report it - when Kelly finds out anyway, he is angry with Ice and makes Spoon the new flight leader. Joanna Killian, a photographer for Tryst, a men's magazine, arrives and uses the Bucket for part of her photo shoot. Kate introduces Joanna to Capone, who invites her to shoot at the beach house. Joanna spots Ice and becomes determined to have her in a pictorial. She also asks Teri to have a photo shoot. Spoon's old college buddy Jack Maxfield arrives in Pensacola. He has a new job and wants Spoon to show him the town. Spoon is surprised by a call from Jack from jail - he was picked up for soliciting. He is even more surprised when Jack tells him the undercover cop he tried to pick up was a man. Spoon is angry with Jack for lying to him for years about being gay. When Bear again screws up his bombing run, Spoon lets his anger about Jack overflow; and when Teri asks if it is OK if she does the nude photo shoot, Spoon is too distracted by Jack's situation to know what he is agreeing to. Jack asks Spoon to be a character witness for him at his hearing, and Spoon refuses. After a talk with Capone, though, he tracks Jack down at the bar and agrees. As they leave the bar, they are attacked by a biker gang, and Spoon's photo turns up in the paper. Bear submits the story to a Marine board, though they dismiss any charges against Spoon - Kelly is not so nice with Bear, though, and has him transferred out of the MEU. Joanna takes candid photos of Ice for use in the magazine and despite Ice's pleading and threats, she intends to publish them. Ice agrees to do an interview, but only if Joanna will do another photo shoot - one of her in her flight suit, instead of in a bikini. Jack is fired from his new job after appearing in the paper, and he and Spoon bid each other farewell, as friends.

On the Tee
Private Andrews takes unexploded ordinance from the firing range, to the horror of his friend Private Frank Sully. He later stores it in the armory, though Sully does convince him to take the ordinance back to the range after closing. Mad Dog and Capone head for the golf course, and invite Spoon, who was left behind when the other pilots went on a ferrying mission. On the links, Abby is called back to do a weapons inventory. Spoon and Capone go to help. While all are in the armory, one of the unexploded rounds blows up, killing Sully and injuring Spoon and Mad Dog. Capone, who was taking a break outside, tells Kelly that the others are still inside - but since they do not know what else might be inside, they cannot be taken out. EOD sandbags and explodes a round, and start work on another. While Hammer talks to the local press, Kelly goes to see his people, and Mad Dog awakens. He asks her to check Spoon - she finds him not breathing. She does CPR to revive him, and notices that another round is laying on Spoon's leg. Capone confronts Andrews, whom he had noticed earlier - Hammer joins them and Andrews tells them both how many rounds there are. With just the two rounds left, EOD takes them out for destruction, and Mad Dog and Spoon are carried out, hurt but OK.

Five years after Max's death, Kate goes through some of Max's old things, and finds a key to a safe-deposit box that she had never known about. When she opens it, she finds $20,000 in canceled checks and two plane tickets from San Diego to Saigon. She hires an investigator and flies to San Diego to find out who Ma Ling Dim is, the woman the checks were made out to. The investigator tracks down the deposit account, and Kate learns that Ma Ling, now known as Mary, was not a lover - she is Max's daughter. Kate finds Mary working as a doctor, and tells her about Max. She had been told that Max promised to return for her mother, who died in Vietnam. He also promised to take Mary back, to visit her mother's grave - but he never came. Kate tells Mary that he couldn't, because he died just before he would have left. Hammer, Kelly, and Ice ferry some replacement Hornets to the 23rd MEU - when they arrive on the Eisenhower, an Agent Woodson tells them of a mission they need to fly - a terrorist is building a nuclear weapon, and they need to take out the factory. The information about the factory partially came from John Hightower, Kelly's old buddy. The factory is thought to have missile radar operational, but no missiles yet. Hammer plans and runs the mission, as Kelly and Ice go up to scout the location. The original location is a decoy, and just as Ice's weapons computer malfunctions, they stumble upon the real site. MiGs are scrambled and a dog fight ensues - Kelly splashes one and Ice is able to bluff the second into bugging out. A second team swoops in to destroy the factory. With his fifth kill, Kelly is officially an Ace. On the Ike, Ice meets up with Psycho, her old IP, and they reminisce about her nugget days and about Burner leaving piloting.

Article 32
With Ice away tending to her ailing mother, tragedy strikes the 18th MEU. Capt. Craig Benedict, a helo pilot, walks into Kelly's office, shoots his aide, and holds his gun on Kelly. When MPs arrive, Benedict ejects his magazine, clears the chamber, and holds the empty gun up at the MPs, who shoot him dead. Surprisingly, it is Kelly who is blamed, and he is brought up in an Article 32 hearing, for grievous misconduct. Kelly's lawyer, Major Granger, tries to get Kelly to be more aggressive in his defense, but Kelly insists the truth will prevail. Capone tells of a time before the shooting that Benedict complained that Kelly was pushing him too hard - and in flight, the two nearly collided. Kelly washed Benedict out of the MEU after that. Benedict's mother, a US Congress woman, testifies that Craig sent letters to her about Kelly, noting how he admired him yet was troubled by Kelly's beratings. Maddog tries to relate a story about how Craig acted like a spurned teenager when she turned him down for a date, but the testimony is of little help. Spoon's recollection of a mutual friend at Quantico bears fruit, however. He says the friend remembers Benedict getting a very bad psych evaluation nearly predicting his behavior. The report, however, is gone. Col Walters, the presiding officer, is able to track down the report and recommends that the case be dismissed. Benedict's mother swallows her pride and comes to Kelly to apologize for what Craig put him through.

At Poverty Level
Kelly and Hammer are impressed with the skills of EOD Lance Corporal Tom Gibson. Ice, however, sees him in a different light. While shopping at the PX, she sees Cathy Gibson try to shoplift a coloring book for her daughter. She convinces Cathy to put the book back and drives the pair home, to learn that she and her family live in poverty conditions. Dr. Brandon asks Ice out on a date, but before he can go, he treats Cathy for a black eye - he suspects spousal abuse, though but Cathy and Corp. Gibson deny it. Kelly talks to Gison who describes their financial situation, and that the stresses let his temper flare and he caused Cathy to fall, though he never hit her. Kelly decides he needs to help Col. Drayton in Washington, as Appropriations Committee hearings. He hooks up with Ali, an old flame, who now works for Sen. Hemmings, chair of the committee. Though his chances seem slim (and an act of aggression by North Korea makes a new weapons system seem more important than a pay raise), he does get his hearing and flies Gibson to Washington to offer up his story. Cathy goes to see Ice and tells Ice her wounds were an accident, and tries to get her to convince Dr. Brandon to drop his charges. After Gibson saves Hammer's life by pushing him out of the way of a runaway truck, Brandon starts to think he may have misjudged Gibson. Before he leaves Washington, Kelly and Ali discuss possibly continuing a rekindled relationship.

Spoon's Hornet has a malfunction on a training run, and only quick thinking by maintenance Sergeant Bobby Franklin lets Spoon get his gear down for a safe landing. When Miss Taples, of Pensadyne, examines the circuit board, it is found that it is defective - though the logs show that Franklin himself swapped out the board for a new, fixed version. Kelly has to place Franklin on relief pending investigation, though he insists he changed the board properly. Franklin's sister, Julie, arrives to support her brother, and to represent him as his lawyer. She accuses Hammer, Kelly, and the Corps of placing the blame on Bobby because he is black. Taples examines boards from other Hornets and discovers that they are counterfeit - a search of Franklin's locker reveals a board in his toolbox, and he is arrested. Franklin insists he did not do it, and tells Kelly he can prove it - they check the boards again and arrest Taples when they find her fingerprints on them. She was swapping out the boards and selling them, and leaving behind a paper trail to implicate Franklin. Julie drops the suit and she and Hammer agree to try to hook up the next time she's in town. Teri is upset about Spoon's near-accident, and when he tells her his father's estate is seriously screwed up, she offers to review it. She contacts Mr. Janock, an old friend of TH, who agrees to bail out the estate, ensuring Spoon's mother will have an adequate inheritance. He asks Teri and Spoon to come work for him, but Spoon refuses to resign his commission despite Teri's best efforts. She takes the job, leaving their relationship behind. Meanwhile, with Kate still in San Diego, her niece Megan is watching The Bucket.

Crash Test
Janine is in an accident in Baton Rouge, and Kelly rushes to be at her side. He learns that she has a concussion, and also had a miscarriage, the first he knew of any pregnancy. He asks Janine to go to a camp with him, to spend some time together, though he can only get a 48-hour leave from Drayton. He asks Janine to bring his satellite phone, but she leaves it behind so they cannot be disturbed. Flying a rented plane to the camp, engine trouble forces the plane down. Kelly wounds his knee, though Janine is OK. They set out to reach a highway, but Janine starts to cramp and bleed, so they head back to the plane. They talk about her pregnancy and their relationship as father and daughter. After Hammer is unable to reach Kelly after his pass expires, they set out to find him. Hammer, Ice, and Capone find the pair when Kelly sets a signal fire at the sound of the chopper. In training, Ice joins a hostage rescue team to see how they work, and in a live-fire exercise, she blows away a "hostage." In the next exercise, the "hostages" will be real people, and she worries about hurting someone. But in the end she perseveres and helps "save" the hostages. When setting rat traps, Capone finds bones under the beach house. He worries they might be victims of one of his mob family members, but police analysis show that the bodies were stolen cadavers, buried years earlier in a fraternity prank.

Pensacola Shootout
As Ice and Spoon prepare for the Pensacola Shootout, an annual dog fighting competition, Samantha Hollings arrives on base. An old friend and rival of Kelly's, Hollings is now a recruiter for NASA, and is on base to find a woman pilot for the astronaut corps. Spoon asks Kelly about Hollings, and he tells Spoon she is only looking for women, dashing his long-held dream of being an astronaut. In the Bucket, they meet Blaze and Law Boy, the returning champions from the Air Force. Though they all make nice, Blaze is a tough nut, and tries to get into both Ice's and Spoon's heads. The tension spikes when Spoon takes Blaze out and back to the beach house, where Ice sees them together. The pressure mounts when the competition for the astronaut slot between Blaze and Ice hits the newspapers. But on the day the four meet in the sky, Ice tells Spoon that they need to talk about "us," and admitting that takes some of the edge off. In the end, the Marines win the trophy for the first time in five years, and Hollings offers Ice the slot. Ice, however, turns her down, saying she sees her future in the sky, not in space. Hammer is concerned for Megan and her drinking habits - he challenges her to not drink for three days. She is able to go a whole shift without a drink, but can't wait to open the bottle at the end of the day. Hammer bails her out of jail after she wrecks her car. She tells him she's afraid she'll lose herself if she admits that she's an alcoholic - but Hammer convinces her she might find herself, too, and he drives her to an AA meeting.

Answered Prayers

Return to Glory
With a civil war brewing in the Central American nation of San Filipe, the President puts the MEU on alert - an officer from the MEF Special Operations Group comes to brief the MEU - none other than Capt. Butch Barnes. Ice is pleased to see her old friend and asks him to stay at the beach house while Spoon is away on CQ; Capone is none too pleased about that, though, and he and Burner have a confrontation in the kitchen, with Capone finally dressing Burner down for turning in his wings. Burner moves out, though Ice makes sure he knows that she is proud of him for the decision he made. Burner tells Ice that he was able to work with disadvantaged teens through the Marines for a while, but he missed the action and eventually joined Spec Ops. Kelly worries about upcoming promotion boards - this will be his third time up for full-bird colonel, and if he misses this chance, he'll be up for retirement instead. After drug boss Emilio Daohas has an international arrest warrant issued for his actions in San Filipe, the President activates the MEU. Capone's gunner, Ski, announces that he is finally engaged, just before a training mission. Capone and Ski take their Cobra up, despite the fact that Capone is worried about an odd engine noise. Later, the noise reappears and the Cobra falls to the ground. Ski is badly hurt, though Capone walks away. Capone blames himself, though Ski, when he regains consciousness, tells Capone it was not his fault. Ski later dies in his sleep. Capone tells Kelly he cannot complete the mission, but Kelly gives him a day to think about it. He later talks to Burner, who tells Capone that there is no magic answer as to "why" things are the way they are - you can only do what's best for you and move on. Capone decides to carry on. Hammer worries aloud that the Cobra incident could be used against Kelly in promotions. Megan and Burner hit it off, though he misses a lunch date when the helo crashes. They go for a walk and she abruptly kisses him ... then abruptly runs off. He finds her later and, to her pleasant surprise, asks her out again. Kelly asks Burner to stick around and act as his Special Operations officer while the MEU's officer is away on emergency leave, ensuring Burner will be helping coordinate the San Filipe mission.

Casualties of War
The mission to San Filipe is a go, and the Marines quickly find and arrest Daohas ... but in the fire fight that ensues, Spoon shoots a young rebel and Burner gets pinned down and left behind. The political situation makes it difficult for Kelly to launch a rescue, with his contact, Stewart, reminding Kelly that San Filipe's president Rias needs to be able to say that Daohas has been captured and that the Americans have pulled out. Burner evades capture, but when he attempts to fix his water-logged radio equipment, he is captured. Kelly and Hammer communicate with Burner via rudimentary radio signals before his capture, proving he is alive and well, and a rescue is approved - Capone offers to fly a Huey to make up for an injured pilot. Ice and Spoon turn to each other to allay their fears about Burner. Hammer asks Spoon about the mission and Spoon is angry about the rebel he had to kill. Hammer reminds him that if Spoon hadn't killed the rebel, he'd be dead ... and that if he didn't care, he wouldn't be bothered by what happened. Buoyed slightly, Spoon estimates where Burner would go for pick up. Ice and Spoon fly to provide close air support. When choppers fly overhead, Burner manages to escape the rebels. The rescue team finds him being chased down by rebel troops, but a few strafes from Ice and Spoon aid Burner in reaching the Huey and lifting off to safety. Later, Burner meets the crew in the Bucket before moving on to his next mission.


SOCEX: Final Exams
While Col Drayton and Kelly inspect an oil rig to be used in the MEU's SOCEX (a final exam, of sorts), Drayton injures his leg while climbing a ladder. He tells Kelly that he cannot command the MEU through the SOCEX; Col Bradley "Thor" Nathan has been tapped for the job. Hammer and Nathan went through school together, with a healthy rivalry pushing at them, and Nathan asks Hammer if that past will affect their working relationship. Hammer inspects the oil rig and suspects Drayton's fall may have not been an accident. The day of the exercise, a count of the "terrorists" the MEU is to overpower is off and Hammer calls the SOCEX off for safety reasons. Nathan is livid that the SOCEX was canceled, a black mark on the MEU's record. Hammer suspects Ra Udin, the terrorist who killed Jack Hightower might be behind the run of bad luck - a suspicion confirmed when the MEU is waiting for the Secretary of Defense to review their ranks and a terrorists tries to shoot him. In Nathan's final report, he places undue blame on Kelly and Hammer, enraging Drayton, who feels Nathan has it in for them. He vows to fight Nathan. Ice is angry with Spoon that he has spent a great deal of time on overseas calls with Teri. While on the Truman getting ready for the SOCEX, Ice and Spoon discuss their feelings for each other, and end up kissing on the fantail; they are spotted and reported, and Kelly reminds them that such behavior will not be tolerated. Kate returns with news that she has been asked to marry a boyfriend she met in San Diego. Though she seems happy, Megan points out that it is out of character for her, causing Kate to second guess her choices - she and Kelly talk about themselves. Kelly tells her that his feelings about her should be obvious, and they kiss. The gang all meet at the beach house for a grand dinner put on by Capone, with Kelly's promotion in the air, Kate and Kelly's relationship in doubt, and Ice and Spoon's feelings unresolved.

In a departure from my norm, I'm presenting a list of links to sites related to PWOG; basically, the other shows I chronicle have a huge following, and as a fan of PWOG, I would like to see the PWOG fan base grow. Use these links to introduce yourself to the show and other fans.

Season 1 Sites

Season 2/3 Sites

Last Modified: 08 Aug 2001
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