Benjamin B. Whitledge Quotes in No Time for Sergeants (1958)
Benjamin B. Whitledge Quotes:
[reading from inductee questionnaire]
Benjamin B. Whitledge: You ever had R.O.T.C.?
Will Stockdale: No... , but Irvin did! Close to a year of it. He's so 'ornary I think he still might have a touch of it.
Benjamin B. Whitledge: No, Will. R.O.T.C. ain't a disease, it's trainin'... Reserve, Officer's, Training... ,uh... Corporation!
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Our post was the tail of the plane and nobody told us to quit it!
Will Stockdale: But the tail was on fire, Ben! Our post was a-quittin' us!
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Every man in my whole family's been in the infantry, clear back to my great-grampa. You know what he done?
[Will shakes his head "no"]
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Fought with Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville, that's what.
Will Stockdale: [laughs] Licked him good, too, I bet!
Will Stockdale: Hey, Ben. Maybe you'll get to like the Air Force. Zoomin' all over the sky - and shouting, "Roger" and "Wilco" and everything. Maybe it won't be so bad.
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Bad? You know what they call men in the Air Force?
[Will shakes his head "no"]
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Air man! Like somethin' out of a dang funny book! Air man! How you gonna like it when somebody calls you "Air man"?
Will Stockdale: By dog, I just don't think I'll stand for it.
[Will and Ben have made it back to the base and see the troops massed on the field]
Will Stockdale: How 'bout that. It's some kind of real big ceremony.
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Look... the flag - it's at half-mast. It's a funeral ceremony, that's what it is! Lt. Bridges and them others they didn't get out of the plane. Now we got that on our heads, too.
Will Stockdale: Aw, now, Ben, they warn't so easy-going they wouldn't know they was on fire!
[Will and Ben are waiting in the General's office and hear the ceremony over the P.A]
Voice of announcer: General Bush has just taken his place on the reviewing stand. And now the four lieutenants who braved the atomic blast and will receive the air medal are bravely mounting the platform.
Benjamin B. Whitledge: The lieutenants? They're alive! They're gettin' medals! They're heroes!
Will Stockdale: Gollee!
Benjamin B. Whitledge: If we'd a stayed on the plane, we'd been heroes.
Voice of announcer: It is a solemn moment, ladies and gentlemen. The many visiting dignitaries standing at attention; the flag at half-mast in honor of the two men who gave their lives in Operation Prometheus: Privates Stockdale and Whitledge.
Benjamin B. Whitledge, Will Stockdale: [together, in unison] Stockdale and Whitledge?
Voice of announcer: Yes, Stockdale and Whitledge... names that will live as long as men are free.
Will Stockdale: We are heroes, Ben!
Benjamin B. Whitledge: But we ain't dead!
Will Stockdale: Well, that makes it even better don't it?
Benjamin B. Whitledge: They think we're heroes and we're a couple of rotten, no-good deserters.
Will Stockdale: [laughs] Gollee, will they be surprised!
Benjamin B. Whitledge: They'll kill us - that's what they'll do - they'll kill us!
WAF Captain: [Ben shakes Will. The captain feels something is wong with him as he stares slack-jawed] What's the matter with this guy? Have you been drinking?
Benjamin B. Whitledge: No. No, sir.
Benjamin B. Whitledge: [to Will] Get at attention, Will!
[Ben pulls the stunned Will up by his belt]
WAF Captain: We're sendig this to school?
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Yes, sir... ma'am! If he passes the eye test, he'll be goin' to gunnery school.
WAF Captain: As what? A target?
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Yes, ma'am!
WAF Captain: Let's have no more rowdy-dow. Understand? No more!
Benjamin B. Whitledge: [to Will after the captain walks away] What's the matter with you anyhow? Don't you know enough to come to attention and salute an officer?
Will Stockdale: She was a woman!
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Sure she was. Ain't you ever heard of the Women's Air Force?
Will Stockdale: You mean they got one too?
Benjamin B. Whitledge: Sure!
Will Stockdale: Against ours?
Benjamin B. Whitledge: No, Will, they're with us. They're with us 100%.
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