Elmer Doolittle is in the navy, and has just been taken out of the brig and put back to work. His tough commanding officer has vowed to “make a sailor out of him or die in the attempt.” While everyone else is training, he is still learning to “about-face” and tie various knots. He fails at these and is put into the brig twice. Moreover, Elmer fails at getting in line for lunch, and further rouses the ire of the jealous commander when he tries helping his girlfriend with her shoes.
After being put in the brig again because of an incident involving a cannon and a pie, Elmer sees the girl by the shore and tries impressing her with rifle-bearing skills, only to accidentally throw the commander and chief gunner into the water. Elmer rescues the gunner and is awarded a medal of honor for doing so. He runs into the girl afterwards and tries helping her again. His commanding officer gives him his commendation, certifying him as a sailor. However, the shoe drops out from his pocket and he’s chased back into the brig, where the girl is waiting for him. — Nick Ciccone