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Mistaking a mock air raid over New York City for the real thing, the befuddled Bowery Boys, Whitey, Butch, Chuck and buffoonish Sach, march down to the local Army recruiting office and enlist. When the boisterous and bumbling Slip Mahoney, their erstwhile leader, arrives at the boys's hangout, a soda parlor in the Bowery, proprietor Louie Dumbrowsky reveals the boys's sudden attack of patriotism. Determined to save them and the Army from one another, Slip arrives at the recruitment office demanding to know where the "incompetent infants" are. The perturbed officers trick Slip into enlisting and all five are sent to basic training camp in Stockton, where the boys infuriate the by-the-book Sergeant Frisbee with their antics. After complaining about their ill-fitting uniforms, Slip happens upon better clothes and the well-dressed group, now mistaken for new officers from Fort Bragg, are directed to the Officer's Club, where they keep up the hoax by blundering through the other officers' questions. When Frisbee announces that uniforms have been stolen, the imposters try to tiptoe out of trouble, but the ruse is uncovered and the five are sentenced to the guard house. Meanwhile, the lonely Louie misses the noisy boys and resolves to join the Army again, but the recruitment officers refuse to enlist the old man, even after he describes his fighting past in boisterous detail. Back at Stockton, frustrated by the boys' mischief, Frisbee runs through the rudiments of basic training with Colonel Hatfield, who has offered to be the guinea pig to set the example for the boys. Unable to complete even the simplest arms routine without offending the ranking officer, however, the five are thrown into the guard house again. At the soda parlor, an FBI officer visits Louie, requesting that he go to Washington to attend to important government business. Scared that his taxes are to blame for the invitation, Louie agrees to go and is instead asked to assist in flushing out enemy saboteurs at Army camps. Colonel Masters introduces a plan using the inventor of the hydrogen death ray as bait for the spies and reveals to the Pentagon officials that Louie is the ray's inventor. Advanced to major, Louie is immediately sent to Stockton to begin the assignment. Now serving as Stockton's wait staff, the boys discover Louie is among them when Hatfield holds a testimonial lunch to introduce the inventor, and the surprised boys dump soup on all those gathered. Once again the boys are sentenced to the guard house, but Major Louie, using his new authority, frees the boys and has them assigned as his orderlies. No sooner does he tell them that only he knows the missing key to the hydrogen ray than his secretary, the sexy blonde undercover agent Marsha Levers, having eavesdropped on the conversation, rushes out to share the news with two other spies, the gentlemanly foreign-born Decker and Conroy, at their desert hideout. Hatfield warns Louie of the danger, and Louie, distracted by his feared fate, hands cash to the boys to take five female officers out on the town. The boys are interrupted in their romantic adventure by Frisbee, who sends them off crawling, stumbling and weaving their way through an Army obstacle course. The five female officers are left waiting, incensed that they have been stood up by privates. Later that night the exhausted boys are assigned sentry duty and accidentally enable the two spies to take Louie at gunpoint. However, within minutes the boys realize the predicament when they remember Louie's last words, "routine 11," are a code for kidnapping. The boys jump in a jeep, drive off the grounds and, after unsuccessfully grilling a talking donkey about the whereabouts of their friend, stumble upon the spies's hideout and surprise them while they are trying to slap the formula out of Louie. Marsha arrives soon after and Sach, having been left alone guarding the captured spies, hands the gun to Marsha so he can join the others. When the boys return to the room, the spies threaten to pick them off one by one if Louie does not reveal the secret formula. After Louie calls out for a "routine 6," antics ensue and two vases come crashing down, knocking the spies out. Upon their heroic return to camp with spies in tow, the boys are awarded medals for acting way "beyond the call of duty." However, as the boys had to go AWOL in order to save Louie, Frisbee marches them straight back into the "clink."