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In 1918, millionaire playboy Perry Townsend III drives into the Brooklyn Navy Yard to enlist and knocks over the guard at the gate, Joe Duffy. After Rear Admiral Joseph Maitland assigns him to be chief engineer on the submarine chaser 599, Perry helps start a stalled truck driven by attractive Susan Leeds, and as he reaches inside, casually touches her leg. Duffy tries to make a date with Perry's companion Anne, and when Anne sees Perry's interest in Susan, she drives off. Perry gets a ride with Susan and learns that she works on her father's freighter, the Maria Anne , which delivers munitions. While Perry is disappointed in the small wooden subchaser to which he is assigned, he quickly makes friends with the crew, who have developed laxity into a way of life. They go to a saloon, where Perry finds Susan with her father's first mate McAllister, a rude, religious fanatic. Perry has McAllister paged to take a phone call, and then he takes Susan to the Ritz Roof, where they find Duffy dancing with Anne. Afterward, at her cabin, when Susan kisses Perry goodnight, her stern father, Captain Leeds, warns Perry not to see his daughter again and then kicks Perry down the stairs. Admiral Maitland assigns as commander of the subchaser Lieutenant John C. Drake, who has been found guilty of negligence for letting a destroyer run aground on rocks. Maitland allows him four experienced men to make real sailors of the others. Drake immediately orders the crew to clean the ship and Perry to get a regulation uniform. Perry complains to the admiral, who tells him that the Navy has little patience with "pull" and advises him to go back and be a good sailor. Before they go to sea, Perry asks Susan to wait for him and kisses her through the porthole of her father's freighter. Captain Leeds, upset that Perry has given Susan a necklace, throws Perry down despite his protestations that he loves Susan. The subchaser's assignment is to escort the convoy, including Leeds's freighter, to Italy. When a U-boat tries to attack the Maria Anne , the subchaser torpedoes it, but rather than rejoice, the men solemnly salute the enemy men buried at sea. At the port of Brindisi in Italy, Perry gets a message to Susan to meet him at a hotel, where he tells her that he has arranged to marry her in a half hour. Her father and McAllister interrupt them, and after McAllister carries Susan away, Leeds throws Perry down again. After the chaplain shows Leeds a marriage license and proves that Perry really did intend to marry Susan, Leeds goes aboard the subchaser to talk to Perry. Meanwhile, Drake tells his crew that the enemy sub known as "Old Man 26" has just sunk its thirty-first ship. Drake has asked permission to go after it, and all the men volunteer to go on this dangerous mission. When Leeds arrives, Perry knocks him out, and Leeds is stuck on the ship as it pulls out. When he revives, he offers to work in the engine room with Perry. After a surveillance boat makes its way through a mine field and locates the sub ashore, a battle ensues during which Leeds rescues Perry and the sub is sunk. Leeds then gives Perry back the marriage license and shakes his hand. Later, as Susan, her father and the chaplain await Perry for the wedding, a crewman arrives with a note from Perry saying that they are sailing for Malta immediately. The Maria Anne then sails alongside the subchaser, and Perry enlists his fellow crew members to yell to Susan, "Do you love me?" and "Will you wait for me." She has her father and the disheartened McAllister yell back "Yes," and they plan to meet in Gibraltar.