Veteran seaman Quinton McHale is commissioned into the Navy Reserve at the start of WWII. He becomes Skipper of Torpedo Patrol (PT) Boat #73, stationed on the island of Taratupa in the Pacific. Assigned to his command are six free-spirited, good-hearted swabbies who love to have fun. McHale and his men are constant irritants to their base commander, Captain Wallace B. Binghamton. Binghamton is forever trying to find a way to get rid of McHale and his rule-bending crew, while McHale & Co. are forever scheming to keep him from succeeding. Despite their hilarious party-boy shenanigans and utter disregard for Navy regulations, when duty calls, the crew of PT 73 does its job and does it well.