Specialist Fourth Class Philip Lawson arrives in Vietnam after
re-enlisting with the promise of assignment as a helicopter
door-gunner. But when he arrives in country he is assigned as a
replacement to a mechanized infantry company and his dreams of
action in the sky over Vietnam evaporate in a haze of red dust and
sweltering humidity. Phil sets out with a youthful desire to prove
not only who he is to himself, but also to earn the confidence and
respect of the more experienced men around him. It's not long
before action finds him and he discovers the immense physical,
psychological and mortal toll he must face to gain his comrades'
respect and quiet his own lurking fears. The misery and daily quest
for survival are leavened by the combat soldiers' unbreakable bond,
and a cast of eccentric pets and mascots that ride the M113
"tracks" with the mechanized grunts. But further complicating
Phil's life is the unexpected arrival in the combat zone of Captain
Paul Lawson, the domineering older brother whose influence he has
been trying to escape for years. During his R&R in Sydney,
though worried that the war may have forever hardened and
brutalized him, Phil finds love and the promise of a bright new
future-if he can survive his tour of duty. Ultimately he must fight
alongside the hardened soldiers who will become his brothers,
against an unseen and ruthless enemy to earn the coveted Combat
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