Please rise for the rendering of military honours.
Firing party, fire three volleys.
Take a breath. Stand by.
This is patrol. We've got a couple of people hit here.
They struck two. I've got, er... a para-medevac here took two rounds in the chest.
The other, he's got one round in the arm, right arm.
What's going to be the ETA back to, er, death stop?
It looks like we might make it in about seven minutes. We'll push it.
This trail... trail's down to about nine.
Okay, let's get that guy aboard.
Roger that. I'm on you.
Let's get him on and get out.
Er, we can't take anybody else out here.
Make sure that guy doesn't get on.
Medevac's down. Medevac's down.
Roger. We got one down.
Guidon. Parade, hut!
On behalf of the President of the United States, please accept this flag in recognition of your loved one's faithful service.
Ma'am, on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the Army, and the Army Arlington Ladies, we extend to you our deepest sympathies, and God bless you.
Dear Sarge, maybe this is my last letter to you.
I feel that it is.
I lost three men today, three of my good ones.
But that's the way it is, isn't it?
You always lose the good ones.
What do I tell their folks?
What would you tell my wife?
As for me, it's funny, but I always thought I'd been here before.
I've been a soldier all my life, Sarge.
I mean it, all my life.
Even when I was a kid.
Well, I'm here, but it's all wrong.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Sure, there was going to be blood and sacrifice and... and death.
I knew that, Sarge, but not like this.
You tried to tell me how it was.
Right from that very first day, you tried.
But I was so young, so sure I had the answers.
Well, I don't think I have the answers any more.
All I've got are questions.
Specialist Jack Willow reporting. Pete Deveber. Company clerk, man.
Nice to meet you, Pete. Nice to meet you, too.
Okay, your platoon's on a drop in the garden.
Drop? Yeah, burial.
Arlington. That's what we do here.
Fuckin' Nam's made buryin' folks a real growth industry.
We're up to 15 drops a day. Bing, bing, bing, bing.
But, since you missed this one, you can take the rest of the morning off.
I shall cover it, all right?
That's real friendly of you.
Yeah, yeah. I'm a friendly type, man.
Is that the top kick's desk?
Yeah. Slasher Williams.
Yeah. He did some boxing in Nam.
Oh, that reminds me. I told him I'd, er, get somebody to pull guard duty tonight.
Oh, no sweat. I'll take it.
I think, um... I think you're gonna like Top, man.
I think you guys are gonna hit it off. I really do.
Hey! Hey! Who the hell are you?
Sarge, Jack Willow's doing guard duty tonight.
It might interest you to know, Dildo, that night guard duty is the ugliest duty you can pull, and already had been pulled by little shit-for-brains.
Over there, his own self.
Yeah, I know, Top. He told me.
I, ah... it's okay. I volunteered.
You volunteered in my company?
A fudge-nose volunteer in my company?
Dildo, you have managed to top my shit list in exactly 13 fucking seconds!
You got a problem with this boy, Top?
No, Sergeant Major. Not exactly.
I could hear you cussing all the way to the latrine.
This boy bugger your pet goat or something?
I thought I'd drop by, catch the score.
Yeah, well, I think it's a disgrace, a disgrace that that unit of toy soldiers is permitted to wear the crossed rifles of the infantry.
Easy. Especially at a time when the real infantry is crawling through rice paddies and buffalo shit in Vietnam. That's what I think.
Who knows? I've let enough people know how I think to make myself very unpopular around here.
Sergeant Hazard. Sir.
What's the debate about?
I was just telling the Sergeant Major here, sir, that I thought the best thing I could do for the Army, my Army, is to get the snot-noses like these ready for the inevitable.
And that's why I want to teach... Clell...
You just applied for a transfer and I denied it.
Now, that's it. No discussion. Right.
Ah, he's the best damn soldier on this post.
Except for maybe, er, Sergeant Major Nelson.
What's he doing here?
He did serve two tours in Nam, man. Captain!
New man. Wanted to meet you.
Come into my office. We'll have a little chat.
You see me when you're through, Dildo.
That's Willow, Top.
So, you want to get laid tonight, or you rather have some fun?
In the foul mood I'm in, I'd...
I'd even consider hanging out with you, old buddy.
Sergeant Major, Sergeant.
Have a seat. Thank you, sir.
Welcome to Delta Company, Specialist Dildo.
It's Willow, sir. Specialist Willow.
Oh, so it is. So it is.
Home of record, Fort Huachuca. You an army brat, Willow?
Yes, sir. My father is, or he was, a master sergeant, sir.
He's retired now.
College basketball, starting guard.
We could use another good player.
Especially a white one.
You work hard and you'll be an NCO yourself before you know it. Chip off the old block, eh?
Well, sir, I was thinking of shooting a little higher than that.
Er, I'm... I'm interested in applying for OCS.
And while we're on the subject, sir, I'd like to apply for a transfer to a line unit in Vietnam, sir.
I don't think you fully realise what a privilege it is to serve here in the Old Guard.
We're the escort to the President.
And this is the most STRAC outfit in the United States Army.
Now, you listen to me, son.
You got plenty of time for Vietnam.
As for OCS, you do a good job for me here, show me you're officer material, and I'll personally see that you get a shot.
The army could always use another bright young shavetail.
What do you say? Okay? Yes, sir.
All right, that'll be all.
See you around, Pete. See you, man.
How you doin'?
Er, I can't figure this.
The shoes have little steel plates on the insoles.
Yes, that's right.
That's so every time you bring your feet together it makes a nice loud crack.
Welcome to show business, soldier.
It's a real honour to meet you, Sergeant. Specialist Willow.
Is that right? Why?
Well, for one thing, we're the only two men in this place who seem to want out.
Want out? To where?
Front line unit in Vietnam, sir... Sergeant.
There is no front line in Vietnam.
Not like the other wars. Hell, it's not even a war.
Nothing to win. No way to win it.
If that's how you feel, Sergeant, why are you going back?
There's nothing for me over there.
I know this unit in Nam.
They print up these little cards.
They say, er, "Killing is our business, and business is good."
Well, here, burying is our business.
Our business is better.
Don't you be in such a hurry to get yourself starched.
You knew my father, didn't you, Sergeant?
We, er... ran the gauntlet to the Chongchon River.
We were friends.
He still raising hell?
He had two heart attacks. He's fine now.
Retired, back in Kentucky.
He recalls you very fondly.
Asked to be remembered.
My dad doesn't view the war the way you do.
He has a more conventional infantryman's point of view.
Yeah. I guess he's just a more conventional guy.
Yeah, I see.
Well, I got funeral training.
Son, you, er... think of it, tell your daddy "Hi" for me, yeah?
You know, I'd never get tired of watching your mind at work.
It's truly amazing.
If you're waiting for me to cheat, I got way too much character.
You know, er... that kid?
He made it over to Delta all right, and I want to thank you for double-shuffling the papers.
Well, he was heading for Honour Guard Company, but I figured, what the hell, why let those meatballs turn the kid into a fruitcake?
You can do that 'bout well as anybody I know.
Whose kid is he, anyway?
Shelby's kid. Shelby Willow.
We took care of each other in Korea, till we had our hands full taking care of your ass.
Oh, yeah. I remember him. Yeah.
Whoops, I got this... this letter here.
"Dear Clell," blah, blah, blah.
He's got a wife in the nuthouse and all he can talk about is how sorry he is about me and Linda breaking up, like it happened yesterday.
And how rough it must be on, er... with me not seeing my boy, Mackie, and all.
Anyway, and here's the last line:
"Maybe, er... you could look after my boy
"now and again.
Where does a red Jack go on a red Queen? Where?
These are my oriental cards.
These are your oriental cards!
How are you?
Oh. Sun's gone.
Can I, er... help you with those, Miss?
No, I'm fine. Thanks.
Takes forever sometimes, really.
You're S Davis, aren't you?
Only women use initials. They think it fools everyone.
Mmm, funny. Worked fine till now.
It's a nice car.
I watch you come and go.
Look, um, I'm...
I'm real sorry I said all those dumb things in there.
And I know how, er... when a girl doesn't want to lead a guy on she kind of clams up.
Yeah, well, girls are like that.
I... I... I just meant I know you're not a rude person.
Er... the thing is, my good friend is... is coming over with his lady friend for dinner and I thought maybe you'd like to join us.
Yeah, well, thanks, but I'm expecting a call.
Er... what time?
Chico. Tonight. Chico!
Er, look, er... the thing of it is you really... you really don't have a call tonight.
And I don't know why this is so damned important to me.
Well, er... thanks.
Oh, what time?
Oh, er... well, er... 19:30 hours.
Sergeant Major. - Hey, good dog.
Yo. - You and, er, Betty Rae.
Dinner at my place, huh?
Sorry, er... paperwork tonight.
I'm pretending I'm running the post.
Look, it's a girl and she's not gonna come if we're alone.
Watch my lips, kid.
No. Way. No. How.
All right, I'm cutting to the bottom line, pal.
Nha Trang, 1962. Did I or did I not save your sorry ass at extreme risk to my very own?
You got a lot of nerve, Clell.
How big is this gal's booty, anyway?
Hey, hey. Cut the goddamn crap and stop evading the issue.
You owe me, pal, and I'm calling in my marker.
If I do this, do I have your solemn word that I will never hear about this ancient-history bullshit ever again?
You do, you do.
Okay, what time?
Er... you be here, er... 19:30.
I'll call Betty Rae 'cause I got to ogle that booty.
Hey, and Goody, watch your mouth.
Come on in.
I'm sorry, my friends are a little late.
Er... a little white wine okay?
Oh, fine, thank you.
Oh, er... I, er... I bought it special.
Just showing off.
What do you do?
I write for The Washington Post.
I came up from The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina.
Would you excuse me for a second?
This is beautiful.
Is it Persian?
Oh, yeah, mm.
They're all, er... ah, Persian.
This is called an isfahan. Hmm.
And, er... this here is a shiraz. Oh.
That faded red one over there is a kalim.
And this one here behind me is, er... one I got in Kurdistan.
When your back was turned, I... I was admiring your book collection.
I write for papers, so I'm kind of an incurable snoop.
Anyway, interesting books.
Interesting, or interesting for someone like me?
Is this another lesson about girls?
Girls are condescending to soldiers?
I don't know how y'all survive in that hotbed of communism down there workin' at that Post and all.
Now, that's somethin'.
Oh, yeah. Pravda on the Potomac.
Yeah, well, workin' for Senator Ervin and all, I was about to ask you the same thing.
Ooh, now, now, sugar.
Sam Ervin prides himself in not bein' left of anybody.
That's for sure. 'Cept maybe his mama.
Anyway... except these two red-blooded American storm troopers right here.
Oh, is that what brought you boys together?
So, what do you guys do on that army post?
Clell, old boy, you mean you haven't told the lady?
Why, madam, we are the Old Guard.
We are the nation's toy soldiers.
We march with rifles that cannot shoot.
We fix bayonets that cannot stick.
We are the Kabuki theatre of the profession of arms.
Jesters in the court of Mars, God of War.
Now, Goody Nelson, you just hush.
You hush that up right now.
You been hangin' around Clell so long, you're beginning to sound just like him.
Bitter, and cynical, and irreverent.
You have to be among the Army's top people to get in.
And it is a right nice honour, I think, and a privilege for both Goody and Clell to have been asked to join.
Wait a minute. We weren't asked! I mean, honestly.
But, er..., we were... we were ordered.
I mean, actually, er... Goody and I, we... we applied for a teaching position at the infantry school.
Yeah, we once thought that we could help a few of 'em come back standing up instead of stretched out in those little boxes we plant in the ground every day.
Well, you're both sounding like a couple of echoes to me.
Now, come on, you two.
Where's the rest of this wonderful meal?
So how did you meet Goody?
Well, one day, a constituent from home walked into Senator Ervin's office, and he wanted a tour of Fort Myer.
So, I took him on the tour...
Well, Clell, ol' buddy. Yeah.
Your sudden attack of good taste is surprising.
I mean, that is some classy-looking woman.
Shh-shh-shh-shh. I do believe I could drag... my balls over her... Shh. Hey, hey, hey.
Come on, you promised, Goody.
Please knock it off, will ya?
I'll do it. I'll do it.
Now, let's get back in there so I can ogle them gals some more.
Yum, yum, yum.
...I fell in love with the Sergeant Major on the spot, as any well-bred genteel Southern girl would have.
Oh, that's beautiful.
Make a hole. Make it wide.
There you have it.
Looks like these two are really getting along.
Here's to us and those like us.
Damn few left.
Most of them are dead.
Oh, can I...? Can I serve?
Is Goody always so...?
Oh, no, no.
He, er... he is when he likes someone, and he likes you.
Are all Army sergeants like you two?
That's a shame.
I had a great time tonight, Clell.
It was the best evening I've had in a long, long time.
Thank you for asking me.
Thank you, Sam.
All right, let's go.
Top of the morning, girls. Let's get up.
Come on, let's look alive. Walters, get out of the rack here.
Come on. Let's go, let's move.
Come on, get up.
Let's move, come on.
Up and at 'em, guys.
Let's put away the funny books and get squared away for inspection, soldier.
Trey, get down. Knock out 10.
One, Sergeant. Two, Sergeant.
Three, Sergeant. Four, Sergeant.
Five, Sergeant. Six, Sergeant.
Seven, Sergeant. Eight, Sergeant.
Nine, Sergeant. Ten. Permission to recover, Sergeant?
Looking good. Looking good. Thank you, sir.
Fix that fuckin'... get that pant leg off the ground.
What are you looking at the back of my head for?
I don't need a haircut. No, sir.
Wildman, cool it.
He's on ya.
Wildman, you spastic son of a bitch!
Get up. Get to parade rest.
I said parade rest right now.
This is the United States Army Third Infantry Old Guard, not a three-ring circus!
Look at this shoe, man! It looks like it was shined with a hot Hershey bar! What's wrong with you?
I guess I'm gonna have to run chain of command by you one more time.
It's very simple. It goes like this.
The lieutenant chews out Sergeant Hazard's ass.
Sergeant Hazard chews out my ass.
I chew out you.
It's called the chain of command.
Very simple. Shit rolls downhill.
Do you understand?
I said do you understand me?
At ease. Come on, Sergeant.
Just tryin' to help out.
Why don't you let me work with him for a while?
You got better things to do.
Yeah, Specialist-wannabe-Private, why don't you work with him for a while?
I got better things to do.
Taylor, you got that bunk squared away?
Let's see the shoe. - Yes, Sergeant!
- A little more work, brother. - Yes, sir!
Come on, I'll show you.
You guys talking or are you working over there?
Okay, you're using real spit, right?
Yeah, it's a spit shine.
You gotta use real spit. You need cold water and cotton balls.
- Little word to the wise. No spit?
Get your shoes squared away...
Gotta build up a base, okay? It's gonna take some time.
Give it a shot.
Pull those laces out and press them.
All right, all right, all right, you heroes, listen up.
Nothing but stocking feet until 0-9-5-8 hours.
Do not put shoes on until...
How far away are we?
We have it under control, sir.
He's in Bravo. Right.
A word to the wise...
I'll stall him.
...out of your ass.
When the inspection begins, Colonel Godwin will chat with some of you troops, real homey shit.
Do not step on your dicks.
That is an order.
Just say you are from Asshole, Arkansas or some fuckin' place and you love the Army and shut up!
If I find slobber in these canteens, you will drink it.
Make a hole. Make it wide.
You told the Colonel you like the Army, soldier.
Where are you from? From Columbus, Ohio, Sergeant Major.
Are there any more like you back home in Columbus, Ohio?
Not that I'm aware of, Sergeant Major.
Do you have any sisters back home in Columbus, Ohio?
Yes, Sergeant Major. I have one sister.
Is she sexually active?
Of course not, Sergeant Major.
I mean, she's my sister.
She's only 13.
That's too bad. Never underestimate the value of early training and proper breaking in, soldier.
Make a hole. Make it wide!
What's your name, soldier?
Willow, Sergeant Major.
How do you like the Army, Willow? I like it fine, Sergeant Major.
You ever take biology in school, soldier?
Yes, Sergeant Major.
How do worms copulate?
They don't, Sergeant Major. They use asexual reproduction.
Tell me, Willow, any idea who first came up with that notion, reproducing without sex?
Your wife, Sergeant Major?
Forget it, fellas.
Uh-uh, no gigs on this platoon.
They make it through clean.
"Yum, yum, yum," said the big hungry bear.
Let's just see what we got here.
Who you got babysitting this kid, Clell?
Mr Asexual Reproduction?
Well, I think I know what that is, but I don't know if he does.
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.
Why don't they hurry this up so we can get back on the bus?
No shit. Steady.
Guidon, 'ten... hut!
Colours, ready? Hut.
Guidon. Ready... hut!
At slow cadence. Forward...
♪...to the other side
♪ Break on through to the other side
♪ Break on through to the other side ♪ Evening, Sergeant Major, Platoon Sergeant.
You wanted to see me?
You wanted to see me.
No, nobody wants to see you.
We just want to buy you a beer. Sit down, relax.
Hey, Zeke, draw three!
You know, er... Sergeant Major is a friend of your dad's from the Korean war days.
Now, then, as to results of recent battalion inspection...
You see, kid, as the good book says, "Some days the bear eats you, some days you eat the bear."
Which means that we won the inspection, Wildman and all.
Hey! Damn good today, kid.
Sharpest-looking trooper I've seen all week.
That includes them prima-donna geeks over at Honour Guard Company.
Congratulations. Thanks, Sergeant Major.
Well, er... the, er... Willow here, he, er... he wants to go to Vietnam.
He feels that an infantryman's place in the time of war is at the front.
There ain't no front in Vietnam.
That's what Sergeant Hazard says.
It's a funny little war, kid.
Things have changed.
Well, to begin with, "the peace-loving people of Vietnam..."
Aw, "the peace-loving..."
If I hear that one more time, I'm gonna puke.
That is the most bellicose race of people I've ever seen.
They've been fightin' somebody for a thousand years, and they like it. Damn right.
And I... I don't really give a rat's ass about Vietnam.
Matter of fact, I... I don't give a wombat's shit about who's running Vietnam. As a matter of fact, to be very honest, I really don't care about who's running the US of A.
Don't you care about anything?
Oh, yeah. Yeah. I care about the United States Army.
That's my family.
The only one I got.
And I don't like it when it's in trouble.
Sarge, we beat King George when we were the guerrillas, and we beat Hitler. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And... and we beat everybody in between.
Now, we're not gonna go out and lose the first one to a bunch of gutty little Asian farmers.
You take a look at that farmer.
He can march a hundred miles on no food, through jungle you would not believe, slaughter his own people, babies if he has to, and that is a soldier.
Firepower. He can't keep soaking up our firepower.
I saw a photo, wire photo.
One of our choppers coming back with arrows in it.
How do you beat a helicopter with bows and arrows?
How you gonna beat an enemy that fights helicopters with bows and arrows?
Well, one thing's for sure.
You sure as hell can't beat 'em from here, Fort Goddamn Benning.
Wait. Hey. What...? What do you want, man?
What do you want?
Don't like what I said?
You want it.
Too late for that, man. What's going on?
Well, let's go at it.
Honour Guard. They're fighting!
Well, here's to us and those like us.
Damn few left.
You know, your kid is gettin' killed in there.
Kill. Kill. Kill.
Make a hole, make it wide.
Hey, get off the floor!
♪ I spied a young cowboy
♪ All dressed in white linen
♪ And cold as the clay
♪ I can see by your outfit
♪ That you are a cowboy
♪ I see by your... ♪ Whoa.
Hey, wait up.
Hey, Peter, old salt. Come on. Get up.
Get it? Get it together.
Saltpeter. Ha, ha, ha.
I've been waiting for you, man.
Captain Thomas wants to see you.
Let's put this on.
Now? Put on the jacket.
There you go, buddy.
Willow reporting as ordered, sir.
You wanted to see me?
Er... your father had a cardiac arrest
at eight o'clock.
It was over very quickly, so he didn't suffer very much.
We'll give you a few minutes alone here, son.
Dildo, Top, remember?
Your daddy was a master sergeant.
This is good for a week.
You need more time, you call me personal, hear?
If I recollect, er...
this is the only one I got that, er... your dad doesn't already have, so make sure that, er... well, you... you put that with him, okay?
Sarge, I... Hey.
I... I been thinking.
Is it too late to change my mind?
Get my father into Arlington?
No, of course not.
Er, you know Goody.
He can fix anything.
I know it'll just be a bare patch with the bulldozers and everything, but I was hoping you could find him a spot in the garden.
The history of the Third United States Infantry reflects the growth and development of our nation.
In 1922 the War Department granted permission to the Old Guard to pass and review with bayonets fixed.
The Old Guard will now fix bayonets to the traditional beat of the drum.
Since the days of the American Revolution, the colours have been one of the most important elements of a military unit as soldiers kept their position in a formation by dressing on the colour.
Therefore, at the centre of our formation, and bearing the national colour, is this nation's foremost colour team, the Third Infantry's Continental Colour Guard.
Next on line is Company D.
Company D is led by Unit Commander, Captain Thomas.
Following is Company E, Honour Guard.
Company E is led by its Commander, Captain Harrison.
The last element on line, dressed in the continental musician's uniform is the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
During the American Revolution, General George Washington ordered that musicians wear red coats instead of the infantry blue so they might be more easily recognised through the smoke of battle.
The corps is led today by Drum Major Phipps.
I put Betty Rae through the third degree about you.
Is that right?
What secrets did she spill?
That you were married.
That you were divorced about three years ago.
Yeah, that's true.
That you have a son.
Um, Linda left me when I re-upped for my second tour.
I haven't seen Mackie since.
And through the years I really, er... never did see that much of him.
You said you were married. Do you have any children?
No, I can't have children.
I'm sorry about your family.
They didn't come first, Sam.
This is not, er... a very good business for holding on to a woman.
If you don't come across, it's gonna look bad for your whole unit.
You may, however, wait till we get inside.
Get in here!
Sergeant, you wanted to see me?
You're out of uniform, boy.
Yeah, you are.
You will remain out of uniform until I slap these on you.
Not bad for six months, huh?
Now, look, it seems that a certain Sergeant Flanagan...
Got drunk enough one night to trash up Dirty Marge's Beer Emporium.
Doing a hell of a job.
Cost himself a stripe in the process.
Mm-hmm. We had to, er... scrape the very bottom of the barrel.
I mean, the pits is what we got.
Oh, by the way, these are not official until they've been properly tagged.
Er, you know, tagged, like, tagged, you know?
I, er... now relinquish my spot to, er... our senior bear, Sergeant Major Nelson.
Look at him.
He can hardly wait.
He's starting to tremble.
All yours, Top.
The only thing that's lower than a pig-fucking volunteer is a duck-fucking buck sergeant.
I didn't hit him square. That's it. That's all.
Clell, Clell. Look, it... Get off me. Hey!
Hey. I didn't hit him.
Hey. Hey, Clell.
Hi. Jack. Hello.
Pleasure to see you again, ma'am. You too.
Um, Clell's running a little late at the post.
So, er... I'm doing the cooking tonight. Oh.
You're taking your chances. Ooh, thank you.
Come on in. Thank you.
Would you like something to drink?
I wouldn't say no to a Coke.
Here you go. Thanks.
Can I help? Sure.
Clell's told me a lot about you, and your father.
He and Clell were in combat together.
Being in combat together, people can get very close.
Of all my dad's decorations the one he prized the most was just the CIB.
That's his Combat Infantryman's Badge.
That's a silver laurel wreath, blue enamel shield, and a silver Kentucky rifle.
See, I figure if you're a soldier and there's a war going on there's only one place for you to be.
Any war, no exceptions.
So I don't see eye to eye with Sergeant Hazard on this one.
Working for the Post, I imagine you do.
Clell sees this war as bad judgement, a screw-up.
I see it as genocide.
Well, goddamn it, Clell, why can't you keep your half-assed opinions to yourself?
Your asinine views of the war have reached the other company commanders now.
Look, I wasn't aware it was against regs to voice an opinion, sir.
Don't be a fool and don't be a smartass.
You know damn well it's always been against regulations to voice an opinion in the United States Army.
The United States Army is not interested in opinions.
Well, goddamn it. What the hell am I gonna do with you, Clell?
You're a fine soldier, Clell.
But in a lot of ways you've been nothing but a pain in the ass since the first day you got here.
Now you're becoming an embarrassment to me.
My friends are asking me how's my peacenik platoon sergeant.
I am not a peacenik, Captain.
I just don't agree with the reasons behind this particular war.
And if we're gonna fight it we oughta goddamn fight it right.
All right, fine, think anything you want.
Just keep it to yourself.
Maybe, er... maybe it was a mistake for you to have asked for me here. And you could certainly rectify that by approving my transfer, sir.
No, no, no, no.
You're not going to Fort Benning, Sergeant Hazard.
You're not going anywhere, Sergeant Hazard.
You're gonna stay right here and make me proud of you, Sergeant Hazard.
Okay, but we gotta get there on time, all right?
Don't get stuck in a cab again.
All right. I'll see you down there.
You need a whole story, right?
Yeah, over there.
Come on, Seth.
Tell him to look at it.
Yeah. All right. Bye.
I think it's very important that you get there.
Well, what about the reception tonight?
It's tomorrow night.
Tomorrow night? Tomorrow night.
Seven-thirty. I'll meet you right here. Okay.
That'll give you time to get dolled up and we can get to the embassy on time.
Eight o'clock. You got it.
Okay. Right. Okay.
Oh, er... Sergeant's gonna show me where they hide the Persian rugs in this town.
I hope I didn't, er...
Oh, no. Work. Reception.
And ambassadors, they like their reporters dolled up, do they?
These are very nice, er...
Yeah, let's go steal a rug. Right.
What's bothering you, Clell?
Tell me, why do you want to leave the Old Guard so badly?
We're just a bunch of toy soldiers, Sam.
You don't believe in this war, but if you get your transfer to Fort Benning, you'll be part of sending these boys over.
I guess I should be there where it really counts.
I just can't watch one more of those boys.
I guess it's just weakness.
It's not weakness, Clell.
Sam, my, er... business is a family business.
If a building is burning, and you can't carry out all your children, you damn well do what you can and cry about it later.
Er... this is for you. It's a oushak. It's wonderful.
Would you stand still for a minute? Goddamn it, please!
Look, Goody, I've been thinking.
What's the chances of my platoon playing aggressor team this year?
The guys that get to play Charlie in the field and get to lose to the noble all-American forces?
That's the ones.
You want to volunteer for the dipshit detail of the year?
When you push that around to English, yeah.
Make me believe it. Goody, come on.
I mean, half these kids are gonna wind up in Nam, and I figure: if I had 'em for two weeks, I could show 'em something, you know?
Okay. Now tell me the real reason.
That's it, pal. That's all I got.
Can you swing it?
In a word, no.
Thanks, good dog.
"30 May, 1968. Dearest Rachel, "still no answer from you.
"You said you were going to try to forget me.
"Well, I can't forget you, so I'll keep trying.
"You can't imagine how hard we worked last week.
"It was utter chaos in the garden.
"That's what we call the cemetery.
"Delta Company pulled 20 drops a day.
"That's what we call funerals.
"Sergeant Hazard, who was in as foul a mood as I've ever seen, "argued that our workload proved his point.
"That we'll never finish them off.
"I told him he should be grateful
"he's not in North Vietnam's Honour Guard.
"We disagree on just about everything
"connected with Vietnam.
"Hazard's girlfriend, Sam, got arrested for a few hours
"during a march on the Pentagon last month.
"She's been awfully nice to me, "but she's giving the Sarge fits.
"He doesn't like the war very much, "but he likes these protesters even less.
"I'm still not sure whether you're getting any of these letters.
"I'd give anything to hear from you, Rachel.
"All my love, Jackie."
Hey, hey, hey, hey. Don't turn around now, but... the best looking gal I've ever seen has been staring at you for like five minutes.
No shit. No shit. She's at 6 o'clock.
Now turn around real slow.
Knockout broad. Whoo!
Where the hell did she go?
I'm... I'm serious. Check it out.
Fix your blouse.
Pass on your orders.
Post and orders remain as directed.
What are you doing here?
I was just visiting President Kennedy's grave.
I hadn't seen it yet.
What are you doing in Washington?
Um, my parents live here now. My dad's at the Pentagon.
You too? No. I'm at school still.
In Europe. Germany.
I'm just visiting.
You look great.
Rachel, will you have dinner with me tonight?
I can't, I have a date. Break it.
Heh. I don't think it's such a good idea.
Break the date.
All right. 2218 M Street, Georgetown.
You are permitted to assist the public, Sergeant Willow.
You're not, however, allowed to kidnap anyone, no matter how great the temptation.
Sergeant Hazard, I'd... I'd like you to meet Rachel Feld.
Rachel is an old friend of mine.
Pleased to meet you. Pleased to meet you.
Um, I gotta go.
Okay. See you later.
Okay, my boy.
Sarge, I need to borrow $50.
Huh? I'll pay you back payday.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I need to borrow your car keys, too.
I'm so happy I dropped by here.
... Vietnam, to recognise the American people will no longer allow its leaders the dubious privilege of military and political carte blanche.
Thank you, you look nice also. You always look nice.
Oh, er... Don, this is my friend, Sergeant Clell Hazard.
Clell, this is Don Brubaker.
Well, well, thank the Lord.
Somebody who can tell me what this war's all about.
Well, what's the story, General?
Are we winning the war in Vietnam like Westy says, huh?
We kickin' ass or what?
Don's head of Attorneys Against the War, so you better watch out.
Well, the kill ratio's about ten to one.
That kickin' ass enough to keep you happy?
I couldn't settle for less than all those hearts and minds we're supposed to be winning.
How we doin'?
Well, we really don't seem to be doing much of anything.
We seem to be too busy drinking and shootin' our mouths off.
Still America, Sergeant.
And my opinion is we're slaughtering innocents over there.
Right, left and centre.
Well, you see, opinions, they're like assholes.
Everyone seems to have one.
Come on. What the hell's the matter with you?
He has no right to... Yes, he does have a right to talk about Vietnam.
Just one question.
Did you call me an asshole back there?
I don't know, but why don't you go fuck off anyway.
Listen, I'm not one of your little Nazi troopers who has to eat your shit.
So let's move into the street, pal.
I got a much better idea.
Why don't we just agree that we don't like one another?
And we can do that right here.
What's fightin' words these days? Baby killer?
Chicken-shit baby killer?
Whip his ass, soldier.
Somebody call an ambulance, please.
You Fascist pig.
Call an ambulance.
I just talked with Don Brubaker.
His jaw is wired, so he wrote his part down.
He says that he was drunk and he was an asshole.
No doctor's bills.
No assault charges.
Oh? Why would he say that?
Turns out he's a decent guy.
And decent people who make a mistake realise it sooner or later.
Come in. I'm sorry.
Um, you sure you didn't have to persuade him or anything?
Yeah, well, with his jaw wired and all, he had to take a rain check.
Oh, I love you so much.
I know. I'm so worried about you.
Oh, Jackie, I am so glad to see you.
It's nice to see you, Mrs Feld. You look wonderful.
How have you been?
Very well. Very well.
Well, er... come in, come in.
Thank you, sir.
Rachel tells me, er... she was shocked to see you this morning.
Yes, sir. It was quite a shock for me as well.
Yeah, well, I can imagine it.
Er... you haven't seen each other in quite a while.
Well, Rachel tells me you're a sergeant.
And that you're with the Old Guard at Myer.
That's correct, sir.
Well, that's a fine outfit for the, er... for the infantry.
I imagine you're still working in electronics here in Washington, sir.
Oh, my God, yes.
I'm heading up a major research and development project. but it's still very hush-hush at this point.
I see. I tell you, Jack, this, er... this war is a boon to R&D. It's a veritable boon.
I'm sure it is.
I thought you were, er... had a date with young, er... Peterson.
How did you manage to break it?
I find him a very persuasive young man.
Good night, darling.
Good night, Sergeant.
Good evening, Colonel.
I see your father hasn't changed much.
No. He's the same SOB he always was.
How's your father?
My father died of a heart attack last month.
I liked your father very much.
I know you did, Rachel.
He liked you a lot too.
He really did.
Is this the Cabernet?
So... is the Army everything you'd hoped it would be?
Yes and no. Mostly yes.
I'm still waiting for OCS and Vietnam, but I'll get them.
I'll get them both.
You want to go to Vietnam?
A soldier in the right place at the right time can change the world.
That's too bad.
I'd rather hoped you'd outgrown that.
Damn you, Rachel.
Let's just make small talk. There's a lot to catch up on.
No, let's not make small talk.
I don't care how you like living in Europe.
I don't care how your friends are.
I don't care if you've read any good books lately.
It's safe talk, Jack.
To hell with safe.
Do you still feel anything for me?
Ask me that when you're a civilian again.
I'm asking you now.
Do you know my father was afraid I was gonna marry beneath myself, and it would ruin his career?
He lied when he said he'd get you into West Point if you'd wait to marry me.
Do you know what it means when a sergeant's son marries a colonel's daughter?
He had you conned about West Point.
And you believed him.
That's what broke us up.
You're so gullible.
I loved you so much, Jack.
You made your choice.
Let's... do you want to leave?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks for the drinks.
No... no problem.
Yo? - Sarge, it's Willow.
Oh, great. What is it now?
I mean, you got all my money, you have my car.
I suppose now you want to borrow my dick so you can get laid.
Sarge, you gotta stop hanging around with the Sergeant Major.
Your language is deteriorating something awful.
All right, now, the hook, boy. Just give me the hook.
Well, Sarge. I... I was wondering if I could... if I could borrow your apartment or, er... or Miss Davis', if one or the other is available.
Okey-doke. You take my place.
Look, I'll leave the key right under the carpet in front of the door.
Thanks, Sarge. I really appreciate this.
I won't forget it.
I got it.
I just want to talk.
Sure you do, hotshot.
Oh, you're still here.
Sorry, Jack. Just got the call two minutes ago. Full alert.
My guess is, er... we're goin' on manoeuvres.
I'm sorry, Miss Feld.
But it can't be! Not now! Not tonight!
We were up at 0300 this morning to put those flags in.
We busted our butts all day long in the garden.
We're tired. We... Easy, kid.
You can tell it to the chaplain in a couple of weeks. All right?
I'll bet my bottom dollar this is Goody Nelson's doing.
What's going on, Jack?
I gotta talk to Rachel, Sarge.
Five minutes. Come on in.
We'll be out in five minutes.
I told you that I want to marry you, Rachel.
No matter what.
You never told me that.
Honey, I did. In all those letters I sent you.
I... I didn't open them.
I wanted to forget you.
Rachel, if you want me to get out of the service, I'll do it.
You've gotta tell me if there's any hope for me.
I've gotta know.
The last thing I ever expected was to see you this morning.
- Saddle up, Jackie. Let's go. God, was it only this morning?
Please... Don't shut the door. Please.
Damn it! Come on, boy!
I love you.
Give me the key.
Red Man Four.
Red Man Four.
Return to Battalion CP at once.
Come home, please.
Return to Battalion CP at once.
Sergeant Hazard, can you hear me?
Is this thing working?
Red Man Four?
From here on in, you guys are Charlie.
Glide through this shit, you don't clomp through it.
Feel the terrain.
Feel it, don't fight it.
Wildman, you can swim, can't you?
This jungle is not an obstacle. It's your friend.
Use it. Let it help you.
Love it. Love it and it will love you back.
Some day you're gonna meet the real Charlie and when you do, something from this little junior prom may pop in your mind and may just save your life.
Hey... hey, guys. What's goin' on, man?
They took our stuff. Charlie's been here!
Come on, get out, man! Go on! Move in!
I don't know where the fuck I'm at.
Let's see if this shit works.
That's not north. Shit.
Shit. Shit. Shit. What was that?
Wildman, this piece of ground is now wearing your brains.
Frankly, they look better on the ground.
Tell me something.
Did you ever intentionally stick your dick out for anything?
I mean, once in your life?
Mouth off to an officer? Something, huh?
Er... no, sir, Sarge. That's not my way.
Will that mean I'm not a real man or...?
You're as real as anybody.
It's just that every man needs to feel good about himself.
Come along, man.
Good work, Jackie.
What is he doing, Goody? Bucking for a Section 8?
Does he have any idea the embarrassment he's caused this battalion?
I'm sure he doesn't, sir.
I've got observers here watching one platoon of VC chew our butt for breakfast!
You know what Godwin just said to me?
He says. "It's not your fault. It's your ass!"
We're middle management, Homer.
We are the heart and soul of America.
We keep the wheels turning while we get ahead, while we watch our backsides.
Neat trick. Takes up all of our time.
Clell hasn't ever learned that.
Somebody needs to talk sincere with the boy.
Somebody needs to pull his guts out through his asshole!
The problem is, so far nobody can find him, Goody.
What the fuck is the matter with you, you psycho fuck?
It's a death wish.
A psycho fuck pullin' for a court martial.
What makes you God's gift to infantry training anyway?
There's a guy in that spot down there in Benning.
You don't even know him.
What makes you the better man?
I just want to do what I can.
Why don't you go back over there?
Take 'em out on patrol.
Hold their fuckin' heads in your lap while they bleed to death?
I don't know much, but I know you, and you're losing it.
Just a few days ago this was a bunch of half-assed kids.
You gotta see 'em now, Goody. You gotta see 'em, man.
Give me 24 hours. 24 hours and I'll...
I'll walk into HQ on my own, and that's a promise.
Well, Captain, your problem is your men are supposed to be calling in an air strike.
Instead, they're out there playing cowboys and Indians with 35 rag-tail aggressors and they're gettin' their ass kicked.
Now you've got choppers all along here.
I want them called in for an air strike.
You understand that? Yes, sir.
Wha...? Good evening, sir.
You have the right to remain silent.
Sergeant, pretty funny.
Pretty funny, Sergeant.
I guess I'm supposed to completely lose it.
Bust you back about fifteen stripes!
Ship you off someplace where, of course, you'll persuade your new commander to transfer you to Fort Benning!
Is that it?
Well, no way, Sergeant.
I can't afford to come off a loser upstairs.
I can't afford to come off a loser any way!
No, I'm gonna tell 'em that you're the finest soldier I ever trained.
And in four brief days, I, with your help, showed 'em where to patch up their outdated programme!
Now, think about that one, Sergeant!
You got plenty of time to think about it, 'cause you're gonna be parading around my post for the rest of your fuckin' life!
People love to see a real war hero on parade.
Left, left, right flank. March.
Left. Watch over that. Left, right, left.
Hut, two, three, four, left, right, left.
Left. Come on, Robert. Relax, Robert.
Left, right, left.
Left flank, march.
I gotta talk to you.
I already got the lecture from Goody, and he's somebody I ain't sure I can kick the shit out of, you understand?
With all respect to Sergeant Major Goody, he's full of shit.
Respectfully full of shit.
You put it on the line for what you believe in.
That's all that counts.
Everything else is old-guy stuff.
Why Benning, Sarge? Why Fort Benning?
You know you can train 'em, and you can train 'em, and you can train 'em till you're blue in the face, Sarge.
But once the shit starts flyin', they're over there.
They're gonna look around for one guy.
Their platoon sergeant. That's you.
That's who you were born to be.
You know, I guess I oughta be real thankful to you for pointing that out to me.
I... why don't you just face it?
What story you wanna hear? I got a bunch of stories.
Eh? You wanna hear a story about a boy I once loved?
Like a son?
Well, here's one.
A boy I never knew.
Until, er... until he was begging me.
Begging me to stop the pain.
Then he saw the parts that were no longer inside of him, and he begged me to push those parts back inside.
And then the last thing he begged me was to find his daughter some day in Ohio and tell her the last thing he thought of was her dance recital.
She was blonde, his daughter, and she was five.
And she was real.
Real beautiful in her dance costume.
I don't suppose there's any guys you saved, huh?
Any of those stories?
It's called compromise, kid. You do what you can.
Compromise is fine if it works.
Lying to yourself is still lying.
If I knew as much as you do about life and lying, what a fellow's born to be, I guess I'd be one hell of a man, huh?
Just like you, son.
55 miles to the south, the Troopers of the First Cavalry made their helicopter assault on the coastal plain.
And from almost the first moment they landed, they were in a fight.
The first Cavalry assault was called Operation Masher.
Here, near a place called Bong Son, the enemy chose to...
We're getting married.
Oh! Well, I'm sorry, darling.
I'm afraid I... I can't let you do that.
Some girls past the age of consent would tell their daddies to go shove it.
All you care about is the star on your shoulder!
Don't you talk to me like that!
I'll talk to you however I want... sir!
Welcome to the Army, Mrs Willow.
Hey, come on. Let me take your picture.
...same thing. I remember everything.
Rachel Feld, Army Digest.
Thank you, Sergeant.
Oh, you look so pretty. I love your dress.
You were lying. You never told me you were such a good dancer.
Thank you. Learned it all in the swamp.
Better do something.
A toast, ladies and gentlemen, to the bride and the groom.
A long and very happy life together.
Long and happy life!
I'll drink to that.
To my new son.
To the bride and groom.
Here's to us and those like us!
Damn few left! Oh, my God!
Ride 'em, cowboy!
Rachel, thank you.
Don't smoke in bed. Not tonight.
Got you something.
Course you'll have to earn those bars.
It shouldn't be too tough, seeing as how you start OCS in a couple of weeks.
You see, er... Goody and I, we, er... went to Captain Thomas, and...
Well, we reasoned with him and...
I ate the bear.
There you go.
I don't know why he wants to go the OCS.
I don't know why... why anybody wants to be a second lieutenant.
It's the pits!
Commander, keeping low. Requesting...
Roger, this is...
Hold your position while you cease fire.
This is full. We got a couple people hit here.
Okay, let's get that guy on board, huh?
Yeah, Roger that. I'm on ya.
Let's get 'em on and get out.
You know, we can't take anybody else out here.
Make sure that guy doesn't get on...
Dear Sarge, Less than a month to go and I'll be through Officer Candidate School.
All anyone talks about is Vietnam.
All we see and hear about are the demonstrations.
This war seems to be tearing us all apart.
The whole country.
Do you and Sam still argue about it all the time?
Remember she's a civilian, Sarge.
There's no way for her to really and truly know that nobody hates this war more than those who have to fight it.
Looks like they shipped you to the Nam, Wildman.
Tough luck, buddy!
You too, Flanagan.
There goes the war.
Just when we had it in the bag.
Hey, Wildman, kill a commie for Christ, man.
Hey, cool it! I'm gonna kick... hey!
It's the new lieutenant! Hey!
I think you're supposed to return it or something.
As you were.
Well, you look just like real soldiers to me.
Piece of cake.
Kid. How are ya, Sarge?
Hey, how are you? Hmm. Congratulations.
Your bars look beautiful, Jackie.
Come on, have some champagne.
There's, er... something I've gotta say.
Speech! Speech! It's your night.
I'm shipping out.
Couple of weeks, you'll be getting all the news straight from Quang Tin province.
Well, congratulations, son.
Not often the Army gets the right man in the right spot.
Thank you, Sergeant Major.
You okay with this, Sarge?
I'm just sorry that I'm not going along.
Platoon sergeants never get a Louie that can lead.
You'll make a lucky guy an easy gig there.
Born to it, kid.
Born to be.
Well, then, here's to us, and those like us.
Damn few left.
Well, come on!
Let's make a party. Yeah, let's.
Come on, y'all. To Jackie and Rachel.
They struck two. I got, er... a para-medevac here took two rounds in the chest.
The other, he's got one round in the arm, right arm.
Roger that. What's gonna be the ETA back to death stop?
This is 12-5, I'm right behind the death stop.
I'll check out the area right around here.
Is he clear now down there? Is it secure?
Roger, we have it.
You seen the latest Army Digest?
Guess who just won the Congressional Medal of Honour for actions against the enemy in Vietnam?
Guess who saved his buddies' asses?
Guess who took on a whole army of bad guys single-handedly?
Who, for Chrissakes, Goody?
South Vietnam's national police chie f had killed a man who had been captured carrying a pistol.
This was taken as sufficient evidence that he was a Vietcong officer.
So the police chief put a bullet in his brain.
He's still the chief of police.
For days, Cao Lang's streets were swept by gunfire.
And the people of Cao Lang were swept back and forth, bewildered.
Many civilians were caught...
Tell me you're a lot happier than you look.
If you're gonna lie, would you do it better?
The year's up, Rache. You lived through it.
He's coming home in three weeks.
Bonnie Fowler's man came home... different.
Apparently, he'd written her all these sweet letters while at the same time he was writing his mother he wanted to get a divorce.
And they've got a two-year-old baby girl.
Men come home crazy, and broken, and cold.
But that's not my Jackie.
No, it's not.
So, I'm gonna be fine.
Rachel's a great cook, isn't she?
I told you I called her on the phone.
"Call the restaurant downstairs.
"Send up the beef stroganoff."
Then she messed up the pans.
Are you kidding?
I'm only kidding, honey. It was wonderful.
So how's Jackie? You heard from him lately?
Yeah, I, er... I got the letter, er...
Honey, would you like to, er...
No. Just read it. You read it.
"hard to believe it's only a year.
"Feels like I've lived my whole life here.
"Ten lifetimes, really.
"Hard to believe I'll see you so soon.
"Hell, it's hard to believe you even exist.
"Any of you. Even Rache.
"It's so hard to believe that she still loves me, "that there is any love anywhere.
"Her letters are so beautiful, "and I want to believe so much.
"I just want to hold her and hold her.
"Just hold her and I'll be all right."
I've learned so much, Sarge.
I've learned that I can't protect these kids.
It's my sworn duty to protect them and I can't.
There's so many things, Sarge, to tell you.
All my life I knew I'd...
I'd live and die in the Army.
Just something I knew.
But after this, I don't know anything any more.
We'll sit down, Sarge. We'll talk.
You'll get me straight.
Sergeant Major, er... it's Sergeant Hazard, he's, er...
Jackie Willow. I know.
He wanted a CIB.
Combat Infantryman's Badge.
That's what he wanted more than anything.
You know, most kids his age, they... they want a promotion to Vice President of Sales, bachelor pad, hi-fi built in.
A fucking sports car, something!
Not him. A CIB.
I tried to...
I tried to slow him down, to just make him less in a lather to get over there.
I tried to tell him. Goody... Goody tried to tell him.
We weren't very convincing.
Don't blame yourself, Clell.
And I thought I could do it from here. If those... if those bastards wouldn't let me have Benning, well, then I'd teach 'em right here.
Because I'm Sergeant Hazard, you understand?
I'm the... boot-tough old vet.
Oh, stop it, Clell.
Yeah, you listen to me, boys, and I'll pull you through.
What a sorry goddamn excuse for a man I am.
Don't do this to yourself, Clell.
I can't help it, Sam.
Yeah, but then I thought if... if I can't help 'em all, then... what if I just help just one?
If I just take one... one boy. Just one...
Where can you do it, Clell?
If you can't do it here at this Fort Benning place, where can you do it?
Could you do it there?
Don't make me say that place.
Okay, honey, there is as good a place as any.
That's where it really counts.
I don't want you to go anywhere.
But it's your decision, not mine.
What happens to us?
I mean, while I'm on this...
mission of mercy, you ride off into the sunset with someone like Don Brubaker.
I don't ride off into the sunset with anyone, Clell.
I sit here, in this apartment, alone and scared to death, and I wait.
It don't square, though.
I mean, your feelings about the war.
My feelings about the war haven't changed a bit.
I'll do everything I can to stop the war.
I'll march, and I'll carry signs, and I'll pester Congressmen.
And if you consider that a knife in the back, so be it.
You've got your job to do.
I've got mine.
There's another question.
Er... if I were to do this,
honey, would... would you marry me before I ship out?
Oh, yes. Yes.
You would? Yes. Oh, yes.
I love you.
I love you too.
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Let's bury this guy and get on the bus.
Gotta get out of here.
What are you looking at?
Guidon. Atten... hut!
Parade, parade, rest!
Here this spot is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
On the stone it says,
"Here rests in honoured glory an American soldier known but to God."
They tell me there may be no unknown soldiers in Vietnam.
It seems we can account
for all their bodies.
We've, er... gotten a lot better at identifying them.
I just wonder if we're getting better at knowing them.
Well, here will rest deservèd of glory, an American soldier, known but to an honoured few.
I know him.
I won't forget.
Please stand for the rendering of military honours, please.
Firing party, fire three volleys.
Aim now. Ready.
Ready, aim, fire.
Ready, aim, fire.
Ready, aim, fire.
You may be seated now.
Colours ready. Parade, parade, hut!
On behalf of the President of the United States, please accept this flag in recognition of your loved one's faithful service.
Left, right, left.
Left. Left, right, left.
Left. Left flank, march.
Left. Dress it up! Dress it up!
Left, right, left. Left foot, Rothman!
Left. Left flank march.
Take your time.
Come on, guys, gotta pivot on the ball of both feet.
Pivot on the ball of both feet and step in a new direction.
Mark with the opposite foot. You gotta remember that.
Left! Keep it tight. Left.