It is September 1971 and it is clear that the US is losing the . In the opinion of the average American soldier who came of age during the of the 1960s, Vietnam was "lost a long time ago". Roland Bozz (), a draftee who is opposed to the war, is shown to be an unruly soldier with no respect for authority; he disobeys orders and talks back to his superiors. He quickly befriends another recruit, Jim Paxton (), an aspiring writer who records his experiences in a personal journal. Unlike Bozz, Paxton volunteered for the Army. Upon reaching their post, the company commanding officer Captain Saunders makes it clear that every soldier who passes through Fort Polk and Tigerland will be sent to Vietnam. He also states that any political views on the war are irrelevant at this point.
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