Grizzled war veteran Sgt. Clell Hazard (James Caan) is disheartened when he is stationed as a guard in Arlington National Cemetery instead of an instructor of new recruits during the Vietnam War. When eager Pvt. Jackie Willow (D.B. Sweeney) is stationed under Hazard, the vet aims to educate the youth about war. Along with his old friend, Sgt. Maj. Goody Nelson (James Earl Jones), Hazard does his best to school Willow before he is deployed to Vietnam -- but both know that it may not be enough.