In 1965, Operation Rolling Thunder roars across the skies over North Vietnam and the first U.S. ground troops land in the South. American soldiers are outnumbered in the Ia Drang Valley, the first major battle of the war.
American troops launch widespread "search and destroy" operations as body count, not territory, becomes the measure of success in Vietnam. At home, the American public begins to question U.S. military strategy.
The enemy gains ground when the massive Tet Offensive catches the Americans by surprise. At Khe Sanh and Pleiku, U.S. troops are under siege. Anti-war fervor is ignited at home.
The turmoil of 1968 helps Nixon win the presidency. Troop strength in Vietnam peaks. Karl Marlantes endures bitter jungle fighting on Hill 484, and draftee Arthur Wiknik gets a grim introduction to combat on "Hamburger Hill."
Troop withdrawals begin as the Americans train their ARVN allies to take over. Gery Benedetti patrols the hostile waters of the Mekong Delta. James Anderson leads a battalion into Cambodia after Nixon's controversial order.