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Sergeant Tom Highway, a hardened, tough veteran of Korea and Vietnam returns to the United States for his last tour of duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. He is assigned to training a recon unit. Their cool, trendy and 'hippy' approach to military life is a reminder to him that he is, in the words of his general, "an anachronism" - useful only "in case of war". Conveniently, a war does arise (the invasion of Grenada in October, 1983) and successfully tests both his usefulness and the effectiveness of the new recruits.