With Ronald Reagan narrating, recent war hero Captain Hewitt T. Wheless who before the war was a young kid working on a ranch during his summers in Texas to pay for school, signs up for the Army Air Corps. The film we see is a dramatization of his story with Wheless playing himself from his days on the ranch, through his training and a description of the mission when he tangled with a squadron of Japanese planes in a running dogfight and a crash landing. He got the Distinguished Service Cross for this action.
Besides Clint Eastwood's film another things came to my mind in watching the film. First the narration of the film was taken over by President Roosevelt himself in one of his fireside chats where he describes Wheless's action. FDR did another such broadcast and that night one of his listeners was Cecil B. DeMille who heard the story of a Navy doctor named Corydon Wassell and who then proceeded to do a film version of his story with Gary Cooper.
Wheless was admittedly no actor and was probably more nervous playing himself than in combat. He was a short man and he reminded of another short Texas hero from World War II, Audie Murphy.
The film while nothing great cinematically is still a reminder of times when America really looked up to its war heroes.