Anderson and Goldman are listed MIA in the aftermath of an artillery strike. The platoon, McKay, and Alex Devlin deal with the loss in different ways. Johnson gets promoted to sergeant and has to fill in the shoes of Zeke. Alex Devlin wants to put Vietnam and Myron behind her and accepts a position as correspondent in Paris. Anderson and Goldman in fact have been taken POW. In a stopover village they figure out where they are and realize that they are ferried northwards. They need to escape because their chances to make it back to their own lines are dwindling.
With Goldman recovering and transferring to Intelligence, Anderson meets the replacement Lieutenant Miller, who is keen on appearance by the book, which is something the new medic, Francis Hockenbury, takes lightly. Alex Devlin gets the rare opportunity to interview NVA General Thoc in the tunnels. After surviving a B-52 strike on the complex, she is happy to be back in Saigon and spend her last night with Myron.
The platoon is transferred to Camp Barnett MACV-SOG from where they will conduct unconventional warfare and counter-insurgency operations. Zeke Anderson is not extending his tour and uses his saved up free time to return to the US earlier to go see his daughter Katie for the first time in 2 years. The squads' first assignment is to snatch a VC tax collector. Myron, mourning the loss of Alex, is distracted, and Johnson is trying to adjust to his role as the new "sarge".
The platoon is searching for a recon-squad that disappeared. During the various patrols Johnson's leadership abilities are severely put to the test and he has doubts whether he still got the edge. Zeke meets up with Jennifer Seymour and proposes to marry her. She says yes to share her life with Zeke, but she also senses that Anderson isn't ready yet to end the life he shared with his men in Vietnam.
Lt Beller -a friend of Goldman- and his platoon function as a blocking force, while Goldman's squad searches for weapons and the enemy in several villages. Beller is disillusioned and his platoon is war weary, due to time in combat, casualties, and not getting results. During a search Anderson and Goldman hear gunfire, then run into Beller, in the nearby village of Phu An. Percell is strung out from the war and the drugs he is taking affect his mood and fighting ability.
The squad is deep in enemy territory kidnapping a high-ranking NVA officer. Percell is not with them, after spending the night in jail. He is fed up with the military and, despite Ruiz's efforts, deserts. McKay helps out an orphanage run by nuns. He is happy being useful in a different way for a change, until he witnesses a Buddhist commits suicide in the streets. The Army wants to keep the Phu An massacre quiet; Beller's platoon is dissolved and Beller and his men are transferred to other units.
The guys yank Percell out of Cholon. Although safe from being branded a deserter, he now has to face drug withdrawal symptoms for the next days. The platoon is tasked in finding out how the NVA is getting truckloads of supplies into an area without roads. Colonel Brewster learns that the Army isn't doing anything regarding the massacre at Phu An and has no other option then to go to the press.
With Thanksgiving as a backdrop; Colonel Brewster's decision to go to the press about the Phu An massacre lands him a lot of trouble with the higher echelon, especially when he goes on the record with journalist Sid Boyle. Percell -after his cold turkey- is physically fine, but psychologically still shaken. Goldman, Zeke and the squad are gathering evidence for Colonel Brewster's theory that the NVA must have fuel storage dumps at regular intervals along the Ho Chi Minh trail.
Goldman's father shows up and after telling him he doesn't have long to live, they start talking and get to know each other for the first time in years. Johnson becomes a short-timer, and his friends in the platoon want to know his plans. Ruiz gets acquainted with Susana, an OR-assistant. The squad tries to get an enemy helicopter in order to destroy it or possibly fly it back. Percell goes along but keeps a low profile, but proves he hasn't lost his edge after encouragement by "Doc" Hockenbury.
An elusive NVA sniper makes life hard for everybody, but particular for McKay as the sniper targets helicopters. The squad assists ruthless CIA-operative Duke Fontaine in removing an important VC official from the ranks. The mission becomes complicated when Taylor and Johnson are captured by the VC.
As Bravo Company returns from a mission, they are interviewed by a television reporter. Sgt. Hannagan has received a pile of wrapped presents from groups back home. Bravo Company decides that the presents should go to the orphanage as Hannagan had told the television reporter. Hannagan tries to prevent that from actually happening, but Percell, Ruiz, and Taylor take the presents and load them onto a truck. Nurse Susanna Lozada is grieving a soldier they lost on the operating table. Ruiz comforts her and invites her to the Christmas party at the orphanage. She and ...
Bravo Company is sent into the bush to rescue the wife of a local potentate who is denying the Army access to use their artillery until she is home. Bravo Company finds her and learns that she ran away to her home village and was kidnapped from there. The home villagers don't want her around because the VC punish them because she is there. She has nowhere to go. She is sick and they are being chased by VC. So Bravo Company takes her back to her village. The VC attack. The woman dies. Lt. Goldman and Taylor take her baby girl to her husband, who refuses to accept her.
Bravo Company gets 15 newbies and is sent into the bush to set sensors along a train and to reestablish a base. Anderson's group, reestablishing the base, is attacked by VC, and Goldman's group cannot get to them. Likewise, there is no air support to be had before the next morning. One of the newbies, Griner, is from South Carolina, and Taylor immediately decides he is racist. Griner proves himself an excellent shot, which Taylor recognizes and appreciates. Another newbie, Bell, from Texas, looks very young and is, in fact, only 15.
In their quest to capture or kill the sniper that has been picking off Americans at Camp Bennett, several Americans die by friendly fire as McKay attempts to support Goldman's patrol who had come under fire. After the sniper shoots at McKay again, he takes off into the bush to track him down. McKay finds the sniper's tree and stakes it out. Doc Hockenbury meets a local girl, Tien Ly, and goes to her house for dinner.
Camp Barnett is suffering from food poisoning. As a result, Lt. Goldman and Sgt. Anderson have to go pick up a deserter. The deserter is Sgt. Jonathan Digby, an outstanding soldier Anderson knew in Germany.
Bravo Company has to leave four men behind - Taylor, Ruiz, Wozniak, and Lamb who was killed. McKay takes Goldman, Anderson, and Duke Fontaine back to pick them up. However, some VC get Lamb's radio and lure the chopper in. Taylor, Ruiz, and Wozniak see the VC doing this and release other smoke, and McKay has to leave them behind again. "Pop" Scarlett joins Bravo Company.
Taylor and Ruiz have been MIA for three weeks. Bravo Company gets a slew of newbies and returns to its previous platoon status of going out on reconnaissance. A photojournalist is embedded with Bravo Company.
Hockenbury refuses to shoot a VC, resulting in the death of an American soldier. As a result, Hockenbury is ostracized. Col. Brewster is back because he has managed to get an investigation of the village massacre. Ruiz and Taylor get back to the base. Goldman, McKay, and Anderson lead men into the bush to find a depot. They find what appears to be an empty village, not on any maps, no animals or dung, and find a tank and the men to operate it.
The board of inquiry convenes. Anderson leads the men, including Pop Scarlet and his son Spc. Robby Scarlet, into the bush where Agent Orange is being sprayed. They arrive at a village that had been sprayed previously; the people do not look very healthy. Griner gets a very itchy rash. Hockenbury blames it on the Agent Orange, but none of the guys believe him.
Hockenbury, who moved out of the barracks and into a room in the dispensary, joins Bravo Company at mess, but he is still ostracized. Col. Brewster has developed a very sensitive mission in which he expects perhaps heavy casualties. Even though Goldman, Percell, and Ruiz are short, all the men volunteer. Fontaine is the intelligence liaison. Also, Air Force Major Chapman, who escaped three months previously from a prison camp in Hanoi, is also part of the mission. The mission: to raid a POW camp and bring home 38 guys.
Two months or so after the raid on the POW camp, Percell, Ruiz, Griner, and McKay are home and out of the military. Adjustment is difficult. Back at Camp Barnett, Goldman, Anderson, and Taylor are dealing with new men.