Col. Mike Kirby of the U. S. Special Forces takes charge of a strike camp located deep in Viet Cong territory near Da Nang. On hand to report on the unit's action is George Beckworth, a liberal war correspondent whose newspaper has voiced serious misgivings about American intervention in Vietnam. Despite the best efforts of Kirby's men, assisted by South Vietnamese regulars and Montagnard tribesmen, the camp is captured by the enemy. Upon witnessing the torture of a Viet Cong infiltrator during interrogation, Beckworth protests against the Green Berets' tactics, but when he learns of Viet Cong atrocities, he changes his mind about the nature of the conflict and even joins in the fighting. Eventually, Kirby and his men are able to retake the camp after a U. S. Air Force plane has decimated the enemy ranks. Then, aided by Lin, a seductive Vietnamese model whose father was killed by the Viet Cong, Kirby and Vietnamese Colonel Cai capture a high-ranking enemy officer and lead him back to headquarters for questioning. Before the unit returns to the camp, however, Petersen is killed by a booby trap. Kirby must then explain to Hamchunk, a war orphan whom Petersen adopted, that his idol died so the children like him might live.