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In Korea, Sgt. Ken "Fletch" Fletcher, in command of the Second Platoon of Company G Infantry, receives orders by short wave radio to capture a crucial hill, defended by a well-placed machine gun nest on its ridge. Despite a mortar attack, the enemy is not routed and Capt. Johnson sends Fletch a flame thrower. The weapon is delivered by fresh-faced replacement Martin, who admits he has no idea how to use it, prompting Fletch to wearily take the responsibility himself. Fletch leaves Martin with medic "Brownie" Brown, and aided by the remaining platoon members, soon wipes out the nest. Johnson then orders the Second Platoon to hold the mountain. Later that afternoon, Sgt. Wiley and his squad meet Fletch on their way to the other side of the mountain. When gunfire erupts, Johnson sends Fletch to assist Wiley. Fletch finds Wiley and his men pinned down by a strongly defended roadblock. Fletch asks if any of his men have a phosphorous grenade and a tense moment ensues when Martin accidentally pulls out the pin of his grenade while offering it to Fletch. Fletch again leaves Martin with Brownie and, with Wiley and two other of his men, Henry Gordon and Fred Jonas, succeeds in outflanking the Korean roadblock and destroying it. Fletch saves one of his men, Marley, but Wiley is fatally wounded. Johnson then orders the Second Platoon back to base for ten days, to the exhausted men's relief. Upon returning to base, Martin immediately asks Fletch for a transfer, as he resents not being allowed to fight on two occasions. Fletch advises Martin that he is of more use to the Army alive, but agrees to the transfer request. Although the men must attend to several mundane tasks while in camp, they also enjoy themselves at the local USO club. Johnson informs Fletch he has been recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross, but when Fletch learns Gordon and Jonas are to receive Silver Stars, he asks for the same while also putting in a recommendation for Brownie, an enlistee who has served bravely in three wars. Johnson agrees to consider the unusual request, then leaves Fletch with the letter of recommendation for the DSC submitted by Gordon and Jonas. Later, Fletch, Gordon, Jonas and Brownie are all awarded medals. Johnson assigns three new replacements to the Second Platoon, still leaving them short five men. Fletch gives the new men a pep talk, including Martin, who has not turned in his transfer request, but remains sullen and resentful. After ten days, the platoon is sent on patrol and Fletch places each new man with one of the veterans. That night as the men keep watch in fox holes, Martin complains to Jonas about Fletch, refusing to believe Jonas' observation that Fletch takes good care of his men. The next day Johnson orders Fletch and his unit to find and destroy a sniper post and insists the new men be involved so they can acquire some experience. Gordon, Jonas, Marley and Brownie initially remain behind, then Fletch orders Gordon along and Brownie follows. As the soldiers approach a suspicious patch of trees, one of the new men is killed by sniper fire. Fletch takes a guess and succeeds in bringing down one sniper with an impromptu machine gun burst. When the sniper fire continues, however, Fletch grows angry and boldly risks himself to rake the tree tops with fire, bringing down another sniper. Unsure if there are any remaining snipers, Fletch peers out, and an answering shot hits one of the new men. When Brownie comes forward to assist him, both soldiers are shot and killed. Fletch tells Gordon and Martin one of them has to serve as a target to allow the others to locate the sniper and, at Martin's suggestion, the men toss a coin to see who will go. When Martin is the choice, however, Fletch goes instead. As Fletch steps into a clearing, he trips on a log as the sniper fires, and when Gordon attempts to shoot, his gun jams. Martin leaps forward and sprays the tree tops, killing the last sniper. The three men head back to camp, and Fletch congratulates Martin for becoming a soldier.