Jack, who is a sergeant in the Vietnam War, gets the privilege to see his little brother.
Three Weeks Earlier:
Jack and his crew are in the trenches. After giving a soldier named Robinson an order, the two discuss how Robinson only has 90 days left to serve. He plans to get a tryout with the New York Giants. They set up a trap, and then head back to their campsite.
A soldier named Townie and his friend are playing football, and Jack tells them to stop. Townie tells his friend to go deep, and he runs right into a boobie trap. Townie watches in horror as his friend explodes right in front of him.
Their camp has been infiltrated, Jack fights them off as his team takes cover. Another explosion goes off, and Jack runs to see who it is. Robinson has lost his leg. He asks Jack to give him his foot.
Jack's squad makes plans to clear out the next day. Jack talks to Robinson before he goes home. Robinson puts his hands on Jack's face and reminds him to breathe.
Jack's boss has arranged for his squad to have an easy duty for the next few days. They'll be doing security at a nearby village.
After a tough few days, Jack arranges for some beer to be delivered to his squad. He says they can only have it if they pull themselves together and police up the village they are at. When his boss arrives Jack asks if he can visit his brother who has gotten himself into some trouble.
During this conversation, Jack is interrupted by a Vietnamese boy. Jack is friendly, but the boy's mother puts a stop to it. Townie sees the boy and says a lot of rude things, which Jack reprimands him for.
Jack's boss at first says no to his request, but when he sees the work Jack's squad is doing, he changes his mind.
Fourteen Months Earlier:
A bruised and battered Marilyn Pearson gets a letter from Nicky. She shows Jack the letter. Nicky is in rough shape, sounding suicidal. Jack visits his doctor and asks if he could enlist. The doctor warns against it because of Jack's irregular heartbeat. Eventually, the doctor gives in.
One Year Earlier:
Nicky watches Jack at the car shop. He's worried about the lottery for the war coming up. Jack assures him everything will be okay. Jack and Nicky go to a local bar to watch the lottery. Stanley makes a dig towards Nicky for not being able to look out for himself.
Nicky's birthdate is the fifth date to be picked. Jack makes a plan to get Nicky to Canada. When they get home Stanley tells Nicky to make him proud. The next day Jack and Nicky pretend they are going on a hunting trip.
They stop at a motel. The next morning Jack wakes up with Nicky nowhere in sight. He leaves Jack a letter saying it's his time to save the day.
Fourteen Years Earlier:
A young Jack encourages Nicky to play football with him. When he tosses Nicky the ball, his glasses break. Nicky worries about what Stanley will do. Jack assures him he won't let Stanley touch him. Jack tells Nicky that he's just like Clark Kent, Superman in disguise.
At night, Nicky hears his mom and dad fighting. Nicky goes out and tries to protect his mom. Before Stanley can do anything Jack comes out. Stanley leaves angrily. Marilyn worries about how fast Jack's heart is beating.
Seven Years Earlier:
Marilyn is in labor. The nurse assures her she is lucky to be having a baby on the 18th. The baby will be a lucky baby. Jack's grandfather arrives and he's drunk. Stanley refuses a drink when his dad offers.
Stanley shows Jack his baby brother for the first time. He reminds him big brothers look out for their little brothers.
Flashforward to Jack back in Vietnam.
Nicky is pouring gasoline in canisters. Jack calls out to his little brother whose face is covered in smoke debris and has a shaved head.