Cookie Johnson begins his odyssey along paths few travel to arrive at a place in life never dreamed, expected, or predicted. J J "Cookie" Johnson, a fry cook at Sugar Babe's, quits his job, pays a recruiter ten dollars to be a cook in the Army, and ends up as an infantry rifleman in Vietnam. He finds combat exhilarating and being responsible for others fulfilling. Injured by a grenade explosion and evacuated to a field hospital, J J meets and proposes marriage twice to his nurse, Lieutenant Katie Patton. Threatened by conflict, uncertainty, apprehension, separation, career aspirations, protocol, and punitive Army regulations forbidding fraternization, they wonder if their love can endure and survive the war.