In this wartime comedy drama an ultra-macho but aging Marine sergeant does all he can to keep his men intimidated and towing the line while they are stationed in the Philippines at the beginning of WW II. The tough-as-nails jarhead does have a terrible secret though--he has never been involved in actual combat. When his unit heads out for battle in China, the sarge is humiliated because he has not been granted permission to go. He begins drowning his sorrows in a bottle and later gets into a fight with some merchant sailors. As a result he is tossed into the brig until his wife urges him to retire. He reluctantly agrees and tries his hand at civilian life. Later when the Japanese invade the islands, it is the old sergeant who helps the civilian's safely withdraw; unfortunately he dies in the process. His wife also dies. Later their daughter, once a devout pacifist and now a uniformed member of the armed forces, accepts a medal of honor for her courageous father.