Vietnam veteran Wentz draws on his own wartime experience with the Navy's toughest commandos for an exalting, unnerving, no-frills war novel. Working in small, tight, self-contained units, the Navy's SEAL (SEa, Air, Land) commandos took on dangerous, dirty little jobs requiring stealth, strength, and flawless cooperation. Wentz and Jurus successfully re-create the manic intensity that characterized SEAL operations at their height during the Vietnam war. They follow Seaman Gene Michaels through a dozen or so operations as he serves the latter half of his first hitch in the war zone. Deeply religious, married, and soon to become a father, Gene is seen as something of a good-luck charm by the rest of his unit. As long as he has been with them, they have made it out of every hair-raising operation unscathed. Gene credits God with the safe deliveries--until his faith is tested with the death in battle of his best friend. Popping amphetamines, the young commando goes on a sleepless 12-day hunt for the North Vietnamese colonel he holds responsible for his friend's death. The title refers to the SEALs' practice of painting their faces before their sorties, providing camouflage and scaring the wits out of anyone unfortunate enough to tangle with them. All war, no politics. Grim but well done.