Firebase Horse is a burnt-out hill in the jungle overlooking Highway 9, a monsoon-ravaged supply route being pointlessly guarded by ""Alpha"" Troop. The troop is composed of junkies, psychos and homosexuals and led by an alcoholic captain named Pontius, who, like his namesake, refuses to take responsiblity for the madhouse he commands. When a new white pusher arrives with a fresh supply of horse, he's suddenly found floating in a sump--the prelude to a small-scale race war, including torture and a burning cross. The story is told from the point of view of a black lieutenant, a West Pointer with high hopes for a career in the army. But after he's wounded by a white hophead, his illusions vanish and the reader is left staring at the hopeless rat's nest of crazies.... The story is kept afloat in blood while General Sherman's message is delivered thrice over.