Thanks to its rigorous training and discipline, which engenders esprit as well as confidence bordering on cocksureness, the US Marine Corps ranks among the world's greatest fraternities. In this low-key but affecting account of his experiences as a junior officer in the first USMC unit sent to do battle in Vietnam, the author captures much of what makes the brotherhood of the eagle, globe, and anchor such an abiding attachment. Having read Leon Uris's Battle Cry as a teenager in the rural Southwest, Van Zanten knew early on that dress blues were in his future. So gung-ho was the author that he arranged to go through boot camp during the summer before his senior year in high school. While at Arizona State (where he quarterbacked the varsity football team), Van Zanten entered Officer Candidate School. Completing the rigorous course after graduation, he earned a regular (as opposed to reserve) commission. Though recently married, the author was ready and willing to go when his outfit was ordered into action in mid-1965. During his 13-month tour of duty in Vietnam, Van Zanten dealt effectively with the grim business of leading troops into front-line combat. While not always enthralled with the lack of professionalism of a few superiors, he happily served under a Marine Crops Commandant-to-be (General P.X. Kelley, who contributes a moving foreword here) and got on with the dirty job of waging a war redeemed largely, he says, by the fellowship of comrades in arms. An alum's splendid, personal tribute to an elite fighting force.