Jack Stryker is beginning his junior year football season at the University of Texas in 1961. He is the descendant of a World War II fighter pilot who can trace his ancestry to a fur trader and a Shoshone maiden in the Wyoming mountains. After graduating from college where he participated in Navy ROTC, Stryker is commissioned as an ensign in the navy with every intention of becoming a career officer. After a year in an administrative position, Ensign Stryker is bored, applies for, and is accepted into a new special warfare group. He trains to become a Navy SEAL. After rigorous training, Jack is shipped out to Vietnam. His platoon is followed through three deployments and the horrific images of duty in the Mekong Delta, the vile swamp called the Rung Sat. Jack and his platoon became feared predators in the swamp, only to return home to a country that dishonored and disrespected them.