All the members of 1st Lt. James J. Kirschke's mortar platoon and then rifle platoon knew what was expected of them. As Marines, America's military elite, they were required to train harder, fight longer, sacrifice more. Kirschke led by example in the hotly contested zone just south of the DMZ and in the dangerous An Hoa region southwest of Da Nang. There Kirschke's units, with resources stretched to the limit, saw combat almost daily in some of the fiercest fighting of 1966. Sustained through the toughest firefights and bloodiest ambushes, the men's morale proved a testament to Kirschke's leadership and his dedication to what the U.S. Marines stand for. Those beliefs, and the faith of his men, in turn helped Kirschke through his long recovery after he was wounded by the triple explosion of a box mine rigged to an anti-tank rocket round and a frag grenade.