Richie embarks on his first tour of duty in Vietnam, and discovers the moral ambiguity of war in Walter Dean Myer’s Fallen Angels. His life in Harlem has been hard, but he quickly discovers that Army life is much worse. Richie befriends Harold Peewee Gates and Jenkins, two other new recruits. Jenkins is soon killed by a land mine on his first patrol, leaving Richie demoralized, and wondering how he can possibly write about the horrors of war to his family at home. Amidst the carnage, Richie questions why U.S. troops are in Vietnam, also questioning his own motivations in enlisting. After he is wounded and recovers sufficiently to return to active duty, Richie finds that the racist squad leader, Dongan, has been assigned to his group, and Dongan soon makes the lives of black soldiers miserable. After Dongan is killed, a black Corporal named Brunner leads the troops on a dangerous mission, where both Richie and Peewee are both wounded. As the two men return to the U.S. on a plane carrying the caskets of the fallen, they can only try to dignify their service to the new recruits. High school readers will appreciate the gritty and thought-provoking realism of Myer's wartime novel, which is critically acclaimed for its authentic and moving emotional conflict.