By Angela Gant and William F. Bryan
In an eclectic study filled with military paraphernalia, we see a trophy case.Inside the case is a picture of 18 men in Army uniforms in the desert.There is an inscription at the bottom that reads, “In Case of War Break Glass”.An axe breaks the glass.
EXT. DESERT – DAY
Five Humvees roll across the desert manned by men in desert camouflage.A modern rendition of a classic 70’s country song plays.As the opening credits roll intercut between shots of the individual men and the Humvees.The camera focuses on a man with a shaved head wearing sunglasses and a lieutenant’s stripe.This is CHRIS COMBEST – his name is on his uniform.
EXT. FREEWAY – DAY
Chris is dressed in an expensive suit and driving a late model luxury car on an urban freeway.Chris inserts a CD.He is listening to the original version of the same song.For the remainder of the credits, the focus switches back and forth from Chris in his Humvee to Chris in his luxury car.
EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY
Chris pulls into a personalized parking space, straightens tie in mirror and retrieves a briefcase.Chris gets out of car.
INT. OFFICE BUILDING LOBBY – DAY
Chris walks through a very attractive lobby and distractedly waves to a security guard, who is staring at a television screen and does not look up.
INT. BOARD ROOM – DAY
Chris enters a well-appointed board room and bows to three Japanese men in suits who are waiting for him.They stand and return the bow.
Good morning, gentlemen.We’ll get started here in just a minute.Did you have a good flight?
JAPANESE CLIENT ONE
Good, good.I’ll fire this up for your entertainment while you’re waiting – most of our presentation will be on this screen.
JAPANESE MAN ONE
That would be appreciated.
Chris turns on big screen television.CNN comes on with the image of the twin towers.It is Sept. 11, 2001.Chris reacts to the television – this is the first he has heard of it.
News broadcast shows the first tower has been hit.
All four men in the room stare catatonically at the screen.
News broadcast shows second tower has been hit.
One of the clients hands Chris a drink and then bows sympathetically.Chris downs the drink automatically without taking his eyes off of the television.
Dissolve to a news broadcast of the tower rescue efforts.
Dissolve to Chris downing another drink.
Dissolve to more news coverage of the rescue efforts.
I understood how everyone felt on December 7, 1941.I imagine that every American male was ready to run off and join the military on September 11.I would have.I would have right then and there.But I was in no condition to drive.
INT. ARMY RECRUITING OFFICE
Chris, dressed in an oxford shirt, jeans, and boots, sits across the desk from a large Black man in a disheveled Army uniform who is looking over a piece of paper.
Graduate high school?
That’s good.That’s good.
EXT. OBSTACLE COURSE – DAWN
Men run through the obstacle course, apparently tired, while a sergeant yells and kicks dirt on them.
Now, I know you heard a lot about basic training and all.I’m sure you done heard all the stories and seen all the movies, but it ain’t really like that at all.
INT. BARRACKS – DAY
A Sergeant screams at Chris, their noses inches apart.
Sure, you gonna run a little.
EXT. DIRT ROAD, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE – DUSK
Chris is in the front row of a group of men running in formation holding rifles over their heads.They are soaked in sweat and the man behind Chris falls over and lays there as everyone else runs on.
You get in good shape, ain’t no doubt o’ that, but it’s really kinda fun. I really liked that shit.They gonna teach you how to shoot and stuff.What’s nice is all your clothes are free.You gonna get three squares a day, and someplace to lay your pretty head.
EXT. FIELD – NIGHT
We slowly zoom in on a figure in full gear laying in a field with many such figures.It is pouring rain and there is no cover.As we get closer, we see it is Chris and that his eyes are open.
Now, it ain’t glamorous, it ain’t the Ritz, but it’s warm and dry.Hell, this shit is what being a man is all about.
INT. BAR – NIGHT
Chris sits at a bar in uniform, obviously exhausted.He looks over at a beautiful woman, who is batting her eyelashes and flirtatiously touching a man in an expensive business suit.
And after you graduate…damn!
Let me tell you chicks love the uniform.Between you and me, it’s a great way to get some tail.
INT. ARMY RECRUITING OFFICE – DAY
You do some trade school or somethin’?
I have a master’s degree.
College boy?For real?
Damn.You gonna be an officer, boy.OCS for you.That means Officer Candidate School.I guess that makes you a candidate. You gonna like it.It’s a real gentleman’s course.
INT. DINING HALL – DAY
Chris sits at a table with three other candidates, all of them wearing pressed uniforms.The remains of a sumptuous brunch are on the table.A man in a dress uniform approaches their table.
Good morning, gentlemen.Welcome to OCS. I’m Captain Rapley.Can I get you gentlemen some more French Toast?Perhaps some coffee?
Hey, that’d be great!Thank you!Thank you, sir.
This place is so nice.Man, I haven’t eaten like this in years.
As the men at Chris’ table talk, we see the same scene all over the dining hall.
You know, maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just paranoid, but…it just seems like there’s something going on here, ya know?
A whistle sounds and all the officers attitudes change abruptly.Captain Rapley kicks over Chris’ table.Similar actions happen across the room.The candidate next to Chris gets hit by a coffee pot.The officers are all screaming at the candidates.
Don’t stare at me, you fucking maggots!Get your sorry asses up and out of this fucking hall!You have ten minutes to be in full gear out on the green with two full canteens of water!You had ten fucking minutes, but you wasted two of them while I got your little asses coffee!Eight minutes, flyspit!Run!
The candidates flee the hall.
EXT. OUTSIDE BARRACKS – ABOUT TEN MINUTES LATER
Candidates are assembled in formation and panting.Stragglers are staggering into formation as Captain Rapley counts down the end of the ten minutes.
Fifteen…ten…five…that’s your ten minutes.
Two men sprint into formation, gasping.
I’m so very pleased you could join us today.This is Officer Candidate School, I am Captain Rapley, and you are fucking nobody.If you complete this course, and I do not believe that any of you will, you will be a second lieutenant in the United States Army.If you do not, the Army still owns your ass, only you will be a private first class, and a goddamn sorry one.You have sixty seconds to drink both canteens of water.Every drop that falls to the ground or that is left in your canteen is an extra twenty pushups for every man here.Drink, maggots!
The men begin choking down the contents of the canteens.
EXT. A HILL – DAY
Candidates are running up the hills and them rolling down them with men almost on top of one another.
You hear guys say their recruiter lied to them.Mine told me the truth.OCS was a gentlemen’s course for about half an hour.But when you eat a good, rich meal, drink two quarts of water and sprint up and roll down hills, you will see that meal again, even if you are a gentleman.Throwing up on yourself is one thing.Rolling through other people’s vomit is another.Believe me.
EXT. FLAT GREEN AREA – DAY
Chris and the other candidates are in formation in dress uniforms.Chris’ name is called and he steps forward to receive his pin.
Basic training.OCS.This was the culminating moment for me.When I joined the Army, I knew nothing but that I wanted to serve my country.Now that I had completed all of my required training, I’m not sure what I knew, but it was one of the greatest moments of my life.
Chris receives his first salute.
A lieutenant’s first salute is amazing.It’s better than your first hand job from the hot girl in your homeroom. After all the backbreaking humiliation, I received my first NCO salute from my kid sister who was serving in the Navy.I finally got to reap my reward, and that reward was respect.
INT. AN OFFICE – DAY
Chris is talking on the phone with his feet on his desk.A man in uniform a little older than Chris walks in and unplugs the phone.
That ain’t your desk.Take yer goddamn feet off of it.
Who the hell are you?
First Sergeant Larry Dyess.Now take your goddamn feet off the desk.
Well, First Sergeant, why don’t you find somebody that outranks me to tell me that.
OK, apparently you haven’t noticed, but I’m a lieutenant.Now, since I am an officer, I suggest you show me the respect due a fucking officer.
Oh, well then, fuck you…sir.
Dyess starts to leave and turns back around with a grin.
You’re gonna love yer men.
EXT. RUNWAY – DAY
Military men are loading a CONNEX (shipping container).They have on their fatigue pants and t-shirts. They are drenched in sweat.Chris enters the frame in full uniform.Chris marches up to the man in charge, who is older than Chris.
Why are you not in full uniform, soldier?
It’s hot out here, sir.
What the hell is the matter with you?When a platoon grade officer walks in you show some goddamn respect!
All of the men on the runway snap to attention and salute.They are obviously worried.
Is there some reason you think the rules don’t apply to you?You’re not in uniform, soldier!
Sir, no, sir.
No, what?The rules don’t apply to you?
No, sir.The rules apply to every soldier, sir.
Chris starts laughing.
I’m just fucking with you, man.There’s no such thing as a platoon grade officer.You should know that.Are you Sergeant Montoya?
I’m Lieutenant Combest, the acting CO for Bravo Company, and the actual Red Platoon leader. Assemble the men inside, I want to talk to them.
And for God’s sake, be in uniform.All of you.
Chris walks away still laughing.A lumbering giant, SGT. DONALDSON, and a more normal-sized soldier, SGT. HICKS, walk up to Montoya.
Even Hicks knows there’s no such thing as a platoon grade officer.
Shut up, Donaldson.
The contents of a crate drop on a man’s foot.
Urrgh. My foot.My fucking foot.
Dammit, Looney, you’re fine.
Fuck, he won’t even make it to war.Hurt himself on a tent flap yesterday.
What’s that suppose’ to mean, “even Hicks knows?”You talkin’ about me?
In the background, a soldier is taking off his clothes.
We need to get the men inside.Hicks, why don’t you run so you can take a fuckin’ shower first?
Because you smell like goat’s ass.Peterson, what the hell are you doing?
The LT said to get in uniform.
The men start laughing.
INT. BUILDING – DAY
The men are at attention as Chris enters carrying a two foot stainless steel spoon.Chris approaches Donaldson and stops in front of him.Chris smacks his hand with the spoon and points it at Donaldson.
You’re a big ol’ boy.You from Texas?
We all are, sir.
Where you from, Sergeant?
Yard, Texas, sir.
You been through it once, sir, you been through it twice.Road dead ends at the river, then you gotta come back.
All right.Let me ask you a question, sergeant.Boy your size – is there anyone in this platoon that you couldn’t take?
No, sir.But I would not try Specialist O’Neill.
SPECIALIST O’NEILL is a small man with a wiry build.