In 1968, Jack Vellis graduated from Annapolis well aware of the Vietnam War and the strife it was causing in the United States. Later that year he left on the USS Carpenter to Vietnam and worked in the engine room, learning everything about destroyer machinery. He quickly became a Fleet Officer of the Deck, essentially standing watches and steering the destroyer. The USS Carpenter offered offshore gunfire support for onshore battles. On his 2nd tour (1971-1972), Vellis was on a Swift Boat with an all South Vietnamese crew, the Officer in Command also South Vietnamese. In his conversation, Vellis reflects on racial tensions, hatred towards Vietnam veterans, and his variety of experiences during the war.