Summer, early 1950s. Three companies of bootcamp draftees are on a firing range to live-fire for the first time an Army Colt .45 caliber pistol. Instructors patrol their charges, giving instructions as a bullhorn in a tower snaps commands. Everything is done “by the numbers”: each step clearly defined to be exactly performed. After hours of sighting, aiming and dry-firing, young men aim their weapons at targets that seem far away. As the noncoms repeat the tower’s commands, they aim the heavy pistols. Precisely on command, they fire their first .45 round down range. All except one who, also precisely on command, shoots himself in the temple, spattering two recruits on his left with blood, barely missing them with the bullet. The Korean War is raging. Some of the training cadre are back from seeing hastily called-up reservists get slaughtered because they’re out of shape, poorly trained. New draftees find hard Korea-era basic training dismaying.