Leahy began his military career on Feb. 5, 1943. His first few months were spent in basic training at Parris Island, S.C. (pp. 1-7) followed by assignments at Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, N.C. (p. 12), and Camp Pendleton, California (p. 14).
Leahy throughout his memoirs gives one a glimpse of life and personal thoughts of a man in the military. Leahy comments on experiences aboard a transport ship (pp. 16-17), training aboard ship (p. 20), his feelings just before their first combat experience (p. 26), eccentricities of colleagues (pp. 35-38), the average soldier's favorite topics of conversation (p. 72), shore leave in Hawaii (p. 41), and the thrill of being discharged from the military (p. 108).
Leahy was involved in four major military engagements. He recounts the battle for the Marshall Islands (pp. 21-32) and the battles of Saipan (pp. 44-64), Tinian (pp. 66-68), and Iwo Jima (pp. 77-101). These narratives discuss the number of men killed in action by accident (p. 32), the mutilation of dead Japanese soldiers (p. 28), different types of artillery fire (p. 85), and life aboard medical ships (p. 101).
Following the war's end Leahy, after becoming bored with the peacetime lull, traveled around the world for ten years. A brief description of these adventures is provided in the epilogue (p. 111-113).