January 1943. Physically, mentally and spiritually debilitated after the four-month ordeal of Guadalcanal, Leckie, Phillips, Basilone and thousands of their comrades land in Melbourne, where they are greeted by adoring crowds who view them as the saviors of Australia. The troops set up a makeshift camp in the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the MPs turn a blind eye to the hordes of men who go AWOL in search of much-needed R&R.
After several rounds at a local pub, Basilone and J.P. get into a brawl with a resentful Aussie who mocks their toast to Rodriguez. While his buddies carouse, Leckie meets the beautiful Stella and quickly becomes attached to her and her Greek immigrant family. The youngest member of a large and dysfunctional clan, Leckie is reminded of what he most yearns for in life - a warm and loving home. Meanwhile, Col. Puller informs a hungover Basilone that he has been awarded the Medal of Honor, for "extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry," and lectures that he must continue to merit the honor.
Phillips also courts a lovely young Australian, Gwen, and listens attentively as her grandfather lays out the rather strict ground rules for their courtship. Stella ends her romance with Leckie, fearing his potential death in combat would prove devastating to her, and even more importantly, to her mother. Leckie is heartbroken. He drowns his
sorrows in a bottle and has a drunken confrontation with Lt. Corrigan, which lands him in the brig. Meanwhile, Basilone receives his Medal of Honor and is told he will be going back to the States to help in the war bond effort. With great reluctance, Basilone says goodbye to J.P. and flies home. The rest of the 1st Marine Division ship out, heading back into action.