Pavuvu, 1944. Sledge and Snafu recuperate from their time on Peleliu. Back in New Jersey, an increasingly-frustrated Basilone is unable to enjoy the comforts of home and family. He requests permission from General Vandegrift to return to a more active duty. He is transferred to Camp Pendleton to train new recruits, including Tatum and Evanson, and works to get himself back into fighting shape as well.
At Pendleton he meets Sgt. Lena Riggi. Despite her initial coolness, Lena eventually warms to Basilone, and they enjoy a whirlwind courtship. His enlistment nearly lapsed, Basilone re-ups. Being a Marine, Lena understands. They marry and enjoy a passionate honeymoon.
Months later, in February 1945, Basilone, leading the men he trained at Camp Pendleton, lands on Iwo Jima. Demonstrating the same leadership he displayed on Guadalcanal, Basilone is an inspiration to his men but this time, tragically, he is killed on the first day of battle. Back in America, Lena is left to contemplate her life without the man she loves.