Fallen Angels | Study Guide

Walter Dean Myers

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Course Hero. "Fallen Angels Study Guide." December 20, 2019. Accessed August 1, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fallen-Angels/.

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Course Hero, "Fallen Angels Study Guide," December 20, 2019, accessed August 1, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fallen-Angels/.

Fallen Angels | Plot Summary

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Summary

Private Richie Perry joins the Army and, before his deployment, is stationed at an army base in the United States, where he plays for the base's basketball team. After injuring his knee, he receives a medical profile that indicates he is not physically fit for service on the front lines. However, his unit is assigned to deploy to Vietnam, and his captain tells him to go with them. When his medical profile is processed, the captain says that the army will take Perry out of physically demanding service and find him another position.

On the plane to Vietnam, Perry meets another soldier with the nickname Peewee and a nurse named Judy Duncan. On the ground in Vietnam, the nurse is sent elsewhere, while Perry and Peewee are shipped out to a remote area called Chu Lai, which the soldiers call "the Deep Boonies," with another soldier named Jenkins. Along the way, they meet Johnson, a big African American soldier who is also assigned to their company. The four men meet up with their squad and find that the squad has also been hearing the rumors that the peace talks will soon end the war.

Throughout their time near Chu Lai, the soldiers spend their time alternately waiting around the camp and heading out on patrols and pacification missions—visits to villages to pass out food and persuade the civilians to like, trust, and support the American war effort rather than the Viet Cong. They are comforted by the calm and efficient leadership of Sergeant Simpson and Lieutenant Carroll. Perry experiences a shocking introduction to the war when Jenkins is killed by a mine on their first patrol. He is likewise upset by his first sight of a dead Viet Cong soldier during a patrol filmed by a television crew. By contrast, the squad feels good about the pacification mission they go on, hoping that spreading peace and promoting democracy is truly the reason they are in Vietnam.

As time goes on, Perry continues to see darker and more complicated sides of the war. He is loaned out to Charlie Company for a patrol and feeds bullets to a machine gunner who—unknowingly and on orders—mows down another platoon from Charlie Company. In an effort to deal with Viet Cong terrorizing the residents of the village they visited on a pacification mission, they lay an ambush that leads to the death of Lieutenant Carroll and then to the rescue helicopters shooting through the village. Lieutenant Carroll's replacement, Lieutenant Gearhart, gets the squad into a chaotic spot that leads to the death of a new member of the team.

Eventually, the squad is sent further out to Tam Ky, although rumors of the end of the war continue to circulate. Captain Stewart, desperate for a promotion, volunteers Alpha Company for ever more dangerous missions that promise high body counts of enemies killed. During one of these, Perry is wounded, and his squad-mate, Brew, is killed. Perry recovers at a field hospital, where he is given a Purple Heart. He briefly sees Judy Duncan again before he is whisked back to the field to rejoin his unit.

Back at Tam Ky, Perry's squad joins a large South Vietnamese Army unit for a complicated mission that goes very badly, and many people are killed. The two armies turn on each other as they fight to get on the rescue helicopters. The squad manages to make it back, and after a few days, they are sent out again to clear a riverbed rumored to have Viet Cong activity. They do not see much activity until Perry and Peewee are clearing a ridge, separated from the rest of their unit. The two spend the night hidden in a small cave and then make it back to the landing zone, where they find one of Perry's squad members left behind by the helicopters and pinned down by Viet Cong snipers. As the helicopter returns for the injured soldier, Perry and Peewee manage to lay down enough fire to get them all on the helicopter, but all three are injured and brought to the hospital.

The injured soldier is quickly able to return to duty with the squad. Peewee's injury requires additional surgeries, and he is able to return to the United States. Perry receives his second Purple Heart, and the doctors find his medical profile, which qualifies him to be sent home alongside Peewee. Perry and Peewee hold hands as they accompany one another on the long flights home, reflecting on the men they left behind in Vietnam and the "angel warriors" who had fallen.

Fallen Angels Plot Diagram

Falling ActionRising ActionResolutionClimax123456789101112Introduction

Introduction

1 Perry receives orders to deploy to Vietnam.

Rising Action

2 Perry, Peewee, and Jenkins are assigned to Alpha Company.

3 Perry's squad goes on patrols and pacification missions.

4 Perry's mission with Charlie Company ends in disaster.

5 Lieutenant Carroll dies during an ambush mission.

6 Alpha Company gets transferred to Tam Ky.

7 Brew is killed, and Perry is injured but returns to duty.

8 A mission with the South Vietnamese goes poorly.

Climax

9 Monaco, Perry, and Peewee are injured by the Viet Cong.

Falling Action

10 Monaco, Perry, and Peewee recover in the hospital.

11 The doctors dispatch Monaco to rejoin the squad.

Resolution

12 Perry and Peewee return home via Osaka, Japan.

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