It is April 1972 and the fading war has suddenly reawakened with the Easter Offensive, a massive invasion by North Vietnam into South Vietnam. United States troop strength in the war has fallen to new lows and twenty-year-old surfer Jeffs Ryder is a new member of the crew of a destroyer known as the Rat at the very time that the United States Navy has become the tip of the spear in repelling this aggression. He and his fiancée Cathy’s lives are turned upside down as his ship and many others are sent to the war. Unknown to Jeffs and the crew of the destroyer, their most dangerous enemy is not the one they expect.
A secret group committed to the destruction of the ship, and an unbalanced navy fleet commander have joined forces in a conspiracy to send the Rat on a perilous mission and a confrontation with patrol boats carrying ship killing missiles. As their possible doom inches ever closer, Jeffs and his shipmates continue to deal with separation from loved ones, firing missions, dangerous attacks into North Vietnam and shipboard life, often with comic, ironic and sometimes tragic outcomes.
War Paint is a look at the role destroyers filled in a lesser known chapter of the war, and a captivating tale of betrayal and heroism.