A rebellious youth is tricked into going to a military academy, but an accident stimulates him to excel.
During war in 1918 Michael Reiker (John Litel) is wounded but is saved by William Duncan (Donald Douglas). In 1939 Col. Reiker inspects marching cadets. Dying Col. Duncan asks Reiker to take care of his recently found son Slip Duncan (Leo Gorcey), who refuses to go to military school. Reiker arranges to give Slip the choice of that or reform school. Rather than be arrested, Slip tells Reiker he will go to his school.
Col. Reiker puts cadet Major Jack Rollins (Billy Halop) in charge of the new students. Slip rooms with Johnny Cabot (Huntz Hall), Georgie Warren (Gabriel Dell), and Ronny Morgan (Bobby Jordan). Slip smokes and is lazy; but when he is disciplined by Jack and Hathaway, he fights. At chow Murphy (Frankie Thomas) give new cadets orders; but Slip ignores him and fights. Dutch (Bernard Punsly) visits Slip and informs him that he was framed. Slip packs to leave, and Col. Reiker lets Rollins try to keep him from going. Jack has cadets march in front of Slip, who is not provoked to fight. Cadets take Slip's bag. In getting it back, he pushes Jack out the window. Jack is taken away on a stretcher. Murphy tells Slip to go. Slip asks about Jack, but cadets are silent. Jack regains consciousness and asks Col. Reiker to give Slip another chance.
Slip studies and excels in his classes. Slip climbs in the window to visit Jack in the hospital. Jack asks Slip to help him study. Slip offers to help Georgie with tactics; but Georgie declines and fails the test. Col. Reiker tells Georgie he has to stay an extra year; but Georgie says he can't afford it. Reiker advises him to enlist in the army. Slip thanks Jack, and Col. Reiker commends Slip, who still feels isolated. At Fort Washington the cadets meet Corporal Georgie Warren, who apologizes to Slip. The cadets go on maneuvers with the army. A plane crashes into a building, starting a fire. Slip goes in to save Georgie, and both are burned. Col. Reiker sees Georgie and Slip, but no visitors are allowed. Georgie writes a letter that he and Slip are better. Slip returns to the academy, where he is welcomed as the new cadet major. Col. Reiker gives Slip his father's medal for distinguished service.
As war begins in Europe, this film reflects preparations
in the United States to train young men for the military. Slip
resists conforming but is induced by circumstances to focus his
abilities on military success just as the United States would
after Pearl Harbor.