In December 2003, Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) visits Sal Nealon’s bar (Bryan Cranston), the former Marine Corps with whom he fought in Vietnam. After presenting, the Doc mentions that he was dropped on a dubious basis of conduct and was imprisoned in the US Navy prison. The next morning, Sal and Doc go to the church of another friend of Vietnam, Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), where he preaches, hence becoming a pastor.
At home at Mueller, Doc reports that his wife recently died and the purpose of this trip is to ask his friends to accompany him to recover his son’s body and bury him after being killed in Iraq. Sal accepts, but Mueller has some heartbreak, but at the insistence of his wife he accepts and goes together to Washington. In the run-up, Sal expresses frustration with Mueller, who used to habitually hire prostitutes in Vietnam.
When they arrive at the Dover Air Force Base, Doc asks to see his son’s body, despite the advice from Lieutenant Colonel Willits (Yul Vazquez) of not doing so. Sal and Mueller are led by Charlie Washington, a close friend of Doc’s son who was next to him at the time of his death. Charlie recounts that Larry was killed while shopping at an Iraqi shop, thus contradicting the original story of the officials that he would have died heroically fighting.