Lieutenant Jimmy Cross is in love with Martha, a girl from New Jersey that has no indication of returning his love. He carries pebbles, photographs, and letters that she wrote and collected. He explains what each man in his platoon carry, in the physical sense, however it is later revealed that each item is representative of what each person has an internal struggle with.
When the group is assigned to destroy tunnels, Cross imagines himself being crushed in the tunnel with Martha. On the way back, Lavender is shot dead however, Cross remains infatuated with Martha.
When the helicopter comes to collect the corpse, the group smokes the marijuana that Lavender abused and joked around in order to provide comedic relief. Fellow squad members Kiowa and Norman Baker, question life and death while Cross digs a hole and rests in it crying
He composes himself and burns the letters from Martha and the photographs, as he blames himself for Lavender’s death for his incompetence and failure to pay attention due to his infatuation with Martha and vows to focus on leading his squad.