Based on events published in The Saturday Evening Post - James A. Michener's The Forgotten Heroes of Korea and Commander Harry Burns' The Case of the Blind Pilot - Men of the Fighting Lady vividly depicts the unforgettable men caught up in the quagmire of the Korean "police action." A quagmire viewed soaring at 20,000 feet at supersonic speeds. Panther Squadron flies from an aircraft carrier, carrying out the same railroad run over and over. Two veterans preach very different philosophies to the tyro top guns: one (Frank Lovejoy) pushes for grit and glory, the other (Keenan Wynn) for savvy and safety. Two of their charges, Lt. Howard Thayer (Van Johnson) and Ens. Kenneth Schecter (Dewey Martin), take away two very different lessons when one of the vets demonstrates the true meaning of heroism and sacrifice. While their Commander (Walter Pidgeon) sagely guides them, the writer (Louis Calhern as James Michener) observes all.