Brenda Andersen (Barbara Eden) is an overprotective single mother from Iowa, who does not want her 18-year-old son Jimmy (David Kaufman) to follow in the footsteps of her late husband (who died in a parachute accident in Vietnam) by becoming an Airborne paratrooper in the US Army. Instead she sends him off to college, and then moves to Alaska to take up a new job. But once she moves, Jimmy leaves college and enlists in the army. He initially keeps this a secret, and only tells her after he's completed basic training and is about to begin Airborne parachute training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Brenda drives down to Georgia in an attempt to stop him, but when she arrives Jimmy has already entered Fort Benning. So she assumes the identity of an AWOL Airborne trainee named Susan Zimmel in order to enter the base and try to persuade Jimmy to leave. When Jimmy refuses to quit, she makes a deal with him – if she can make it through the Airborne training course herself, then he will not do the parachute jump at the end of the course, and will leave the army and return to college.
Brenda struggles to adjust to the strict military regimen and make it through the tough and physically demanding Airborne training course. Her fear of heights also causes her difficulties. This leads to a number of comic incidents, though her drill instructor, Sgt. Burke (Héctor Elizondo), fails to see the funny side. But with a little help from other trainees in her squad, Brenda perseveres, determined to get Jimmy to leave the army.
In the end, however, the experience leads Brenda to realize that Jimmy needs to complete the training in order to develop a closer bond with his late father, and gives him her blessing to complete the final qualifying parachute jump. She then conquers her fear of heights and also makes the jump herself.
This movie is hard to find, but is available on DVD.