"The Purple Testament" is the nineteenth episode of The Twilight Zone, first broadcast in February of 1960. It was written by Rod Serling, and takes place in the Leyte Gulf Campaign, where Serling fought as a young soldier. It starred William Reynolds and Dick York, and also featured Paul Mazurksky, who would later become an acclaimed director, in a small role.
The story tells the story of an infantry lieutenant who can forecast the death of his soldiers before a battle. He confides in his commanding officer and friend about this ability, and while he is met with skepticism and concern, his commanding officer chooses to let him continue in his role. In Twilight Zone fashion, the premonitions he receive cut closer and closer to him personally, before a tragic ending.
What most impressed me about this episode was not its premise, as much as its realistic execution. In a previous episode, "I Shot an Arrow Into the Air", the treatment of military culture and behavior struck me as unrealistic. This episode, set during World War II, has a realistic timbre to how the officers and men in the infantry company behave. Despite being in some ways an anti-war story, the attitudes and culture of the military men are treated very realistically and respectfully. I find this episode most interesting as a document of how World War II was viewed during the early 1960s.