As she hands him dry clothes, Jenny asks Forrest if he ever dreams about who he's going to be. "Aren't I going to be me?" Forrest asks, innocently. She tells him she wants to be a famous singer like Joan Baez. She takes off her shirt and explains to Forrest that she wants to have a stage all to herself, before asking him if he's ever been with a girl before. "I sit next to them in my Home Economics class all the time," he says.
Jenny takes off her bra and brings Forrest's hand to her chest, but he gets too nervous and has an unexpected orgasm, immediately. She reassures him and kisses him on the cheek, as the camera pans over to reveal that Jenny's roommate is awake in a nearby bed, horrified. "i think I ruined your roommate's bathrobe," Forrest says, as Jenny whispers, "I don't like her anyway."
At a football game, Forrest scores a touchdown. We then see Forrest Gump meeting President Kennedy with the All-American team. He drinks 15 Dr. Peppers. As he meets President Kennedy, he tells the president that he has to go to the bathroom. Kennedy laughs.
Forrest narrates that John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated, and we see footage of the two politicians. We then see Forrest graduating from college and posing for a photo with his mother, who is beaming with pride. A military recruiter walks over and hands Forrest a pamphlet about joining the army.
The scene shifts to Forrest introducing himself to a military bus driver, who yells at him, "Nobody gives a hunk of shit who you are, fuzzball!" Forrest tries to find a seat, but no one lets him sit down, until a black man in a tan suit invites Forrest to sit down. "You ever been on a real shrimp boat?" the man asks him, and tells him that he started working on his uncle's shrimp boat when he was 9 in Bayou Le Batre, Alabama. He introduces himself as Benjamin Buford, but says that everyone calls him "Bubba." "I know everything there is to know about the shrimping business," Bubba says.
The scene shifts to Gump and the other soldiers lining up and getting yelled at by a very loud drill sergeant. Forrest narrates that he fit in quite easily in the army, because he was very able to follow its rigid structure. As they put together guns later, Bubba tells Forrest about how to shrimp, when Forrest finishes constructing his gun before anyone else has. The drill sergeant runs over and tells Forrest that he's beat the record. "You are gonna be a general someday, Gump!" the drill sergeant yells.
We see Bubba and Forrest doing various chores in boot camp, as Bubba lists all the things one can do with shrimp. The scene shifts to Forrest in his bunk, as he narrates that nighttime was lonely. Suddenly, another soldier tosses Forrest a Playboy magazine. When he opens it, he sees Jenny in a spread titled, "Girls of the South." She is nude in her college sweater, and Forrest narrates that the spread got Jenny kicked out of school.
Forrest takes a bus to Memphis to see Jenny sing in a show that was offered to her after she posed for Playboy. The announcer introduces her as "the beatnik beauty," Bobbi Dylan, and the curtain opens to reveal Jenny, naked, holding her guitar. She sings "Blowin' in the Wind," and Forrest smiles at her performance. In voiceover, he narrates, "Her dream had come true. She was a folk singer." The men in the audience talk through her whole set, and one of them interrupts her by trying to touch her, and she yells at him.
Forrest runs up to the front of the stage and pushes the men away, before picking Jenny up. She doesn't want to be rescued, however, and she pushes him and storms off the stage.
Outside, Jenny tells Forrest, "You can't keep trying to rescue me all the time," but he insists that the men kept trying to grab her. He tells her he loves her, but she insists, "You don't know what love is." As she looks out over the water, she asks Forrest if he remembers when they prayed to God to turn her into a bird. "You think I could fly off this bridge?" she says, climbing up onto the railing. As a car drives up, she waves it down and gets in, telling Forrest to stay away from her. Before she gets in the car, Forrest tells Jenny that he's going to Vietnam and she tells him that if he's ever in trouble, he shouldn't try and be brave, but should just run away. "I'll write you all the time," he says, and she gets in the car and drives away.
We see Forrest at his mother's house. "You come back safe to me, do you hear?" she says, as Forrest leans his head on her shoulder.
Forrest travels to Vietnam with the army. He and Bubba walk towards a tent where their lieutenant, Dan Taylor, is standing. He welcomes them to his platoon and notes Bubba's big gums. "If you stick with me, and learn from the guys who've been in the country awhile, you'll be alright," Dan says, before telling them that it is very important to have socks and to keep their feet dry. "The Mekong will eat a grunt's feet right off his legs," Dan says.
Forrest narrates that Lieutenant Dan came from a military family, that someone in his family had fought and died in every single American war. "I guess you could say he had a lot to live up to," Forrest narrates.
We see Forrest and the other soldiers walking around the fields of Vietnam. Off Lieutenant Dan's orders, the soldiers all get down and stay quiet. He decides that it was a false alarm and they continue on. We then see a montage of the soldiers enduring four months of rain.
One night, Bubba leans his back against Forrest so they can sleep through the rain. He tells Forrest that they are a good team because they look out for one another. "How would you like to go into the shrimping business with me?" Bubba asks Forrest, and Forrest agrees. We see Forrest writing letters to Jenny, which he tells us he did almost every day. Interspersed, we see Jenny, with long hippie hair, getting into a van with some other hippies.
Eventually, the rain stops in Vietnam, but with the sun comes a huge attack on American forces. In the chaos, Lieutenant Dan and Bubba both tell Forrest to run, which he does. Forrest runs so far that he eventually ends up alone, but he suddenly realizes he left Bubba behind, and goes back to look for him. In the middle of looking for Bubba, he finds another soldier, Tex, lying on the ground, and slings him over his shoulder. He carries him away from danger, laying him on the ground next to a small pond. When he goes back, he finds a number of his other fellow soldiers in need of help, and carries them to safety.
Forrest acts as Jenny's protector throughout the film, but sometimes even when she does not need it. This is typified in the scene when he visits her at college and mistakes some hanky panky in a car for abuse, and punches Jenny's date. Jenny is frustrated with Forrest's inability to read the situation more clearly, but cannot be angry with him for long, sneaking him up to her dorm room as if they are still children sneaking over to visit one another's houses.
A humorous special effect that director Robert Zemeckis employs is inserting Forrest into old television footage. At various points, we see iconic actual footage of historical moments, with Forrest Gump magically inserted into it. For instance, he picks up the book of Vivian Malone, one of the first black students to attend the University of Alabama, and hands it to her. Then, he appears in actual footage of President John Kennedy, greeting members of the All-American football team. When it comes time to meet the president, Forrest tells Kennedy, "I have to pee." Zemeckis playfully inserts these moments into the film, as a way of showing that, in spite of the hardships he faces, Forrest always seems to end up in important moments in history.
In the army, Forrest once again happens upon a best friend while trying to find a place to sit on a crowded bus. Bubba Gump is an affable black man who comes from a long line of shrimpers. He seems just about as intellectually challenged and awkward as Forrest, and they become fast friends. For all of the challenges that Forrest faces in life, his mother's prophecy that he belongs rings true time and time again, and he is always able to find a friend.
After college, Jenny gets into more and more trouble, and begins to resent Forrest's desire to help her. After getting kicked out of school for posing nude for Playboy, she gets a job singing in a strip club. When Forrest comes to see her, once again trying to rescue her from lecherous men, she shoos him away and tells him to stop trying to protect her. Jenny chooses a tough life, and no longer wants the innocent connection that she once had with Forrest. The adult world brings new and unique struggles for each of the wayward characters, as Jenny hops into a stranger's car and Forrest sets off to fight in the Vietnam War.
Forrest may be dim-witted and limited in his mental abilities, but it precisely his overly literal mind that ends up turning him into a hero time and time again. In college, he becomes an incredible football player because of his single-minded sense of purpose. Then in Vietnam, he becomes a war hero because of his ability to rescue his fellow soldiers from danger. Perhaps someone with a higher IQ might struggle to justify going back into the line of fire to help his fellow man, but Forrest's limited perspective and singlemindedness motivates him to keep going, even against the odds.