M_A_S_H_TV_title_screenFor years many Americans, myself included, were drawn into the Korean War, or at least one aspect of it, in the form of M*A*S*H, a popular television show about the way a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was run…sort of. The show took on more than just the hospital side, by including a comical side that portrayed the antics of Benjamin Franklin Pierce, aka Hawkeye, and his best friend and co-conspirator, BJ Honeycutt. I can’t say just how true to life the show was, but we all cried right along with the doctors and nurses when they lost a patient, and cheered when they saved one.

In reality, the MASH units were a vital part of the war effort, and the saving of A wounded American is lifted onto a helicopter at the 21st Inf. Regt. collecting station at Painmal, Korea, one mile sout of the 38th Parallel, for evacuation to a base hospital. April 3, 1951 NARA FILE # III-SC-362636 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1451the lives of many soldiers. These were amazing surgeons who learned techniques that cut corners, making surgeries faster and more efficient, bringing lifesaving changes to medicine in the process. The MASH units were originally established in August of 1945, and then were deployed during the Korean War and later conflicts. The Army deactivated the last MASH unit on February 16, 2006, which I did not know, but I’m sure most of my military friends probably did. The MASH units were replaced by the CSH or Combat Support Hospital. I’m sure the CSH units are amazing units too, and maybe someday they will have as big a place in history as the MASH units did, but unless they do a television show that is as popular as the M*A*S*H show was, I don’t think their place in history will be as well known to the American people as the MASH units were. I’m sure that with all the improvements, the CHS units are probably better and more up to date than the MASH units were, but in the hearts of the M*A*S*H fans, the CHS units have big shoes to fill.

Mash Unit 1Many an evening has found Bob and I watching a M*A*S*H marathon. And during the original years, we watched it every night that it was on. We simply liked the show. I have to wonder if any other war has been watched as much as the Korean War…even though people didn’t necessarily realize that they were watching a war, or at least a part of it. While we may not have really learned a lot about the Korean War from this source, we did learn something about one part of the war…a vital part in all reality. Now that M*A*S*H is on again as re-runs, we often fine ourselves watching it again…even though we know how it will end. It is just one of those timeless shows. You just really never get tired of them…even the re-runs.

3 Responses to M*A*S*H

  • My life was saved by a very brave Cobra helicopter pilot who disobeyed his orders not to cross the border into Cambodia and rescue this American Special Forces operator who was in a very bad predicament. I rode out on the outside of that helicopter much like you saw in the MASH series except there was no basket on the side of a Cobra, just the “stubby wing” pylons. I and one other survivor draped ourselves over the pylons and were extracted to a safer landing zone where a Dust-off helicopter took us to the nearest MASH unit where we were treated for our wounds. So yes, the pilots and MASH units hold a very special place in this old soldier’s memory and they inspired me to go to helicopter flight school after that tour of duty in Vietnam. Thank you, Caryn, for paying homage to the MASH show. It meant many different things to so many of us.

    • Paul, you just never cease to amaze me. I can’t imagine being wounded, and draped over a wing…stubby or otherwise to be airlifted out of a bad situation, but I Praise God for the brave pilot and the MASH unit that saved your life, so I could have the privilege of getting to know my cousin. Wow!!! Just WOW!!! 🙂

  • i agree with caryn! Wow! Thank you for your service, Paul!

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