1952 XX XX 00:00:00

Chief Surgeon Who?


CHAPTER 6 resembles this story with different dialog and one major plot difference: it is Trapper John who is appointed chief surgeon. Hawkeye’s disagrement with Colonal DeLong in CHAPTER 11 appears in this episode.

The man who hated Hawkeye the most was Captain Frank Burns. He had good reason. He was persecuted by Hawkeye Pierce. Captain Burns was the boss of one surgical shift, and Hawkeye of the other. Working times frequently overlapped, so some contact was inevitable. The more contact they had, the more they hated each other.

Frank Burns was the son of a general practitioner and surgeon in a medium-sized Indiana town. After one year of internship, and as heir apparent, he had joined his father in practice for three years before being drafted. He owned a thirty-five-thousand-dollar house and two automobiles.

Hawkeye Pierce had spent the same three years in a surgical residency, without salaray, and had been supported by his wife and hospital poker games. In Hawekeye’s opinion, Frank Burns, despite a definite technical competency, seldom thought and was a fake. In Frank Burns’s opinion, Hawkeye Pierce was an uncouth yokel who failed to understand that learning surgery from a father who didn’t know any was better than formal training in a teaching hospital.

“Captain Pierce,” Colonel DeLong stated, “you have a seriously wounded patient for whom you are responsible. I find you in a poker game.”

Hawkeye knew the Colonel had years and overall experience on him, but he also knew that few people had the reflexes for this kind of surgery unless they’d been doing it day in and day out for a while. He understood the Colonel’s unhappiness but, choosing to be unpleasant and uncooperative, he answered, “You betcher ass, Dad.”

“Well, Captain, are you going to take care of your patient, or are you going to play poker?”

“I’m going to play poker until 3:00 a.m. or until the patient is adequately prepared for surgery. However, if you’d like to operate on him yourself right now, be my guest, Colonel. I get the same pay whether I work or not.”


Part of the film resembles this story with different dialog. As in the novel, it is Trapper John who is appointed chief surgeon.

Hail to the chief


Henry appoints Hawkeye as the new Chief Surgeon.

Your new chief surgeon

Corporal Klinger’s
first appearence

“I get the same pay
whether I work or not.”
Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce
Major Frank Burns
Corporal Radar
Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan
Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake
P. A. Announcer
Private Boone
Ugly John
General Barker
Captain Kaplan
Corporal Klinger

4077th MASH
The Swamp
Operating Room
Henry’s office
Hot Lips’ tent
Mess tent
Ginger’s tent
Henry’s tent
Scrub room


Donnie Love
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