I am a big fan of the TV series M*A*S*H. Having watched the series as a child, and then again in its entirety as an adult, I have often wondered what the characters’ lives would have been like after the war. What if the surviving characters reunited at the 1995 dedication of the Korean War Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC? What would that look like?
In the TV series, Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce was the star of the show; he was portrayed as fun-loving, anti-establishment, and a dedicated and exceptionally talented doctor. In 1995, he would have been 45 years older than he was on Armistice Day (1953). Since Hawkeye was already a practicing doctor when he was drafted, I am going to guess he was around 35 in 1953 which would make him 88 years old when the memorial was completed. Here is what I think Hawkeye’s life story would look like:
At 88 yrs old, Hawkeye has seen much of his life. After the war ended, he went back to his beloved Crabapple Cove in Maine. He married a local girl, had a nice family, and ran a local medical practice just like he always wanted. Nonetheless, his PTSD continued to plague him. As we saw on the show, several times while he was in Korea, he had trouble coping (dealing with the death of his cousin and also commanding the silence of a baby which resulted in the baby being smothered) and consequently lost his grip on reality. Frequently during the war, his solution to the harshness of daily life was to drink – at times even expressing concern that this habit might be getting out of hand. And after the war, this continued to be where Hawkeye sought comfort. At his beloved father’s deathbed, he vowed never to drink another drop and actually sticks with it. When he retired from his private medical practice, he went into teaching at a local college. Throughout his life, he did not keep in touch with his Army buddies as it was just too painful. The dedication ceremony would be the first time he sees them.
So this is where I envision Hawkeye in the aftermath of M*A*S*H. Would love to hear other fans’ thoughts on this. Perhaps I will do some more character profiles in upcoming posts.