A Letter

by MKA4077

To: Dr. Daniel Pierce 
    40 Maple Lane
    Crabapple Cove, ME

From: Dr. B. F. Pierce
      Mobile Army Surgical Hospital # 4077 
      South Korea

Dear Dad,

I miss you down here. It's been a whole month since we last saw each other, and you probably miss me too. I would like to see you, but there's just one little problem - I'm in America's newest toy - Korea. I live in a tent, eat in a tent, bathe in a tent, drink in a tent, pass out in a tent, and the only non-tent places I go to are OR and latrine. If I didn't know that I was born in a hospital, I would probably think I was born in a tent.

After we left Boston, we flew to Chicago, where we switched planes. After that came San Francisco, Honolulu, Guam, and finally - Okinawa, Japan. We stayed there for a week, getting instructed on field surgery. From there we flew to Kimpo Airport in South Korea, nearing the final stop of our destination.

In all glory, Trapper and me arrived at 4077th M*A*S*H. The first building in sight was a magnificent tent with the sign "Temporary Officers Latrine (Enlisted Welcome)" on the door. It was also the only building in the camp. In just two days five other tents rose up towards the sky. We live in tent six, the last and the greatest tent. On the day it was built we christened it "The Swamp", and got very drunk. Believe me, I still have no idea what I did while intoxicated. If you start getting blackmail letters from a Nurse Carols, deny that you know me.

The 4077th MASH is now located not so far away from Ouijongbu, a little Korean town. The mountains are all around, the sky is blue, and if there would be no war, you could think that this was some kind of a resort. People are just like in Crabapple Cove, except they are Korean, and don't speak English.

Our commander is Henry Blake. Henry is a tall, edgy and giggly doctor from Illinois who has no idea how to run a field hospital. Well, none of us does. We operate during the day, get drunk during the night, trying to forget. Our job is not something to think about. You go in, cut the person open, take out the shrapnel, and close them up, trying not to fall asleep or go bonkers in between.

Here is something about our prominent personalities. Radar O'Reilly is our company clerk. He already managed to send one morning report to Seoul in two weeks. Messy, but a great kid. There also is Klinger, an enigmatic personality from Toledo, Ohio, who arrived at the 4077th wearing a red cocktail dress. His utmost goal in life is to get out of the Army. Don't we all.

The other officers include Major Frank Burns, somewhat of what you would call 'tushie-brain'. He is a complete idiot, and unfortunately he lives in our tent. We still haven't figured out a way to remove him. Margaret 'Hotlips' Houlihan is another major, our head nurse, and a very, very good-looking woman. Her only fault is that she has been born by the army, raised by the army, and brainwashed by the same army. She and Frank are mostly seen together during the day, and have been spotted walking into Major Houlihan's tent at night, but they keep denying their involvement. I should have listened to your advise and taken a longer psychiatry rotation.

The food is horrible, and we just got another shipment of toilet paper from I-Corps. They misread our request for fifty packs of writing paper, and sent us a ton of toilet paper instead. A perfect example of American military thought.

Dad, I really miss you. I miss you, and Eleanor, and even crazy Auntie Frances. It all really gets to me. Just today I lost another kid. Now I'm sitting on my bed, getting filled up. Three gallons of gin. Will run like new. I can't stand the sight of blood. I can't stand seeing it every day. I want to run a marathon on a mine field rather then operate.

Sorry, I'm getting carried away. Right now it's three in the morning, and I can't sleep. Judging by the sounds from the bed on the right Trapper is enjoying company of a beautiful nurse in his dreams, but I don't even want to know the result of what kind of dreams are the sounds on the bed in front of me.

The cold has gotten better. Probably all that gin helped. I promise to be a nice boy and wear wool socks during the winter. It's very hot here right now, but the locals say it's going to get very cold. But you know that Crabapple Cove IS the coldest place on Earth. Say hello to everyone and take care,

P.S. Please renew my subscription to "Frolicking Nudists" and "Crabapple Cove Courier".

P.P.S. You will receive a money order for $1500 next month. It's money for the house and for the car. If you have something left over, give it to Mrs. Potts.

P.P.P.S. If you will remember, send me the blue winter down jacket and earmuffs.