Dear Mom

by Corporal Shawna Marie

     Dear Mother,

     Mom, here in Korea is not what I thought it would be. As I, the shortest, of the soldier I don't stick out much. I remember in the O.R. the other day people mistaken me as their son. Yet, they were sedated so I don't blame them. In my little part of Korea in the officer all I have to do is clean and take care of the animals. By the way, how is Charles doing? Floppy, the girl rabbit had missed him very much. Enclosed in this letter is a picture of me, the short one; Hawkeye; the one to the left of me, Trapper; the right of me holding a beer, and Frank; the sedated one in the back that has no clue. This is me and the three-army surgeons I was talking about. That reminds me of something Hawkeye and Trapper did this week.

     It started in the O.R. where Major Burns or Frank we call him was pushing Hawkeye to take over one of his own patients. Hawkeye is a chest cutter as he calls it and was removing a bullet near a kid's kidney and couldn't move without it spreading to the kid's liver. Hawkeye was fighting with Frank about it. When Blake told Frank no it really destroyed him. Frank Marion Burns walked out on a patient where Spearchucker took over for Frank. After a while when Hawkeye and the other surgeons realized he wasn't coming back we were flooded with casualties. Hawkeye when done stitching up for sixth patient for the day and went into The Swamp, or officers tent, where Hawkeye said he found Frank writing letters. Hawkeye said he told him he couldn't quit the war. When Frank refused to get up and go back to surgery Hawkeye came back with a sedation solution. I'm the one who supplied it. Hawkeye sedated him and that's why he was like that in the picture. Sorry ma. When Frank woke up in the couple of hours we were still at work. Klinger and I supply the medicine and tools for the nurses and surgeons. Putting casualties in medical beds and running penicillin to the doctors. A lot of people here tell me that if it wasn't for me they couldn't keep up with the war. Sometimes the war gets kind of cold and frightening.

     Last week we were shelled until six o' clock the next day in the afternoon. It started on Tuesday noon sharp when the first bomb was shelled. The men's shower was bombed, about four jeeps, and a couple of empty buses. This is normal here in Korea. Usually it doesn't stop for three days at a time. As the company clerk here it's my job to make sure that nothing happens when somebody isn't around. When the bombs blow up I'm usually the one calling up the general or helping with papers to stop all the madness. Around here people don't really see all the insanity going around. As Hawkeye and Trapper drink and Frank bosses. Frank is the most military person here. He must have cracked over here. When the bombs go off he's the first one grabbing his gun and his helmet and ready to go to the front. Someone like him could stop the war.

     Hot Lips, mom, is also a military personnel over here. Most of her life is going to be in the military. She says that she was born in the military. She's the head nurse. I know you might already know that, but she is a real friendly person. She's real likable and I respect her. Hawkeye and Trapper don't. They try to take advantage over her, but I don't think she'll ever break into their foolishness. Even though Hawkeye and Trapper are my friends they should know better, but I don't think their moms have ever taught them, like you did. I know that Hawkeye's mom is deceased when he was a boy. He doesn't really talk about it, but when somebody brings it up he just smiles, but you and really tell he's really hurt. You'd like Hot Lips; as much as I do she is really responsible and very pretty. The bombs bothers her the most she shrieks every time.

     When we are on the subject of Hawkeye. As I told you in every letter, everyday is a different adventure with Hawkeye. Hawkeye each day will do something to stop the bored-ness from the unit. The other day, Hawkeye, had bought a whole fifty pounds of kettle corn and popped it in an oil drum and stuck it on a rack with a wooden fire. Kettle corn was flying all over the compound and everyone was coming out of their tents and catching it in their mouths. Serving popcorn by the sacks full to everyone it was pretty neat, ma. Until four in the morning popcorn was being popped. I wish you were there, mom, the taste reminded me of your popcorn we used to make in the kitchen in the burners when I was a kid. Hawkeye a couple weeks ago also did something entertaining to some. You know that teddy bear of mine, right? The one that my brother gave to me, you know, before I entered the army. Hawkeye decided to bet it on poker. He almost won. Hawkeye had a baby straight he lost over a flush of clubs. I found out after I had to buy it back for the sergeant for sixty blue bills. Hawkeye made it up to me by giving me thirty blue bills and bought me a green robe to match his and Trapper's. Their robes are red, which Hawkeye has, and yellow, which Trapper has; I guess I'm a part of their group or something like that. Hawkeye can be really mean and inconsiderate, but he always does something to make it up to you. Sometimes I wish that Hawkeye could do something mean or something to living up the place a bit. Even though he's rude to the nurses and stealing things from Major's and commanding officers he really makes it up to you and really cures you sometimes. He's a really father figure to me and when the war is over I'm don't want to leave. Sometimes when he cures me I wish the war would never end, but it will one day.

     Blake, who is also one of my friends, who also taught me, is really nice. He's also a father figure, but the sporty kind. Henry mostly fishes along North Korean rivers. Henry makes rigs and wears a fishing hat. I enclosed a picture of him too. That's Henry and I there in the river fishing. I caught a fish. The really small fish on the hook. Between Hawkeye and Henry they make one father, which I'd never had. One day when I have kids, ma, I'm hope I'm as good as father as Uncle Ed or Henry. Hawkeye doesn't have kids of his own, but in Korea he practically adopted me.

     Father, the catholic unit chaplain, is a really nice guy. He's like our priest in Iowa. Father's always polite and when things start getting rough he's like Jesus and magically appears. Nobody can disappoint Father, unless they have broken a heart of another. Father has broken up many wars here in our little part of Korea and probably can stop the war. If there were more people like him, the whole world would be catholic. As Father once told me, "Even if your Jewish, Druid, or another form of Christianity God still forgives everyone except atheist or Satanist. God Bless you, Radar." Some patients really look up to him in the recovery room. Probably they need all the blessings they can get. Father really turned some heads here in Korea just the same. As for us Father needs to tape record blessings and sell them. He would make so much money for the orphanage. Father is a person of generosity; he's always selling and raising extra flu, cold medicine. He also brings blankets to them. He always tried his best with the orphanage. Every so many months Trapper and Father give the orphans flue shots and other shots. The nurses order lollipops from the catalogs and give them to the orphans. I get something from the nurses each month. They really like me because I always pull a few strings to get them new dresses or whatever. I always talk to Sparky, the radio operator, and get whatever the surgeons, nurses, or whatever anybody needs.

     Corporal Klinger, the cross dresser, almost got out of the army. When General Hammond came by the unit for the monthly inspection Klinger was licking boots and chewing nails off the latrines, but when wounded arrived General Hammond forgot all about Klinger when General Hammond had to go into surgery helping Hawkeye. It's always one of those days where the O.R is swamped and there no sign of no more wounded until a day or up to three days later. When nobody gets sleep around here it all breaks apart. Myself always get awaken by someone because only I know how to use the phone. Mostly it's Hawkeye trying to order something that isn't necessary such as olives for his martinis or knitting yarn. I don't mind, but he needs to let some people get sleep. Between Major Frank and I we hardly get any sleep because of Hawkeye and Trapper. Well, ma, choppers are coming, I can sense it. A whole bunch of choppers and jeeps. It's going to be two days worth of surgery. I'd better go now and put on scrubs.

     From Your Little Soldier,

P.S: Hawkeye took this picture of me. I'm sorry I'm not smiling, but in war what is there to smile about?