Meeting the Staff

Potter has never had real problems with other people as long as they were sensible. He tried to separate duty and spare time, which is quite difficult when you are in command. Some other commanders were trying not to let subordinates get too close to them because they feared for their authority. Potter was completely different. He likes to know the people with whom he works and wants them to know him. He made it clear that he was the commander and that he would do his job as good as possible. But the staff soon learned he was also a warm-hearted and understanding man, a father figure, and everyone could talk with him about everything. He was not doing everything by the book. He distinguishes between useful and useless regulations. Of course his age and his rich experience in the Army helped him a lot.

Despite the rather rude welcome, Corporal Walter O'Reilly turned out to be a real nice guy. Even though he had been in Korea for two years now, he was still a kid. Later Potter found out that he has a Teddy Bear with him, and Sherman was far from laughing about that. Many soldiers were still kids - and some of these kids were killed over here. Nevertheless, the Corporal seemed to know his job, and he did everything to make the life of his new commander as comfortable as possible. Sure, the clerk needed some time to accept the changes, especially since he couldn't do things the same way as before. O'Reilly helped him decorate his office and Potter began to take a liking to this boy. Nobody here called him Walter, and Sherman was amused when Radar told him why he got his nickname; to be honest, Sherman didn't take it seriously. But only a few seconds later Radar convinced him when he anticipated that Potter was looking for the officers' latrine.

Meeting Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger was a different story. Radar tried hard to prevent their first meeting, but he failed. Dressed in a yellow outfit he came into the C.O.´s office and told him that he was nuts and Potter should give him a Section 8 discharge. Serving in his third war now, this was nothing new to him. He made clear that these tricks wouldn't work with him and ordered Klinger to wear his regular uniform. He was a little bit surprised that Klinger was actually a very good and dependable soldier, no matter where he was working in the camp. After a conversation with Pierce and Hunnicutt, he was willing to allow Klinger to wear his dresses. If only he had known at the time how much pleasure he would have in the future with Klinger's crazy stunts ...

Lieutenant John Francis Patrick Mulcahy was the chaplain of the 4077th. He was there from the beginning of the 'Police Action' and he was the real nice person whom everybody was glad to know. But only a few people were participating at his services. This didn't have much to do with the different kinds of religions. Most personnel were just not interested in spending their spare time in the mess tent church. Mulcahy was not too disappointed about that; he was more concerned with the fact he couldn't do much for the wounded like the doctors did. Only doing the last rites was not enough for him so he tried to help wherever a helping hand was needed. His wisdom and unprejudiced point of view help the people to bear the cruelty and absurdity of war. All in all, Father Mulcahy was an important member of the camp.

Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce, who was called 'Hawkeye,' really was as crazy as he expected. At the first meeting with his officers he read Pierce's file and criticized the weird things he had done. What he didn't tell him was that he was impressed with Pierce's medical qualifications. Soon Hawkeye proved that he was the legitimate chief surgeon. His skills in the O.R. and the way he organized the work were amazing. Beside his medical qualifications, he was also the kind of guy who cared a lot about other people. Despite the permanent wisecracking, there was no problem you couldn't talk about with him. Pierce was a convinced pacifist and justice was very important for him. The mad things he sometimes did were a form of protest against the absurdity of war. After getting to know Hawkeye a little bit better it was easy to like him.

Captain B.J.. Hunnicutt was less crazy than Pierce. He wasn't that long in business, he arrived only a few days before Potter. His first O.R. session was also Potters first, and so they had something in common. Sherman helped Hunnicutt on a patient, and B.J.. appreciated this. Later he got to know that regular army doctors have a bad image, they usually didn't seem to care much about people. Like Potter B.J.. showed a lot of affection to his family at home. Apart from that he was a very friendly and decent man, not the kind of womanizer that Hawkeye was. One could have a lot of fun with him, and Potter suspected that he was also good for some shenanigans. Potter fondly remembers the first time they got drunk together. He had enough confidence in them to tell how he got his purple heart.

Major Margaret Houlihan was the head nurse, and she had a good reputation. She was regular army and she accepted his leadership immediately. General Mitchell was right when he said that she was good looking. However, Margaret saw most of the things totally different than Pierce or Hunnicutt. She tried to be always the serious officer, with not much understanding for the omnipresent jokes and pranks. Potter knew that she caused a lot of trouble to his predecessor, but he was sure that she won't do that with him. The Colonel assumed that the behavior of the head nurse was only a disguise. He saw the dedication to her work, and after a while he also noticed that she and Major Burns were more than just friends (he asked himself why it had to be Burns). After a few days Potter knew that Margaret was actually a nice person loaded with some complexes. He sure would get along with her.

Major Frank Burns was the last officer he met. Talking about complexes of Major Houlihan, Burns seemed to have even more of them. For sure he was not the smartest guy around here. The real problem that Potter expects was the fact that Major Burns was second in command. He has read some files with orders from Burns. It could have been funny, but Burns has been serious about his orders. Potter remembered why General Mitchell has tried to persuade him. It didn't take long and Sherman could see that Burns bad reputation was justified. He tried to demand respect because he outranked Pierce and Hunnicutt, but in the best case both captains ignored him. This led to countless discussions and complaints, and after a short period Potter was tired of it. He made clear that he won't support Burns peculiar view of things, and he advised Hawkeye and B.J.. to calm down a little bit. Anyway, the Colonel was prepared for further struggles with Burns.

There were countless other people, some of them he already got to know and others who he had to become acquainted with. For instance Sergeant Zale, Private Straminsky, the Nurses, ... lots of very nice people. If Potter considers that he actually had no choice but taking over command of this unit, he was glad that things were going that fine. Finally he was working with real people, not only with papers and files as he did before in Tokyo. Sure this job was more dangerous than his last one, but it suits him much better.

None of them liked to be here, and Colonel Potter saw it as one of his duties to make live for all his people as bearable as possible. He now was responsible for a big family, and he won't let anybody down.

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