Aid Stations/Collecting Stations/MASH Units/Hospitals - Korea

[KWE Note: This page is under heavy construction.]



The presence of Army aid stations, MASH units, and hospitals located near the front line saved countless American lives during the Korean War.  Taking care of the wounded and dying was far more serious business than what the average American perceives that it was.  This is because of three things: (1) The Korean War receives very little mention in school textbooks and history books; (2) Korean War medics and physicians rarely discuss the war with those who did not participate in it; and (3) The movie and television series "M*A*S*H cast a comical light on a decidedly not-comical aspect of the Korean War.

Internet Resources Available

There are some internet resources available to those who are interested in learning more about the Army medical aspect of the Korean War.  They are: 

We Will Not Be Strangers: Korean War Letters Between a M.A.S.H. Surgeon and His Wife

They were two young people in love -- just married -- but separated by the war in Korea when Mel Horwitz was called to serve as a surgeon in Korea.  Detailed information about this excellent book can be found on the Korean War Educator's Home Front pages at We Will Not Be Strangers

Alumnus Recalls Service in the Real-Life MASH Unit

Baylor University alumnus Harold Secor (class of 1949) was stationed as a surgeon at the MASH 8055 in Korea.  The publication, Baylor Connections, ran an interview with Secor in Volume 13, No. 4, Fall 1998.  It can be found on the internet at

MASH - As It Really Was

An excerpt from a book written by Albert E. Cowdrey that gives a true account of life in MASH units can be found at

M*A*S*H -- The book, the movie, the television series

A Korean War veteran from Bremen, Maine, was the originator of the famous M*A*S*H series that eventually became a hit movie and long-running, popular television series.  Basing his fictional books on his real-life experience as a doctor at the 8055 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea, Hornberger wrote under the pseudonym Richard Hooker.  Ingo Preminger bought the rights to Hornberger's book for $100,000, and the movie M*A*S*H was released in the fall of 1970.  It was an instant hit.  The movie won an Oscar for Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Movie.  The actor who played "Hot Lips" also received a nomination as Best Actress. William Self, president of Twentieth Century Fox, turned the movie into a television series that lasted 11 years (1972-1983) with 251 episodes. The former MASH surgeon worked 12 years on his first M*A*S*H book.  It was rejected seventeen times before publisher William Morrow agreed to issue the book in 1968. 

H. Richard Hornberger was born February 1, 1924, in Trenton, New Jersey.  A graduate of Bowdoin College in Maine and Cornell University Medical School, he spent most of his life as a thoracic surgeon in small towns on the coast of Maine.  He was a captain in the Army Medical Corps in Korea, after which he worked briefly in a veterans' hospital before opening a surgical practice in Waterville, Maine, which he maintained until retirement in 1988.  He died of leukemia in Portland, Maine, on November 4, 1997. 

Some Korean War veterans praise Hornberger's book.  Others do not.  One veteran wrote,

"M*A*S*H satirized the U.S. military in Vietnam under the guise of a Korean War setting.  "Apocalypse Now" turned Vietnam into a surreal zone of madness and bestiality.  "platoon" depicted U.S. soldiers as drug abusers, back-stabbers and butchers of the innocent in a scene reminiscent of the My Lai massacre.  The movie took every bad instance that occurred in the Vietnam War, officers smoking dope with their men, sergeants killing each other, soldiers burning buildings and put it all in one movie.  I have a friend who thinks that M*A*S*H was a great movie, as well as the TV series, and believes that even though it was satirical it at least brought attention to the Korean War.  I take the opposite view and believe it did a great disservice.

That same veteran, who actually did meet Hornberger in person, also said, "Over the years, I met up with some of the doctors who had been in Korea during the way.  I mentioned to them that I thought it was kind of strange that Doctor Hornberger would write that way about his Korean War medical unit.  I was told by his colleagues that if he ever knew that the story would be turned into a vehicle to spout liberal antiwar propaganda during the Vietnam War years, he would never have condoned the movie, etc." 

M*A*S*H Books

Among the M*A*S*H books that Hornberger wrote were: 

M*A*S*H (1968)

M*A*S*H Goes to Maine (1971) 

M*A*S*H Goes to New Orleans (1974)

M*A*S*H Goes to Paris (1974)

M*A*S*H Goes to London (1975)

M*A*S*H Goes to Morocco (1975)

M*A*S*H Goes to Hollywood (1976)

M*A*S*H Goes to Las Vegas (1976)

M*A*S*H Goes to Miami (1976)

M*A*S*H Goes to San Francisco (1976)

M*A*S*H Goes to Vienna (1976)

M*A*S*H Goes to  Montreal (1977)

M*A*S*H Goes to Moscow (1977)

M*A*S*H Goes to Texas (1977)

M*A*S*H Mania (1977)

The book M*A*S*H was written in 1968 with the assistance of sports writer Wilfred C. Heinz.  All of the M*A*S*H books written from 1974 through 1997 were co-authored by William E. Butterworth (military novelist W.E.B. Griffin). 

William Edmund Butterworth was born November 10, 1929, in Newark, New Jersey, the son of William Edmund and Gladys Schnable Butterworth.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946.  After basics, he received counter-intelligence training at Ft. Holabird.  He was assigned to the Army of Occupation in Germany, serving under Maj. Gen. I.D. White, commander of the U.S. Constabulary.  During the Korean War, he was recalled.  He served again under General White, both at Ft. Knox and in Korea.  He served as a combat information officer and as acting X Corps Information Officer. 

M*A*S*H (book/movie/television series) Websites


M*A*S*H Beer Game: S-M-A-S-H

M*A*S*H: Tim's TV Showcase

M*A*S*H FAQ: Episode Guide

M*A*S*H: Shiv Chadha's Page

Transparency:"Taking Sides: M*A*S*H and the Struggle of Life Against Death"

The M*A*S*H Movie Page

M*A*S*H - 4077th

Best Care Anywhere

The M*A*S*H Compound

Eyphur's M*A*S*H Page



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