M*A*S*H: 10 Questions About Hawkeye, Answered

M*A*S*H features a colorful cast of characters, including Hawkeye! Here are 10 interesting questions about him, answered.

MAS*H was a popular television series which aired on CBS from 1972 to 1983. The series focused on the members of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. The show was unique in that it was able to balance irreverence and respect and comedy with harsh reality through colorful, human characters trying to save lives in the most miserable of conditions.

The main character of the show is Hawkeye Pierce. He’s a gifted surgeon, heavy drinker, sarcastic prankster, and reluctant draftee with a distaste for military formality and red tape. Despite his vices and hilarious quips, Hawkeye is the heart of the show and a hero due to his moral convictions and first priority to save lives. In honor of one of the greatest characters in television history, here’s ten questions about Hawkeye, answered.

10 Where Was Hawkeye From?

Hawkeye often talked about his hometown of Crabapple Cove. It’s where he was born and raised and where he longs to return after the war. But where exactly was Hawkeye’s home?

Early on in the series, Hawkeye claims he’s from Vermont. But as the series continues, he begins to say his beloved Crabapple Cove is in Maine. He even claims the Pierce family has been in Maine since 1680!

9 How Did Hawkeye Get His Nickname?

Hawkeye’s actual name is Benjamin Franklin Pierce, but he usually goes by Hawkeye. He explains his father nicknamed him Hawkeye after the character in The Last of the Mohicans.

Hawkeye Pierce and Hawkeye from The Last of the Mohicans are similar in that they’re both complex and somewhat contradictory characters. For instance, Hawkeye Pierce is known for drinking and joking yet is responsible and selfless in the operating room.

8 Who Was Hawkeye’s Best Friend?

During the first three seasons of the series, Hawkeye’s partner-in-crime was Trapper John. However, in the first episode of season four titled “Welcome to Korea,” Trapper John is discharged and the duo is separated without a goodbye.

In that same episode, Hawkeye meets B.J. Hunnicut, Trapper John’s replacement. The two quickly bond and become best friends. At the end of the series finale, B.J. and Hawkeye are able to tell each other goodbye. B.J. even left Hawkeye a note which reads goodbye written in large stones on the ground. Hawkeye sees it from the helicopter while leaving the camp for the last time.

7 Was Hawkeye’s Signature Bathrobe Purple Or Red?

Hawkeye was often found around the 4077th sporting his favorite Hawaiian shirt or his ratty bathrobe. It’s both a show of protest against military custom and a desire for comfort in anything but comfortable surroundings.

Now when watching the show, the robe looks red on camera. But according to Hawkeye, it’s purple. In the episode, “Where There’s a Will, There’s a War,” Hawkeye leaves Winchester his robe because purple is the color of royalty.

6 Was Hawkeye Married?

Hawkeye was known for his earnest interest in the opposite sex. If he wasn’t saving a life, cooking up a prank, or throwing back drinks in the Swamp, he was flirting with the nurses or the rare female visitor to the camp. He had numerous interests and relationships throughout the series, but few lasted beyond an episode. However, in episode 23 of season four titled “The More I See You,” viewers finally learned about Hawkeye’s serious past relationship.

Carlye Breslin is one of the new nurses in camp, but she’s no stranger to Hawkeye. They had a common-law marriage and were deeply in love before the relationship ended. Hawkeye is crushed to learn she’s now married, but the two still have feelings for one another and rekindle their affair. After a few days, Carlye puts in for a transfer arguing Hawkeye’s first love is medicine. It’s a fact he can’t deny and probably why he remained a bachelor throughout the series.

5 When Did Hawkeye Become Chief Surgeon At The M*A*S*H 4077th?

Hawkeye’s a gifted surgeon and consistently impresses his colleagues and the visiting brass. He’s the physician the other members of the 4077th would want if they are in need of a doctor and is often who they rely on when under pressure.

Even though he’s a reluctant leader and humble in regards to his abilities, Hawkeye is aptly named chief surgeon of the M*A*S*H 4077th. He’s first appointed to this position in the first season of the series in the episode titled “Chief Surgeon Who?”

4 Where Did Hawkeye Practice Before The War?

Even though he considers Crabapple Cove his home, Hawkeye had a practice in Boston before he was drafted into the Korean War.

In season four’s episode titled “Hawkeye,” he talks about living in Boston and enjoying going to see the musicals there before they went on to Broadway.

3 Who Was Hawkeye’s Family?

Hawkeye was very close to his father; and apart from a few disregarded references about a sister and his mother, it seems to be that Hawkeye’s father was his only family.

Throughout the eleven seasons of the series, Hawkeye often wrote letters to his father and talked about him fondly to the other members of the 4077th. He is who B.J. calls when Hawkeye is mistakenly thought to be dead. His father is also the one who gave him his iconic nickname. When writing his will in the episode “Where There’s a Will, There’s a War,” Hawkeye wrote that all his worldly possessions were to be left to his father with the exception of a few select items to his colleagues.

2 Did Hawkeye Suffer A Nervous Breakdown?

While Hawkeye tried to rely on laughs and antics to cope with the brutality of war, there were times when he needed extra help. Dr. Sidney Freedman was often called upon to help walk Hawkeye and the others in camp through their darkest moments.

In the 2 1/2 hour series finale “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” Dr. Sidney Freeman decides to send Hawkeye to a mental hospital after he suffers a breakdown. Hawkeye has been repressing the memory of the event which produced his breakdown, but Sidney helps him to recall it and get it out in the open. Hawkeye is later sent back to the 4077th where he is able to perform surgery proving his recovery as the war finally comes to an end.

1 Did Hawkeye Ever Render A Salute?

Despite Hawkeye’s indifference to military customs and protocol, Hawkeye did render several salutes to a few select individuals throughout his time of service at the M*A*S*H 4077th. While they were few in number, one of the most powerful was to Radar when he received his Purple Heart and then again when he left for good.

Hawkeye also saluted Father Mulcahy when he was finally and rightfully promoted, as well as Colonel Potter during his departure during the last episode of the series.

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