Fort Bennen, 1950
The Jukebox was playing, The Twist was the song, as every officer at Fort Bennen was having the time of their lives. "Major may I have this dance?" General Hamilton asked.
"Oh, of course General. I'm thrilled that someone of you caliber would want to dance with me." Major Margaret Houlihan answered as she gave him her hand.
As they were dancing a Western Union boy walked into the O-Club. "Excuse me Sir's. Is there a Major Margaret Houlihan here?" He yelled over the music.
Margaret, still dancing, waved her hand in the air. "Over here Sgt.!" She called.
"Major I've been sent to tell you that you've been assigned to The 4077th MASH unit, as the Head Nurse you will be in charge of ten nurses. You leave tomorrow at 1400 hours." He handed her the paper and left.
"Wow Margaret looks like you've got a big responsibility on your hands." The general said.
"Oh General, it probably won't be that hard. I mean I've been Head Nurse here for almost two years now. I don't think it'll be to hard, I mean as long as the nurses show me the respect I deserve, and the doctors are as inspirational as you've been," She smiled "I think that everything will go great!"
"That's a great attitude Major, and thank you!"
Earlier at MASH 4077th
"Attention all personal, please gather in the Mess Tent, by order of Lt. Col. Henry Blake!" Corp. Walter O'Reilly, Radar, said over the P.A.
Once everyone was gathered in the Mess Tent Col. Blake started "Ok everyone, we are getting a new nurse here tomorrow. By the name of Major, I repeat Major, Margaret Houlihan. Now folks she's regular Army..." Everyone, but Major Burns, groans. " Yeah, yeah I know but, we have to at least let her get used to the place before we can be ourselves again. Any Questions?"
Hawkeye raised his hand "How old is she? And is she cute?" Trapper laughs.
"Well, it says here she is twenty-eight, and sorry Pierce can't answer that second one. You'll have to find out yourself."
"Don't worry I will" Hawk smiled.
"Ok everyone go back to what you were doing."
Everyone dashes out of the Mess Tent.
Back at Fort Bennen
"Yes, Daddy........I know Daddy.......I'll be fine Daddy.......No I don't want you to call the General......I love you too.....Bye." Margaret hung up the phone, but started to dial out again.
"Yes, Hi, is Patty there?"
"May I ask who's calling?"
"Her sister, Margaret."
"Ok, one moment."
2 minutes later
"Patty, it's Margaret."
"Well, actually I called to say good-bye.............I got sent to Korea.......I know it's dangerous.........Yes I have to go.........Well I'm proud to say that I'll be the Head Nurse at the 4077th MASH.........Yes I'm somewhat scared, but it's nothing I can't handle..........Thanks........Yes, I'll be careful, Love ya........Bye!" She hung up again, and finished packing.
The next day: Margaret's Arrival
The jeep pulled up and the Major hopped out. "Corporal take my things to my tent! Where will I find Col. Blake?"
"Right over there." Radar pointed to the right.
"Thank you." She walked over to the building.
Col. Blake's Office
Margaret stepped into the office and saluted "Major Margaret Houlihan, reporting for duty Sir."
Henry saluted her back. "Have a seat Major." Henry gestured to a chair.
"Thank you." She smiled "I must say Col. you've done a very good job getting this place in shape."
"Well, thank you Major, I'm glad somebody thinks so."
"The men don't appreciate it?" She questioned
"Well, Major, I have to tell you that we are bit of an unorderly bunch, we've found that it's easier to work in a place like this when things are somewhat looser." Henry was surprised at how smart he sounded.
"Well I've never heard of that sort of thing during a war, but I guess a little freedom's ok, of course only if all the men and women of the outfit obey all orders."
"Well, there are two Captains in the unit that never, ever obey an order, unless it something they like, and was there Idea. They're doctors, they never give orders."
"Who are they?" She asked sounding somewhat disgusted
"Pierce and McIntyre." He answered "You'll be meeting them, along with the rest of the camp at dinner tonight."
"I can't wait" Margaret said with a true crisp look in her eyes.
"Don't let me get you wrong, they are two of the best cutters I've ever seen." Henry noticing the look in the Majors tried to reassure her.
"We'll see. Who is your fourth surgeon?"
"Oh That's Major Burns. A real prude if ya ask me." Col. Blake said as he leaned back into his chair, nearly falling backwards.
Margaret held in a laugh "Well what do you mean by prude. Goes by orders 24/7, perhaps?"
"Yes, but, Major Burns I think gets too carried away......." Henry goes on to tell some of the wacky things Frank has done.
That night in the Mess Tent at "dinner"
Col. Blake stood up and tapped his fork on his glass. "Attention, Attention everyone......Atten...."
"Quiet!" Col. Blake was interrupted by Radar, shushing everyone. "There ya go Col."
"Thanks Radar. Ok everyone this is our new Head Nurse, Major....." Henry was again interrupted, this time by hoots and hollers by the male personal. Henry smiled at Margaret embarrassed. Margaret bit her lip and forced away a smile. "Margaret Houlihan. Now everyone I want you to treat her with respect, she is an officer, that goes for you Cap'n Pierce and you too Cap'n McIntyre, and that especially for you nurses! Major would you like to say something?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I would......." She was now interrupted by Hawkeye's and Trappers ecstatic, but somewhat sarcastic, clapping. She glared at them "Thank you!" She turned back to her audience "I just wanna say that, It's a privilege to be here with such a high rated MASH unit, I must say for only being here a few months this place has earned quite a good reputation. I hope that I can get used to this somewhat looser system......though I think it may be somewhat difficult!" She then sat down.
When things quieted down Henry introduced Margaret to her new colleagues. "Um...Major this here is Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce...." He pointed at Hawk.
"Call me Hawkeye." He put out his hand.
"Captain." She shook it. Hawk frowned.
Henry continued "Captain John McIntyre, Major Frank Burns, and this is our Company Clerk Corporal Radar O'Reilly."
"Nice to meet you all." Margaret smiled
Later that evening, in her new tent.
Margaret sat quietly at her desk surveying her tent. She thought it was the ugliest thing she'd ever saw. She decided to write in the journal, she had bought at the airport, for keeping her thoughts.
I am not the least bit scared, being here in the middle of the war. I feel though that this bravery will only last a few days, that's what scares me at the moment. We haven't had to work on any soldiers since I've been here yet. I suspect they will be here within 24 hours if not sooner. The people here aren't the smartest but they seem to be on task. The Commander here Col. Henry Blake, I knew from the moment I saw him that he was a draft doctor. I think it was the fishing hat and vest that gave it away. Our company clerk Corporal O'Reilly, everyone calls him Radar, because of something like he knows what people are gonna say before they actually say it. Major Frank Burns, like the col. said, is a prude! Well he looks like he would be, I mean he has these beety little eyes and no chin. It's scary. Now the people I think I will have the most trouble getting along with will be Capt. Pierce and Capt. McIntyre. They make quite a pair. Pierce is annoying, sarcastic, and full of himself, yet he has the most infectious laugh, that I like. McIntyre is not as loud as Pierce, but is just as disturbing, although I should say he is extremely handsome.
The next day.
Margaret was out and about the compound getting used to her new surroundings, when none other that Hawkeye Pierce came up behind her. "Morning Major." Hawkeye said more loudly then he intended. She jumped, and spun around.
"Oh Captain, you startled me. I'd advise you not to next time." She looked annoyed.
"Well 'Hot lips' this place is a Hell Hole, can you tell?" Hawkeye changed the subject.
"I bet it is." Margaret answered, the annoyance leaving her body. "I'll take a while getting used too. By the way that's name is very disrespectful."
"I haven't gotten used to it yet, and I've been here 4 months almost. Sorry" He said seriously.
"I don't understand you." Margaret looked confused. "I mean one minute you are the menace of the camp, the next you are actually making since and being serious."
Hawkeye looked at her and grinned, "Believe me I have more fun being your humble menace."
Then at that moment "Attention all personal, report to O.R. stat, Attention all personal, this one's gonna take awhile." the P.A. sounded.
"Well god has spoken, lets go!" Hawkeye grabbed her hand and ran towards O.R.