M*A*S*HCast #100 – Lt. Radar O’Reilly

M*A*S*HCast -  Season 5, Episode 4: Lt. Radar O'Reilly

Special Guest Star: Jeff Maxwell and Ryan Patrick

Air Date: October 12, 1976

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13 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #100 – Lt. Radar O’Reilly

  1. St. Louis Browns the worst team to ever make it to the World Series. The St. Louis Browns lost the ’44 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. They were only able to make it past the others because most of their players couldn’t be drafted into the war as was the case with most other ball teams. Literally most of the Browns were 4-F.

  2. Great recap, thanks for getting the MASH Matters gang back on.

    This has never been one of my favorites. For one thing, it was a really cruel joke to play on Radar. He could really have gotten into trouble if someone outside of the 4077th started asking questions.

    Then there are the logistics of it all. I get this is a TV show and not a documentary. But still. It is much more fitting for the first three years. Henry might have bought the story but no way Potter isn’t making phone calls to inquire about it. Did he really believe Radar vaulted over the 5-6 levels of sergeant all at once? And that the promotion could suddenly vanish?

    And what was his job post-promotion? There wasn’t a non-nurse lieutenant character so what did he do?

    Didn’t Igor have enough to do in the mess tent without having to be Zale’s flunky?

    Still, it was a fun listen. I did like seeing an episode showing the four non-officers hanging out together.

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      1. Thanks, I forgot about him. But he had a clearly defined job at camp. We didn’t really know what Lt. Radar was supposed to be doing once he was no longer a clerk.

        But thanks for the correction. Klinger and Frank were the others who were legitimately promoted.

  3. I love the suggestion that there should have been a separate M*A*S*H series focused on the enlisted personnel. As an Air Force medic (the equivalent of an Army corpsman) who participated in a simulated frontline hospital during military combat exercises, I can hugely relate to the enlisted at the 4077th.

    It’s not surprising that the other enlisted would give Radar crap, as they were jealous of this younger guy who was suddenly giving them orders. And draftees were never as “G.I.” as career servicemen so they would be OK giving Radar some guff, just like Hawkeye was a smartass to generals.

    I don’t think Radar would have gotten in trouble for “impersonating” an officer since he was literally following orders. Col. Potter accepted that the orders were legit, but I agree that due to the unusual circumstances he would have investigated the situation. While it’s not unheard of for enlisted men of lower rank to be promoted to officers, it is only done after they have either completed OCS (Officer Candidate School) or completed their Bachelor’s degree and then gone through officer training. So Corporal to OCS to 2nd Lieutenant was OK, but skipping OCS was not.

    An actual combat hospital would have both more doctors and some non-medical officers to manage the non-medical operations. I know the Air Force let non-medical personnel assigned to a medical squadron wear the medic pin, and some of the nurses I knew were upset that hospital supply clerks were allowed/required to wear the same medic pin.

    It was great to hear Jeff and Ryan’s unique perspective again.

    And using my name as the lizard in this episode was the closest I’ll ever get to Broadway!

  4. It’s always a treat to hear my two favorite M*A*S*H podcasts together. I thought the same thing about a M*A*S*H extended universe and how there could have been a spinoff or related series focused on the enlisted personnel. We saw a glimpse of what that might have been like with Radar, Klinger, Igor, and Zale at the end.

    My favorite lines are from when Klinger is singing while cutting Potter’s hair:

    Klinger: You oughtta be in pictures. Wah wah. You’re wonderful to see. Wah wah wah wah.

    Potter: Klinger.

    Klinger: Yes, Colonel?

    Potter: Knock off the wah wah’s.

    Then later, Potter starts humming the song, and Radar, Klinger, and Potter all say in unison, “Wah wah.”

  5. Point of clarification when it comes to Father Mulcahy’s ritz crackers. It wasn’t that it was hard to get them but that he was hoping for communion wafers and that’s what they sent him.

    Also, why did Radar take a promotion to Sargent at least in the end?

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  6. Truthfully, did 13 year old Rob ever imagine he’d be riffing with Igor Straminsky?!?!? Great podcast boys, always a wonderful listen! That is all!

  7. Very enjoyable, gentlemen! The MASH Matters crew is always a treat. Together (and with the commenters), you all covered almost everything I would say.

    As long as we’re clarifying, I will point out the one exception (during the Korean War) to the procedures Ted Kilvington correctly described: the battlefield commission. I’ve never seen one, but I knew they happened because of Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II, who later became an actor. According to Wikipedia’s battlefield promotion entry, there were over 30,000 battlefield commissions between WWII and Vietnam, and the Army brought them back in 2009. The soldier who earned one would have to complete the contemporary requirements to keep his commission (such as college) once he rotated out of the combat zone. As the Audie Murphy example indicates, it was usually for people who had basically been living superheroes in combat. Bugling, good or bad, was not a qualification.

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  8. Great podcast; I love MASH Matters and am a huge fan of Jeff and Ryan. This is like the JLA-JSA team-up of the MASH Universe. Can we please make it an annual thing?

    Not one of my favorite episodes, because it just doesn’t make sense (as Ryan pointed out) but I LOVE the “Teddy the Wonder Lizard” bit between Klinger and Radar. I have used that line in the past a couple times when I had to talk about a large group of people, and no one has ever called me out on it. 🙂

  9. One point on “Lieutenant O’Reilly’s” insignia.

    He would have been commissioned into the Army’s Medical Service Corps. The Medical Corps, Nurse Corps, Dental Corps are all self-explanatory. However, the Medical Service Corps is responsible for administration, supply, logistics, etc. In the civilian world, they are the “hospital administrators.” A real MASH would have had a number of these officers handling those tasks.

    So it would make sense that this was what Radar would have been commissioned into. He would have been the unit’s “medical administrator.” A job he basically held as a Corporal.

    The Medical Service Corps insignia is the Medical Corps insignia with the letters “MS” imposed on top of it. You can do a web search and find it. It is difficult to see the difference in real life, and it would be impossible to see on television I am guessing they just used the “Medical Corps” insignia for the nurses and in this case, since no one would be able to see the difference.

    Now, could a promotion snafu happen? In Korea, in combat, with paper records? I would not be surprised.

    This was in an era of battlefield commissions. We know they messed up Hawkeye’s death certificate. So in the end I am certain Hawkeye called Woodruff and told him to reverse the promotion. Woodruff called Potter and said, “Terrible mix up, sir. I don’t know how it happened. If was supposed to be Walter Francis O’Reilly who was to be promoted and they mixed up the files somewhere along the way …”

    No harm, no foul.

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