Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 8 years ago

Did MASH units have weapons or armed sentries?

I know tv is not generally accurate, but on MASH the television show you see Burns wearing a sidearm, or Klinger standing sentry with a weapon. I was in the military and I was always under the impression medical units weren't aloud to have weapons. Are they aloud? Did MASH units have because they were at the front?

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Medical units do have weapons....

    The only people that aren't "supposed" to use weapons are medical personnel clearly marked and identified (i.e. the red cross brassard) as medical personnel. There is no legal prohibition against them doing so. Under the Geneva convention they lose their "protected combatant" status if they take up arms and actively engage the enemy.

    If they aren't marked and identified as medical personnel they can carry and use all day if they want


    Check out appendix A here:

  • ?
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    I haven't found and verification past the following...

    "He said there were perhaps 30 corpsmen, ten doctors, ten nurses, one dentist, two service corps officers, and about 30 Koreans assigned to his MASH unit. Several jeeps, two ambulances, and three or four trucks were also assigned there. The 8055th was generally four to five miles behind the front lines. "If they pulled back very far, we were on the enemy side," Secor recalled. "That happened at least once. We had a mine field in our front yard. There was always some danger, even from our own artillery firing over us. We had sand bags around the patient tents to stop stray bullets." Secor noted in a Daily/Sunday Review article that one day, "a bullet zinged into the mess tent, hit a post, and splashed into a cup of coffee." He said, "This was one of the accepted things that it didn't pay to dwell on."

    We had enemies in the MASH compound as patients, too." Secor explained. "I always kept my cap turned up to hide my captain's bars. One time a North Korean managed to keep a pistol hidden until he was in surgery. When he was in post op, I asked him what he intended to do with the pistol. He said that he had planned to shoot the first officer he saw. Because I had the habit of hiding my rank insignia from other officers by turning my cap bill up, that probably saved my life because he could not see it."

    Other enemy got into the compound, too, Secor said. "We found out later that the chief honcho for the Korean work force was a Chinese colonel. Before Christmas, a Chinese slipped in and left Christmas cards for us that said, "We the Chinese people wish you a happy holiday and wish it could be under different circumstances." To get into the camp, the Chinese infiltrator had to go through a mine field. Unfortunately for him, he did not make it back through the dangerous field. He lay dead in the field the next morning."

    Memoirs of Harold Secor

    Sadly no verification from the US side... however Canadian medical units didn't have weapons as that would merely make them a target; instead they had a small detachment of Other Ranks [enlisted in the US] acting as sentries to act against enemy infiltration and to keep snipers at a distance.

    I can only assume the US would have the same routine - but that is merely an assumption.

  • nosdda
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    All medical units are so far from the front line that weapons are not needed.

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