Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H.)

The US Army created Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals at the end of the World War II. They were conceived by Army doctors including Michael DeBakey, the famous heart surgeon, as an alternative to the general hospitals that the Army had been using. They were so successful that during the Korean conflict it was said that a wounded soldier had a 97% chance of survival if he were treated at a M.A.S.H. unit. M.A.S.H. units were located close to the front, usually within range of enemy artillery. Soldiers were initially treated by a medic and then sent to a battalion aid station for emergency or stabilizing treatment, and then to a M.A.S.H. unit for more extensive treatment. The M.A.S.H. units were immortalized in the television series M*A*S*H that aired from 1972-1983.This display depicts a US Army H-13 helicopter (Bell Model 47) that has airlifted a wounded soldier to a M.A.S.H. unit in the Changjin area of Korea, circa 1950. The Bell Helicopter Co. produced over 400 H-13s with the last ones delivered in 1960. The Hiller H-23 was also used extensively to medivac soldiers. The demonstrated success of these pioneers in lifesaving is found today both on the battlefield and in the extensive use of medical transport helicopters by hospitals and other commercial lifesaving units.