In an episode pf M*A*SH, Hawkeye becomes angry at an infantry officer. The officer insists on taking his unit back up into the hills to recover the bodies of members of his unit killed in battle the previous night. Hawkeye emphasizes the pointlessness in risking lives for those already dead. When I saw the episode---not as a re-run, but I have seen it since---I had worked construction, during school breaks, with a veteran of the Korean War (or, more accurately in history books, "police action," but it's odd how people were blown up and wounded the same in a "police action" as a war). He talked about the commander of their unit. Rusty, the construction worker, said the men in the unit respected the commander. "He had a rule. If a guy got killed, we'd go back and find that guy's body. Made you feel some comfort to know they wouldn't just leave ya up there, but bring you home for your family."
As a side note, Robert Altman, who directed the movie "M*A*S*H," hated the TV series. And if one compares the two, my vote would go for Altman's work, no matter how many times I have seen how many episodes of the series. (And I love the episodes with Colonel Flagg.) The thing was, the premises for a lot of the episodes of the TV show were faulty.
On NPR yesterday, a guess on Diana Reem talked about "Vanished," an account of a search for the fate of a B-24 shot down, in the fall of 1944, over the Pacific island of Palau. A man scuba diving there decades after the war came across part of a wing. He made the matter a personal crusade. The four-engine aircraft carried a crew of eleven. The story made me want to buy the book. I know how the war ends, I just want to see how the story about the B-24 goes. Eleven families were left to wonder what happened to their loved ones.
This Saturday, "Civil Discourse Now" will stream live from the White River Yacht Club, 1400 East 74th Street, Indianapolis, 11 am to 1 pm. Guests will include about a dozen vets. Also, we will have guests who will talk about access to veterans' services. And we will have an interview Matt Stone has taped of a VA spokesperson.