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The Mobile Army Surgical Hospital--M.A.S.H. as it quickly became known--was a new kind of organization, announced on 23 August 1945, at the very end of World War II. The M.A.S.H was intended to bring emergency lifesaving surgery closer to critically wounded casualties. The concept called for placing a sixty-bed, truck-borne M.A.S.H in a forward location just out of enemy artillery range, in support of each division.
The M.A.S.H. was to be truly mobile, fully staffed with surgical and medical personnel, and equipped to provide definitive, life-saving surgery, to make the patient transportable to rear medical facilities, and to provide post-operative care for non-transportable patients. Five M.A.S.H units were created on paper between 1948 and early 1950, but were not staffed or ready for combat when North Korea invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950.
A total of seven M.A.S.H units were operational in Korea, not all active for the entire period. By 1953, unit designations changed from the post-WW II and early Korean War designation Mobile Army Surgical Hospital to Surgical Hospital (Mobile Army) using the two digit designation in the table (New #). For example, the 8055th MASH became the 43d Surgical Hospital (Mobile Army). The last MASH unit was demobilized on 16 February 2006. The successor to the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital is the Combat Support Hospital.
The 4077th from the television show "M.A.S.H." was fictional.