Hawkeye Pierce

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Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce is a fictional character and lead protagonist in the M*A*S*H novels, film, and television series. The character was played by Donald Sutherland in the film and by Alan Alda on television. He is both the main character and the only character to appear in every episode of the television series.


About the character

Born and raised in Crabapple Cove, Maine, Hawkeye is, according to the TV series, the son of Dr. Daniel Pierce. (According to the novels, his father is “Big Benjy” Pierce, a lobster fisherman.) Hawkeye attended Androscoggin College, where he played football and intercepted a Hail Mary pass thrown by Dartmouth quarterback John McIntyre. After his medical residency in Boston, Hawkeye is drafted into the U.S. Army Medical Corps and called to serve at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H) during the Korean War. Between long, intense sessions of treating critically wounded patients, he makes the best of his life in an isolated Army camp with heavy drinking, carousing, and pulling pranks on the people around him, especially the unpleasantly stiff and callous Major Frank Burns and Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan.

"Hawkeye" nickname

The novel established that Pierce’s nickname of "Hawkeye" was given to him by his father. It comes from the novel The Last of the Mohicans, which Pierce, in Hooker's book, claimed was "the only book my old man ever read."[1], as well as in the TV episode, "A Full Rich Day".

In "Where There's a Will, There's a War", an episode of the TV series in which Hawkeye believed himself to be in mortal danger due to heavy enemy shelling, he made out a will and left Colonel Sherman T. Potter (whom Hawkeye stated was like a father) the edition of The Last of the Mohicans that his father had given him. “It was his favorite book,” Hawkeye wrote in the will.

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