Stars Who Served: Alan Alda
While millions of American citizens have served in all of the wars that our great nation has found itself involved in, one of the aspects of the Hollywood celebrity culture that few people seem to acknowledge is the fact that many of our leading celebrities have also served in uniform.
One of the most surprising examples may well be Alan Alda, the legendary star of MASH. According to an article recently published by CBS News, the actor himself has confirmed that he served in the United States Army Reserve immediately after his graduation from Fordham University in the early 1950s.
Perhaps the fact that will amaze fans the most is the revelation that, during the time of his enrollment in uniform, Alda also completed a six month tour of duty in Korea, during the height of the conflict between the Communist North and pro-Western South.
After completing his tour of duty in war torn Korea, he then went on to become a legendary actor of the stage and screen. Most of his fans know him primarily as the wisecracking, semi-alcoholic Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, a character he played for 11 seasons on the ground breaking sitcom, MASH (an acronym that stood for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital).
Pierce, of course, was a surgeon stationed in South Korea during the height of the war. For years, fans have enjoyed his sarcastic, womanizing, yet fully humane characterization of Pierce, without knowing that there was actual personal history for Alda to draw upon. Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.