You need a tearful goodbye scene between Hawkeye and BJ, but I often wondered where they ended up the night they left the 4077th the last time. We get word that several of the people from 4077th were heading to the 8063rd. Margaret used the word “consolidation”. Since we know some of the MASH units went on to be permanent installations until well into the 80s or 90s. The 8055th MASH, though renamed even before the war was over was officially deactivated in 1997.
We know the nurses and Father Mulcahy went to the 8063rd and so did Charles, but he was the only doctor to do so. We could maybe assume that Hawkeye and BJ were sent to other units but there is also chance that where ever BJ rode his motorcycle based on his orders that we never heard about, he might just have seen Hawkeye again since we don’t know where he was going either. So was Hawkeye discharged right away? I don’t think that is how it worked. Was he assigned to a base or a hospital back in the states working with the men who were wounded during the war? How long before he got to go home? I would think it would have been several months.
So Hawkeye said he wanted Crabapple Cove to say ahh. So, did he take over his fathers practice? I think that is what happened. In the “in-universe” timeline, Hawkeye was still only 28 years old and just out of residency. I think based on what we know of him, and his penchant for breakdowns, which happened at least twice in the series, I think Hawkeye definitely stayed in a small town, with Portland, Maine probably being the biggest hospital he would work with. I think he remained close to Charles. Being in Massachusetts, I can see Hawkeye referring bigger cases to Charles since he had a better facility in Boston.
One of the big questions I have always had is how much did his military time change him? Did Hawkeye show off the medals he earned? I know we never saw any, but based on Comrades in Arms, we could assume that Hawkeye at least earned a Purple Heart. I would say BJ did as well with the exploding autoclave. We know that they also earned a Presidential Unit Citation in Deluge. Did Hawkeye march in local Veterans day parades? Go to reunions? To me it is sad that after the chopper flies off, nothing else is written (Novels not withstanding since that is not the same reality.. it is the Novel and maybe Movie reality and some of the Novel situations just seems off the wall, not to mention Hawkeye is a different character, a republican as opposed to a democrat for one). I am really curious what post-war Hawkeye was like. Did he have nightmares? Did he have to find a new Sidney to talk to? As I mentioned, Hawkeye had 2 breakdowns that we know of. I don’t know if he transitions back to civilian life so easily. I wonder if his drinking got worse. I wonder if he settled down and had kids. If I were to write it, the drinking became a problem he had to deal with and he did get married and had kids including a son that he was every bit as close to as he was with his father. With the womanizing, remember that in the show, Hawkeye was 28. They even make reference to his young age later in the series when BJ was injured. The surgeon who came in to operate on BJs hand referred to Hawkeye being inexperienced even went as far as implying that Hawkeye was barely out of just being an intern.
I think it works out for Hawkeye just as he describes in the finale, but I don’t think it really happens for at least several years. There is too much for him to work through first. I’m sorry we never got to see it.