So recently I became interested in how ranks were assigned in the military, particularly to drafted doctors. In my research, I learnt the backgrounds to all our favourite characters, and how the got to the positions they did. I thought some of you guys might be interested too, so, here we go.
Captains Pierce, McIntyre and Hunnicutt - Captain was the lowest rank given to drafted doctors. The reason they started at such a high rank, was in an attempt to make up for the loss of the wages they would have earned as civilian doctors.
Major Burns - Frank, however, wasn’t just a Captain (although he is in the book). There are a couple of theories as to how he reached Major, such as being promoted for being particularly GI, or possibly because he was successful in the States. The theory I find to be most logical is that he joined the reserves after WW2, cowardly patriot that he is, and was caught by surprise when the Korean War broke out.
Major Winchester - When it comes to this Major, I find it quite easy to believe that he was drafted as a Captain just like the others. But, of course, with all his money and connections (and his father), I don’t think it would have been hard for him to get himself moved up the ranks a bit.
Lieutenant-Colonel Blake - Honestly, it’s highly unlikely that a draftee doctor would get to this rank, especially not as quickly as Henry did. And, more than that, after only 2 weeks of officer training, there’s no way he would be given a command. Of course, with the book for context it’s all explained: Henry was an army doctor. He joined up before Pearl Harbour, and the army was his career. While this seems unlikely for TV Henry, the idea can be made a little more palatable by remembering that it was common for people who couldn’t afford medical school to join the army. The army would cover your tuition, and in return you would serve for a period. I prefer to think that’s what happened with Henry.
Colonel Potter - Here we have the most straightforward of the characters. Potter joined up with the cavalry at 14, then became a doctor, and made his way through the ranks in a standard fashion.