M*A*S*H episode
“Bug Out”
Bug out
Potter, on his horse, leads the convoy during the bug out.
Season 5, Episode # 1/2
Number (#98/99) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Richard Lee-Sung 
Eileen Saki
Frances Fong
Barry Cahill
Don Eitner
James Carroll
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: U-801, U-802
Writer(s) Larry Gelbart & Simon Muntner
Director William Jurgensen
Original airdate September 21, 1976
IMDb logo IMDB Bug Out
Episode chronology
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"The Interview" (G‑525)
(Season 4 finale)
"Margaret's Engagement" (U‑803)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"The Interview" (G‑525)
(Season 4 finale)
"Margaret's Engagement" (U‑803)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 5 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes


Bug Out were the 98th and 99th episodes of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, and, also the hour-long, two part season premiere episode arc of the fifth season of the series. Written by series co-creators Larry Gelbart and Simon Muntner, and directed by William Jurgensen, Bug Out first aired on September 21, 1976, and was repeated March 29, 1977.


When a rumor for a camp relocation turns out to be real, Hawkeye, Margaret, and Radar volunteer to stay behind for a patient who cannot be moved.

Full episode summaryEdit

Radar gets a phone call that the MASH is scheduled for a surprise practice "bug out", but that it's to remain top-secret. He unwisely tells Klinger, who tells Burns and Houlihan, and by the time the news gets to Col. Potter, it's assumed the camp is under a full-scale attack.

Col. Potter tries to stamp out the rumors, to no avail. When a patient with spinal-cord damage arrives, Hawkeye is initially reluctant to operate because, once he's been worked on, the patient can't be moved for 24 hours. Potter insists they aren't bugging out, so Hawkeye (with Margaret and B.J. assisting) goes ahead. But as soon as they start, the 4077th gets a word from HQ that they are, in fact, bugging out.

This sends everyone into a frenzy. Col. Potter puts Frank in charge (he has no choice, since Burns is second in command) while he scouts locations for a new MASH.

Hawkeye says he's staying behind to look after the patient, and Margaret volunteers to stay as well. And, at the last moment, as everyone is riding out of camp, Radar stays behind, too.

Col. Potter, B.J., and Frank lead the caravan to the new location for the 4077th, and walk up to what looks like an abandoned hut. Except that - it's not abandoned, it's full of "business girls."

Frank wants to evict them by force, but Potter wants to try and bargain with them. No matter what he offers, they refuse to turn over the building. That is, until they see Klinger's array of clothes, which they moon over. Potter asks Klinger to give up The Klinger Collection, as an act of patriotism ("Do it for...Toledo."). Klinger reluctantly agrees.

Meanwhile, back at the 4077th, the spinal cord patient is slowly recovering. Two jeeps drive into camp, doing reconnaissance on the area, and the soldiers are surprised when Hawkeye and Radar approach. When asked by Hawkeye where the front is, one soldier replies: "You're standing on it."

The next day, the patient is well enough to be flown out by chopper. After the chopper takes off, Hawkeye, Margaret, and Radar climb in a jeep to catch up with the rest of the unit. Hawkeye stops in the middle of the camp, remembering how much they all went through there together. He goes to start the jeep up again, but it won't turn over. When they hear a loud clamor of people coming up the road, they assume it's the Chinese and try to hide - which proves difficult, since all that's left of the tents are the framework.

They start to panic as the noise gets louder, but are relieved to see that it's the rest of the 4077th, led by Col. Potter. He tells them that the U.S. retook the same piece of land, so they have been ordered to return to home. Relieved, Margaret climbs aboard Sophie, her arms around Col. Potter as he manages the traffic. Everyone, for the moment, is happy.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • The second of three consecutive hour-long season premieres.
  • William Christopher was finally added to the official cast, and for the first and only time, a production credit - Executive Producer Gene Reynolds - was added to the credit sequence for this season.
  • The montage, with Col. Potter and Margaret on Sophie, is sweet. There had been occasional moments where we got to see how she looked upon him as a father figure - eventually pulling her away from the Frank and Margaret team that had been the standard for the previous seasons.
  • This episode contains a rare combat leadership success for Frank Burns, orchestrating (somewhat) successful movement preparations in Col. Potter's absence.
  • Ironically, though not mentioned overtly in the episode, Maxwell Q. Klinger loses the "The Klinger Collection" for nothing, as the unit does not ever occupy the house the clothes bought. He loses $300.00 worth of dresses {Nearly 10 months pay} and has been wearing dresses for 3 years.
  • Eileen Saki, the Korean Madame, would later take over the role of Rosie in later seasons.
  • The METV version has several parts not seen in syndication: Hawkeye and Radar almost getting run over by trucks; Hawkeye and Radar looking at the cockroaches in Rosie's; Rosie presents Hawkeye his bill for $51.00; BJ identifies the schoolhouse as a "Brothel" to Burns
  • As usual with MASH, the historical timeline is out of date..Seoul being attacked 1950-1951..not 1953; Before Hawkeye and Radar leave for Rosie's Houlihan remarks it's September....the only time Potter is in Korea September just after he arrives...
  • Some of this footage of the 4077th bugging out would be reused for the series finale “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.”

Recurring cast/Guest starsEdit


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