Monster M*A*S*H

Tommy Gillis is a characters in the Season 1 episode of M*A*S*H titled Sometimes You Hear the Bullet. The part of Tommy is played in the episode by James T. Callahan.

About Tommy Gillis[]

Tommy, a longtime old childhood friend of Hawkeye's, was a news reporter for Stars and Stripes who was covering the Korean War from a soldier's point of view; at the beginning of the episode "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet", he visits Hawkeye at the 4077th, as the two, after a long embrace, share old stories of life back in Crabapple Cove, Maine, telling stories of life as it was when the two were in grammar school together. Turns out that Tommy, who also, like his friend Hawkeye has an acerbic wit about him, is like an enlisted (he's a Corporal) infantry man version of Hawkeye. Anyway, when Tommy arrives in camp to visit, he reveals that in addition to his work as a reporter, he is working on a book describing the experiences of a grunt soldier; with the title "You Never Hear The Bullet." After meeting Henry in Post Op when he first arrives at the 4077th, and then trading a few stories about home, as well some drinks with Hawk and Trapper in the Swamp, Tommy departs, returning to his unit,

Later on in the episode another batch of wounded arrive, and of the soldiers which Hawkeye is assigned to operate on is none other than Tommy, who took a bullet in his aorta. Tragically, after attempts of Hawkeye and a nurse to revive him when he becomes unconscious after falling into a coma, Tommy dies on the operating table; just before getting anesthetized, as Hawkeye was about to operate on him, Tommy says that usually when someone got hit, you couldn't hear the bullet, and that this time, when he was shot, he heard the bullet. Hawkeye tells Tommy he can change the title of the book to "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet."


  • According to Hawkeye, Gillis had been a member of the Communist party; given the paranoid witch hunt anti-communist mentatlity of the late 1940's-to 1960's it is probable that Gillis would not have been allowed to serve in either the US Army or write for "Stars and Stripes"
  • James T. Cllahan had actually served in the Korean Conflict in the US Army!