General Wilson Spaulding Barker is a character who appears in Chief Surgeon Who? and Requiem for a Lightweight, both in Season 1. The part of General Barker is played in the episodes by Sorrell Booke, who would later star on the CBS-TV series The Dukes of Hazzard as Boss Hogg.
General Barker essentially took over administrative duties from Brigadier General Hammond, who appeared only in the first three episodes that were produced. Barker then debuted in the fourth produced episode. However, the episodes were aired out of production order, meaning that watching the series in broadcast order has Barker's two appearances coming between Hammond's second and third.
After Barker's two episodes, in production order he was succeeded by the character of General Clayton, who became the next in a long line of ranking generals to oversee the M*A*S*H unit.
About General BarkerEdit
In General Barker's initial appearance in "Chief Surgeon Who?", Frank, who's upset over Colonel Blake naming Hawkeye the Chief Surgeon, and Hot Lips decide to go to General Barker, and complain about this breach of the rules. When Barker arrives at the 4077th, Frank and Hot Lips tell him that there's a wounded man waiting to be operated on. He storms off to go find "Chief Surgeon Pierce."
He finds Hawkeye, Trapper, Capt. Kaplan (Jack Riley), and Ugly John all playing cards! He demands Hawkeye operate - now.
Hawkeye refuses the order, saying medically it's not the best idea while the patient is still in shock. He's having a nurse give the patient some blood and get him better ready for surgery, and expects to operate around 3am.
Barker doesn't like that answer, so he storms off to find Henry, only to find that the whole camp seems to be jumping, even this late at night - Radar is reading comics while drinking Henry's brandy, Spearchucker and Nurse Ginger Baliss are playing Strip Dominoes, and the camp's night sentry, Klinger is wandering around the camp in a WAC uniform! Once Barker finds Henry, they meet Hawkeye and Trapper in the O.R., now that the patient is ready for surgery. Barker is impressed by Hawkeye's surgical skill, and grudgingly admits he was wrong, and Hawkeye was right.
Barker tells Henry to ignore Frank from here on in, and marvels at how anything gets done in this madhouse. He is not reassured when Klinger reappears, naked, still on duty. Hawkeye, Trapper, and Henry take it all in stride.
In his second appearance in the episode "Requiem for a Lightweight", the general calls Colonel Blake, while he and Radar are at work in the office. General Barker is interested in getting the 4077th to put a fighter for the inter-unit boxing tournament. After General Barker's call Hawkeye and Trapper try to get Blake to keep Cutler. Blake decides that if one of them will fight in the match against Barker's fighter he will see what he can do. They leave the office laughing until they see Nurse Margie Cutler, who was about to be transferred from the 4077th by Margaret, who was tired of her antics with Hawkeye and Trapper.
When General Barker arrives at the camp, he finds the officers in the Mess Tent, he introduces his fighter Sergeant "Killer" Flacker, who is known to punch, and "knock out" jeeps!
Not Bradley BarkerEdit
In Season 4 "The Price of Tomato Juice", Potter speaks to a General Bradley Barker on the phone (we never see this Barker nor hear his voice). He is from I Corps and also appears to hold a senior position overseeing medical matters but there is compelling evidence that this is a different person and not a naming goof. For one thing, Bradley Barker asks Potter to try to arrange a date for him with Margaret - but we know that Wilson Barker and Margaret are on talking terms and doesn't need Potter as a go-between. Second, when Potter mentions Bradley Barker to Margaret, she says that she served under him at Fort Ord, without mentioning that they had met more recently at the 4077th. Third, when Frank discusses this General Barker with Margaret, she mentions that she knows two General Barkers. Indeed, the first name Bradley is mentioned many times in the script, as though to emphasize that it is a different person.