M*A*S*H episode
MASH episode 7x21 - Hawkeye's Claustrophobia
When the 4077th has to bug out and move the OR temporarily into a nearby cave, it's revealed that Hawkeye has suffered from claustrophobia since childhood in "C*A*V*E" in Season 7 of M*A*S*H.
Season 7, Episode # 21
Number (#168) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Mark L. Taylor
Enid Kent
Charles B. Jenkins
Enid Kent
Jennifer Davis Westmore
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: T-423
Writer(s) Larry Balmagia & Ronny Graham
Director William Jurgensen
Original airdate February 5, 1979
IMDb logo IMDB C*A*V*E
Episode chronology
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"Hot Lips is Back in Town" (T‑419) "Rally ‘Round the Flagg, Boys" (T‑425)

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"Ain't Love Grand" (T‑422) "The Party" (T‑424)

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Season 7 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

C*A*V*E was the 21st episode of Season 7 of the M*A*S*H TV series, also the 168th overall series episode. The episode was written by Larry Balmagia and Ronny Graham, and directed by William Jurgensen. The episode originally aired on CBS-TV on February 5, 1979.


A hurried relocation to a cave is complicated by Hawkeye revealing that he suffers from claustrophobia.

Full episode summaryEdit

The 4077th is caught in a crossfire between friendly and enemy artillery, and it gets so bad that Col. Potter calls I Corps to try and get them to stop firing.

I Corps thinks the 4077th is in another location, but Potter tries to tell them that they were there briefly, but are now back to their original location. They are "Mobile", after all.

I Corps asks for the proper code word to verify Potter is who he says he is, but they have an out-of-date book and I Corps rejects them, hanging up. Potter tries to call General Embry, but the bombs have cut the phone lines so the 4077th is stranded!

Potter calls a meeting and decides that for the duration the whole unit will move to a nearby cave, protecting them from the shelling. Everyone goes along with the plan, except for Hawkeye, who has several objections. But he's overruled, and they all pack up and head for the cave.

Once they get there, Hawkeye refuses to go inside, and it dawns on Potter what's going on: Hawkeye suffers from claustrophobia, something he's never told anyone before.

Hawkeye tries to carry on inside, but he just can't do it--his heart races, he sweats profusely, and he has to run outside to the cave's entrance just to catch his breath.

A bigger problem is one of Hawkeye's patients, who is getting worse and being stuck in a damp cave isn't helping. He needs to be operated on again, and there's only one place that can happen--the 4077th.

Hawkeye offers to drive the patient back and operate on him there. Margaret, revealing her terror over loud noises to help comfort Hawkeye, volunteers to accompany Hawkeye back to the 4077th.

In the OR, it's Hawkeye's turn to comfort Margaret to keep her mind off all the loud explosions, and he tries to pass the time playing a game of 20 Questions, kidding along the way.

Just as they're finishing up the surgery, the bombs stop falling and it's quiet again. Hawkeye finally guesses Margaret's been thinking of Joan of Arc. Amazed, she asks, "How did you know?"

Hawkeye says: "That's easy--who else would you be thinking of the past five minutes?"

The next morning, everyone else returns, finding Hawkeye and Margaret passed out in Post Op. They try to get up to help, only to pass out again.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • Author Paulette Bourgeois credits this episode as being the inspiration for her series of children's books Franklin the turtle. One night she was watching a rerun of this episode when she heard Hawkeye talking about his claustrophobia. She recalls, "He said something like, 'Look, if I were a turtle, I'd be afraid to go into my shell.'" (What Hawkeye actually said was: "Can you imagine me as a turtle? Afraid to get into my own shell.") She started writing her first book "Franklin in the Dark" the next day.[1] She also says the name Franklin came out of the blue but later realized Hawkeye's full name is Benjamin Franklin Pierce.[2]

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

  • Mark L. Taylor as O'Malley (as Mark Taylor)
  • Basil Hoffman as Major Bartuff
  • Charles B. Jenkins as Private Lovett
  • Enid Kent as Nurse Bigelow
  • Jennifer Davis Westmore as Nurse


  1. Diane Turbide, "A Million Dollar Turtle," Maclean's, December 11, 1995, pp. 50-51.
  2. "Paulette Bourgeois - Author,", accessed August 2, 2015, URL

External linksEdit