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Klinger's ploys to get out of the army

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Besides dressing as a woman, Klinger also tried a wide range of other ploys to get out of the army. Not all of the ploys attempted to exploit a "Section 8" by proving that he is mentally unfit for service. Other ploys were aimed at getting a hardship discharge on compassionate grounds or were outright efforts of desertion.

In the Season 8 episode "Dear Uncle Abdul", Klinger, in writing a letter to his uncle, reflects on his failed attempts to get out on a Section 8 remarking on all the weird things going on in camp involving the officers. He ends the letter by saying "You see, Unc? It's no wonder I never got a Section Eight; there's nothing special about me. Everybody here is crazy!"

Klinger's ploys invariably fell flat mostly because his commanders could outwit him or see through his scheme. However, as can be seen from the list below, some of the ploys came close to succeeding.

* "Deal Me out" {Season 2} Majors Burns and Houlihan are so tired of Klinger attics that they actually recomened his Section 8 discharge. Sidney Freedman will only give his approval if Klinger is a transvestite!

  • "The Trial of Henry Blake" (Season 2). Klinger tries to glide out of the camp with a hang glider. He was found two miles from camp unconscious, "looking like a big red bird with fuzzy pink feet." Henry Blake said he might had succeeded had he had a strong tailwind.
Klinger-trial of Henry Blake

The earliest of his ploys which didn't involve cross dressing, Klinger attempts to escape the camp on a hang glider in "The Trial of Henry Blake" (Season 2).

  • "Mail Call...Again" (Season 4). Klinger tells Colonel Potter that his two brothers Maurice and Hakim had died in a boiler explosion at the Toledo Harmonica factory. As sole remaining son he claims he is entitled to a discharge. This fails because Potter says the letter from Klinger's mother is in Klinger's own handwriting. Furthermore, according to Klinger's service record, he had no brothers. In any case, Klinger should have read the fine print more carefully. The exception in the Selective Service Act which he quotes is for remaining sons whose siblings had died in the line of duty.
  • "Dear Sigmund" (Season 5). Klinger pretends to speak only Arabic after having been hit by a chopper blade. This fails because Potter simply doesn't buy it.
  • "The Most Unforgettable Characters" (Season 5). Klinger douses himself with gasoline and threatens to immolate himself. This fails because Potter detects that Klinger is faking it and using water. When he coaxes Klinger into his office to talk it over, Radar is instructed to put real gasoline into Klinger's gas tank. Later when Klinger comes back out and douses himself with his tank again, he exclaims in surprise, "Who put gasoline in my gasoline?"
Klinger-the most unforgettable characters

One of the more memorable of Klinger's ploys. He threatens to immolate himself in "The Most Unforgettable Characters" (Season 5).

  • "Souvenirs" (Season 5). Pole sitting. This ploy fails because Colonel Potter turns the tables on him and encourages him to stay up longer than he intended in order to break the MASH pole sitting record. In the end, Klinger fails to leave the army but is proud to break the record.
  • "38 Across" (Season 5) Klinger tries to get a discharge by eating a jeep piece by piece. The only thing he gets is a stay in the hospital with a stomachache! There, ironically, a visting US Adrimal proclaims Klinger "crazy"! Klinger is so overjoyed that someone offical has pronouced him nuts that he tries to trasnfer to the US Navy ... but fails as usual! (Note Klinger's putting moter oil in his mouth in real life would have resulted in him vomiting the lubricant up...and becoming quite ill!)
  • "The MASH Olympics" (Season 6). Klinger's latest scheme to try to get out of the army is to literally eat his way to a discharge ... by being too overweight to be a soldier. Unfortunately for Klinger, his stomach doesn't have the same desire for food as his heart has for a discharge ... and the only thing Klinger gets is a stomach ache!
  • "Last Laugh" (Season 6). Pretends to be a camel driver with his camel,  Habibie. Potter doesn't  buy this and grants a discharge ... For the camel! 
  • "Change Day" (Season 6). Klinger's Uncle Gus lands him an opportunity to take the entrance test to West Point. After that, all Klinger needs to do is cheat on an exam, be caught, and dismissed from the academy and he would be out of the army for good. B.J. thinks this scheme is brilliant, to get out of the army by joining the USMA. It fails because Klinger couldn't even get one answer right in the entire test.
  • "What's Up, Doc?" (Season 6). An unstable wounded soldier holds Winchester hostage and demands a flight to Ohio. Klinger volunteers to replace Winchester as the hostage, saying he knows Toledo well and there are places where the hostage-taker can hide. The plot fails because the hostage-taker passes out before the chopper he demands arrives.
  • "None Like It Hot" (Season 7). During a heat wave, Klinger dresses up in a rubber body/water reducing suit with a fur coat. Potter offers to grant him a Section 8 if he can remain in the suit for 24 hours. This fails as Klinger reaches his limit, tears off his fur coat, and jumps into a bath tub with Margaret still in it. He came really close. He only had an hour to go.
  • "The Young and the Restless" (Season 7). Klinger pretends he is in Toledo and goes around selling wall to wall carpeting and siding. Potter plays along and agrees to fill in Section 8 discharge form. He goes through the routine questions with Klinger: name, address, mother's name.... When he reaches rank, Klinger drops his guard and answers, "Corporal". "Gotcha!" says Potter and tears up the form.
  • "Preventative Medicine" (Season 7). Takes up voodoo and threatens to stab a voodoo doll of Colonel Potter if he is not discharged. This fails when visiting Colonel Lacy yells in pain when Klinger pushes a pin in. Klinger thinks he did it, and fearing he has targeted the wrong man, he surrenders his voodoo equipment to Father Mulcahy.
  • "Goodbye, Cruel World" (Season 8). Klinger is upset because the MASH staff make fun of his efforts to decorate his office with his items from home which all have a Lebanese flavor. So he forges letters from Colonel Potter and Father Mulcahy recommending a discharge and has them sent off to I Corps. However when Potter later apologises to Klinger for being insensitive to his feelings and even offers him a three-day pass, Klinger is struck with guilt. He rushes off to I Corps and barges into the office of Colonel Hedley to retrieve the papers before they get processed.

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