M*A*S*H episode
“Tell It to the Marines”
Tell it to the marines
Hawkeye and B.J. convince journalist Murray Thompson to take up Jost's story.
Season 9, Episode # 8
Number (#206) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Michael McGuire
Stan Wells
James Gallery
Denny Miller
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Z-410
Writer(s) Hank Bradford
Director Harry Morgan
Original airdate January 12, 1981
IMDb logo IMDB Tell It to the Marines
Episode chronology
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"Your Retention, Please" (Z‑406) "Taking the Fifth" (Z‑407)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"A War for All Seasons" (Z‑409) "Depressing News" (Z‑411)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 9 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Tell It to the Marines was the 8th episode of Season 9 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 206th overall series episode, Written by Hank Bradford and directed by Harry Morgan, it originally aired on January 12, 1981.


B.J. and Hawkeye try to get a hardship discharge for an immigrant Marine whose mother is being deported before he can get home. Winchester becomes C.O. for a few days, using his new position to get himself silk sheets and other "basic necessities of life".

Full episode summaryEdit

With Col. Potter in Tokyo for a conference, Winchester is in charge of the 4077th, and he gets right to work putting Klinger to work, having him trade for all sorts of fineries--Wagner records, silk sheets, etc.

Meanwhile, Hawkeye is busy helping a Marine Pvt. named Jost Van Liter (Stan Wells), whose mother is about to be deported back to Holland. Van Liter, a volunteer who has been wounded several times, is trying to see if he can get sent home a week early so he can see his mother before she goes. Neither his C.O. or the Red Cross will help him, so he turns to Margaret and Father Mulcahy, who turn to Hawkeye.

Hawkeye makes a call to Van Liter's commander, Col. Mulholland (Michael McGuire) but he has zero sympathy for Van Liter, calling him a "pantywaist". He refuses to listen to Hawkeye's plea, hanging up on him.

Hawkeye then decides to write a story about Van Liter's problem for Stars & Stripes, and with the help of Klinger writes a floridly written piece of propaganda, full of alliteration. But Mulholland gets wind of it and has the story killed, enraging Hawkeye.

He then turns to the civilian press, meeting a sympathetic reporter on the UN press train, Murray Thompson, who is willing to write the story properly and put it in the paper. They excitedly tell Van Liter, and promise that once people hear about his plight, they'll rally to help him. B.J. wonders if Hawkeye has promised too much.

Col. Potter returns home, and he's there with Hawkeye and B.J. in the Mess Tent when Col. Mulholland arrives, furious over the story. He's so mad he promises that once Van Liter returns, "He's in for the hardest three weeks of his life."

Hawkeye decides then and there that Van Liter is sick, and will need about three weeks to recover. Mulholland can't believe that, but gives up when Col. Potter backs Hawkeye up. He storms off, satisfied at least that Van Liter still won't get home in time "to kiss his mommy goodbye!"

But a few days later, good news arrives--the Dutch Consul General in San Francisco has read the story, and hired Van Liter's mother as a secretary, giving her diplomatic immunity, meaning she won't be deported. Van Liter is overjoyed, thanking everyone for their kindness, Hawkeye most of all.

Fun FactsEdit

The actor playing gung-ho, "meat and potatoes" Col. Mulholland, Michael McGuire, also played the uber-snob Prof. Sumner Sloan on Cheers, about as different a role from this one as possible.

Guest stars/recurring castEdit

  • Michael McGuire as Colonel Mulholland
  • Stan Wells as Private Jost Van Liter
  • James Gallery as Murray Thompson
  • Denny Miller as M.P.
  • Uncredited appearances: