M*A*S*H star Mike Farrell is proud of his time in the military. The former Marine says he has fond memories and lifelong friendships as a result of his service.
In a May interview with We Are the Mighty, Farrell talked about some of those memories and friendships. But mostly, he stressed that the Marines instill in their recruits a sense of pride.
“There is a sense of pride attached to being a Marine,” Farrell said. “You can’t avoid having that sense of pride because they just beat the crap out of you in order to make you what you need to be.”
M*A*S*H Star Still Thinks About His Marine Friends Today
Farrell went on to recall the time when a Force Recon Marine invited him to join their unit en route to Okinawa. Farrell mulled it over for a few days, but ultimately decided to pass.
“I wonder about that Marine,” he told We Are the Mighty. “And you hear about all of the special ops these days where Force Recon is still a part of the Corps.”
But Farrell became lifelong friends with the Marines he did serve with. And later on, he also helped fellow veterans – for example, he once drove a car from Los Angeles to an Army friend at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Farrell called the segregation he witnessed on that drive “a mind-blowing experience.”
“I have made some lifelong friends through the Corps because of the shared experience,” Farrell said. And he clearly still wonders about the friendships that might have been, including that offer from the Force Recon Marine.
Mike Farrell’s Service Prepared Him to Play a Military Doctor Who Questions Authority
M*A*S*H was a show about the Korean War that aired during the Vietnam War, and it had a strong antiwar undercurrent. Given his participation in M*A*S*H, it seems Farrell had a nuanced view of military service that included a healthy skepticism of conventional wisdom.
In an October interview with Rich Kimball, Farrell hinted as much by pointing out that it is the duty of soldiers in this country to disobey orders that threaten the Constitution. But he also seemed to acknowledge that there are bad actors in the world.
“I was in the Marines, and in the Marines, you learn to do what the people in charge tell you,” Farrell said then. “And mostly, it’s a matter of meeting the demands of the authorities which posit you against the bad guy, whoever the bad guy might be.”
In the end, Farrell’s service also left him in a good position to play B.J. Hunnicutt, his breakthrough role. And while he remembers his military service fondly, he seems to feel the same way about his years on M*A*S*H, as well.