US closes last real MASH

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The Independent US

The US Army has announced it is closing the last of its MASH battlefield hospital units, made famous by the hit 1970 Robert Altman film, and the long-running TV series, creating comedy amid the mayhem and mutilations of the Korean war.

The final Mobile Army Surgical Hospital Unit is in northern Pakistan, treating survivors of last October's devastating earthquake in Kashmir. The $4.5m, 84-bed unit will be handed over to Pakistan this month.

The MASH units will be replaced by smaller casualty surgical hospitals, or CSHs, closer to the combat, where the wounded will be stabilised as quickly as possibly then flown to bigger hospitals. The move is part of the US Army's shift from traditional, set-piece battle confrontation to a more fluid and nimble form of warfare.

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