According to the 2015-2019 American Community Survey, the Veteran population ages 65 or older numbered in excess of 18.2 million. These Veterans served in conflicts around the world including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and even in the Persian Gulf War. As Veterans age, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will provide benefits and services that address a variety of issues including the changing health risks they face, as well as financial challenges through VA benefits and health services.
While Hawkeye is decidedly unmilitary and eschews the trappings of the service, he has been known, rarely, to render a salute, on one occasion to Frank Burns in which Hawkeye replied "We all have our bad days, Frank," on one occasion to his imaginary friend Captain Tuttle, on two occasions to Radar, first when Radar got a Purple Heart, the second when he was departing the unit. In the second season, in an episode entitled "The Incubator," Hawkeye throws a legitimate salute to a major who he thinks will be able to provide him with some much needed medical equipment. He also joined the M*A*S*H personnel in a salute to Father Mulcahy following Mulcahy's promotion to Captain. The final time was with B.J. Hunnicutt, as a farewell gesture to Colonel Sherman Potter as he left during the final episode of the series. Although Hawkeye was never shown receiving any kind of citation on the show, it is assumed that he himself would be a recipient of the Purple Heart for once having been wounded. He also in episode 2/23 ("Mail Call") mentions that this was his second war; implying that he had served in World War II. He also only refers to few characters by their actual rank; generally these are people he doesn't think he can afford to anger such as generals or other "regular army" types that require it, and even then, the salute is often mocking. The only person he consistently refers to by rank and with respect is Colonel Potter. The one time Pierce follows Army regulations is 1/17 when after a close friend of his dies after being wounded-Pierce reports a under age soldier to the MPs and Major Houlihan-so the patient can be sent home (ironically Ronny Howard was actually 18).
Another of these highly secret groups was the Special Duties Branch. This was made up of the elderly, mothers, doctors, vicars, teenagers - anyone who could stand on the street without attracting the attention of the invading army. They were to take down notes on the Germans passing through (insignia, regiment, weapons, numbers, vehicles, direction of travel), and pass these notes on via dead-letter drops and runners. The last runner in the line passed the note onto a civilian wireless operator who then passed the info onto ATS women in bunkers like those inhabited by the members of the Auxiliary Units. This info was then passed on to the local command or GHQ. Again, these civilians all signed the Official Secrets Act and we believe that there were around 4,000 countrywide. 2b1af7f3a8