Overview… a naive Iowa farm boy turned Army organizational whiz. Walter (the name his parents call him) is devoted to his duties as company clerk at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H unit) during the Korean War. In the beginning, Walter can’t seem to get anything right, but Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake takes the boy under his wing. When it is discovered that Walter has either extremely good hearing or some sort of extra-sensory perception (ESP) when it comes to knowing when helicopters are about to arrive before anyone else can see or hear them, he is nicknamed Radar. He often has to tell skeptics to “Wait for it.” Beyond his ability to know whether or not those same choppers are actually loaded with casualties, Radar has a knack for knowing what his commanding officer needs, appearing at his side before he is called, giving him forms before he finishes asking for them, and finishing the man’s sentences.
Personality… warm, friendly, innocent, and a bit sneaky. Radar may be shy around women, drink mostly Grape Nehi brand soda, and sleep with a teddy bear, but he also carries around a handful of passes for every occasion that he’s conned Colonel Henry Blake into signing so he can give them to friends. Being a farm boy from Iowa, the diminutive Radar can put away more food than anyone in camp, a trait that he sometimes feels defensive about: “Can I help it, if the war gives me an appetite?” Radar is a master negotiator when it comes to securing supplies; a good friend, aiding Hawkeye Pierce with many of his schemes; and a protector of animals. He once tricked Colonel Blake into giving a medical discharge to a sheep, under the name Private Charles Lamb. Even Colonel Blake knows that Radar is responsible for making the 4077th a well-oiled machine, telling everyone after receiving an award that his “right hand, Corporal Radar O’Reilly, incidentally is in command of this unit, and just uses me as a front.”
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