October 26, 2006:
Sixty-one years after the first one was established, the last MASH (mobile army surgical hospital) was went out of service. Actually, the U.S. Army's 212th MASH was converted (via the addition of $5 million in new gear, and 120 more personnel) to the 212th CSH (combat support hospital.) The CSH is more than a larger (250 personnel, 248 beds) MASH, it is modular, and can split itself into smaller, 33 or 84 bed, hospitals. This is a capability needed to provide support to the new Brigade Combat Teams.
The MASH was developed in response to World War II experience, where it was noted that, the more quickly surgical services could be provided to badly wounded soldiers, the more likely they were to survive. Subsequently, some 97 percent of wounded soldiers who reached a MASH, survived. The value of this concept was proven in Korea, Vietnam, and all other wars since then. The last mission of the 212th MASH was in Pakistan, last year, where earthquake victims were treated. While the organization and equipment of MASH units has changed over the years, it's basic mission remained the same. In effect, the CSH continues that mission, with the main difference being the ability of the CSH to send off "mini-MASH" detachments for the support of widely separated combat brigades..