Television's "M*A*S*H" had Hawkeye and Hot Lips.
But the D.C. National Guard's 115th MASH unit, now bound for service in the Middle East with Operation Desert Shield, has Dr. Cornely and Nurse Parker. They are among the estimated 184 weekend warriors who were called earlier this month from their jobs at local hospitals and health care organizations and told to pack for overseas duty.
Yesterday, under a bright blue sky, the 115th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital lined up in camouflage fatigues in front of the D.C. Armory for the formal farewell ceremony.
The U.S. Army band played "God Bless America." Children hugged departing parents. And grown-ups tried not to cry as the men and women of the 115th prepared to climb into the military trucks and buses that would carry them away, first to Fort Belvoir for mobilization training, then to the front lines in the Middle East.
The 115th MASH can provide medical treatment for soldiers on the ground, said Maj. Gen. Calvin G. Franklin, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard.
"It is primarily a stabilizing unit that is right on the front lines," he said.
"But I'm sure the unit's work will include treating heat exhaustion, sand fleas and other types of bites. We don't have a shooting war yet."
The 115th MASH unit is the second unit of the D.C. Army National Guard to be activated as part of Operation Desert Shield. The first, the 547th Transportation Company, is in Saudi Arabia.
"Many others will be joining you soon," Franklin told the departing troops.
Late yesterday, the 1st Army called up five more reserve units, including a data processing unit from Fort Belvoir and a combat support unit from Fort Meade.
The 115th MASH has about 15 physicians, about 60 nurses and more than 100 medical technicians and support personnel.
Area hospitals said the loss of those medical experts will have a minimal effect on Washington's health care system.
"We are suffering with a nursing shortage," said Evelyn Sommers, executive director of the D.C. Nurses Association, "but we have a pool of about 10,000 registered nurses in the District. You can lose 60 nurses and the remaining nurses can pick up the extra shifts."
Officers asked reporters not to reveal the full names of the MASH unit members as a security measure for their families.
Lt. Col. Cornely, 51, said that he is the unit's only physician trained for the emergency room. His job will be to evaluate and stabilize the injured soldiers and get them ready for surgery if needed.
Cornely has worked in the emergency room at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore since 1989. Before that, he worked in emergency rooms at D.C. General and in Alexandria and Arlington.
His most recent gunshot victim was a patient with extensive foot injuries. "It was an accident," Cornely said. "The girlfriend had a gun and it went off."
Cornely, the son of a Howard University physician, hopes he won't have to practice emergency medicine in the Middle East.
"We lost too many lives in Vietnam, and we don't need to lose any more over there," he said.
Other members of the MASH unit trained for the emergency room include 1st Lt. Parker, 30, a licensed nurse who has worked in the emergency rooms of many area hospitals, including Capitol Hill Hospital, Providence and Howard University Hospital.
Parker has helped revive drug overdose victims whose chests were cracked open to get their hearts beating again.
She has helped stabilize patients with gunshot wounds and knife injuries.
Yesterday, waiting to board her bus, Parker said she feels emotionally and professionally prepared for the potential violence of the Middle East.
"I have never been one to be afraid of blood and guts," Parker said.
"What I want to do is make sure that the person is still breathing, that his heart is going and he has a good blood pressure," she said. "I don't care too much that he is missing a leg or an arm or has head injuries. If he is still a viable person, that is what I am looking at. I treat the person."
Although Parker said she is ready to go, her son has misgivings.
"I don't think they should go over there," said the boy, who will be 11 years old Monday. "Why can't they figure out some other way of solving this problem rather than having to fight?"
The Parker family is one of the many disrupted by the mobilization of troops.
Parker, a single parent, arranged for her son to live with her sister while she is away. That meant he had to enroll in a new school last week.
The family cat and dog have been farmed out to friends. And Parker has basically moved out of her Silver Spring home, storing personal belongings and getting the house ready to rent during her absence.
Originally, she thought she would be back in six months.
But yesterday, Gen. Franklin said the plan to rotate the troops has been put on hold.
"They have their orders, and they know where they will go," Franklin said. "They will not be around for Christmas . . . . We don't know when they will be back."