Major Franklin Marion "Ferret Face" Burns was probably one of the worst surgeons to have ever received his MD. His lack of surgical aptitude was only matched by his very poor bedside manner. It was rumored that he flunked out of three medical schools before he finally became a doctor, and he even admitted that he paid for the answers for his first year medical school final exams. Eventually, despite his lack of surgical acumen he did build a thriving, yet somewhat shady, practice and start a family with his rather homely and frigid wife Louise, who he only married due to the fact that she came from a rich family. However, sometime in the early 1950's his life was turned upside down when he was drafted into the United States Army Medical Corps.
After receiving his army training, Burns received his commission and somehow achieved the rank of major. Eventually he was shipped off to Korea at the height of the Korean War and was assigned to the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H). While he was there he never hid his displeasure with the fact that he had to perform surgery under somewhat trying conditions (artillery fire, poor sanitary conditions and lack of military discipline) and even took out his frustrations on the native population, which he viewed as being inferior. Adding to his woes was the fact that his bunkmates were a pair of very non-GI surgeons in the persons of Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce and Captain "Trapper" John McIntyer. In fact, Burns was so GI that one time he threatened to have a soldier who had admitted that he was a homosexual dishonorobly discharged (ironically, Burns may have been a closeted homosexual and even hinted at it when while under anesthesia as he mistook Hawkeye for a schoolmate with whom he might have had a sexual experience). However, while Burns was constantly frustrated by the lack of discipline, he pretty much had an ally in the person of regular army nurse Major Margaret Houlihan, with whom he had a passionate love affair with.
Margaret was everything his wife wasn't; attractive, passionate and aggressive. However, Burns would never commit to Margaret who, for some reason, was very attracted to the chinless, lipless Burns. In fact, Margaret was using Frank as much as he used her as she saw him as her puppet through whom she would take command of the 4077 in case the unit's commander Lt. Colonel Henry Blake or Blake's replacement Colonel Sherman Potter were to lose command. Eventually, the affair ended when Margaret became engaged to Lt. Colonel Donald Penobscott. When Frank found out about Margaret's engagement he began to lose it. First he did little things like rip the hinges off of doors. On one occasion he intentionally cut Margaret's finger with a scalpel during surgery. He even forceably took a Korean family prisoner when he tried to prove that he was just as manly as Donald was. He finally went over the edge after Margaret's wedding and while on leave in Seoul he tried hunting her and Donald down, despite the fact that the couple were hundreds of miles away in Tokyo. Eventually Frank was arrested and was confined for psychiatric evaluation. Ironically, the army would promote Burns to lieutenant colonel and would transfer him back home to Indiana. When last heard from, Burns was in charge of a Veterans Administration hospital in his home state.