I remember watching this, essentially waiting out the show's finale as a series of hit and miss episodes came and went. This one knocked me across the teeth. The Hawkeye of Seasons 1-3 makes his final exit with this, but he has had a good run, and it sets up Hawkeye's status as the war's final victim, come the finale. These are the things he can't joke away, and we realize more than ever those wisecracks really were a defensive posture against the insanity he faced---and almost lost himself to later on.
From the death of this one nurse who could have came and went without dying, Hawkeye puts aside the jokes at least long enough to make damn sure the people he cares about know it without question. Some episodes in S11 showed the series' age. This one shows its maturity, and it is a graceful maturity.