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Command History

NAVAL HOSPITAL Pensacola > Command Leadership
 

Older than 26 U.S. states.....

             Naval Hospital Pensacola is in its second century of service and is one of the oldest and most respected military medical facilities in the country.  It continues to provide health care to over 150,000 beneficiaries in its main facility and 10 branch clinics in 5 states.

            Naval Hospital Pensacola began its service in January 1826.  President Adams assigned the first surgeon and officer in charge, Navy Surgeon Isaac Hulse, to establish a hospital at the Pensacola Navy Yard in support of the West Indies Squadron. Dr. Hulse established the Naval Hospital by renting a 2-story house as a temporary medical facility, for $30 a month.  Dr. Hulse would go on to spend 19 of his 33-year Navy career in Pensacola.
 
            Although the establishment of Naval Hospital Pensacola was authorized in the 1811 Congressional Act which “…established navy hospitals…” a permanent facility was not completed until 1834.  The first hospital was completed, at a cost of nearly $12,000; it was located about three-quarters of a mile from the Navy Yard on a 30-foot bluff. It was described as being 'outside the wall' of the Navy Yard. However, the hospital established its own wall - which can be seen today at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola. It was a 12-foot-high brick façade enclosing the entire 15-acre compound.  The wall was built so high as it was thought to keep mosquitoes out.
 
            There are still signs of Navy medicine’s past around current-day NAS Pensacola. Building 16 on NAS Pensacola was refurbished as the second Naval Hospital. It is among the sites on the base's tour and also believed to 'haunted'.   Hospitals 3 and 4 were erected on the original compound site. The walls of the compound can be seen today across the road from the Mustin Beach Officers' Club.  Currently, the headquarters of the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), Building 628, was Naval Hospital No. 5. It was originally dedicated 15 February 1941 and served as the main hospital until 1978. 
 
            Today, the 6th Naval Hospital building was the first to be built outside of NAS Pensacola proper. Initially commissioned as the Naval Regional Aerospace Medical Command, it was commissioned in 1978, and continues its mission of providing healthcare to America’s heroes and their families throughout the Gulf Coast region.  In 2001, the newest addition to the Naval Hospital was added: A 2-story, 73,000 square foot Outpatient Clinic.  Among the clinics that have found new homes are Family Medicine; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Pharmacy; Pediatrics; Ears, Nose and Throat; Dermatology; Ophthalmology; Audiology and Immunizations; plus the Medical Records department. More recently, the hospital completed renovation of all its inpatient areas and modernized “state of the art” operating rooms in 2010.
 
Naval Hospital Pensacola has a proud tradition of service.  The staff fought yellow fever outbreaks in the early 19th century and endured to provide comfort during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.  73 Commanding Officers and literally thousands of staff members have compassionately helped the ill and injured in all of America’s struggles from the Civil War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As a testament to this, in 1945, on VJ day, the hospital had a census of 1073 patients.  In 2003, the hospital manned and deployed Fleet Hospital 3 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the first fleet hospital to be deployed to a combat zone. Since 2004, NHP has repeatedly deployed over 10% of its military staff as individual augmentees in support of global operations.  The quarterdeck honorably displays a bronzed pair of boots worn by Navy Seal, HMC Matthew J Bourgeois of Tallahassee, FL who was killed in 2002 while conducting small unit training in a remote site in Afghanistan. 
 
   The Muddy Boots were originally awarded to Naval Hospital Pensacola by the Surgeon General of the Navy for its outstanding patient satisfaction and operational support in 2003.  In the long campaigns that have followed, they are steadfast symbols of our unwavering commitment to support and care for the hundreds of sailors from NHP that have deployed as individual augmentees.
 
            Not only has the command supported America’s warriors but they have been key players in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. They have supported the Gulf Coast region in responding to 8 major hurricanes since 1975 and have been crucial in support in the USNS Comfort’s reoccurring “continuing promise” missions to impoverished nations.  This included vigorous support to the victims the Haiti Earthquake in 2010.  
           
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