After being virtually absent since the end of World War II, the Fleet Hospital program reemerged in the fall of 1976. The Fleet Hospital Support Office (FHSO) was established at Port Hueneme, CA in 1979 and assigned under the Naval Supply Systems Command. FHSO was moved to Alameda, CA in 1981 Due to base closures, in 1998 it was relocated to its current location at Cheatham Annex, in Williamsburg, VA, and reorganized under the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in 1999.
In August 2005, the name was changed to Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Command (NEMSCOM) to more accurately reflect its mission. In continual support of both wartime and humanitarian efforts overseas today, NEMSCOM is the only facility of its kind capable of designing, acquiring, assembling, integrating, storing, shipping, and maintaining the deployable medical systems utilized by the United States Navy.
History of Fleet Hospitals
Mobile hospitals have existed as far back as World War I, when pre-existing buildings of opportunity were used. The Navy Mobile Hospital owes its innovation to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Navy Surgeon General Ross T. McIntire, who devised the concept based on their experiences in World War I. Prior to World War II, they toyed with the idea of a mobile hospital to treat wounded Sailors and Marines. As a result of diligent research and planning, their efforts resulted in the establishment of the first Mobile Base Hospital on 9 September 1940. The hospital embarked on a Navy transport and was set up in Guantanamo, Cuba, where its establishment proved a criterion for future hospitals.
The construction of Mobile Base Hospital #2 was completed in Hawaii as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As additional mobile hospitals were built, many modifications were made to conform to constantly changing requirements and conditions. Although termed "mobile", these hospitals were actually base hospitals, and were fixed facilities for the duration of the Pacific campaign. While they were mobile only from the extent that they were transported prefabricated, they were designed to provide much more elaborate medical services compared to field hospitals. Throughout World War II, 36 mobile base hospitals were organized.
- The GLOBE symbolizes the Fleet Hospital's worldwide capability of rapid deployment.
- The GOLDEN ANCHOR signifies hospital support to the Fleet Marine Forces operating in a combat zone.
- The RED CROSS is a traditional symbol of medical care that reflects the Hospital's mission to provide definitive intermediary healthcare both on land and at sea. The broken section of the cross indicates the building blocks of the Fleet Hospitals.