Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Naval Medical Center, San Diego
(Naval Hospital San Diego, Bob Wilson Naval Hospital)
Highlights of Navy Medicine in Balboa Park
Public Affairs Office, Naval Medical Center San Diego
December 1914: Navy medical personnel treated 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. The Marines participated in the 1915 Panama-California Exposition celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal.
May 1917: As the United States enters World War I, Lt. j.g. Alma C. Smith became the first medical officer of the new Naval Training Center in Balboa Park. A camp dispensary eventually expanded to 800 beds as the training center housed as many as 5,000 recruits.
May 20th 1919: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels re-designates the War Dispensary as a Naval Hospital.
August 22, 1922: The first permanent naval hospital opened at Inspiration Point, in the building called the “Pink Palace” that now houses the San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department.
World War II: The hospital treated more than 172,000 patients, including a daily high of more than 12,000 on Dec. 27, 1944.
Korean War, 1950 to 1953: more than 90,000 patients were treated at what was then known as Naval Hospital San Diego.
1957: A 1,000-bed surgical building was dedicated. Today it houses troops in full-time treatment for war wounds, illnesses and accidents.
1968: Crew of the Navy spy ship Pueblo was treated at the hospital after release from North Korea, 11 months after being captured.
1973 to 1974, during the Vietnam War: the hospital treated more than 63,000 patients including many former prisoners of war.
October 3, 1981: Construction of a new hospital began.
January 23, 1988: New Naval Hospital San Diego dedicated.
February 1993: Naval Hospital San Diego was renamed Naval Medical Center San Diego.
October 15, 2007: the medical center opened a $4.5 million rehabilitation and prosthetics center for injured troops, many of them Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, called C5: the Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care facility.
2008: Congress renamed the main inpatient building and gate at the medical center “Bob Wilson Naval Hospital,” honoring its main political backer on the facility’s 20th anniversary.
For more history and information, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd, www.facebook.com/nmcsd, or www.twitter.com/NMC_SD.
Online Histories
Extract, US Navy and Marine Corps Installations - Domestic


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Updated 8 February 2016