Eisenhower Army Medical
Center is the military medical center of the Southeast. The $60M,
300 bed facility, is now the specialized treatment center for DoD
Region 3 TRICARE. The Southeast Regional Medical Command, a headquarters
facility for the southeastern United States, is also part of Fort
Gordon's medical complex.
is now focused on supporting the managed care program instituted by
the Department of Defense referred to as TRICARE. The medical center
is also a medical teaching facility for residents in both surgical
and primary care specialties with emphasis on research and state-of-the-art
traces its roots to World War II when it was the Camp Gordon Station
Hospital built in 1941. During 1941 it expanded to 1600 beds to care
for World War II casualties and their dependents. By the end of 1944,
the station hospital provided medical services for nine dispensaries
on post in addition to the dental clinics. World War II ended and
times changed as did the installation's mission. The station hospital,
one of the first functioning facilities, closed in August 1946. By
the end of 1947 the installation was virtually a "ghost town".
hospital had 139 single story wooden buildings on 80 acres of land
and nearly 3.5 miles of corridors connected the buildings.
of the cold war saw the reopening of Fort Gordon and subsequently
the hospital. During the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, the hospital
grew and shrunk in bed capacity as deemed necessary, and Army officials
began planning to replace the World War II era buildings that had
long outlived their intended use. By the end of the Korean war, the
hospital had shrunk to 300 beds. In 1966 with the beginning of the
Vietnam conflict, the bed capacity increased to 750 beds.
and dental detachments present since Gordon's beginning increased
and were redesignated to a more formal status in 1956. The U. S. Army
Hospital Station Component 3441 became Headquarters, U. S. Army Hospital
3441. Other changes were made in the medical detachment, dental detachment,
and medical holding detachment designations. It was big news for the
installation and Augusta on 21 March 1956 when the camp was designated
Fort Gordon making it a permanent part of the Army's readiness posture.
1963 the 18th Surgical Mobile Army Hospital was attached to the U.
S. Army Hospital, Fort Gordon. By 1966 all facilities were redesignated
the U. S. Army Hospital Specialized Treatment Center. Its capacity
was expanded to 750 beds. That same year planning began for a new
hospital to replace the old World War II era buildings that had long
outlived their intended usefulness. Formal groundbreaking for the
new structure was held on 23 April 1971. Although the main building
was dedicated 24 April 1975, it was not opened for patient use until
was a new home for the hospital being built but a new mission was
approved as well. In March 1973 the hospital became a medical center
with teaching and research missions to go along with the traditional
role of patient care. At the time of its dedication in 1975, it was
renamed the Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center in honor of
the former General of the Army and President of the United States.
In naming the center after the former President, the Army Medical
Department broke a long standing tradition of naming its hospital
after renowned soldier physicians, such as Walter Reed and Jonathan
Letterman. The decision to name the new center after "Ike"
was made because of his love for and close ties with the Augusta,
Georgia community. The President and Mrs. Eisenhower were frequent
visitors to this golf and garden capital of the Southeast, both during
and after his presidency. It was at Fort Gordon on 7 January 1961
that President Eisenhower made his farewell address to the Army. As
a tribute to their friend and frequent guest, the citizens of the
Augusta area raised $4,500 to have a memorial to President Eisenhower.
That memorial, a 7-ton black granite block engraved with excerpts
from Ike's farewell address, stood in the second floor lobby until
it was moved on 10 January 1999 to Freedom Park at Ft. Gordon.
to the medical complex included a $2.1M 36-chair dental care and research
facility which was dedicated in November 1974. A $2.6M housing unit,
Petrarca Hall, opened in 1975 to house more than 500 bachelor enlisted
men and women assigned to the medical center. In 1983 a $2.4M Area
Dental Lab was dedicated. Also in October 1983 a 30-bed Residential
Treatment Facility, mainly for active duty, but also for dependents
and retirees was developed to treat primary alcoholism and various
Army Medical Center is in close proximity to the Medical College of
Georgia and the Augusta VA Medical Center. The affiliation with these
two institutions has enhanced the training programs at both institutions
as well as valuable medical research. Now with the recent implementation
of TRICARE, Eisenhower Army Medical Center's mission is to continue
to provide quality Medicare care for all DOD beneficiaries within
the Southeastern United States.
K. TIPPENS, COL, MC