Walter Reed General Hospital opened its doors on May 1, 1909. World War I saw the hospital’s capacity grow from 80 patient beds to 2,500 in a matter of months. Through World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, the facility treated hundreds of thousands of injured American soldiers. The facility, originally built in Washington, D.C., moved out of the city and merged with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda in 2011. It was then rechristened the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Today, Walter Reed’s 7,100 staff members provide medical services in over 100 clinics and specialties. Walter Reed medical staff also deploy with service members around the globe. In 2003, more than 1,000 of Walter Reed’s medical staff members deployed on the USNS COMFORT serving in the Persian Gulf during OIF/OEF. They performed more than 500 surgical procedures in less than four weeks. Since then, NNMC has treated 1,539 service members, contract civilians and media personnel wounded in Operations Iraqi Freedom-Enduring Freedom.
Over the years, Walter Reed has served and cared for every president of the United States, members of Congress and the Supreme Court, and other leaders. In 1977, the original Naval Medical Center tower was designated a historical landmark and entered into the Registry of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Presidents and vice presidents, however, are not put into the same rooms as other patients. They are placed in the Medical Evaluation and Treatment Unit, a private suite that is outfitted to allow them to continue their officials duties in a secure location, according to Connecting Vets.