Story by Greg Mitchell, USNH Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka staff members gathered in ranks on Feb. 10 to recognize the 35th birthday of the facility which provides a comprehensive range of emergency outpatient and inpatient care services to approximately 43,000 active duty personnel and authorized beneficiaries in the area of responsibility.
Following honorary colors, Commander, USNH Yokosuka, Capt. Glen Crawford, spoke to those in attendance.
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming out for the 35th anniversary of what we affectionately call the core facility, the building behind me,” said Crawford. “As we celebrate this buildings birthday, I think about the first CO (commanding officer) who moved his crew into the building, Capt. J.E. Carr, on this day in 1981. Yet, I am also mindful of the fact that this is not the 35th anniversary of Naval Hospital Yokosuka; the command is actually in its 66th year, supporting our forward-deployed forces in the Indian Ocean and Diego Garcia, in Korea and throughout our clinics in Japan.”
UNSH Yokosuka currently stands on the grounds of the original hospital which was built in 1881 for the Japanese Navy. In 1923, an earthquake and fire destroyed those facilities but was then rebuilt in February 1931 as a medical center and training school.
World War II ended with American Occupational Forces in Japan, and the facility was used as a 250-bed hospital dispensary. On Sept. 11, 1950, at the beginning of the Korean War, the hospital was established.
After treatment of over 5,800 casualties from this conflict, the facility received its first Navy Unit Commendation award then received its second for efforts during the Vietnam War.
On October 5, 1973, USS Midway (CV 41) arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, marking the first forward-deployment of a complete carrier task group in a Japanese port. The carriers’ presence caused the base to revitalize and saw the start of the Overseas Family Residency Program. Due to the increased importance of the Middle East and Far East theatres, a new hospital facility, ‘building 1400’ – was built in 1980 and opened on February 10, 1981.
For Sailors in attendance, the event gave them the opportunity to view the hospital’s birthday from their own unique perspectives.
“Being part of USNH Yokosuka’s Birthday Celebration is not just about celebrating the opening of the current hospital doors 35 years ago, it’s about remember and giving thanks to all who have ever set foot in any Military hospital as a patient or caregiver,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Cory Brandon. “We celebrated in remembrance of those who were healed, honored those who didn’t make it home to their loved ones and thanking those who selflessly gave their all to heal the sick and injured. As a Navy Corpsman, we have a strong sense of history and heritage and take pride in our job and the lives we are entrusted.”
Crawford concluded his remarks.
“I think that the facility looks great because this building is lovingly cared for by a very skilled staff of military, civilian and Japanese Master Labor Contractors (MLC),” said Crawford. “But the hospital is having some work done. In the next couple of years, 10’s of millions of dollars are being invested updating the systems within the hospital as well as making the patient care areas more modern and comfortable. Because the patients we are so privileged to care for – the men and women of our armed forces, their families and others who support our nations presence here in the western Pacific deserve nothing less.”