Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Naval Regional Medical Center,
(Naval Hospital, Oak Knoll; Naval
Naval Hospital, Oak
Knoll circa 1946.
This Navy Hospital began in 1942 as a
temporary hospital to handle battle casualties returning from
the Pacific. At first it consisted of 25 wooden barracks built
on the site of the Oak Knoll Golf Course. Expansions were made
during and after the war and the hospital evolved into a modern
regional hospital handling naval personnel needing specialized
care from a 10,000 square mile area of California and Nevada.
Naval Regional Medical Center, Oakland was closed in 1996.
By Justin M. Ruhge, Goleta Valley Historical
Naval Hospital Oakland was commissioned
on July 1, 1942 on the site of the former Oak Knoll Golf and
Country Club near Oakland. There were twenty-five barracks-type
redwood buildings that formed the nucleus of the sprawling "temporary"
hospital the Navy built to receive the thousands of World War
II casualties that were to be brought back from Pacific battle
Construction kept pace with developments
in the Pacific, and in 1945, at the climax of the war, the hospital
was caring for more than 6,000 patients with a military and civilian
staff of 3,000. Contractors brought the total number of buildings
on the 220-acre compound to 135 including a chapel, Navy exchange,
library, and a few sets of living quarters for staff.
With demobilization, both the activity
and the population declined only to rise again during the Korean
conflict, when the daily patient census averaged 2,500. This
figure fell to a peacetime level of about 600, but with influx
of Vietnam casualties beginning in 1965, the tempo of life at
Oak Knolls increased again, both in patient-care requirements
and in morale-building activities.
On December 7, 1965 ground was broken
for a new sorely needed permanent hospital, and by mid-1968 the
new facility was completed and received its first patients. From
this 597-bed, fully equipped and staffed modern hospital center,
its satellite naval hospital at Lemoore, and its numerous branch
clinics, health care was provided throughout the region to nearly
200,000 active duty and retired military personnel and their
On January 1, 1973 Naval Hospital Oakland
was consolidated into the existing Naval Regional Medical Center
Oakland. The regional concept provided medical service at branch
clinics easily assessable to the patients.