Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Naval Regional Medical Center, Oakland
(Naval Hospital, Oak Knoll; Naval Hospital Oakland)
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.
Naval Hospital Oakland History
By Justin M. Ruhge, Goleta Valley Historical Society
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 zones.
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 dependents.
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.
Naval Regional Medical Center, circa 1970s
Other Online Histories
Extract, US Navy and Marine Corps Installations - Domestic (1985)
San Francisco Chronicle Article
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Updated 8 February 2016