Naval Hospital Pensacola Editorial by Ralph Williams
The Naval hospital is 5 miles north of Naval Air Station Pensacola and directly south of IWTC Corry Station. It is located a short distance from the Alabama-Florida border and a 15-minute ride east to the City of Pensacola. It lies a short 25-minute drive south from highway I-10. West along I-10, lie the cities of Mobile, Alabama; Biloxi, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana. With its close location to NAS Pensacola and the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida, the base and the attractions nearby make this a great place to be stationed at and a great asset to the active and retired military community in the area.
Naval Hospital Pensacola began its service in January 1826. Navy Surgeon Isaac Hulse was assigned to be the first surgeon and officer in charge, establishing a hospital at the Pensacola Navy Yard in support of the West Indies Squadron. The hospital started with humble origins, Dr. Hulse renting a 2-story house as a temporary medical facility for $30 a month. In 1834 the first hospital was completed and its base compound walls still exist. The first hospital, completed at a cost of nearly $12,000 was located about three-quarters of a mile from the Navy Yard on a 30-foot bluff. The tall 14-foot high brick wall was built around the hospital compound in 1835 for security and in the thought at the time that it would help prevent mosquitoes from spreading yellow fever because they could not fly to such a height.
Other signs of Navy medicine’s past around current-day NAS Pensacola including Building 16, refurbished as the second Naval Hospital. It is among the sites on the base's tour and also believed to 'haunted.' Currently, the headquarters of the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), Building 628, was Naval Hospital No. 5. It was originally dedicated Feb. 15 1941 and served as the main hospital until 1978.
The sixth Naval Hospital building was the first to be built outside of NAS Pensacola. It was commissioned in 1978 and continues its mission of providing health care to America’s heroes and their families throughout the Gulf Coast region. In 2001, the newest addition to the Naval Hospital was added: A 2-story, 73,000 square foot Outpatient Clinic. Other clinics include Family Medicine; Pharmacy; Pediatrics; Ears, Nose and Throat; Dermatology; Ophthalmology; Audiology and Immunizations; and the Medical Records department.
I have visited the NAS Pensacola base and Pensacola, Florida, area. It is a great destination for a family trip. The nearby NAS base and its impressive Naval Aviation museum (which are both open to the public), along with numerous attractions and federal parks close by, such as the preserved Pensacola lighthouse and an abundance of historic forts make this a fantastic vacation destination or place to live. Add to this the beautiful beaches and you have the makings for a great Florida vacation.
Facilities and Quality of Life
The hospital base is part of the larger NAS Pensacola Navy complex and therefore shares the same facilities such as the commissary, exchange, and MWR recreational facilities. The commissary and exchange for instance are located right next to the hospital base. NAS Pensacola has many historic buildings remaining from the 1800s along with newer facilities built over the base’s history. These include such amenities as three 18-hole golf courses, a marina with rental craft, many hiking trails, picnic areas, a large paintball area, and an updated bowling alley.
The surrounding area of Pensacola includes some outstanding “sugar white” beaches on the calm Gulf of Mexico, teaming with wildlife such as aquatic birds and sea life. If you spend time at the beach you will probably see dolphins swimming closely offshore. Nearby NAS Pensacola was named one of the best places to serve at according to an article listed at the Navy Times of the Top 5 naval bases.
One of the many highlights of visiting the NH Pensacola area is staying on the nearby NAS base. The Navy Lodge on base is modern and has a touch of luxury. It is located next to the beach and is in a great location. For campers there are 158 RV spots with water and electrical hookups listed on the MWR website at one park alone with cottages and other camping sites available elsewhere on the base.
Military Displays and Shows
NAS Pensacola is the home to naval aviation and as such is proud to share its story with the public. This base is open to the general public, something that has become increasingly diminished with heightened security. The massive National Naval Aviation Museum has dozens of vintage aircraft from all phases of the base’s life to the present day. The displays are incredibly well kept and include many interactive displays. When not on tour, the world-famous Navy’s Blue Angels are based at NAS Pensacola and practice regularly. Its practice sessions are open to the public with an online schedule posted here.
NH Pensacola and the city of Pensacola are in the Emerald Coast area of Florida. This area is noted for its tranquil white beaches and is a vacation destination for travelers around the world. The area is close to many major cities, yet maintains a relaxing beach feel to it. Many events are hosted in the area including food festivals and events centering around the large military community with the Blue Angels doing a beach or homecoming show on base. Located in a pristine region of Florida, NH Pensacola is a great place to be stationed at or live nearby.