Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) is the component command over the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) and other U.S. Army medical treatment facilities in the San Antonio area. SAMMC is the largest medical center in the Department of Defense.
Other medical facilities under BAMC’s command include the Center for the Intrepid, Fort Sam Houston Primary Care Clinic, McWethy Troop Medical Clinic, Taylor Burk Clinic at Camp Bullis, Schertz Medical Home and Corpus Christi Occupational Health Clinic.
BAMC has a history which dates back to 1879 when the first Post Hospital opened as a small medical dispensary located in a single-story wooden building. During the early years the Post Hospital was in temporary structures, and it was not until 1886 that the first permanent hospital was built. In 1908 an 84-bed Station Hospital was constructed on the west side of the post.
In 1929, Brig. Gen. Roger Brooke assumed command of the Station Hospital, a position he held until 1933. Brooke is credited with instituting the first routine chest X-ray in military medicine. In July 1936, the cornerstone was laid for the construction of a replacement Station Hospital. By November 1938, the new 418-bed hospital was operational, having cost $3 million dollars. The new hospital was the first in a series of moves which changed Fort Sam Houston from an Infantry to a Medical Post.
In 1941, BAMC prepared for an overwhelming flow of casualties from World War II battlefields by converting a 220-person enlisted barracks into additional patient wards. This facility provided care to wounded Soldiers and would later become BAMC Headquarters. In 1942, the Station Hospital was renamed Brooke General Hospital in Brooke’s honor. In 1944, BAMC converted a Cavalry Battalion barracks into a convalescent unit to accommodate the flow of casualties from the war. This building later became Beach Pavilion which housed a substantial portion of BAMC assets to include patient wards and specialty clinics.
In 1946, Fort Sam Houston was chosen as the new site for the U.S. Army Medical Field Service School. The decision to centralize the Army’s medical research and training at one location resulted in the re-naming of Brooke General Hospital to Brooke Army Medical Center.
In September 1987, the official groundbreaking took place for the construction of a new hospital.
On July 18, 1995, ownership of the replacement hospital was given to the BAMC commander by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, during the key turnover ceremony.
On March 14, 1996, the new facility was officially dedicated and on April 13, BAMC opened for business with the transfer of inpatients from the “old” BAMC to the “new” BAMC.
On Dec. 8, 2008, a groundbreaking was held to recognize the commencement of 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) construction and renovation of BAMC to build the 760,000-square-foot consolidated tower, 1,800,000-square-foot parking garage, and 22,400-square-foot central Energy Plant and renovate approximately 288,000 square feet of the existing BAMC facility.
On Sept. 15, 2011, the two largest military medical facilities in San Antonio underwent historic name changes, marking the start of a new era in San Antonio military medicine. The San Antonio inpatient mission was moved to BAMC and the name was changed to San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC). At the same time, Wilford Hall Medical Center was redesignated Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (WHASC).
Also on Sept. 15, 2011, the San Antonio Military Health System began operations. The new organization provides oversight to BAMC and WHASC and will have rotating Air Force and Army general officers as director and deputy director.