CAMP PENDLETON , CA –
Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton celebrated 10 years of operation in their newest facility and location on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop.
Providing congratulatory comments at the ceremony were Rear Adm. Guido Valdes, director of Defense Health Network Pacific Rim; Navy Capt. Jenny Burkett, director of Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton; and retired Master Chief Petty Officer Kevin Burg, former Command Master Chief of Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.
Valdes’ comments were mainly directed at the Sailors and staff who work at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.
“I want to specifically recognize the men and women who work tirelessly every single day at this hospital to support and provide outstanding care to our Sailors, Marines and families,” Valdes said while addressing the Sailors in formation. “Be proud of what you do every day.”
Dozens of plank owners of the facility were in attendance and recognized during the ceremony. Plank owners are designated as those service members and civilian staff who were assigned to or employed by Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton at the time the new facility was dedicated.
Burkett recognized one of the plank owners individually with a command coin.
“Jason Obregon was one of the first people to set foot inside the building before the staff and the patients arrived and he continues to support us working here today,” she said.
The facility being celebrated is the third hospital to serve the population of Camp Pendleton.
The first hospital was placed in commission in September 1943 and was called Naval Hospital Santa Margarita Ranch. The second began operation in December 1974 and it remained in service until completion of the new facility. Both previous facilities were in the Lake O’Neill area of the base.
On March 19, 2009, construction of the new facility was approved in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The groundbreaking ceremony was conducted on Dec. 2, 2010, and construction was completed on Oct. 17, 2013.
According to a press release from Clark Construction from Oct. 24, 2013, the project was delivered six months ahead of schedule and more than $100 million under budget and was a joint venture between the design-build team of Clark Construction Group, LLC, and McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
The grand opening, dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Jan. 31, 2014.
Although Burg retired just a few short months before the grand opening, he was here through most of the construction phase. He addressed the staff about the importance of each member of the hospital team.
“As nice as this facility is and with the many memories many of us have of the old facility, it’s important to understand that this would just be a nice-looking building if it weren’t for all of you,” Burg said while addressing the hospital staff. “I know it sounds cliché, but it is the truth. You make this building a beacon of hope to everyone who drives by … knowing they will receive the best care as long as you work here,” he added.
Burkett’s comments included two key numbers: there have been more than 7.5 million patient encounters and more than 11,500 babies delivered in the hospital since it opened 10 years ago. She also spoke of history of Navy Medicine aboard Camp Pendleton and then looked to the future of continuing the mission.
“One thing that will not change is Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton has been and will continue to be a facility that focuses on providing ready, reliable care to our patients and beneficiaries and provides a ready medical force of trained, experienced medical professionals through our graduate medical and dental education programs and our day-to-day treatment of patients,” she said as she wrapped up her comments.