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Belvoir Hospital Shows U.S. Loves Troops, Stanley Says

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

FORT BELVOIR, Va., Oct. 28, 2011 – The military’s new state-of-the-art community hospital here is a testament to the love Americans feel for service members and their families, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness said today.

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Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, speaks during the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Fort Belvoir, Va., Oct. 28, 2011. Stanley was the keynote speaker during the event, which celebrated the official opening of the new $1 billion world-class hospital. DOD photo by Marc Barnes

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“We’re in a nation now that cares deeply about people in uniform,” Clifford L. Stanley told hundreds of people who gathered here for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, which opened last month.

Stanley spoke to a crowd of dignitaries, hospital workers, service members and civilians who gathered outside the hospital on a crisp, fall morning. The Army’s Golden Knights parachute team jumped into a cloudless, blue sky and the Navy Band and Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps played as part of the celebration of the hospital’s opening, part of a five-year base realignment and closure effort.

The occasion, Stanley said, held both professional and personal meaning to him. The staff at Dewitt Army Community Hospital once saved the life of his wife, a paraplegic who had developed sepsis, he explained. Also, Stanley grew up visiting the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where his mother was a nurse practitioner, and his daughter is a Navy nurse at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

The nation has been “so fortunate and blessed” to have the kind of modern medicine and technology showcased at the new Belvoir hospital that allows people to live longer and better with their injuries, the undersecretary said.

Army Col. Susan Annicelli, commander of the new hospital, said the staff of more than 3,000 underwent a “herculean effort” amid a hurricane, earthquake and floods in the late summer and early fall to move out of DeWitt Army Community Hospital here and into the new facility, which is triple the size of the old hospital.

Navy Adm. John M. Mateczun, commander of Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical, said the hospital offers 25 new medical specialties from the old hospital, is environmentally friendly, and gives patients more control. Patients may control lighting and temperatures in their rooms, and will be notified of each professional’s name and occupation as they enter the room, he said.

“This is America’s newest, most extraordinary, most technically advanced facility, and we’re glad to have it in the military health system,” Mateczun said.


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Clifford L. Stanley

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA moving truck backs up to the loading dock at the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital on Fort Belvoir, Va., as movers unload items in preparation for the hospital's first patient day. Thousands of staff members from DeWitt Army Community Hospital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., transferred to the new hospital Aug. 31, 2011. DOD photo by Marc Barnes  
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