U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of the Surgeon General
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Bassett Army Community Hospital History

Quick Reference Guide

Bassett Army Community Hospital (the only Army hospital in Alaska) is located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.  Fort Wainwright is adjacent to the City of Fairbanks in interior Alaska, some 120 miles south of the Arctic Circle.  The installation originated as Ladd Army Air Base in 1940 and served during WWII as the primary transfer point for aircraft under the land-lease program with the Soviet Union.  With the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate service in 1947, the installation became Ladd Air Force Base.

     In July 1951, the USAF began construction of the old hospital.  The five-story facility had 135,000 square feet as was built at a cost of approximately $9.5 million – far more than the original $7.2 million purchase price of Alaska.  The hospital was dedicated in November 1953 as the 5060th USAF Hospital.

     The Air Force transferred Ladd Air Force Base to the Department of the Army in January 1961 and the installation was renamed in honor of General Jonathan M. Wainwright, the “Hero of Bataan”.  It was not until July 1962, that the transition of Air Force activities led to the conversion of the hospital to US Army Hospital, Fort Wainwright.  The hospital was designated a Class I medical activity under the command jurisdiction of US Army Medical Activity, Alaska.

     On 10 April 1963, the hospital was rededicated as Bassett Army Hospital in honor of Captain John Winfield Bassett, Medical Corps (1913-1943).  Educated at the University of Southern California, where he received his Doctor of Medicine degree; he entered service in January 1941 as Platoon Leader, Clearing Company, 7th Medical Battalion, 7th Division at Fort Ord, California. 

     It was during the Aleutian Campaign that Captain Bassett became Commanding Officer, Company D, 7th Medical Battalion.  During the early hours of 29 May 1943, more than 1,000 Japanese defenders of Attu Island her in Alaska launched a last-ditch suicidal counterattack against Task Force 51.4, of which the 7th Medical Battalion was a part.  Pushing into the Sarana Valley, the enemy overran the advance posts of the 7th Medical Battalion and without any warning attacked the scarcely awaken casualties and medical personnel of Company D.  Those in sleeping bags were completely helpless and were killed on the spot.  It was during this encounter that Captain John W. Bassett was shot and killed while attempting to organize a defense of his patients.

     On 1 July 1974, Bassett Army Hospital came under the command of the newly formed US Army Health Services Command and on 1 July 1975 became the location of Headquarters, US Army Medical Department Activity – Alaska, directing all Army health services in Alaska.

     The original Bassett Army Community Hospital facility remained the center of military healthcare for interior Alaska for over 44 years until 30 May 2006 when a newly constructed Bassett Army Community Hospital facility was dedicated.  At this ceremony, the Army Surgeon General and all 3 of Alaska’s U.S. Congressional Delegation were on hand to celebrate this monumental event.  This new state-of-the-art facility contains just over 259,500 square feet of clinical and administrative space and had a total programmed construction cost of $225 million.


 Quick Phone List
  Central Appointments - 361-4000
  Behavioral Health - 361-6059
  Child Day Care - 361-5612
  Dental Clinic - 361-5135
  * EENT - 361-5212
  EFMP - 361-5825 / 5959
  Immunizations - 361-5456
  Inclement Weather - 361-2123
  Internal Medicine - 361-4000
  * OB/GYN - 361-4000 x4
  * Ortho/Podiatry - 361-5198
  Pediatrics - 361-4000 x32
  * Surgery - 361-5163
 Benefits Advisor - 361-5656
 Emergency Room - 361-5144
 Information Desk - 361-5172
  Toll Free - (800) 478-5172
 Laboratory - 361-5377
 Occupational Health - 361-5182
 Optometry - 361-4000 x1
 Patient Advocate - 361-5291
 Pharmacy Refills - 361-5803
 * Physical Therapy - 361-5237
 * Radiology - 361-5117
 Social Work Services - 361-6284
 TRICARE - 1-888-874-9378
 VA-Clinic - 361-6370

 * Referral Required for Appointment


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Fort Wainwright Alaska Post
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