*Update:The transfer date of the wounded warriors has been changed to Saturday due to the hurricane alert
The Department of Defense is stating that about 200 outpatient wounded warriors at the soon-to-be closed Walter Reed Army Medical Center facility will be transferred this weekend to the nearby National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. According to DOD:
More than 100 inpatients will move from Walter Reed’s wards to Bethesda by ambulance Aug. 28, and the flag will be lowered for good at the 102-year-old Army hospital.
Also as part of the changes in military health care facilities in the national capital region mandated by the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005, some of Walter Reed’s functions, patients and staff are moving to the newly expanded DeWitt Army Community Hospital on Fort Belvoir, Va.
After the Army and Navy hospitals merge, the Bethesda campus will be renamed as Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Walter Reed’s era of caring for privates to presidents has spanned both world wars, the Korean conflict, Vietnam and the return of prisoners of war, and the decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. At a recent transition ceremony, military medical leaders reflected on Walter Reed’s history as the Army’s flagship of medicine.
The wounded warriors will be cheered on during the final transfer on Saturday from early morning (7 AM) throughout the day by the DC Chapter of FreeRepublic. The group has been known to stand outside the front gates of Walter Reed every Friday since 2005, regardless of harsh seasonal weather conditions or national holidays.
From the gates outside, the pro-military group has been been rallying the wounded troops inside with huge signs of support and loud cheers. It was not unusual to see the group often face off with liberal anti-war protesters who would stand on the opposite side of the road at the Walter Reed main entrance.