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Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Renamed to Honor Army Doctor

Image of Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Renamed to Honor Army Doctor. Defense Health Agency renames Fort Belvoir Community Hospital to honor historic leader and highest-ranking black officer in the Union Army.

The Defense Health Agency conducted a renaming ceremony at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital on May 16, 2023, officially changing the name to the Alexander T. Augusta Military Medical Center. The new name honors U.S. Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Alexander Thomas Augusta, the highest-ranking black officer in the Union Army, the first black professor of medicine at Howard University in Washington D.C., and the first black officer to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Senior military health officials attended the ceremony, including DHA Director U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Telita Crosland; U.S. Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Tanya Y. Johnson, senior enlisted leader of DHA; U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Anne Swap, director of the National Capital Region market; and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mary Krueger, commanding general of Medical Readiness Command East and chief of the United States Army Medical Corps.

Alexander T. Augusta Military Medical CenterU.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Dedraf Blash, senior enlisted leader of the Alexander T. Augusta Military Medical Center, unveils the new colors of the newly dedicated medical center at Fort Belvoir on May 16.

At the event, the medical center’s director, U.S. Army Col. Kathleen Spangler, noted the significant contributions of the leader whose name the hospital now bears. She also shared the challenges he faced during his robust career.

“Dr. Augusta offered his services in a letter to President Abraham Lincoln as a surgeon in the U.S. military. But Augusta was initially rejected due to his race. Nevertheless, he traveled to Washington D.C. to plead his case and was finally accepted,” she said.

“During his extraordinary career, Augusta became America's first black hospital administrator, and the man responsible for the desegregation of train cars in Washington D.C. Later in life, [he] served as the head of the Lincoln Hospital in Savannah, Georgia. Then he would be attending surgeon to a smallpox hospital in Washington in 1870.”

Crosland recognized the historic name change as a reflection of core military values.

“Today is about more than changing the unit’s colors and installing a new sign on the building. It is an opportunity for us to honor the heroism and sacrifices of a native Virginian and a true American soldier and pioneer.”

“It is also a reminder that we owe our nation’s military might to the diversity of our ranks, ensuring every member of our Joint Force is treated with dignity and respect. I am grateful that the name Alexander T. Augusta Military Medical Center will fully reflect our history and values.”

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Dedraf Blash, the senior enlisted leader of ATAMMC, closed the ceremony by unveiling the center’s new colors.

As the only military medical center in northern Virginia, the Level III trauma center is an integral part of the Military Health System. The evidence-based designed center is a joint-service facility that is part of the National Capital Region Market’s integrated network of care providing world-class medical health care to the beneficiaries in the National Capitol Region. The center delivers safe, quality, and compassionate care through a culture of excellence, and patient- and family-centered care.

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