Brooke Army Medical Center

By: Nolan A. Watson

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 28, 2020

Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, is one of the United States Military Health System’s premier medical facilities employing approximately 8,500 active duty, federal civilian, and contract health care professionals who care for more than 4,000 patients each day. BAMC provides primary, secondary, and tertiary health care to its eligible population in a 425-bed facility, including forty beds reserved for the internationally-renowned U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR) Burn Center. In addition to its main inpatient facility, BAMC includes six outpatient clinics: CPT Jennifer M. Moreno Primary Care Clinic; McWethy Troop Medical Clinic; Taylor Burk Clinic; the Schertz Medical Home; the Westover Hills Medical Home; and the Corpus Christi Occupational Health Clinic. BAMC also conducts significant postgraduate medical education, medical training, and medical research programs.

From 1845 when the first U. S. Army units arrived in San Antonio until 1886 when the first permanent hospital was constructed on Fort Sam Houston, Army medical officers operated out of temporary facilities and buildings appropriated for the Army’s use. The first permanent hospital was a twelve-bed facility to which wings were added in 1890 and 1900. The 1886 hospital was used until it was replaced in 1908 and in the 2010s served as Distinguished Visitors Quarters. The 1908 hospital was designated a station hospital, reflecting Fort Sam Houston’s growth to, at that time, the largest Army post in the country. Initially constructed with an eighty-four-bed capacity, it was expanded in 1910 to 152 beds by the addition of two wings.

In 1937 the first hospital that would carry the name Brooke opened as the post’s new station hospital, replacing the 1908 hospital. After the onset of World War II, the hospital was given additional capability and redesignated as a general hospital. In 1942 the hospital was renamed Brooke General Hospital for recently deceased Brig. Gen. Roger Brooke who had commanded the Fort Sam Houston Station Hospital between 1929 and 1933. The hospital continued to expand during the war and reached a maximum bed capacity of 7,800 beds in 1945. In 1946 Fort Sam Houston became the ‘home of Army Medicine’ with the relocation of the Medical Field Service School, U.S. Army Surgical Research Unit, and other Medical Department organizations to Fort Sam Houston. Brooke was redesignated again as Brooke Army Medical Center and over the ensuing years continued to thrive and grow. By 1987, as the hospital approached its fiftieth anniversary, BAMC had expanded to occupy all or part of fifty-nine separate buildings on Fort Sam Houston. The time had come to construct a new hospital.

‘New BAMC’ received its first patients in 1996. Since 2001 BAMC’s inpatient facility has cared for casualties returning from the battlefields of the global war on terror, serving as the sole verified Level I trauma center within the Department of Defense. Since 2007 the Center for the Intrepid on the BAMC main campus has provided long-term rehabilitation and recovery care for some of our nation’s most severely wounded warriors and has been responsible for advances in amputee care, prosthetics integration, and functional restoration for patients undergoing limb salvage. Since 2011 BAMC has been a mission partner with the 59th Medical Wing forming the San Antonio Military Health System.

"BAMC Facts," U.S. Army Medical Department Brooke Army Medical Center, March 23, 2017 (, accessed November 22, 2017. John M. Manguso, Hospitals at Fort Sam Houston (Fort Sam Houston: Fort Sam Houston Museum, 2006). “San Antonio Military Health System,”   (, accessed November 22, 2017.  

  • Health and Medicine
  • Veterans' Hospitals, Military Hospitals, and Centers
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • San Antonio
  • Central Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Nolan A. Watson, “Brooke Army Medical Center,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

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July 28, 2020

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