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For the first time on July 29, 2011, all patients leaving Germany on medical evacuation flights bound for the Washington, D.C. area were brought to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Up until then, the patients' service branch and/or type of injury determined their destination - Bethesda or Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
In the coming weeks, the Walter Reed's 5000 staff members will be divided between Bethesda, which will be renamed the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the newly completed Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia.
About 150 Walter Reed inpatients and 350 of the hospital's 430 ambulatory patients will go to Bethesda in late August. The remainder will be sent to Fort Belvoir.
Walter Reed Army Medical Center will then shut down on September 15, 2011. The hospital first opened May 1, 1909.