Faithfully serve our military and civilian communities through health care excellence, readiness, and professional development.
The Medical Center of Choice.
To be the paramount military medical center for superior, family-centered care and to be a force for operational and academic readiness.
During World War II, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune leaders recognized the need for medical care to service a new group of warfighters and their families arriving at the base. The peninsula known as Hadnot Point was selected as the site for Naval Hospital New River at a construction cost of $7.5 million. On May 1, 1943, Naval Hospital New River was officially commissioned to care for patients. Staff assigned to the hospital in May 1943 consisted of 51 Officers, 90 Navy Nurses, 270 Navy Corpsmen and 150 Civilian employees. The hospital reached its highest patient load of 2,087 during WWII. Beds were placed in passageways and double-deck bunks were used extensively. During the Korean War, the peak census was about 1,865, including many Army patients suffering from frostbite injuries.
In 1944, United States Naval Hospital New River was renamed United States Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune. The facility would be renamed again in 1972 to Naval Regional Medical Center.
As Camp Lejeune continued to grow and the number of Marines returning from conflict increased, a more modern facility became a necessity. In 1975, construction was approved for a new location off Brewster Boulevard.
In a Mast Stepping ceremony on July 21, 1982, silver dollars were placed at the base of the new medical center's flag poles. The placing of the coins, honoring the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Surgeon General, is taken from an ancient Roman custom. The tradition of placing coins at the foot of a ship’s mast was said to ensure that the fare of all hands on board was paid for passage across the River Styx.
The new Medical Center was built on a 162-acre site on the Northeast Creek at a cost of $46 million. In contrast to the old hospital, the new medical center was a compact unit, consisting of a four-story clinical and support building, with bed capacity at 205, expandable to 236. The surgical suite consisted of 5 operating rooms, and the Obstetrical Suite had 5 labor rooms and 3 delivery rooms. The cost to equip the new medical center was $8,200,000.00. Remarkably the move-in was accomplished in only two days from February 12-13, 1983. The dedication ceremony was held on May 12, 1983; the name changed once more back to Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune. The bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in October 1983 was the first test of the new hospital’s ability to respond to such an emergency. More than 50 wounded Marines were received at NHCL over the ensuing weeks.
When Iraq invaded the tiny Arab kingdom of Kuwait in August 1990, the NHCL was once again called upon to respond. Two hundred and forty-eight personnel from the hospital were deployed in support of “Operation Desert Storm.” Reporting onboard to backfill and assist with casualty support were 412 Naval Reservists. The hospital received close to 400 Marines and Sailors evacuated from the Southwest Asia theater of operations.
Life at NHCL was forever changed on September 11, 2001, with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In January 2002, Naval Hospital deployed 150 Doctors, Nurses and Corpsmen as Fleet Hospital 20, Joint Task Force 160 to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to establish medical facilities for detainees from the developing war on Iraq and a Global War on Terrorism. The hospital saw more and more deployments in support of “Operation Enduring Freedom“ and “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” In January 2005, NHCL became the primary casualty receiving facility when II MEF became the predominant force in theater in continuing OIF, receiving about 30 casualties of war, a month. The hospital has deployed staff in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Cuba, and the Horn of Africa.
In an effort to continue care for the unique group of beneficiaries, a major two-part expansion and renovation project began with a groundbreaking December 2011. Construction expanded the hospital by 109,000 square feet and renovated another 170,000 square feet. During the first phase, the additions created wings housing Family Medicine, Immunizations, Physical Therapy and more. The renovations included the acquisition of a new in-house MRI machine. The Emergency Department expanded their capabilities to include new Urgent Care services. The second phase of the project made improvements to General Surgery, Pain Management, Mental Health Services, Pediatrics, and Ancillary Medicine. That same year, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune welcomed the opening of the Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center.
On May 31, 2017, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune announced its desire to pursue expanding trauma services to all patients of Eastern Carolina including civilians. Shortly after the announcement to further the services provided to the community through trauma, the facility was designated as Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune making it the first medical center aboard a Marine Corps installation and the fourth medical center in the Navy.
In December 2017, Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune became verified as a Level III Trauma Center following an on-site visit from American College of Surgeons representatives who found zero discrepancies in trauma processes and procedures In July 2018, the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services reviewed the trauma program and found no discrepancies. In January 2019, NMCCL commemorated the official opening of its Level III Trauma Center following verification by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and designation through the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services. The NMCCL Trauma Center is the first Level III Trauma Center in the Navy to treat civilian patients; it is also the only Trauma Center aboard a Marine Corps installation.
Over time, Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune has responded to various humanitarian missions to include relief for Hurricane Katrina and relief for victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Other humanitarian efforts include civil assistance and environmental sustainability missions to several nations in Central and South America. Most recently, NMCCL supported hospital ships USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort to provide medical assistance across the globe.
In 2020, NMCCL health care workers have been at the frontlines of serving the military community during the coronavirus pandemic. Together, the employees of NMCCL established COVID-19 screenings sites for active duty, beneficiaries, and Department of Defense civilian employees. Medical teams transformed the Intensive Care Unit into a COVID Care Unit as well as transitioned the NH-200 Clinic Annex into an Acute Respiratory Clinic (ARC) to serve not only possible COVID-19 patients but any patients with respiratory ailments. NMCCL has additionally supported medical personnel with MCB Camp Lejeune, II MEF, MARSOC, and MCAS New River, advising Marine Corps leadership on best preventive measurements. NMCCL personnel embarked on the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy hospital ships to provide care to local hospitals overwhelmed in New York City and Los Angeles respectively. Since December 2020, NMCCL has administered thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
NMCCL and Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point were established together as the Coastal North Carolina Market under the Defense Health Agency during a ceremony on August 25, 2021. The medical market serves a population of approximately 170,000 eligible beneficiaries. The Coastal North Carolina Market collaborates to support the sharing of patients, staff, functions, and more.
NMCCL continues to make strides in the pursuit of professional development. Since its establishment in 2003, the Family Medicine Residency Program has graduated 125 Family Medicine residents, 143 interns, and six obstetrics fellows. In 2022, NMCCL graduated the inaugural class of physical assistants through the Interservice Physician Assistant Program. NMCCL will welcome the first iteration of Sports Medicine fellows next year.
Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune celebrates nearly 80 years of dedicated, passionate care for warfighters and beneficiaries. Today, the proud staff of NMCCL consists of nearly 3,000 active duty service members, civilian and contract personnel.