FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Soldiers and airmen, parents with children, military retirees, even a solitary Marine, were coming and going one afternoon last week at Fort Bragg's newest clinic.
The $20 million, 51,000-square-foot Troop and Family Medical Clinic opened Monday for patient care at 2864 Woodruff St.
"I think in today's fiscally constrained environment, we are very lucky to have such a phenomenal facility before us," Col. Steve J. Brewster, commander of Fort Bragg's Womack Army Medical Center, said at the ribbon-cutting on Feb. 1. "It's not the building, although the building is wonderful, it's going to be the people that work in it."
The two-story brick building is in the east end of the Main Post Historic District. Its exterior and roofline match the much older post laundry next door. The brick exterior also harmonizes with the the newly constructed Forces Command building, which is visible from the front door of the clinic.
The Air Force holds morning sick call at the clinic, and the Army offers same-day appointments. Children and adults get physicals, flu shots and follow-up exams for chronic medical conditions.
Upstairs, there's optometry and physical therapy. The clinic also has behavioral health, pharmacology, radiology and laboratory under one roof.
"As we expected, there were some hiccups along the way," said Maj. Erin Stibral, a physician assistant and officer in charge of the clinic. "One of our biggest things was our Internet connectivity."
All of the rooms have wireless Internet, she said.
"The providers can carry their laptops from room to room without having any lack of connectivity," Stibral said. "This way everyone has their laptop and can review records with the patient."
In one sense, the opening of the clinic puts the final touch on the changes brought about by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act, which made Pope Air Force Base part of Fort Bragg and brought Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters to Fort Bragg from Atlanta.
The clinic serves active-duty airmen who work at Pope Field, as well as soldiers who work in the Forces Command headquarter, which is within sight down Knox Street. Other organizations served by the clinic are the 18th Airborne Corps headquarters, Joint Special Operations Command and Security Operations Training Facility.
The Air Force's 43rd Medical Squadron serves the active-duty airmen who operate the Green Ramp, where Army soldiers and equipment are loaded onto Air Force airplanes.
"We take care of those who take care of them," said Col. Anita J. Winkler, the commander of the 43rd Medical Squadron, which takes care of active-duty airmen.
Air Force pilots require flight physicals and flight periodic visits, Winkler said.
"There are certain criteria that pilots and anyone that wears a flight suit has to have in order to remain flying," Winkler said.
Hearing booths were brought from the Pope Clinic for hearing tests, which are required annually for some special operations forces, she said.