Old Bassett ACH

2007 Ribbon Cutting

Bassett ACH

About Us


CPT John W. Bassett

In June 1942, a Japanese offensive attack captured Attu, a small remote island on the western tip of the Aleutian chain.  Nearly a year later, on a cloudy, wind-swept day May 11 dawned and Americans launched a campaign to recapture Attu. 
U.S. infantrymen dug in 28 May, feeling confident the following day would see an end of the Japanese occupation of American soil.  The American assault on the island had been very successful, and only 800 Japanese troops remained, trapping all of them in a canyon.
The American forces were surprised however, when on the morning of May 29, the enemy troops launched a final, suicide drive.  The Japanese soldiers successfully overran the advanced aid station commanded by CPT John Winfield Bassett. 
The Japanese stormed through the aid station, ruthlessly slaughtering wounded soldiers by using bayonets to conserve bullets.  Despite efforts to organize the medics and walking wounded into a makeshift army, CPT Bassett was shot and killed by the small surging Japanese force. 
The U.S. Army immediately recognized CPT Bassett’s act of heroism, and he posthumously awarded him the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for heroism in the face of the enemy. 
On April 11, 1963, Bassett Army Community Hospital was dedicated in his memory.

Our History

Bassett Army Community Hospital, the only Army hospital in Alaska, is located at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska adjacent to the city of Fairbanks in interior Alaska, 120 miles south of the Arctic Circle. 

The installation originated as Ladd Army Air Base in 1940 and served during WWII as the primary transfer point for aircraft under the land-lease program with the Soviet Union.  With the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate service in 1947, the installation became Ladd Air Force Base.
In July 1951, the USAF began construction of the old hospital.  The five-story facility had 135,000 square feet and cost $9.5 million. The hospital was dedicated in November 1953 as the 5060th USAF Hospital.
The Air Force transferred Ladd Air Force Base to the Department of the Army in January 1961. At this time, the installation was renamed in honor of General Jonathan M. Wainwright, the “Hero of Bataan”.  In July 1962, the transition of Air Force activities led to the change of the hospital to US Army Hospital, Fort Wainwright.  The hospital was designated a Class I medical activity under the command jurisdiction of US Army Medical Activity, Alaska.
10 April 1963, the hospital was rededicated as Bassett Army Community Hospital in honor of Captain John Winfield Bassett, Medical Corps (1913-1943). 
1 July 1974, Bassett ACH came under the command of the newly formed US Army Health Services Command and on 1 July 1975 became the location of Headquarters, US Army Medical Department Activity – Alaska, directing all Army health services in Alaska.
The original Bassett ACH facility remained the center of military healthcare for interior Alaska for over 44 years until 30 May 2007 when a newly constructed Bassett Army Community Hospital facility was dedicated.  At this ceremony, the Army Surgeon General and all 3 of Alaska’s U.S. Congressional Delegation were on hand to celebrate this monumental event.  

Unit Insignia

Background: The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the Bassett Army Hospital on 29 Oct 1969. It was redesignated for the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity - Alaska on 7 Jan 1976.Distinctive Unit Insignia

Symbolism: The Big Dipper is a symbol of the State of Alaska where the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity - Alaska is located. The seven stars also refer to Captain John W, Bassett's service with the 7th Medical Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division after whom an element of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity - Alaska was named. The stylized mountain peaks allude to the Aleutian Islands of the Alaskan Range and especially Attu Island where Captain Bassett was killed in action during World War II. The six mountain peaks symbolize the Pythagorean number for life and good fortune and also the number of divisions of the body, two arms, two legs, the head and the torso. The scarlet cross is a symbol used by medical units.

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