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New Fort Bragg Medical Facility Receives Official Dedication

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FORT BRAGG — The new Womack Army Medical Center on Fort Bragg was dedicated on Thursday after seven years of planning.

Lt. Gen. William Kernan, Fort Bragg commander, says a new Womack with expanded services can only help soldier readiness.

"Our business is about taking care of people who are properly trained, properly equipped, properly led and properly cared for," Kernan says. "Those kind of soldiers will always succeed on the battlefield."

A robotic pharmacy and other high-tech equipment fill the hospital, but it is what patients see when they first walk in that may make the strongest impression.

The new Womack Army Medical Center will not have plain white walls. Instead, the new medical facility will put patients and visitors in the patriotic spirit with its murals.

Artist Bob Jenny has painted murals in five other military hospitals. He painted 25 murals in waiting areas and hallways at Womack in an effort to turn a sterile hospital into a friendlier one.

"Even though I'm showing a battle scene, I'm not showing anything that leads to blood or suffering," Jenny says. "I'm just trying to make you feel at ease."

Pictures depicting each war take patients back in time, and paintings of nature helps them to look ahead.

As the new Womack opens for business, leaders say the murals will remind everyone of the hospital's changing mission. Decades ago, Womack treated mostly active duty soldiers. Today, soldiers, families and retirees come to Womack Army Medical Center for medical treatment.

"It's just a change in mind-set on how care is delivered now as opposed to what it was 40 years ago when the old Womack was built," says Graydon Krapohl, Transition Coordinator for Womack Army Medical Center.

The new $400 million medical center is twice as large as the old facility. It will be open Friday for the public to tour.

Medical care will begin March 18, when patients are transferred from the old hospital to the new one.