Construction of the training base began in April 1942. A month later, President Roosevelt named the base after Civil War hero and the U S Navy's first Admiral, David G Farragut. The base hospital, initially intended to care for recruits undergoing training, was commissioned 15 January 1943. Original construction provided for 44 wards of 46 beds (2024 patients) and several service buildings. Fourteen more wards and civilian care facilities came on line in the autumn of 1944. Late in the war, as training activity cut back, the hospital absorbed 1600 more beds in nearby Camp Bennion (previously a part of the Naval Training Center) to accommodate convalescents and neuropsychiatric patients transferred from other naval hospitals.
From the outset, the hospital had an active surgical service. Up though the first half of 1944, 400 beds accommodated recruits receiving hernia repair, pilonidal cyst excision surgery, removals of sites of infection and similar relatively minor operations. Starting in the latter half of 1944, surgical bed capacity expanded to over one thousand, and the patients were almost exclusively servicemen wounded or injured in theaters of war. One ward was dedicated exclusively to patients suffering from severe chest wounds. In all, surgeons at Farragut performed more than 10,800 separate operative procedures from opening until a month after VJ Day.
The medical service of the hospital demonstrated a similar shift from acute infections (pneumonias, streptococcal infections, measles and mumps) among recruits until mid 1944, when the patient population gradually changed to consist mostly of chronic cardiac, lung, neurological and other diseases. The hospital commander remarked that the death rate from pneumonia was markedly less that expected, especially after the introduction of sulfa and penicillin therapy.
Hospital authorities established a Hospital Corps School at Farragut. Initially commanded by the hospital commander, Captain Harry S Harding, Medical Corps, USN, it stood up on 4 January 1943. More than more than 17,000 Corpsmen passed through its portals before its 31 October 1945 decommissioning.
Both the Naval Training Station and the Hospital were decommissioned on 15 June 1946. In October, the Farragut College and Technical Institute opened its doors and utilized most of the Training Station's buildings. This educational enterprise mainly served veterans learning new civilian skills. By 1949, these educational needs had been met, and the facility closed in May, leaving the structures once more empty. Today, Farragut State Park occupies most of the Training Station property and only a handful of the original 667 buildings still stand. Among these is the Training Station brig, which serves as a small museum.
Other Memories It was in this battle that I was burned over 85% of my body. We ruptured a 600 PSI 490 Deg. Steam line in the forward engine room. That was my duty and battle station. I happened to be in the lower level helping with feed pump problems and therefore had to come up two levels through live steam to make it to the main deck. I was picked up by an un-known ship and transferred to the USS Solace, a Navy hospital ship. The next 4+ months were spent in naval hospitals for the burns I received. I was initially at Tinian Island Tent-city hospital in the Mariana Islands. From there it was onto the receiving hospital, San Francisco for further transfer to Cour D�??Alene, Idaho at the Farragut Naval hospital. In mid-August I was sent to Sun Valley, Idaho Naval Convalescent Hospital to recuperate. I was discharged 5 Nov. 1945 from the Fargo Barracks, Boston, MA to my home in Cranston, RI.