Located in San Diego, CA, Camp Pendleton proclaims to be, “The West Coast’s Premier Expeditionary [Marines] Training Base.” Last Tuesday, May 9, they broke ground on a $12 million, 25,000 square foot facility that aims to make the Camp a premier brain injury research and treatment center, too. The funding needed to build the facility was raised through private donations and the funding of Arnold Fisher, a New York-based real estate tycoon. Fisher says that he sees helping the troops as his duty as an American.
Part of the Department of Defense organization National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), which is headquartered in Maryland, the Camp Pendleton facility will be the seventh of nine planned NICoE facilities focused on brain injury and the first on the West Coast. Presently, NICoE has erected facilities in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, is still under construction and facilities are still to be built in Fort Carson, Colorado and Fort Blass, Texas.
Beyond Marine training, the Camp defines part of its vision to be, “providing superior service and support.” Therefore, they also deal with the injuries that may come as a result of a brain injury or come in conjunction with it – specifically, physical and behavioral problems. In fact, Camp Pendleton has been training and supporting the troops for 75 years.
So far, NICoE facilities have about a 90% rate for patients to return to duty. Still, as Capt. Lisa Mulligan, commanding officer at the Camp Pendleton hospital, says, “Science as a whole remains in the infancy of its understanding of the potential for recovery after head injury. This center will combine the resources of clinical, research and educational specialists to broaden our horizons.”