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New Walter Reed Opens: The new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center officially opened in Bethesda, Md., last Friday. The hospital merges the now closed Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, as mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. "This place performs miracles, it saves lives," said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who presided over the opening ceremony, Nov. 10. "And, it renews life for the future." The hospital, which boasts the latest equipment and facilities, is expected to service one million patients, ranging from those wounded in Afghanistan to military retirees. "If our military can be judged on how well we fight our nation's wars, then our national character can be judged by how well we treat those who fight for us," said Panetta. The tri-service facility, commanded by Rear Adm. Alton L. Stocks, is staffed by Air Force, Army, and Navy personnel. (AFPS release)