|History||50th Year Anniversary||Overview||Timeline||Brig. Gen. Tripler|
Entire Tripler Time Line
The following is an informal historical account of Tripler for your Web-browsing enjoyment. It also includes the emergence of military medicine in Hawaii, nearly 100 years ago. The entries here range from the informative to the intriguing, and some are even whimsical.
The Army's first medical facility in the Territory of Hawaii opens. It's a 30-bed facility located at Independence Park Pavilion at the intersection of King Street and Sheridan.
A post hospital is constructed at Fort Shafter consisting of a single hospital building and mess hall.
Extensive hospital construction at Ft. Shafter continues in order to meet increased demands.
The existing hospital at Ft. Shafter is designated Tripler General Hospital June 26, in honor of Brevet Brig. Gen. Charles Stuart Tripler.
The U.S. Army Health Clinic, Schofield Barracks, was constructed as a 500 bed hospital from 1928 to 1929. It was activated as the Station Hospital, Schofield Barracks, Territory of Hawaii.
Tripler is authorized 20 beds for Veterans Administration beneficiaries, 18 months after President Hoover forms the VA.
Honolulu surgeons sit in the auditorium this winter morning listening to a visiting authority on wounded surgery, Dr. John Moorehead begins his third lecture with a Bible quotation: "Be ye also ready, for in the hour that ye shall not know, the Son of Man cometh." The door flies open, a doctor yells surgeons are needed immediately at Tripler Hospital. Dr. Moorehead and his listeners leave abruptly. Pearl Harbor has been bombed. Despite the hardships, inconveniences and poor conditions on Dec. 7, 1941, only 13 of the 344 battle casualties admitted to Tripler die. The morgue handles 138 additional dead. While 39 are transferred to Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, 170 are left in the hospital at the end of 1941. About 135 are expected to return to duty. The Schofield Barracks Clinic also treated 160 wounded after a bomb hit one of Wheeler Army Airfield's dining facilities. The clinic also came under direct fire, wounding a patient.
The U.S. Army decided to accept women physicians into the Medical Corps in 1943 for the first time in history. One of the first six females honored in the breaking of the precedent was Maj. Clara Raven, assigned as the 147th's chief of Laboratory Service. Toward the close of the war, the roster of women doctors serving in the Army swelled to around 75. Future policy in regard to the permanent adoption of such personnel in the Army appears uncertain at this time, though it is generally believed that "at least a few" women will be allowed to serve.
Tripler General Hospital is designated the 218th General Hospital, ground is broken Aug. 23 and work begins on the present facility on Moanaloa Ridge.
The 218th is redesignated the 147th General Hospital. The Kamehameha Area is vacated in September, but the closing does not mean the role Kamehameha School played in the winning of the war will be forgotten. The first of provisional hospitals started by the U.S. Army anywhere in the world after the onset of hostilities, Kamehameha Area provided sorely needed beds immediately after Pearl Harbor. Students, faculty and school authorities cooperated in giving up the beautiful buildings located on Kapalama Heights and which command a magnificent view of Honolulu that few will be able to forget. Not just the view but the cool mountain air too will be missed by many. Irving Berlin, the man who set the progress of America to music, the man who wrote music for two World Wars, whose songs such as "God Bless America" and "White Christmas" have become as familiar as the national anthem, visits the 147th hospital Oct. 16.
Maj. Benjamin B. Santosky starts a small farm in front of Ward 26 for the patients. After he leaves, the members of Ward 26 carry on the good work and plant corn, tomatoes, radishes, carrots and lettuce. Some time in the near future, students of the Agricultural Department of the University of Hawaii visit with the farmers of Ward 26 to talk over the prospects of the coming harvest and the best and most modern methods of scientific farming. Immediately after arrival on Oahu, Gen. Eisenhower, accompanied by Maj. Gen. George F. Moore, commanding general of Army Forces in the Middle Pacific and Col. A.L. Tynes, commanding officer of the 147th General Hospital, inspects progress made on new Tripler hospital, now under construction. Tynes, who is also commanding officer of new Tripler and special representative of the surgeon general on the project, guides Eisenhower over the site pointing out the many advantages the new hospital will have. Tripler American Red Cross workers are perturbed about the mysterious disappearance of one of their staff. Even the missing worker's closest friend, is unable to explain his absence. Foul play is suspected. Accordingly, arrangements are completed by Miss Ruth Shurter, Red Cross field director, to institute a thorough search. But before the hounds can be set upon his trail, the AWOL person returns, much to the relief of his many friends. The Red Cross staff is so glad he comes home alive he is not even reprimanded. After all, even a dog falls in love occasionally, and their pet dog, "Big John," is no exception to the rule. "Romantic" is hardly the word to describe Capt. Robert E. Carroll's jaunt to China. His fellow passengers are 792 mules. One of the comments he makes upon his return to Tripler is, "Our floating barnyard had an aroma all its own." It all happened when Carroll was assigned surgeon-in-charge of a detachment of men who were taking the mules to China. Before they left on "Operation Mule," the men were promised several weeks in Shanghai, the greatest port in the Far East. Some soldiers are clothed in blue uniforms until civilian shortages ease sufficiently to allow large-scale clothing orders by the Army.
Representative C.W. Bishop (R,I11.) recommends that the Territory of Hawaii take the initiative to gain control and ownership of Tripler Hospital because he believes it's too big for Army use. During the past year, the 147th General Hospital and the 26th Station Hospital at Schofield admit 7,711 servicemen patients, 677 veterans and 1,696 Army dependents. Two giant cranes are speeding the construction of new Tripler atop Moanalua Ridge. With their long arms rising more than 100 feet in the air the two machines are proving invaluable. They place wooden forms, pour concrete for the construction of the side walls and lift crated medical equipment into place before the walls are set. By the use of earth ramps the machines are able to work as high as the seventh and eighth floors.
The earthquake that jars Oahu early on the morning of June 28 gives both new and old Tripler a good shaking up. Damage at the new hospital includes cracked plaster and glass, while at old Tripler the laboratory, PX and library sustain minor damages. Earthquake joints provided in the design of new Tripler function satisfactorily. At 7:50 a.m., August 9, a large convoy of ambulances, their lights ablaze, roar from the motor pool of new Tripler General Hospital down the winding road to old Tripler to begin the evacuation of medical patients. Operating with clock-like precision, the patients are loaded and by 8:30 a.m. they are streaming into the Receiving Office at new Tripler. Medical service begins at new Tripler. At 9:30 a.m., August 9, the last patient from old Tripler, Capt. Edward Lesemann, arrives and is carried to his bed, completing the move of 102 patients in less than 90 minutes. Tripler faces its first test in a real emergency August 24th when the four survivors of a B-29 crash are brought to the hospital for treatment. The plane crashes and explodes at Hickam Field while en route to Okinawa. Dedication Day at Tripler General Hospital on September 10 marks a high point in the history of the U.S. Army Medical Department in Hawaii. A large group of civilian and military dignitaries are present for the official ceremonies and several thousand visitors throng Tripler for the occasion. They all assemble in the hospital flag pole area to hear addresses by Governor of Hawaii Ingram. M. Stainback and other notables. One of the unique features found in the new Tripler General Hospital is the hospital's own radio station, KTGH, the newest broadcast outlet in Hawaii. KTGH is also the latest station addition to the famed "Bedside Network" of the Armed Forces Radio Service that provides programs for military and naval personnel in hospitals throughout the Mainland United States and Hawaii. Formal opening of the station coincides with the dedication of the hospital. Tripler is the tallest skyscraper in the Pacific. "Much of the successful operation of Tripler General Hospital depends on our civilian staff," says Col. H.H. Twitchell, hospital commander. "Providing as they do a permanent base for the rotating Amy staff to build upon, they are discharging their duties to meet the high standards demanded by the Army Medical Department."
Tripler receives its first patient delivered by helicopter Feb. 5th when Carl Marchek, 17, is brought to the hospital aboard a Navy aircraft following his rescue after a hunting accident in the Waianae Range north of Schofield Barracks. New construction amounting to approximately $1 million is underway. Work is proceeding on the building of a gymnasium, swimming pool, theater and a patients' recreation building. Tripler General Hospital celebrates its first Organization Day Wednesday, May 11 with a huge beach party arranged for the Detachment Medical Department at Waianea Beach. Glad to have you aboard! This greeting is heard throughout the hospital in May as the first main continents of personnel and patients from the Aiea Naval Hospital begin arriving at Tripler. The total number of additional patients is upward of 300. The Navy Medical Unit is established and Tripler Army Hospital Facilities officially open to the Marine Corps May 16. Resident/Intern training program begins July 1 with 17 residents plus 14 Army and six Navy interns. this is the first graduate professional training program ever conducted by an Army hospital in the Islands. Medical activities within the USARPAC region are consolidated July 1. Nine medical and veterinary units as well as supervisory control of Army medical detachments at Kilauea Military Camp at Eniwetok are assigned to Tripler.
Tripler's beautiful new swimming pool officially opens for use by patients and personnel of the hospital Jan. 18. The new Tripler theater officially opens April 14 at 7 p.m. The building has a seating capacity of 442 with additional space for 25-30 litter or wheel chair patients. The $320,000 structure was paid for entirely from non appropriated funds. The first movie shown is "When Willie Comes Marching Home" featuring Dan Dailey and Corinne Calvert. At about 8:30 on the evening of May 16th, two very tired but very happy men are admitted to Tripler for a brief physical checkup. They are marine Master Sgt. Elmer C. Bender and Navy Chief William C. Smith, who were caught behind the "Bamboo Curtain" of Communist China for 19 months. The first of more than 60,000 Korean conflict air evacuees arrives at Tripler in August. Tripler receives a singular honor Oct. 13th when President Truman tours the hospital. With Truman is Gen. Omar N. Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The greatest test of Tripler personnel and facilities since the end of World War II comes with the outbreak of the Korean conflict. With almost all of the wounded servicemen being evacuated and stopping in Hawaii between flights, the normally quiet and sometimes completely empty air evacuation wards suddenly become electrified with activity. Battle casualties, often numbering in the hundreds, pass through the wards out in D-wing daily, receiving medical care, many home-like comforts, and even partial pay during their 12-48 hour stay.
Before he leaves Hawaii April 17th, Gen. Douglas MacArthur directs that almost 50 leis and boxes of flower bouquets be brought to Tripler for distribution among the men who fought in Korea. The flowers, a carload of them, arrive in the care of Lt. Gen. Henry S. Aurand, commander, U.S. Army Pacific, and Lt. Gen. Lemeul G. Shepard, commander, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. "The real heroes of this war are the medical aidmen, " said Maj. William C. Hedberg, MC, former Tripler staff doctor. Hedberg, who spent more than a year as battalion and regimental surgeon with the 5th Regimental Combat Team in Korea, returns to Hawaii in September aboard the USS Sultan. Hawaii's "Famous 5th," which went to the war zone immediately after the outbreak of the conflict in 1950, was"Öone of the toughest, most closely-knit outfits in the war." Their teamwork and sheer nerve became famous with the 24th Division, of which they were a part.
"C'est magnifique, n'est ce pas?" is the comment of the medical officers from the French cruiser "Jeanne D'Arc" when they tour Tripler. Commander Bernard Geniaux, chief medical officer aboard the "Jeanne D'Arc," expresses the impression of the French doctors when he says, in his careful English, "Never have I met such friendly people, or seen such a beautiful hospital" For gallantry in action in Korea, the Silver Star is presented to Cpl. Charles A. Hamada in a Tripler ceremony in September. Lt. Gen. John W. O'Daniel, USARPAC commander, who said this was one of the toughest wars in history, presents the decoration while Col. T.J. Hartford, hospital commander, reads the citation.
The first Korean prisoners of war are air evacuated to Tripler in April. The first American soil touched by these prisoners of war is a landing runway at Hickam Air Force Base, and the first good meal in the U.S. is provided these same freed prisoners in the air evac wards at Tripler. They are returning home after months, and sometimes years, of internment by the Communists. The second time was a charm for Mrs. Joseph K. Makua and her husband. Their son, Cpl. Richard K. Makua, is home from a communist prisoner-of-war camp after missing one plane out of Tokyo. Mrs. Makua, an attendant in the Food Service Division here, had waited patiently on the night of Sept. 9th for her son's return at Hickam when the United Press had listed him as a passenger. According to later reports Cpl. Makua was removed from the plane's passenger list just prior to its departure.
Forty-seven wounded French soldiers are treated at Tripler. The men received their injuries during the 57-day siege of the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam. In July, another 500 survivors pass through Tripler on their way home. A century-old hand-woven mat, one of the most prized possessions of the Samoan people, is presented April 30th to Col. Thomas J. Hartford, Tripler commander, by Chief Mariota M. Tuiasosopo of Tagoilelagi, American Samoa. The mat, of coconut fiber, is given to the hospital on behalf of Cheif Tuiasosopo and his people in appreciation of the care he received while at Tripler as a patient. The parking situation, which is at the present time acute, will soon be alleviated by three new parking lots now under construction. The United States Army, Pacific, gets several thousand new soldiers when the 25th Infantry "Tropic Lightning" Division completes its transfer and once more takes up residence at Schofield Barracks after an absence of 12 years. Wearing the colorful red and gold taro-leaf patch that tells the division's Hawaiian origin, the men of the 25th begin arriving by ship from Korea in September. The Station Hospital, Schofield Barracks was renamed as Ward 50.
Col. Louis Mentell, Chief of Urology Service, receives the Military Order of Taiguk from President Sygman Rhee of Korea in February for service to Korea during his assignment there. The "Caducean" is awarded the Department of Defense Certificate of Merit as an outstanding service newspaper for the last quarter 1954. The Tripler Federal Credit Union begins its third year of highly successful operation in January after declaring a 3.5 percent dividend on 1954 savings. Tripler has a full-fledged lawyer assigned to the Claims and Legal Office in the person of Pvt. Robert G. Harrison of Honolulu. A graduate of the Harvard Law School in 1954, Harrison attended Punahou School in Honolulu, spent two years at the University of Hawaii, and received his BA degree at the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. He received his LLB last year from Harvard, and is now a member of the Hawaiian Bar. One officer and three enlisted men from the Vietnam Army are at Tripler for two months of observer training in Laboratory Services. The four arrive Oct. 15th and will be on duty in the hospital blood bank until about Dec. 15th, when they will return to Saigon for further duty.
Tripler's post housing facilities will be increased more than 10 fold by the summer of 1957. Under the Capehart Military Housing Act, the Detachment of Defense approves 164 new units. After standing for half a century, Old Tripler, Hawaii's first modern hospital, is torn down. The hospital, finished in 1907 when Fort Shafter opened, received its name June 26, 1920, when War Department order named it Tripler General Hospital after Brevet Brig. Gen. Charles Stuart Tripler. The doors will open soon to Tripler's new $15,000 isotope clinic, an important addition to Tripler's physical layout and a step into the future in radioactive detection of internal disorders. In August, 427 babies are born at Tripler, a record for one month. The installation of a new automatic absorption refrigeration machine that will furnish air conditioning for the operating rooms and recovery ward is completed. This machine, which is the only one of its kind in the Islands and one of eight operating in the United States, is a Carrier, 17-ton capacity unit.
Because of the avalanche of babies in 1956, only 300 babies per-month will be allowed to be born at Tripler. When the 300 per-month limit is reached, mothers-to-be will be sent to civilian hospitals. The quota is placed on births at Tripler by order of the commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific. Tripler's new heliport opens. One day in February, Petty Officer Thomas Swanson of Navy Records is chugging up Tripler's hill without a care in the world when he slams on his brakes for a jay-walking pedestrian who doesn't even signal. The careless pedestrian is a soft-eyed, spotted dow who bounds from the brush. The most concern about the incident is shown by Swanson's three-year-old son, Colby, who gazed wide-eyed after the deer. "What's Santa Claus going to do now that one of his reindeer got away?" It's not on the record how does Swanson explained that one. Tripler's nursing service staff members are currently engaged in a project to share their knowledge of what to do when disaster strikes with the civilian community. A series of lectures, set up under the auspices or the Nurses Association, Territory of Hawaii, is being held weekly at Queen's Hospital, Honolulu, with members of the Tripler nursing service serving as instructors for the courses in emergency medical techniques. First dental interns arrive in July for training under the new dental internship program. First Lt. William C. Flickinger becomes the first male nurse ever assigned to Tripler. The newest male staff member comes as quite a shock as others read the Army Nurse Corps designation following his name in staff lists. In September, a sick young Turkish soldier, half a world away from home, learns how much the medium of common language can iron out any difficulty. An extensive search for an interpreter turns up Star-Bulletin newsman, George Chouljian, who volunteers to give his rusty Turkish a try. Members of the Pacific Registered Nurses Association spend some busy hours giving of their time and professional know-how on Tripler's wards. The volunteer PRN members donate their spare time each week aiding the regular nursing staff in the care of patients. Tripler becomes a "home away from home" for storm refugees during the island's brush with hurricane Ninn. More than 280 men, women and children are housed at Tripler during the "big blow" when the post commander issues an order for the evacuation of Fort Kamehameha, Fort DeRussy and Fort Armstrong housing areas.
Tripler is chosen grand award winner of the 1957 Hospital Safety Contest over all other U.S. hospital entries. Tripler, with a total of 1,700 employees, operates 3,057,067 man-hours in 1957 without a reportable injury. Casual passers-by near the medical photography facilities on B-2 level are startled by crews of construction workers busily ripping out walls and cementing up doorways. There is method in the bustle, though, as the Honolulu contracting firm of Charles Ho creates expanded facilities that will give Tripler one of the finest clinical photography sections of any hospital its size. A four-year orthopedic residency training program is approved for Tripler by the American Medical Association. Under the program which will be affiliated with the Shriners Hospital in Honolulu, orthopedic residents will take a year of pre-specialty training in general surgery, two years in adult orthopedics and a year in children's orthopedics. Hawaii Governor William F. Quinn, sits "wired" with electrocardiograph connections that transmit his heart beats by telephone from Tripler to Montgomery, Ala., thousands of miles away. An experiment in the field of medicine, the demonstration is the first trans-Pacific cable transmission of actual heart beats and electrocardiograms of heart patients to the Mainland. The first of Tripler's long-awaited $2,588,770 Capehart housing units are officially opened April 7th with ceremonies at the housing site above the nurses quarters. Tripler's military personnel are now able to do their shopping on post with the opening Sept. 2nd of the new Tripler Superette and Garden Shop. The new shopping facility, located in the Medical Depot building, features a complete line of gardening tools and materials, a grocery superette and beverage shop.
All staff can obtain their 1960 motor vehicle license stickers from the Provost Marshal Office. Civilians and military employees can bring their vehicle registration certificates and a cash payment for each vehicle to be licensed to the D-unit, BQ level office. Vehicles will be licensed at Tripler until March 15th. Thirty medical officers from China, Korea, the Philippines, THailand and Vietnam are assigned to Tripler for observer training from two to six-month periods. Capt. John S. Smith becomes the first doctor at Tripler to graduate from the hospital's orthopedic residency training program that was established in 1958. Smith, who leaves Oct. 5th for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C., is perhaps the only doctor here who has spent his entire training program in this hospital. Identification of a 15-year-old snapshot is made by Lt. Col. Carrie E. Barrett, chief nurse, bringing to an end the search by a former Japanese prisoner of war for the U.S. Army nurse who had treated him during the time he was held here. When Seiji Katsumata of Aomori City, Honshu, Japan, began his search all he had to go on was a small photograph taken of her with a serviceman at the Old Tripler Hospital at Fort Shafter. He thought she held rank of major at the time. He wished to contact her and send her some gifts from Japan as a gesture of appreciation for her kindness to him while he was interned here in 1944 and 1945. The first urology resident to graduate from Tripler's training program is Capt. Alfred M. Alden, whose new assignment will be in the Urology Department of the U.S. Army Hospital at Fort Ord, California.
Tripler U.S. Army Hospital becomes known as U.S. Army Tripler General Hospital May 1st. The hospital is redesignated to conform with memorially-named CONUS hospitals that had switched to the "General" hospital name Jan. 1st. Eighty monkey pod trees are planted along Jarrett White Road Sept. 12th. When mature, the trees will form a natural canopy of shade over the approach road to Tripler. The tree rivals the banyan and elephant ear in spread and height, is believed to have originated in tropical America and the West Indies where it is known as the "rain tree." The Hawaiians, however, called it the Ohai, a misnomer, perhaps, for there was an indigenous tree by that name.
In spite of a fire that destroys the interior of the main chapel, regular religious services and special Lenten devotions are held at the hospital in temporary quarters. The Army converts to direct telephone dialing July 1st. The Tripler switchboard is shut down. Tripler medical personnel take part in Operation Swallow, A community effort to distribute oral polio vaccine in Hawaii, in October.
It's a 1963 Pontiac bonneville. What an improvement! These are some of the comments admission and receiving office personnel make about their new ambulance. The olive Bonneville replaces the 1958 Pontiac in August and takes the spot next to #150, a 1957 Pontiac, in the emergency entrance parking area. The increased usage of Tripler's Medical library by staff, residents and interns for study and research prompts the expansion of the library facilities to include the Diamond Head and Ewa lanais.
Tripler is named the grand award winner of the nation wide 1963 Hospital Safety Contest sponsored by the American Hospital Safety Association and the National Safety Council. The grand award plaque is presented in May. Tripler staff members, during a September press conference attended by newspaper and television reporters, are thanked by Russian scientist Igor A. Stoyanov for their concern and assistance during his many weeks of hospitalization. "I very much would like to express thankfulness to the staff of the hospital. It is due to their efforts I'm able to talk to you instead!" Sp6 Roman Poplawski, the interpreter, fumbled before adding: "or, as you say, kick the bucket." Dr. Stoyanov, assistant chief of Russia's oceanographic research ship Vityaz, was brought to Tripler by Coast Guard plane June 18 after being stricken at sea with peritonitis. Tripler General Hospital becomes Tripler Army Medical Center October 1st.
Maj. Melvin D. Cheitlin, chief of Cardiology, is one of 10 cardiovascular specialists whose predictions for the next decade are placed into the time capsule stored at Ala Moana Center by the Hawaii Heart Association in February. Gemini 8 astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott make a 17-hour stopover at Tripler in March to rest and make individual tape recordings of their space flight experiences. The Honolulu stop is necessary because their NASA plane develops engine trouble en route to the Islands and is undergoing repairs at Hickam AFB. Two new departments, the Department of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology and the Department of Dentistry, are established at Tripler. Newly promoted Lt. Col. Jean S. Lyle has the distinction of being one of the two highest ranking female officers in the Army Medical Service corps. Among female members there are only two lieutenant colonels in the entire corps.
The Schofield Clinic, now called the U.S. Army Dispensary, Schofield Barracks, is reassigned to Tripler Army Medical Center.
Two Tripler nurses receive the Soldiers Medal for saving a soldier from drowning in the "Toilet Bowl." Cpl. James Lewis nearly drowns in the Hanauma Bay landmark, August 16th. The nurses are abel to free him and he suffers only water inhalation and scrapes and bruises to his head and body.
The Patients Assistance Center opens in March. Tripler hosts the statewide Patient Care Conference for Hawaii nurses in March. New Plastic Surgery Clinic opens in May. After four years of correspondence, official authorization for Tripler's distinctive unit crest is received July 27th. The crest is the combined creation of Charles Matsuda, graphics illustrator, and Col. Sam A. Plemmons, hospital executive officer.
Papale, a Pacific bottle nose porpoise, is a patient at Tripler's Clinical Research Service three times. As the Island's only processor of a fluoroscope with movie capabilities for animals, Tripler teams up with the Mukapuu Oceanic Institute to help research the way porpoises make sound. Tripler's Automatic Data Processing Unit becomes fully equipped to process information for the personnel division in March. This achievement is the result of several months' concerted effort, coordinated by members of a team from the surgeon general's office. Tripler's first Cobalt Therapy Unit goes into operation March 6th with the installation of a $100,000 Theratron 80. Tripler's rehabilitation program becomes the subject of a feature in "Red Star" (Krasnaia Zvezda) the official news of the U.S.S.R. Ministry of Defense. This is a very good year for thousands of patients, thanks to Tripler's Department of OB-GYN. According to the registrar's office, the first cries of 3,421 bouncing babies are heard in Tripler's halls during the year.
During the next six months, the U.S. Army Medical Department will extensively reorganize its health care support of the Army within the Continental U.S. A new medical command is scheduled to be fully operational by July 1st with headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Tasked with providing health services and health education for the stateside Army, the U.S. Army Health Services Command will employ some 5,000 military and civilian personnel. Tripler's Ward B-28 lies in readiness to receive those Vietnam POWs who will be coming here for treatment. Although there is still no word as to the number of men coming, the ward is equipped with 16 beds, eight of which are single rooms. "I almost cried the day our POWs came home, something I haven't done in a long time. But it couldn't be helped. The air was electric with emotions and it was all so very infectious." said reporter Eric Linder of the event. There is help on the way. A new parking lot is being designed by the engineers, hopefully to put an end to the many complaints that there isn't any place to park. The new parking lot, programmed for 400 new parking spaces, will be terraced below the "D" parking lot located behind, now in front, the hospital.
Tripler Army Medical Center comes under the command of Health Services Command instead of Pacific Army Headquarters at Fort Shafter, A command that will be phased out in 1974. It may not have been the "Greatest Show on Earth," but for Tripler staff and patients alike, February 12 is a thriller long-to-be remembered. No fewer than 70 entertainers and celebrities take part in the program "POW Returnees Salute VIPs." The nationwide program is sponsored by the "No Greater Love" organization that seeks to show hospitalized veterans that they are VIPs Very Important Patients. Hawaii Five-O star Jack Lord is awarded a plaque at the Tripler Officers' Club on February for his dedicated efforts in making " Very Important Patients Day" a success. Lord spearheads the program locally, which brought 58 groups of entertainers to Tripler to visit with patients and staff and put a day-long variety show.
Seventeen Vietnamese orphans of Operation Baby Lift are hospitalized at Tripler on their way to the Mainland and new homes. Thirty-one Tripler soldiers are among approximately 700 soldiers to depart for Guam to assist in the care of Vietnamese refugees.
An Army report confirms that the Pentagon is considering transferring Tripler to the Navy and reducing it from a medical center to a station hospital. Estimates place the cost of such a move at more than $15 million. It never happened.
Tripler's Nuclear Medicine Service receives the Multi-Plane Nuclear Imaging System, commonly known as PhoCon, the first in Hawaii and one of only 50 in the world.
Tripler agrees to keep the body of a retired Army major who died more than a year ago until the dispute is settled between the two women who claim to be his lawful wife.
A Navy doctor and a dentist on the tiny island of Midway save the life of a 25 year-old seaman apprentice Jan. 12th thanks to directions from Capt. Troy Reyna, a Tripler neurosurgeon. The two men on Midway drill through the skull of the seaman, carefully following Reyna's telephone instructions 3,000 miles away. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Thomas and his wife, Gail, become proud parents at Tripler to their first born on March 14. All four of them. An inpatient since early January, Gail is expecting a multiple birth. "Not four though! We knew there would be three, but no one knew about the one who was hiding from everyone." The two boys and two girls are the first quadruplets born in Hawaii since 1930.
The Tripler Bloodmobile officially opens March 26th during ribbon cutting ceremonies after which Brig. Gen. Edward. J. Huycke, Tripler commander, donates the first pint of blood. The Bloodmobile, a major project of the Tripler Blood Bank, is finally in operation after three years of organizational efforts. One of the major motivations for purchasing the van is the proven success of the Army's only other unit, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Bloodmobile in Washington, D.C. The first shovel full of dirt is turned at ground breaking ceremonies Nov. 3 signaling the beginning of the $77 million construction of the three-wing addition to Tripler. The project is expected to be completed in 40 months.
The world famous Frosty the Snowman is admitted to Tripler for what officials call severe dehydration. He is in very serious condition say detours on Ward 23, Intensive Care Unit. "Frosty has been coming to Hawaii to surf on the North Shore for years now, but every once in awhile he overstays and becomes quite ill," say Tripler officials. While the rest of Oahu and Kauai are hard hit by Hurricane Iwa, Tripler suffers relatively minor damage. A few trees, telephone poles and a couple of shacks, one on the golf driving range and the other at the helicopter pad, are lost. But thanks to the diligent preventative measures the soldiers at Tripler perform, little damage is suffered. The elevators at Tripler were not working meaning that much of the staff spent their time carrying patients up and down the stairs.
Tripler Commander Maj. Gen. Huycke is chosen to be Deputy Surgeon General of the Army. Tripler admits 70 bears. Keiki Pua Bear Den of the Good Bears of the World donate the teddy bears to the hospital. The new DENTAC facility at Schofield Barracks is opened. Smokers at Tripler will have to be wary in the future about where they light up as new smoking/no smoking areas are designated throughout the medical center. A three-week-long robbery spree at Tripler ends when a purse snatcher is apprehended. Thanks to the finely-tuned but spontaneous orchestration of a number of Tripler personnel and quick-acting security personnel from Tripler and Fort Shafter, the thief is captured after victimizing 15 staff members.
Tripler's new F, G and H wings are dedicated with a traditional Hawaiian blessing during ceremonies held on the mauka side of the medical center under the concrete porte-cochere fronting G Wing June 5th. The new wings add 433,000 square feet of space to the center, making Tripler the second largest medical center in the Army. Tripler's new Emergency Room begins full operation July 9th. Braving 30 mile-an-hour winds, frigid temperatures, a 40 percent reduction in atmospheric oxygen and the threat of Hurricane Ignacio blasts their tents, 55 Tripler and Schofield soldiers and civilians set up two camps on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Their purpose: study the effects of high altitude on 30 male soldiers. Tripler establishes its open heart surgery program officially known as the Cardio Thoracic Surgery Service in November. Three Tripler doctors perform open-heart surgery on Santa Claus. The doctors recognize the patient as Santa although he enters the hospital under an alias, and are able to perform the surgery without shaving off his beard.
The renovation of four of the five original wings of Tripler officially begins in February with the traditional Hawaiian blessing of the site by the Rev. William H. Kaina, pastor of Kawaiahao Church. The renovation will ultimately eliminate the stark contrast between the three new state-of-the-art wings of the medical center and the connecting five original wings that have been updated as much as they can since they were first built and dedicated in 1948. Tripler radiology technicians use a portable Ray unit to X-ray a local Empress. Empress is the Honolulu Zoo's 9,000 pound elephant. The seven corps within the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) will retain their individual identity when the Medical Regimental Plan in implemented this summer. The Army Medical Department Corps' Regimental Plan is a "Whole Branch" concept that includes all related medical fields. Tripler's HTLV-III laboratory begins testing approximately 2,800 serum samples per week for the presence of antibodies to the AIDS virus Aug. 1st. As many as 15,000 samples may be tested during the next year. Smoking for all 2,799 employees, all patients, outpatients and the many daily hospital visitors is banned.
Two Tripler X-ray NCOs and one radiologist X-ray Goliath, the ailing 45 year-old, 500 pound Honolulu Zoo alligator in July. Goliath got into a fight with another alligator and came out the loser. Results of the X-rays show that Goliath is suffering from an infection caused by a bite to his right hind leg. The last regular issue of the "Caducean," Tripler's newspaper, was published on June 26th. Published since the 1940s, it was the oldest military newspaper in Hawaii, and it won many awards from various organizations throughout the years. Another milestone is passed in the medical center's continuing renovation when Tripler's two postpartum wards and the Newborn Nursery became the first services to move into renovated spaces in March.
Parents and children often complain they can never find enough time to spend with one another. Meredith Hansen and her mother, Diane, find a way to solve that problem. They paddle a canoe across open ocean together. The Hansens, wife and daughter of Col. Mark Hansen, chief of Radiology, are members of the Lokahu Canoe Club and participate in a race from Molokai to Oahu, completing the ocean crossing in an agonizing seven hours and 37 minutes. The television series "Tour of Duty" films at Tripler. The crew spends three days at the medical center shooting a 1968 ear hospital scene. Tripler becomes the first health care facility in Hawaii to offer AIDS testing to all patients being admitted for treatment, including family members and non-active-duty beneficiaries of military medical care. Five Costa Rican fishermen who are adrift in the Pacific for five months in their 30 foot boat before being rescued are examined at Tripler June 17. The five are in good health and none are admitted. Tripler's newest tools in the provision of health care, the Composite Health Care System (CHCS), started to arrive and be phased in at Tripler.
Iraq invades Kuwait on August 2, and eventually, America's service members as well as many Tripler staff members would serve in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. During the course of the year, various Hawaii-based troops deployed. Tripler's Human-Animal Bond program starts in June. Allowing various well-trained pets to visit patients proved to be of therapeutic value soon after the program's onset. Over 3,000 patients would be involved over the next five years. "CHCS Hawaii" was the term used to describe Tripler's booming health care connectivity that became vital to improving patient access to care. Critics of the system were soon convinced of its promise as contractors and physicians continued to fine tune CHCS use between many Oahu sites.
Operation Desert Storm began on January 17. By April 7, Iraq has accepted United Nations cease-fire conditions and resolutions. During the course of the Gulf War, a total of 85 Tripler and Schofield Barracks Clinic staff members served in the theater, and many members of the Tripler Army Reserve Augmentation Unit who didn't deploy had helped continue the mission at home. A Magnetic Resonance Imager or MRI arrived and was put into use in Tripler's Radiology Department.
Tripler celebrated the "Makahou," a new beginning, with the dedication of the multi-million dollar renovation project. The project that started in 1985, made Tripler one of the most modern medical facilities in the Army. The first patient to cross the threshold of Tripler on Moanula Ridge, Mickey Neijnhaus, returned nearly 44 years after her first visit. She was admitted just before giving birth in 1948, but another expectant mother who was rushed to the hospital gave birth to the first baby. The first laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed here by a Tripler staff member. Their training and certification has started in 1990. this event was the first laproscopic gall bladder removal done in Hawaii. The head surgeon on the training team had done his internship here years ago.
The contract for Hawaii's first VA Medical Center is awarded. The Spark Matsunaga Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center will be located in the E-Wing. The project is scheduled for completion in this decade and will include a 97-bed acute care facility, a 60-bed nursing home, an outpatient clinic and a regional benefits office. Hurricane Iniki interrupted the usually calm weather in the Islands. Kuai was ravaged by the winds and sea. Oahu had its share of damage, and Tripler went into emergency procedures, canceling all non-essential appointments and elective surgeries. An Air Force Security Policeman delivers a baby at the Hickam Air Force Base main gate. It seems the mother missed a turn while headed to Tripler. The SP stopped them for speeding, then realized what was happening. He did what he could until the ambulance arrived from Tripler. "I just let them take over at that point," he said " but I caught the baby when he came out. The whole thing happened in about eight minutes." The mother and baby were both taken to Tripler and made it through the ordeal in great condition.
Telemedicine, using technology to practice medicine at a distance, became a popular term at Tripler when the first phase of an ongoing project came into full swing. Doctors at Tripler used satellite communications and lower-band with data transfer to communicate with doctors and patients on Kwajalien Atoll. While CHCS helps facilitate health care across the Pacific, Tripler's Telemedicine Program continued to improve communications with remote beneficiaries. The program starts paying for itself when cost savings from reduced air evacuations are realized. The Pharmacy goes high-tech with a complete renovation that includes automatic pill dispensing equipment and phone in refill service.
Changes in the Army medical community include the activation of a provisional Medical Command (MEDCOM) and the reorganization of health care regions under a Health Service Support Area (HSSA) concept. The U.S. Army Medical Command will replace Health Services Command and consolidate many operations. As Health Services Command recognizes and prepares to deactivate, the Pacific Health Services Command is activated at Tripler, January 5th. Tripler also becomes the Defense Department's Lead Agent for Health Care in Hawaii. Tri-service staffing is also more evident as Tripler continues to build a basic for supporting all military health care needs in the Pacific. The Keki Co-Op opens in a renovated section of E-Wing. The co-op offers child care at a reduced rate for Tripler staff. Parents are required to help at the facility in return for the reduced rates. The Keki Co-Op turns out to be the first successful child-care facility of its kind in the Army. Tripler's Information Management Division is honored when Health Care Informatics Magazine includes the hospital in its "America's Most Computer Advanced Health Care Facilities" list. The Telemedicine Program continues to grow with the addition of a Telemedicine Clinic near Tripler's Emergency Room. Consul-tations reach upwards of 150 in 15 different medical specialties. The newly renovated Family Practice Clinic opens, moving the busy unit from it's temporary location in one of Tripler's patient wards. Tripler becomes one of 13 Defense Department Sties for the extensive screening of individuals who believe they have an illness related to their service in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Buff and Duff, two Hobo Clowns, make their last visit to Tripler Patients. The husband and wife team has brightened the stay of many patients for 17 years by spreading cheer and sharing laughter.
The Fisher House is officially dedicated. This 1 million dollar home, serving families since last year, was donated by Zuchary and Elizabeth Fisher. The couple has built similar homes across the country to offer families of seriously ill patients a less-expensive place to stay. The house was designed to match Tripler's style and offers breathtaking views from nearly every window. Eight physicians from Tripler deploy with 25th Infantry Division (Light) troops during their peacekeeping duty for Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. Members of Tripler's Telemedicine teams also deploy to Haiti in an effort to assist physicians there with connectivity and to test the newest equipment. More and more staff from other services can be seen at Tripler as the Pacific-wide health care team continues to grow.
Tripler Army Medical Center begins TRICARE – the military’s medical managed care program on April 1, 1996 in partnership with Queen’s Healthcare Plan.
The Patient Administration Division (PAD) receives the benchmark-setting score of 99% from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organization (JCAHCO); the highest score ever earned by a civilian or government hospital worldwide.
The Tripler web site is developed.
The Internal Medicine Training program receives word of continued full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory (FTDTL) continues its 100% success rate with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) open and blind proficiency programs.
Tripler FTDTL is selected to host the DoD Drug Testing Laboratory Managers Meeting and is recognized as hosting one of the best meetings ever held.
The Medical Library renovation is completed in February.
The establishment of a department of Hospital Education and Training is decided. That would bring all of the education and training at TAMC under one activity. The Medical Library and the Medical Education Center will be components of this new department.
Tripler PAD becomes the most credentialed PAD staff in the Department of Defense.
The deployment of an Occupational therapist to Sri Lanka, in support of “Operation Baker Serum,” provides valuable experience in the management of upper extremity combat injuries in a humanitarian mission.
The Pediatric Discharge Planning Team begins a Child Life Program using University of Hawaii BSW intern students and volunteers. This program utilizes play therapy to help children deal with hospitalization, surgery, and illness. This program is very successful and receives an average of 15-20 children per week.
In early August, a Korean 747 airplane crashes in Guam. Within one hour of notification two nurses are packed and back to the hospital ready for mobilization. CMS judiciously selects appropriate supplies and equipment to support the surgical mission. The surgical team provides relief to those at the disaster site.
TAMC Feeding Team for children with special health care needs is established. The team includes a registered dietitian.
The Family Practice Clinic and Pharmacy at Schofield Barracks both expands their hours of operation beginning in January to better meet the needs of the community.
In July, the Public Affairs Office leads an extremely successful Job Shadowing Program for more than 30 students. Each student spends the day shadowing a healthcare professional at TAMC.
Tripler’s new Health Promotion Center opens.
The Urology Service of the Department of Surgery receives a full five-year accreditation by the Residency Review Committee for our residency training program and a perfect score of 100 on the JCAHO review of the urology clinic.
With the assistance of the Health Facility Planning Agency, the Health Clinic at Schofield Barracks occupies fully renovated space. This results in tremendously improved quality of care for the Radiology Service and the Physical Therapy Clinic.
In February 27, Tippy Gore, the Vice-President’s wife, visits Tripler’s Fisher House.
The Department of pharmacy receives the 1999 Army Pharmacy Leadership and Innovation Award at the Combined Forces Pharmacy Conference. The award reflects Tripler Pharmacy’s contribution to the development of Army Pharmacy, excellent pharmaceutical services and innovation.
TAMC is the technical training site for over 517 medical trainees during 1999, to include 249 military medical students and two military residents, 212 civilian medical students and 51 civilian residents, and three foreign medical students. It is a 13% increase in total number of students trained at Tripler compared to 1998.
In August, Tripler and the Spark M. Matsunaga Veterans affairs Medical and Regional Office Center make history by signing the first and only VA/DoD collaborative partnership focusing on telehealth, clinical informatics research and emerging technology where geographic and distance boundaries are irrelevant.
In October, Major General Adams is named TRICARE Pacific Lead Agent.
In November, Operation Pacific warrior — tri-service exercise of more than 1,300 personnel conducted by the Pacific Regional Command (PRMC) — is a huge success that includes surgeries performed under tactical conditions in a field setting at Schofield Barracks. Twenty-nine different units participated. Service members from South Korea, Hawaii, Alaska, Colorado, California, and Missouri integrated for the exercise.
In December, the Health Education Center and the Health Promotion Center merges to become the Health Education and Promotion Center.
Tripler receives a perfect 100 score and Accreditation With Commendation. It becomes the first Army medical center to ever have achieved such high ratings.