Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning visited Tripler Army Medical Center July 27th as part of his tour of the Pacific Command area of responsibility.

The purpose of this trip was to highlight the enduring presence of the US Army in the Pacific and the Army's integral role in President Obama's rebalance to the region, particularly through Pacific Pathways, a series of partnerships and joint exercises which strengthen our capabilities and enable our Joint Force to meet emerging threats.

"For the past 118 years the U.S. Army's presence and posture have provided the stability necessary for Pacific nations to rise and prosper," said Fanning. "We continue to place a high premium on both our military presence and support for allies and partners to counter emerging threats and ensure that the United States and other Pacific nations can build security and prosperity together."

Fanning's trip to Tripler included a brief history on the facility, a lunch with Soldiers and highlighted the PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Program and the Pain Management Clinic.

"The Soldiers, civilians, and families in Hawaii and across the Pacific are the foundation for this security," said Fanning. "Taking care of our people, and building their physical and mental strength and resilience, is a critical component of readiness and force effectiveness. Providing necessary health, education, and child-care services is not just the right thing to do; it's vital to the morale and end-strength of our Pacific forces."

Tripler's new commander, Col. Andrew Barr, sees the TAMC mission in three main focus areas; readiness, wellness and health. Readiness means training the future of Army Medicine; for a medical center in the middle of the Pacific, it means disaster preparedness as well.

"July 14th Tripler participated in the RIMPAC Exercise along with the State of Hawaii, in a mass casualty disaster scenario involving a large earthquake and tsunami," said Barr. "This type of exercise is a real life possibility and that is why we conduct these exercises; to be ready at any time for any mission."

Part of taking care of the Army as Fanning describes it means ensuring the health of the force.

"It's about keeping these Soldiers and their family members healthy, but it isn't just treating the Soldiers," said Barr. "It's also about educating them on how to be at their very best health wise so they can meet the mission of the day."

The last part of Barr's focus is health operations.

"This is why military medicine is so irreplaceable," said Barr. "Tripler oversees 1.5 million outpatient clinic visits annually. That is 1.5 million opportunities for our staff to improve their skills to provide the best possible healthcare while at home or on the battlefield."

Fanning's trip will continue to Guam and then Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Alaska to observe exercises and training.

"Working in concert with the other Services and working closely with longstanding Allies such as South Korea, Japan, and Canada, as well as newer partners such as Malaysia, the United States Army is helping secure a region in which half the world's population and economic activity will be by 2050," concluded Fanning.