By William Sallette, Tripler Army Medical CenterJuly 28, 2017
HONOLULU (July 28, 2017) - Tripler Army Medical Center, also known as TAMC, has a long history of healing heroes since before the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
The origins of TAMC date back to 1907 when several wooden structures at Fort Shafter's Palm Circle were used as a hospital.
In 1920, the facility was named Tripler General Hospital after Brevet Brig. Gen. Charles Stuart Tripler, in honor of his contributions to Army medicine during the Civil War.
Tripler was born January 19, 1806 in New York City and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1827. He entered the Army at West Point, NY, and received a commission as an assistant surgeon in 1830.
By 1835, Tripler saw his first combat action in the Second Seminole war, and in 1846, Tripler, then an Army surgeon, was made medical director of a regular troop division during Gen. Winfield Scott's advance against Mexico City in the Mexican War.
Many years later he accompanied troops to the West Coast via Panama on a harrowing journey in which he cared for men plagued with cholera, malaria and dysentery. Army medical practices at that time were notated as simple and unsophisticated.
In 1858 he returned east for duty at Newport Barracks, KY, where he wrote and published the "Manual of the Medical Officer of the Army of the United States". This manual became the bible for medical officers by standardizing physical requirements for Army recruits.
Following Tripler's death in 1866, President Andrew Johnson promoted him posthumously to the rank of brigadier general.
Recently TAMC staff members met with Tripler's descendants and received items to display in our historical section, including a sword he carried during the Civil War.
One of these descendants is Raymond Tripler, Charles Tripler's great-great nephew, who recently toured the facilities and met with the command team.
"I'm very honored to have been able to come here and take a tour of the hospital", said Raymond. "I know this place is nearly 70 years old, but you wouldn't know it walking through these halls. It's great to see that there is such an amazing facility taking care of our troops and keeping them healthy and ready to do whatever is asked of them."
During World War II, the high number of patients requiring treatment greatly exceeded the hospitals 450 bed capacity and it was quickly realized that a larger facility would be needed. In 1942, plans for a new hospital were drafted and the moanalua ridge was selected as the site.
Construction of wings A through E began in 1944 and was completed in 1948 at a cost of $41 million. At that time, the hospital had a 563-bed capacity that could be expanded to accommodate 1,100 beds.
In 1985, a major expansion was completed, the new F, G and H wings, which added 433,000 square feet of space to the hospital.
"I'm amazed to see the passion of the troops and civilians that work here at Tripler," said Raymond. "Simply walking around the hospital, you can see the dedication the team has to this hospital and their patients."
To this day, Tripler Army Medical Center is the only medical treatment facility in the U.S. Army to have been awarded a battle streamer. Throughout World War II, Tripler averaged almost 2,000 patients per day requiring treatment for injuries and illnesses sustained in the Solomon Islands, the Marianas, the Philippines and other Pacific battlegrounds.
"We were told about Charles when we were growing up and I have done my own research on him as well," said Raymond. "I know that he dedicated his life to medicine and the Army, and I feel pretty confident that he would be proud to have this hospital bear his name."