HONOLULU - Tripler Army Medical Center leaders and command staff joined Hawaii's military community at the 9th annual Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta to honor and support wounded warriors, their families, and the families of our nation's fallen heroes at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki, Aug. 18.

The Na Koa Regatta, which began in 2009, was first organized to assist recovering service members through the 'healing power' of the Hawaiian waters and has expanded to include Gold Star families, a Youth Honor Heat, two VIP Exhibition Heats, and a Gold Star Medallion Presentation.

This year, more than ever before, 98 teams competed in the outrigger paddling event which included wounded warrior and family teams, combat veterans, veterans, and Gold Star families.

Team "TAMC Spartans" and other military units joined the community by entering the competition as racing teams to support wounded warriors, and to also draw awareness of the healing benefits of reconditioning activities such as outrigger canoe paddling.

"At Tripler, we are very proud to support our wounded warriors, not only in their physical recovery but also their emotional recovery. And we are very privileged to have one of the Army's WTB's (Warrior Transition Battalions) as part of our organization," said Col. Mary V. Krueger, commander, Tripler Army Medical Center. "In this way, we are able to bring the warriors in, help them to recover, work with them on vocational opportunities, and we also provide support to the families because they are a part of the recovery process as well."

The sport of outrigger canoe paddling is considered one of Hawaii's premier sports and is a favorite among the Soldiers in transition and cadre assigned to the Tripler Warrior Transition Battalion.

"The Na Koa is such a great event," added Krueger. It's amazing to watch the community come together around our Wounded Warriors, around our Gold Star families, and especially as some of our warriors are out there paddling - what an amazing way to see their recovery manifest in an event and celebration like this."