Tripler Army Medical Center
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Tripler Army Medical Center is the headquarters of the Pacific Regional Medical Command of the armed forces administered by the United States Army in the state of Hawaii. It is the largest military hospital in the Asian and Pacific Rim region and serves a military sphere of jurisdiction that spans over 52% of the Earth's surface. Located on the slopes of Moanalua Ridge overlooking the Honolulu neighborhoods of Moanalua and Salt Lake, Tripler Army Medical Center's massive coral pink structure can be seen from any point in the Honolulu District.
Tripler Hospital was established in 1907, housed in several wooden structures within Fort Shafter on the island of Oʻahu. In 1920 it was named after a legendary American Civil War medic, Brigadier General Charles Stuart Tripler (1806-1866), who made significant contributions to the development of military medicine.
Tripler Army Medical Center was commissioned by Lt. General Robert C. Richardson Jr., who was Military Governor of the Territory of Hawaiʻi during World War II. General Richardson hired the New York City based architectural firm of York & Sawyer to design the Modernist medical complex. The noted local landscape architect Robert O. Thompson designed the landscape to work in concert with the Modernist architecture to create a "place of solace" for US military soldiers to recuperate both emotionally and physically. At the outbreak of World War II, Tripler Army Medical Center had a 450-bed capacity which then expanded to 1,000 beds through the addition of barracks-type buildings. Plans for the new Tripler Army Medical Center on Moanalua Ridge were drawn in 1942 and construction was completed in 1948. It was officially dedicated on September 10, 1948.
According to the contract documents from 1944, the signature coral pink color of Tripler Army Medical Center was a personal choice of General Richardson, who borrowed the color and many other design elements of the complex from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikīkī. The Royal Hawaiian was one of the primary recreational sites for US military personnel during World War II and was also a design of the landscape architect, Robert O. Thompson.
According to Tripler spokeswoman Margaret Tippy, an alternate reason for the pink paint job was supplied by retired Col. Robert B. "Woody" Wood, who was the Army Corps of Engineers area engineer when Tripler was built, and Sophie Frandsen, who had been the secretary to the chief architect of Tripler.
The architect came into Wood's office one day and said it was time to select the color for the hospital. Wood said he looked out his window at the red dirt on the then-undeveloped Moanalua Ridge and said, "You've got to get it as close to that color as you can because that's the color it will be when you're through."
Tripler Army Medical Center is home to the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. The Center for Excellence works with the United States Pacific Command, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pacific Regional Medical Command for research, education and training.
United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations has designated the Center for Excellence as a Peace Operations Institute, the only United Nations designated Peace Operations Institute currently in the United States. The Center for Excellence engages in the training of peace operations skills to United States and foreign military personnel assigned to peacekeeping duties for the United Nations.