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May 19, 1989

Pacific Is Far-flung Region for US Military But Medical Care Spans the Vast Distances

JAMA. 1989;261(19):2788-2793. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420190058010

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NAVY PHYSICIANS in the Pacific region cover a million square miles of territory, caring for ships' crews, Navy families, retirees, and certain civilians who work with the military. Given the enormous distances involved—8650 km from Hawaii to the Philippines, for example—it is a major challenge.

Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, serves as a "mother house" for military medicine in the Pacific. However, each service—Army, Air Force, and Navy—maintains separate medical facilities and communications. The Navy ties together its network of smaller hospitals, clinics, hospital ships, and medical personnel aboard ships of the fleet with state-of-the-art communications. A Navy physician chats as easily with a colleague thousands of miles distant as with one down the hall.

Yokosuka 'Link'  One of the important links in the chain is Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, which was a treatment center during the Korean and Southeast Asian conflicts.The first hospital at Yokosuka was