Thursday, October 6, 2011
Dr. William Van Reypen, Surgeon General (1897-1902)
William Knickerbocker Van Reypen (1840-1920) was appointed assistant surgeon in 1861. During the Civil War he served in the East Gulf Blockading Squadron. Later assignments included duty with the European Squadron and Asiatic Station, and service at the naval hospitals in Chelsea, Norfolk, Annapolis, and Brooklyn. He became Surgeon General in 1897 and led the Medical Department during the Spanish-American War. To serve the troops in Cuba, the hospital ship, USS Solace, originally the steamer SS Creole of the Cromwell line, was fitted out in 16 days. During Dr. Van Reypen's administration, the Hospital Corps (1898) and increased rank for medical officers came about as well as the commissioning of naval hospitals at Newport, RI, Sitka, AK, Port Royal, SC, and Cavite, PI.