WEST POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 6, 2013) -- Six months of intense didactic learning combined with six months of clinical rotations paid off as two Soldiers graduated from the Medical Laboratory Technician program Sept. 6 at Keller Army Community Hospital.Spc. Antonio Sto Domingo and Pvt. Etan Patterson were both recognized in front of friends, family, colleagues and senior leadership for successfully finishing the 12-month Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program that has prepared them to become medical laboratory technicians."Many people look at graduation as the culmination of an educational journey, when in reality it is just the first phase of a lifelong journey of continuous professional growth and development." said Col. Felicia Pehrson, Keller Army Community Hospital commander. "Laboratory technicians are essential to the medical mission. We are so proud to be part of the education and training process for this high caliber group of students. They will be superb assets to the Army Medical Department for years to come."The MLT program prepares graduates to function as entry-level medical laboratory technicians.The program provides education and training in the major disciplines of the clinical laboratory to include: clinical chemistry, hematology, immunohematology, immunology, microbiology, parasitology, urinalysis, blood donor center operations, specimen collection and processing, and laboratory operations/management.Upon completion of the program, graduates earn 60 college credits that may be applied towards an Associates of Science Degree from George Washington University.Sgt. 1st Class Julio C. Chavez, the Keller MLT phase II program coordinator, praised Sto Domingo and Patterson for their dedication to the program."The MLT program provides an excellent learning environment in which future Soldiers can grow through on-the-job training. It also facilitates transition from student to permanent party, as the duties and responsibilities go hand-in-hand with what they are taught," said Chavez."Spc. Sto Domingo has shown a tremendous amount of growth and commitment in learning and developing not only as a lab tech but as a Soldier. His enthusiasm and eagerness to learn will take him far in the military," he said."I don't have any regrets, but this was definitely the hardest thing I've ever done," Patterson said. "I'm just excited about taking the nest step in my long journey to becoming a doctor."In addition to graduating from the MLT program, both Soldiers passed the American Society for Clinical Pathology national board exam and are certified to function as entry-level medical laboratory technicians in both the military and civilian sector.