ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Maryland – The 1st Area Medical Laboratory “Mad Scientists” opened their headquarters and showcased their capabilities on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, May 3 - 5.
The open house highlighted the U.S. Army’s sole mobile laboratory that performs surveillance, laboratory testing and health hazard assessments of environmental, occupational, endemic disease and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) threats to support force protection and Weapons of Mass Destruction missions.
Among the organizations that attended the open house were the Medical Research and Development Command’s Laboratory Command Teams, Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense, Defense Health Agency, Office of the Surgeon General, Medical Capability Development Integration Directorate and 48th Chemical Brigade.
The 1st AML had static displays of their combined multifunctional section capability and independently deployable laboratory systems.
Col. Matthew J. Grieser, the commander of 1st AML, said the event enabled his Soldiers to highlight Force Design Update plans to expand capabilities to include genetic sequencing as well as a Prototype Portable Chemical Fingerprint Identification System being developed by the Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Chemical Biological Center.
“The open house is an opportunity to showcase the 1st AML’s capabilities to strengthen relationships with the command teams and supervisors of our assigned personnel who are assigned to the AML but work in laboratories throughout the National Capital Region,” said Grieser, a native of Mulino, Oregon.
“This event was also open to interested individuals across the Department of Defense and interagency who have a shared interest in CBRNE and Force Health Protection Laboratory Analysis,” said Grieser, a former enlisted infantry Soldier and medic who has deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq and served in Haiti, Panama and New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
According to Grieser, partnerships are critical to the mobile U.S. Army laboratory that is part of the 20th CBRNE Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazard headquarters. Soldiers and civilians from the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous hazards.
Maj. Gen. Antonio V. Munera, the commanding general of the 20th CBRNE Command, was one of the senior leaders who attended the open house.
In addition forging relationships with allied laboratory personnel, the 1st Area Medical Laboratory deploys around the world in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.
In 2014 – 2015, 1st AML deployed to Liberia and led Task Force Scientist to support U.S. efforts to help contain the Ebola outbreak there. Soldiers from 1st AML also served in seven different overseas locations to support the COVID-19 response, including U.S. military hospitals in Germany, South Korea and Japan.
Grieser said his highly trained Soldier scientists leverage the CBRNE subject matter expertise on Aberdeen Proving Ground and build strong partnerships that enable the mobile laboratory to punch above its weight class.
“These relationships are critically important to the AML because we can only accomplish our mission with the expertise of our scientists and enlisted laboratory and environmental specialists who maintain their proficiency through training with these laboratories,” said Grieser, who has commanded 1st AML since July 2021. “The reach back and habitual relationships which our Soldier scientists bring is critically important for continuity of sample processing and characterization of novel or newly emerging threats.”
Rear Adm. Brandon L. Taylor, the director of the Defense Health Agency Public Health, attended the open house on May 4.
"It was impressive to see the significant capabilities that this one-of-a-kind Army mobile laboratory command brings to the fight," said Taylor. "The 1st Area Medical Laboratory safeguards our nation's warfighters from all hazards on the modern battlefield. I thank the 'Mad Scientists' for hosting this open house."