U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory Lab Technicians Conduct Individual Critical Task Training

By Sgt. Allison Ravelli, U.S. Army Aeromedical Research LaboratoryNovember 3, 2023

Spc. Roque Rodriguez conducting a panel test.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Roque Rodriguez conducting a panel test. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Allison Ravelli, USAARL ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Spc. Cami Rodriguez, pictured with Cpl. Matthew Antill, conducting a chemistry analysis on a blood sample.
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USAARL Laboratory Technicians Cpl. Richard Oldham and Spc. Chelsea Owens, conducting blood banking tests using pipettes, test tubes and vacutainers.
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The men and women that make up the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory’s Laboratory Technician Soldiers recently completed Individual Critical Task training. Multiple USAARL Laboratory Technicians traveled to Fort Eisenhower, Ga., formerly Fort Gordon, to participate in Field Environment Laboratory Operations training, which included complex blood banking/hematology procedures, and clinical chemistry/analysis training. This three-day course gave the USAARL Laboratory Technicians time to practice perishable skills and maintain mission readiness.

The Non-commissioned Officer In Charge of the course, Staff Sgt. Crockett Wessels, explained why the curriculum is imperative to Army healthcare, “The Army 68K tests blood, body fluids, and tissues of patients to support both doctors and nurses. Their job is critical so that medical staff can properly diagnose and treat patients in Army medical care facilities.”

According to Wessels, it is estimated that 80% of medical decisions are formed from the test results delivered by medical laboratory technicians. The Army 68K MOS provides the data the physician needs to properly treat a patient.

Medical laboratory technicians have over 130 ICTs that the Army dictates they should be trained-on annually or quarterly. The skills that 68K Soldiers refreshed in the course strengthen the quality of care patients receive in Army health clinics, prepares technicians to support Soldier treatment in the field, and assists the USAARL Commander in accomplishing the Laboratory’s mission.

According to the USAARL Commander, Col. Matthew Hoefer, USAARL’s mission is to “Develop research-based products and data to keep Warfighters safe and improve their effectiveness in combat.” USAARL’s mission branches from patient care and comfort to lethality of the Warfighter, even to informing approved footwear for aviators.

USAARL has many laboratory technician Soldiers that help accomplish the Unit’s overarching mission. The USAARL Commander acknowledges that 68K Soldiers are experts in health processes and understanding and managing scientific data. All these benefits add to USAARL’s mission capacity and improve its effectiveness. From a mission-oriented standpoint, it is important for the Laboratory’s 68Ks to complete ICT training. The Commander further states that, “it [ICT training] grows combat readiness, maintains perishable skills, and sustains the skills USAARL utilizes most from our 68Ks, regulatory process management.”

Cpl. Matthew Antill gave insight into what being a 68K is like while assigned to USAARL. Antill has been in the Army for six years, and has been assigned to USAARL for two and a half years. Antill stated that what they like most about their time at USAARL is that they have the capability to “broaden their horizons while practicing 68K skills.” Antill elaborated that USAARL allows Soldiers to develop skills that go outside the basic Clinical Laboratory Technician job description, and this improves the adaptability of a Soldier and their talents.

Spc. Chelsea Owens attended the ICT training and expressed that getting hands-on time with field analysis equipment was the main component of the ICT training that she enjoyed. “ICT training was great because I was able to dive into the field portion of being a 68K. I was able to learn new skills and prepare myself for a potential deployment while still maintaining my research-based position in USAARL.”

ICT training elevates USAARL Laboratory Technicians to broaden their 68K skills while preparing them for the future missions within the United States Army.


USAARL is a world-class organization of subject matter experts in the fields of operator health and performance in complex systems; the en route care environment; blunt, blast, and accelerative injury and protection; crew survival in rotary-wing aircraft and combat vehicles; and sensory performance, injury, and protection. USAARL engages in innovative research, development, test and evaluation activities to identify research gaps and inform requirements documents that contribute to future vertical lift, medical, aviation, and defense health capabilities. USAARL is a trusted agent for stakeholders, providing evidence-based solutions and operational practices that protect joint force warriors and enhance warfighter performance. USAARL invests in the next generation of scientists and engineers, research technicians, program managers, and administrative professionals by valuing and developing its people, implementing talent management principles, and engaging in educational outreach opportunities.