Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Army’s 773rd administers mobile COVID-19 testing during DEF21

Image of Three military personnel, wearing masks and lab coats, pose for a picture in an Albanian lab. Three members of the laboratory COVID-19 testing team (left) Army Capt. Fawn OLeary, medical service officer, (middle) Army Capt. So, chemical officer and (right) Army Maj. Brooke Spridgen, lab officer, assigned to 773rd Civil Support Team, 7th Mission Support Command, take a well deserved break while administering COVID-19 testing during DEFENDER-Europe 21 at Kucove, Albania in May 2021. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Mort.)

A five-member laboratory COVID-19 testing team assigned to the Army’s 773rd Civil Support Team, 7th Mission Support Command, administer COVID-19 testing for unit movement throughout Albania, from April through early June 2021.

“We were the first ones to arrive and have been out here testing all of the units coming to Albania,” said Army Maj. Brooke Spridgen, lab officer, 773rd Civil Support Team, 7th Mission Support Command. “We also tested a large unit, the 7th TBX (a transportation brigade out of Fort Eustis, Virginia) of approximately 600,” added Spridgen.

The five Soldier team is the only COVID-19 testing capable unit outside of Germany, during DEFENDER 21.

“We can do same day testing for those here in Albania so they can get released from ROM [restriction of movement] quicker in order to start their mission,'' explains Spridgen. “Otherwise it's collected then has to be shipped back to Germany…. and go through customs and public health command.”

Once samples are tested and documented on a spreadsheet, the ISOFAC team and the unit's provider are notified. The team of five will complete about 3,000 tests during their DEFENDER 21 mission.

They work closely with the Isolation Facility Team (ISOFAC), which goes out and picks up samples for testing. The ISOFAC team also brings Soldiers food and picks them up from their respective training site.

The team deployed with a truck that is normally designed to test chemical and biological warfare. They can set up anywhere in the field and run 24-hour missions if necessary.

All of the equipment necessary for COVID-19 testing along with a communications suite for sending out immediate test results is located inside of the truck. Live COVID samples can be opened and tested safely inside the “glove box” of the truck.

“It’s very interesting to be in the middle of it [the COVID-19 pandemic],” concluded Army Capt. Shawna So, chemical officer, assigned to the 773rd Civil Support Team, 7th Mission Support Command. “I think COVID kinda threw things sideways for everybody but to have this new mission set has been amazing.”


As the only U.S. Army Reserve forward stationed command in Europe, nearly 400 soldiers from the 7th Mission Support Command are participating in DEFENDER-Europe 21 to provide planning and support in a variety of specialties: security, coordination, medical, transportation, civil affairs, CBRN and liaisons.

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
Jan 27, 2023

Eyes on Vision Readiness

Military personnel gets eye exam

Good eyesight is often take for granted, but vision impairment can be the difference between mission success and mission failure. Find out what's happening on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling so airmen in the National Capital Region remain sharply focused on their U.S. Air Force missions.

Article Around MHS
Jan 27, 2023

It's Final! Last MHS GENESIS Staff Q&A Ahead of Spring 2023 MHS GENESIS Transition

Military personnel in auditorium at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

With less than two months before the transition to MHS GENESIS, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) MHS GENESIS and Leidos Partnership Defense Health (LPDH) host the final MHS GENESIS Staff Q&A. See how the topics addressed will help providers and staff navigate MHS GENESIS more efficiently.

Article Around MHS
Jan 25, 2023

U.S. Army Medical Laboratory Forges Relationship with Australian Defence Force Institute

Military personnel in medical laoratory

American soldiers from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory were hosted by their counterparts at the Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute in Brisbane, Australia. Find out what was discussed at this meeting to strengthen critical relationships, save lives, and enable both sides' mission readiness.

Article Around MHS
Jan 6, 2023

Theater Medical Command Experiment Focuses on Large-Scale Combat Operations, Future Operating Environment

Military medical personnel at Fort Sam Houston

The Medical Capability Integration Directorate hosted its culminating limited objective experiment for calendar year 2022. See how the Theater Medical Command (TMC) Experiment will affect large-scale combat operations and prioritize limited Army Health System capabilities and how the TMC will support future operating environments.

Report
Jan 1, 2023

MSMR Vol. 30 No. 1 - January 2023

.PDF | 1.22 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence and management of chronic insomnia, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012 to 2021; Changes in the prevalence of overweight and obesity and in the incidence of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes ...

Article
Jan 1, 2023

Increased Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity and Incidence of Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Active Component Service Members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 to 2021

Trends in the incidence of eating disorders among active component service members, 2017 to 2021.

Increased Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity and Incidence of Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Active Component Service Members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 to 2021.

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: January 19, 2024
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery