Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

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.)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Readiness Capabilities

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...

Pharmacy Home Delivery

Fact Sheet
5/17/2021

This Fact Sheet describes three ways to get a 90-day supply of your medications, and how to change your prescription to home delivery.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit

Choosing Safer Activities

Fact Sheet
5/17/2021

This fact sheet outlines safer activities that fully vaccinated people can resume without wearing a mask or physically distancing. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) Health Plan Reinstatement During COVID-19 National Emergency

Fact Sheet
6/2/2020

Fact sheet explaining that explaining that TRICARE Reserve Select beneficiaries now have five months to reinstate terminated coverage after their last paid-through date before a 12-month lockout period will apply.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
7/30/2019

This fact sheet describes the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | MHS GENESIS Toolkit

2018 #ColdReadiness Twitter chat recap: Preventing cold weather injuries for service members and their families

Fact Sheet
2/5/2018

To help protect U.S. armed forces, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) hosted a live #ColdReadiness Twitter chat on Wednesday, January 24th, 12-1:30 pm EST to discuss what service members and their families need to know about winter safety and preventing cold weather injuries as the temperatures drop. This fact sheet documents highlights from the Twitter chat.

Recommended Content:

Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Winter Safety | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Health Readiness

Zika Virus

Fact Sheet
2/3/2016

Zika (zee-kah) virus is primarily spread from an infected person to an uninfected person through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Although most infections do not cause symptoms, Zika virus infection may result in fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.

Recommended Content:

Zika Virus | Health Readiness | Public Health

Program Areas CBRN Protection

Fact Sheet
5/4/2005

The Medical Countermeasures (MCM) Directorate assists in protecting U.S. forces that are globally engaged and at potentially increased risk to being exposed to naturally occurring substances or encountering manufactured chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) agents that adversaries may seek to use against them.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Environmental Exposures | Environmental Exposures | Chemical and Biological Exposures
Showing results 1 - 7 Page 1 of 1
Refine your search
Last Updated: June 08, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.