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NEWS | Sept. 1, 2022

One-of-a-kind U.S. Army Laboratory Strengthens Partnership with South Korean Allies

By Walter T. Ham IV

SEOUL, South Korea -- A one-of-a-kind U.S. Army medical laboratory has worked to build stronger ties and forge greater interoperability with South Korean counterpart commands on the Korean Peninsula.

Leaders from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory met with leaders from the Republic of Korea (ROK) Armed Forces Medical Command and ROK Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Defense Command at their respective headquarters in South Korea.

Col. Matthew J. Grieser, the commander of the 1st AML, and Sgt. Maj. Erin L. Trudden, the senior enlisted leader, visited with their South Korean counterparts at their commands together with Maj. Jang-woo Lee, Maj. Andrew Clark and Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Riddick.

The 1st AML leaders met with ROK Army Brig. Gen. Dae-wee Lee, the commander of the ROK CBRN Defense Command, and Brig. Gen. Byung-seop Choi, the commander of the ROK Armed Forces Medical Command.

Both South Korean commands agreed to established working groups with the U.S. Army mobile laboratory to plan future combined field training exercises.

The ROK CBRN Defense Research Institute showcased their CBRN research laboratories and displayed the deployable Mobile Analytical Laboratories.

At the ROK Armed Forces Medical Command, the ROK military medical partners showcased the control center for telemedicine, medical evacuations and the mobile diagnostic laboratory.

The 1st AML leaders were also invited to the Armed Forces Trauma Center to observe the newly opened military trauma treatment facility with the only hospital helipad in South Korea that met the required specifications for landing U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

Maj. Jang-woo Lee, who is originally from South Korea, said COVID-19 pandemic restrictions limited exchanges during the last two years.

“The pandemic prevented the face-to-face meetings and visits for last two years and virtual meetings had limitations particularly on engagements with foreign military partners,” said Lee, the former Biological Threat Assessment Section chief and officer-in-charge of Multifunctional Threat Assessment Troop 1 at the 1st Area Medical Laboratory.

Lee added that the visits contributed to agreements on future collaborations between 1st AML and the ROK commands.

The Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered 1st Area Medical Laboratory is part of the 44th Medical Brigade and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier multifunctional all hazards command.

From 19 bases in 16 states, American Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from the 20th CBRNE Command tackle the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.

According to Grieser, the commander of the 1st AML, the ROK commands are strategically important to the 1st Area Medical Laboratory.

“As the South Korean Armed Forces are the strategically significant military partner within the U.S. Indo-Pacific region, it is important to build the relationship and sustain the partnership with them for the 1st Area Medical Laboratory’s worldwide operational requirements, particularly on the Korean Peninsula,” said Grieser, a native of Mulino, Oregon, who has deployed to Afghanistan four times and Iraq five times and served in Haiti, Panama and New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

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