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2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

Airman 1st Class Rizamarie Nicdao, 2nd Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, prepares to analyze a sample of blood at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. Lab technicians are not only required to know how to perform the test, but must also know the science behind how it works and how it will affect the patient. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

Blood samples are stored after being tested at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. Blood tests are crucial for diagnosing patients so they can be treated or make changes to improve health. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

2nd Medical Support Squadron medical lab technicians review samples at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. The 2nd MDSS medical lab performs clinical diagnostics on blood, urine and stool samples (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

Airman 1st Class Naomi Abel, 2nd Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, examines a blood sample under a microscope at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. The microscope allows them to see any abnormalities in the blood cells. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

A blood sample is examined under a microscope at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. The larger cell in the sample is a white blood cell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

Airman 1st Class Damon Able, 2nd Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, draws blood from a patient at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. Blood tests are crucial to diagnosis so patients can be treated or make changes to improve health. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

Airman 1st Class Damon Able, 2nd Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, finds a vein before taking a blood sample at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. 2nd MDSS lab technicians test for HIV, electrolytes, blood count and urine balances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

Airman 1st Class Damon Able, 2nd Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, records patient information before taking a blood sample at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. Doctors rely heavily on results presented from 2nd MDSS lab technicians to confirm and diagnose health issues. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

2nd MDSS ensure Airmen are fit to fight

Airman 1st Class Naomi Abel, 2nd Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, drops blood onto a slide so it can be examined at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 26, 2018. 2nd MDSS lab technicians provide a crucial role in determining combat readiness for Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Hill)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Before a pilot enters the cockpit, before a maintainer turns a wrench and before Airmen load munitions on a plane, all Airmen must be medically capable of performing the job assigned to them.

The 2nd Medical Support Squadron medical lab analyzes patient labs to aid in health diagnosis and facilitate combat readiness.

“We perform clinical diagnostic testing on blood, urine and stool samples,” said Staff Sgt. Cedric Keith, 2nd MDSS medical lab technician. “Essentially, we test them and present the results to the doctor for diagnosis.”

2nd MDSS lab technicians test for HIV, electrolytes, blood count and urine balances. They must also know the ins and outs of the tests.

“We are the technical experts, our job is not just to push buttons when we process samples but to know why we are doing it, the science behind it and how it effects the patients,” said Airman First Class Naomi Abel, 2nd MDSS medical lab technician.

Doctors rely heavily on results presented from 2nd MDSS lab technicians to confirm and diagnose health issues.

“Diagnosis is 70 percent lab work. Doctors see symptoms in a patient but they can’t confirm anything without us,” Abel said.

Diagnosis is especially important before and after deployments.

“Our mission is mostly about readiness in combat, especially before people deploy,” Abel said. “HIV and vaccination tests are particularly important because they could catch or transmit disease when deployed which could hinder the mission.”

2nd MDSS lab technicians also share data with Public Health which can be used to help isolate and prevent the spread of disease.

By knowing what vaccines were given and knowing where the person has returned from provides vital information, helping to control the spread of disease Abel said.

2nd MDSS lab Airmen help confirm Airmen are healthy and capable of performing the mission ensuring that Barksdale is always mission ready with healthy Airmen ready to do their job.