Life of a medical lab tech
By Airman 1st Class Jacob M. Thompson, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 15, 2019
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Joining the military provides people the opportunity to travel the world and see new places. Whether it’s to a new state or a new country, most Airmen will have the opportunity to travel and live somewhere they’ve never been before.
For Senior Airman Philip Fisketjon, 341st Medical Group medical laboratory technician, living in the United States is his second taste of living somewhere new.
Born in the Philippines, Fisketjon and his family moved to Guam when he was just two years old.
“I’m a first generation immigrant,” said Fisketjon. “My father is from Norway and my mother is from the Philippines.
“My parents moved us to Guam when I was two years old and I lived there up until I joined the Air Force.”
Although he enjoyed life in Guam, Fisketjon sought new challenges.
“I loved living in the tropics, but at a certain point, island fever kicked in,” he said. “That’s when I looked into joining the Air Force and the benefits it would offer.
“I wanted to travel and go to school debt free, and the Air Force offers me both,” he continued. “I was also drawn to how they can take me as an 18 year old, at the time, and turn me into a technical expert very quickly.”
Coming into the Air Force on an open-general contract, Fisketjon was chosen to become a medical laboratory technician.
Air Force medical laboratory technicians play an integral role in providing patients with proper diagnosis and treatment by conducting essential tests.
“My job entails collecting body substance samples from patients,” Fisketjon said. “We then perform tests on the samples and provide our patients with an effective and quick result.”
To ensure the most precise results, laboratory technicians, like Fisketjon, have to ensure all equipment is operating at the highest capacity possible.
“I assure all of our machines are up and running to their highest standard and make certain quality controls are in place,” he said. “These quality controls allow us to give our patients the most accurate and timely results.”
One of Fisketjon’s favorite parts about being a laboratory technician is the opportunity to learn new things.
“I learn something new from this job every day,” he said. “Whether it’s looking at a blood slide under a microscope or by examining bacteria, there’s always something new to learn.”
In addition, Fisketjon is also using tuition assistance to learn beyond work.
“I’m currently using my TA to work toward my bachelor’s degree, as well as my [Community College of the Air Force] degree,” he said. “Taking college courses for free was a big reason for me wanting to join the military.”
While unsure of what he wants to get his degree in, Fisketjon knows he’d like to follow in his father’s footsteps of becoming a pilot.
“The goal is to commission [as an officer] and become a pilot,” said Fisketjon. “I always dreamed of flying as a kid. Seeing my father serve as a commercial airline pilot for about 30 years was a big reason for wanting to become a pilot.
“My dad was also a big reason why I wanted to join the Air Force,” said Fisketjon. “When he was in Norway, he came to the U.S. with basically nothing. He went from being an immigrant and speaking barely any English to becoming a major airline pilot. I was always inspired by him fulfilling the American dream and I want to do the same thing.”