U.S.

January 18, 2013

Military, civilian blood donors provide ‘gift of life’

Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON – January is National Blood Donor Month and Defense Department employees are encouraged to “roll up their sleeves and give the gift of life,” said Air Force Col. Richard McBride, Armed Services Blood Program director.

The military blood program also celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, with “60 Years of Donors — We Thank You,” as its theme, McBride said.
The program coordinates support between the military services and the combatant commands to ensure sufficient blood products and services exist wherever troops serve, McBride explained.

The blood program is a tri-service effort involving the Army, Navy and Air Force, he said.

“Without the three services’ support, we wouldn’t have a military program,” McBride said.

The military’s blood program began during the late 1940s, when organizations such as the Red Cross supplied blood to wounded warriors during World War II, he said.

“We realized we needed a program to support the military,” McBride said. “As the population increased, it became more difficult to support the civilian and military [sectors]. The military began its own blood program so civilian blood supplies would not be compromised.”

In the past 60 years, blood donors have helped save wounded warriors in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn, McBride said.

Both civilian and military programs comply with the same federal regulations, test for infectious diseases and process, manufacture, store and distribute blood wherever it’s needed. DOD has the added mission of supporting wounded warriors and DOD beneficiaries worldwide, McBride said.

“If there’s a doctor and a nurse [who] need blood, it’s our responsibility to make sure they have it,” he said. “We have a tremendous record and now have the highest survival rate in the history of modern American warfare, which is a testament to the impact our blood program has had in bringing wounded warriors back to their loved ones.”

The need for blood at military hospitals around the world always exists, he said.

Potential donors must be at least 17 years old and free of medical conditions or diseases that would prevent them from donating, McBride said, adding that donors can contribute blood every 56 days. Blood is perishable and only considered safe to use at a maximum of 42 days by law, he added.

McBride offers a good reason to donate blood to those who are unsure.

“If you have anyone who’s a wounded warrior, a loved one, or anyone who’s been in the military and has received medical care, that blood comes from people like you,” he said.

For people who cannot donate blood, volunteers always are needed to help advertise blood drives, and to take care of donors before and after their blood is drawn, McBride said.

“We always need people in leadership positions to encourage troops to go out and donate,” he said.

McBride says some donors have contributed blood for years.

“We call them our ‘gallon donators,’” he said.

McBride told about a young Army lieutenant who recently received more than 500 units of blood from his point of injury through his recuperation and convalescence.

“That’s a tremendous testament to the impact blood has had on wounded warriors,” McBride said. “It’s not just the blood — it was the dedicated service of the doctors, nurses and medics who helped him, but we’d like to think those 500 units played a big role.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

The new fight: Writing cyber into the science of war

Every year, the Aspen Security Forum brings together the top minds in defense, intelligence and homeland security. This year, more than ever, the conversation is turning to cybersecurity – protecting computer networks and everything attached to them. Cyber is constantly changing the way conflicts and combat unfold. Here, former U.S. Navy Rear Adm. William Leigher offers insights...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Osakabe Yasuo)

Need help? Trust your ‘Shirt’

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona — When young Airmen need help or are looking for guidance, a good place to start is with a senior NCO. Making it into the top 3 percent in the U.S. Air Force is a major accomplishment. Alt...
 
 

Local Briefs July 31, 2015

Sunset Horseback Ride August 8, 4 – 8 p.m. – Outdoor Rec Saddle up and enjoy a 2-hour sunset horseback ride through the Saguaro National Park.. Final deadline for sign-ups is July 31. Minimum age: 18. Cost of $25/person. Call 228-3736 for more information. White water rafting and camping Aug. 20 – 24 – Grand...
 

 
(Courtesy Photo)

A Q&A with Master Sgt. Jaime Lewis

The men and women of the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) welcomed a new First Sgt. in May. Master Sgt. Jaime M. Lewis, began his career in 2000 as an Aerial Porter, where he performed duties such as passenger services, car...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen)

Relationship building by means of the F-16

  America’s stars and stripes and Arizona’s lone copper star always wave proudly at the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing. But it’s the adjacent flags of coalition-partners – from the pacific island-nat...
 
 

Military life: Separated, but not alone

  MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — As the dawn broke out over the mountains, I woke up to the sun peeping through my window. Once I got up I went straight to the kitchen to make my family breakfast yet in the back of my mind, all I could think about is how am I...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>