ASBP: III Corps Blood Drive Supports Deployment Readiness
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III Corps Blood Drive Supports Deployment Readiness

09/06/2017
By Dave Conrad, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Fort Hood, Texas
Preparing for deployment is normally pretty intense with all the required training, equipment preparation and Soldier Readiness Processing tasking, but III Corps recently paused their deployment preparations to roll up their sleeves and donate blood with the Armed Services Blood Program.

The purpose of the III Corps blood drive, which also was supported by Fort Hood Garrison staff members, was to not only support their teammates, but also to provide an opportunity for the Soldiers to donate blood one last time before their deployment made them ineligible to donate.

“I used to donate all the time, but I had to take a break after getting a tattoo,” said Army Spc. Jemal Fairfax-Jones, who is assigned to the Corps’ communications directorate. “I wanted to donate again while I had the chance.”

The small group of volunteers said they were excited about donating, as well as equally impressed with the professionalism of Robertson Blood Center staff members who drew the blood on behalf of the ASBP.

“It was awesome,” said Shannon Sauter, who is with the Corps Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Safety. “The staff was incredible! They found my vein right away, and we were able to complete the process quickly.”

Donors also said they appreciated the drive’s location near the donor’s offices because it was convenient.

“It’d been a while since we had donated blood, so we decided we'd take the time to donate,” said Army Col. John Davenport, the Corps’ director of Reserve Affairs. “The location right outside our office made it impossible to walk by and not give a pint.”

According to Army Maj. Ronnie Hill, RBC director, about half of all potential donors are ineligible to donate at any given time because of deferrals related to deployments and other geographic restrictions. At Fort Hood, however, that percentage is higher because of its high deployment tempo.

“Unit blood drives like this help reassure Soldiers that their needs will be met if there’s an emergency during the early days of their deployment,” Hill said. “They also give Soldiers and families here at Fort Hood a physical way to share in the sacrifices our deployed teammates are making, as well as provide them with lifesaving support.”

A tri-service organization, the ASBP is the sole blood collection, manufacturing and transfusion program for the U.S. military. All blood collected by the ASBP directly supports ill or injured service members and their families worldwide. “There is a constant need to refresh this supply,” he said. “We greatly appreciate our leaders at III Corps for putting together this drive in support of our deployed service members and their families back home. It really shows their commitment to taking care of Soldiers, our retirees and family members.”

The blood collected at the III Corps blood drive will be shipped to the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory–East at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. The ASWBPL-East will then retype blood for ABO and Rh, pack, ice and prepare the blood for shipment to theater. It also will be used to maintain a peacetime inventory of liquid blood for use as a rapid-response requirement. Blood is then shipped to the U.S. Central Command and will be used to care for III Corps and Fort Hood Soldiers, along with other deployed service members.

Units, Family Readiness Groups and other organizations can schedule blood drives at the Robertson Blood Center or request a mobile blood drive by contacting the donor centrer at 253-285-5808, by emailing the donor recruiter at david.m.conrad4.civ@mail.mil or by sending a message through its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FtHoodRBC.

About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.