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National Blood Donor Month
Haze Gray and Underway for Blood Donations
By Douglas Kennedy, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Okinawa, Japan
U.S. Navy hospital corpsman Danny Nguyen from Port Arthur, Texas, prepares to draw blood from Airman Brandon Allen from Jacksonville, Fla., in the medical bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.
The U.S. Pacific Command Armed Services Blood Bank Center in Okinawa, Japan, went “haze gray and underway” for blood donations. Recently, 13 members of the blood donor team went aboard the USS George Washington to conduct a blood drive hosted by the ship’s medical department, and there were plenty of sailors eagerly waiting with their sleeves rolled up!
“The blood collected helped to prevent the possibility of a shortage of available blood to local military installations throughout the western Pacific during the holiday season,” said Capt. Timothy Lavan, senior medical officer for the USS George Washington.
It isn’t often that the Armed Services Blood Program conducts blood drives aboard ships, but according to Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Hoiles, ASBBC director, collecting blood aboard a ship has two major advantages. “In addition to collecting blood for patients in need, the blood drive assists the ship to prepare for emergency blood drives. It’s a win-win for all involved,” he said.
“Blood donation is important because it saves lives. It is as simple as that,” said Chief Petty Officer Charito Cruz, the chief hospital corpsman for the ASBBC. “You can save up to three lives with one donation.”
Those who volunteered their time and donated blood were rewarded with a free T-shirt and a 24-hour special “vampire” liberty chit that grants sailors with a day off from duty. While thankful for special liberty and T-shirts, sailors were especially thankful for the opportunity to give the gift of life.
“I’ve been doing this for four years now and it just feels good to know that my blood will help out somebody that truly needs it,” said Seaman Joseph Carey, USS George Washington master-at-arms and the first donor of the drive.
Due to the outstanding support from the sailors aboard the USS George Washington, the ASBBC collected 351 units of blood—more than enough to ensure that the blood donor center was underway to meeting blood requirements throughout the holiday season!
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