CAMP GEIGER, N.C. -- The Armed Forces Blood Donor Program visited the School of Infantry Jan. 15, giving Marines from Forming Battalion the opportunity to donate blood.
According to Cal Glazier, chief blood donor recruiter, the drive is part of continuous efforts by the blood donor program to sustain a blood supply for military members and their families.
Personnel from the blood donor program collect blood and blood products from active-duty servicemembers, retirees, their families and civil service employees.
The new Marines do not have to be coaxed or forced into donating blood according to Sgt. Marcus Jordan, a troop handler with the unit.
“They know how important it is,” said the Macon, Ga., native. “They know it might be themselves that need the blood.”
The collected blood is sent to The Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., according to Navy Lt. Les E. Riggs, officer in charge of the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune Blood Donor Center.
“From there it is distributed to various theaters of operation for all branches of the U.S. military,” said Riggs. “Active-duty servicemembers are priority for use of the blood. However, if there is a need somewhere, we try to find where the need is.”
According to Glazier, there are a number of people who are not eligible to donate. People who have recently received tattoos and body or ear piercings are of special concern due to the possibility of spreading hepatitis through needles.
The Department of Defense has new restrictions that are designed to prevent possible contamination of the United States blood supply by the human variant of “Mad Cow” disease.
“Due to these restrictions, the donor pool has been limited,” said Glazier. “This is why we have such an aggressive mobile team to seek out eligible donors.”
Even though participation in a particular drive may be low it is still worth the blood donor teams time and effort to get out to the Marine’s units according to Glazier.
“Each Marine knows they are donating for the Marine beside him,” said Glazier. “We have as our motto ‘from our own, for our own.’
The reasons Marines had for donating were as plentiful as the Marines who donated. Some Marines donated due to a sense of duty, others for more personal reasons.
Private first class Christopher Massey, of Warwick, R.I., donated due to a deep sense of brotherhood.
“I am proud to give and serve my country in this way,” said the 19-year-old warrior. “I know it’s (my blood) going to my fellow Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Sergeant Nicholas Brown, a Warrensburg, Mo., native was a willing donor who gave “to get over his fear of needles.
Glazier has full confidence in the capabilities of the blood donor team responsible for collecting and storing the blood and blood products.
“We have an excellent team that is trained to watch a person’s vital signs,” said Glazier. “They will talk to you and make sure you are comfortable and if you have a fear of donating blood, the staff will do what they can to help you overcome that fear.”
According Riggs, the blood drive was a success.
“We had an excellent response from the School of Infantry,” said Riggs. “SOI has been there for us from the beginning and is the lifeblood of our organization. The chain of command is good with helping to find donors, but it is the non commissioned officers, the guy on the ground, that really makes it happen.”
For more information on how to support the AFBDP, please call Lt. Les E. Riggs at 910-450-4605.