Bleeding for a cause

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
A convoy in Iraq is hit by an improvised explosive device, seriously injuring a servicemember. The servicemember is rushed to the nearest forward medical treatment facility where blood donated from Whiteman Air Force Base is transfused into the victim, saving their life. This scenario using blood from Whiteman Armed Services Blood Program March 16, could save a life.

Airmen at this Air Force Global Strike Command base held a blood drive March 16 where 115 members gave their time to support the armed services blood drive program.
The ASBP mission provides support to troops engaged in Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom. Having an adequate supply of blood in forward areas can mean the difference between life and death for those injured in the line of duty, according to

"The donations we receive are 100 percent dedicated to military members," said Army Capt. James Burke, officer in charge of the Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Donor Center. "The blood is shipped within four days to ensure it's as fresh as possible."

Captain Burke said those who donate are saving military members' lives from here in the U.S and helping the war effort save money by not having to buy blood from a medical agency.

"Whiteman AFB has been a very loyal and active donating community," Captain Burke said. "Our best turnout here has been more than 800 units a day and one unit can save up to three lives."

When a person first walks into one of the more than 20 donating centers located around the world, they must first be pre-screened. A pre-screen ensures the person meets the basic requirements to donate blood.

Afterwards, a nurse takes the donors vitals such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate before drawing blood.

"We want to ensure that not only the deployed members stay healthy, but that the ones here don't get sick trying to help," Captain Burke said.

Finally, once all the blood has been collected and packed in ice, an aircraft will collect it for shipment to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., where an Air Force aircraft will transport it to theatre as soon as possible.

Brian Rickard, a civilian contractor, said he was happy to give an hour of his time and some of his blood to help those who are on the frontlines.

"The servicemembers who need it have given so much, it's the least I can do," said Mr. Rickard.

Captain Burke said blood drives occur every two months here in order to give donors the needed 56 days before donating again.

For more information about the next blood drive, contact 1st Lt. Phillip Zencey at (660) 687-3027.

For more information about ASBP, visit