ASBP: With Help from the 153rd Blood Detachment and Others
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With Help from the 153rd Blood Detachment and Others

02/08/2017
By Victor L. Shermer, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The Armed Services Blood Bank Center-Pacific Northwest at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., conducts many blood drives a year, normally set up within the hosting unit’s facility. One location that has many potential donors but does not have adequate space for a blood drive is the Lewis Post Exchange. That is, until now!

The leadership of the Army Air Force Exchange Service at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was eager to host a blood drive. However, with limited room inside the building the only way to conduct a blood drive was to establish it outside of the facility. Unfortunately, the ASBBC-PNW does not own a blood mobile, so this potentially prosperous blood drive had to be put on hold.

That is when the 153rd Blood Detachment of the 56th Multiple Medical Battalion, 62nd Medical Brigade volunteered to provide a medical tent for the blood drive. With the help of many, the ASBBC-PNW was able to conduct a blood drive at the Post Exchange, Jan. 19.

The tent system is a folding frame tent that is recognized worldwide as the most advanced, lightweight, rapid-deploying tactical soft-walled shelter system. A pre-installed floor, electrical wiring and HVAC plenum provide for climate control and lighting with the assistance of a generator.

Two tents were placed end-to-end to achieve the necessary room to establish a mobile blood drive. Using the 153rd’s system also reinforced deployment mission readiness requirements for the detachment’s personnel and provided ASBBC-PNW personnel a new experience.

Army Spc. Taylor Watt, of the 153rd, was responsible for supervising the setup. Her fellow Soldiers, Spc. Philip Dennis and Spc. Jonathan Smith assisted, amongst others from the detachment.

For Smith, a medical laboratory technician who is responsible for the detachment’s medical maintenance, this was his first time setting up the system. From Idaho, and in the Army for 2 ½ years Smith stated: “The set-up actually went well. (It) seemed like a good opportunity for a blood drive at the post exchange.”

Dennis, from Atlanta, Ga., has been in the Army for three years, but said that this was his first time “using the tent with generator and tactical vehicles in a military operation other than training,” and that “it was a good experience.”

The mobile blood drive staff of the ASBBC-PNW learned a lot about deployability and power generations as they helped set up and tear down. Most of the staff had no previous experience with the system and were amazed at how simple it was to setup.

The ASBBC-PNW and the 153rd Blood Detachment have an ongoing relationship that enables members of the 153rd to train on blood collection operations that normally would not be available at home station. Historically, commanders from the 153rd move on to become directors of the ASBBC-PNW, paving the way for continued mutual training opportunities.

But the 153rd was not the only entity involved with supporting the blood drive.

Before the blood drive could take place, operational coordination with outside departments such as the JBLM fire department and Department of Public Works were essential for approval.

The fire department granted authorization for the blood drive to be set up in a fire lane and the Department of Public Works provided markings for existing underground electrical lines, providing for safe installation of the grounding rod for the generator by the 153rd.

Two Soldiers of the 56th Multiple Medical Battalion came to donate. They heard about the blood drives through their chain of command.

One was Army Pvt. Michan Shavers, a combat medic from Tampa, Fla. Shavers has been in the Army for one1 ½ years. Prior to enlisting in the military, Shavers had donated with civilian agencies; this was his first time donating to the Armed Services Blood Program.

“If you’re able to donate, you should,” he said. “There is no reason not to.”

The other Soldier, also from the 56th, was Pfc. Logan Davis, a Washington native from Spokane and combat medic. He has been stationed at JBLM for a year at the time of this donation.

He first started donating with the ASBBC-PNW in October and now has accomplished two donations.

“I want to donate blood to support deployed personnel,” he said. “Real blood is better than synthetic blood products because it is oxygenated and is better for healing.”

One thing is for certain, this multifaceted operation was well worth the effort. Leadership from Lewis Post Exchange, 153rd BSD, and the ASBBC-PNW are already arranging for the next PX blood drive in an effort to bring the ASBP’s mission out to the community.

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.