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USPACOM ASBBC Collects Blood for Balikatan Exercise in the Philippines
By Lance Cpl. Danielle Prentice, Marine Corps Installations Pacific
A technician draws blood April 3 at the Armed Services Blood Bank Center aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. The ASBBC is hosting blood drives for Exercise Balikatan in the Philippines. “Balikatan” is a Filipino term that means shoulder-to-shoulder, focusing on the partnership between the two nations. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Danielle Prentice, Marine Corps Installation Pacific)
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — Having blood on hand is very important during training with live ammunition, especially when held in remote locations where hospitals are out of immediate reach.
The U.S. Pacific Command Armed Services Blood Bank Center is hosting blood drives across Okinawa the first three weeks of April for this year’s Exercise Balikatan in the Philippines.
“This blood is being collected mostly as a contingency plan,” said Navy Lt. Jeffrey Hebert, director of the USPACOM ASBBC. “Any exercises where they’re doing something dangerous, have live fire or any weapons discharging, they want to have blood on hand to be able to save lives or stop injuries.”
During Exercise Balikatan, Philippine and U.S. service members perform humanitarian assistance projects and tactical-level counter terrorism subject matter expert exchanges throughout the Philippines. Military medical personnel will offer free medical, dental and veterinary care.
“One successful donation has the potential to save three lives,” said Hebert.
Donated blood is delivered as quickly as possible to the locations of the exercises because it is only good for 42 days after it is collected, according to Hebert.
“For Balikatan, we will be shipping to six different locations, with some units being hand-carried and pre-positioned on a ship,” said Hebert. “This week's collection will be shipped out in approximately two weeks, after we have had time to complete Transfusion Transmitted Disease testing and guarantee a safe product.”
The USPACOM ASBBC is also supporting other upcoming exercises, such as Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, Pacific Pathways, Talisman Strike, and Tiger Balm 2017.
“The USPACOM ASBBC is the only source of blood for all military service members stationed on Okinawa, mainland Japan, and in support of special missions and exercises in the region. We support the blood requirements of USNH Okinawa, USNH Yokosuka, Yokota Air Base, Misawa Air Base, and Branch Health Clinic Diego Garcia,” said Hebert.
There are many things that can prevent someone from being able to donate. Some of those things aren’t always thought of by potential donors, which is why a short screening process is done before they are allowed to donate.
Certain locations that service members are stationed or deployed to could defer them from being an eligible donor. Those locations include Afghanistan, North Korea and Europe. Afghanistan and North Korea can defer someone for two years. Europe can defer someone indefinitely depending on where they traveled and how long they were there, according to Hebert.
The USPACOM ASBBC is accepting all blood types, but specifically for Exercise Balikatan they are looking for O-negative and O-positive.
Potential donors can call the USPACOM ASBBC aboard Camp Foster at the DSN 646-9939 to check their eligibility.
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
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The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the
Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award
This story was originally published on the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System April 4. Republished content may have been edited for length, clarity and to follow the ASBP style guidelines. View the original article
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