ASBP: Team Dover Supports Lifesaving Mission
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Team Dover Supports Lifesaving Mission

By Mauricio Campino, Dover Air Force Base, DE
Since 1952, the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) has been collecting, processing and distributing blood products for the military community. Following the Korean War, the ASBP became the sole provider of blood and blood products for the U.S. armed forces. During times of both peace and war, the mission of the ASBP is to provide quality blood products in support of contingency operations, military exercises, Veterans Affairs hospitals and civilian emergencies worldwide. Spearheading that mission is the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory East (ASWBPL-E) at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (MDL), where a variety of blood products are gathered, stored and distributed.

“The process of receiving, testing and shipping is a multi-faceted process. Our team here works as a well-oiled machine; this reflects the teamwork and the family environment encouraged at ASWBPL,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Waples, ASWBPL-E quality assurance program manager.

Shipments of blood products must reach their overseas destination within 72 hours of being packaged at Joint Base MDL. Twice a week, refrigerated trucks carrying blood products from Joint Base MDL arrive at Dover Air Force Base. Team Dover Airmen at the aerial port truck dock are notified when the truck is en route and stand by ready to receive it. Within minutes of the truck pulling up to the dock, the blood shipment is offloaded, scanned and processed into the Global Air Transportation Execution System to track it to destinations overseas.

The blood is then moved to the “special handling” section. Should flights be delayed due to mechanical issues or extreme weather, the Airmen at special handling are trained and equipped to properly store and repack the shipment in ice if necessary. Special care is always taken to ensure the boxes containing the blood are properly palletized. While this is happening, the “load planning” section configures the proper pallet arrangement. Pallets with blood shipments are perishable and loaded according to a last in, first out process. This allows the blood to be the first cargo offloaded when it arrives at its destination. Finally, it’s the task of the “ramp operations” section to get the blood loaded on the aircraft.

This is a mission that requires precise coordination and teamwork from the ASWBPL and the various sections of the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, but it’s a mission they’re proud to have.

“If we can do our part to save a life or two or 200, we’ll do it,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Metz, 436th Aerial Port Squadron ramp operations supervisor.

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 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.

This article was originally published on DVIDS website, August 20, 2018. Republished content may have been edited for length, clarity and to follow the ASBP style guidelines. View the original article here