Soldiers help make life-sustaining facility a stronger team
September 26, 2013
CAMP LESTER, Japan - The U.S. Pacific Command's Armed Services Blood Bank Center in Okinawa has a vital and important mission for the Department of Defense Pacific area of responsibility. It serves as the center of gravity for blood health support services operations in PACOM's area of responsibility while supporting over 175,000 service members, Department of Defense civilians and dependents across the region.
The center is unique in that more than 20 active duty and DoD civilian personnel from every branch of the military form a united front at the facility on Camp Lester. The staff includes three soldiers who contribute to make the team stronger.
Spc. Jessica Rose-Simpson, a lab technician at the ASBBC, said this is her first time working in a joint environment and although the policies and procedures may be different soldiers have found the key to being a valued team member.
"It's interesting working in a joint environment, but overall it's a great learning experience," said Rose-Simpson. "Everyone is trained to perform in each section in order to be proficient and be there for the team."
Rose-Simpson explained there are multiple sections or teams within the blood bank center to include a mobile blood donor team, processing, testing, clearing and supply sections. Each section helps to ensure quality of services of blood products to support the PACOM's eight medical treatment facilities in the region and also provides support to many Armed Forces exercises throughout the Pacific.
Spc. Haynd Palik, a medical logistics specialist, said he arrived from Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany with the expectation of working in property book management.
Palik said he found out to be a resourceful teammate it was necessary to switch gears from his traditional supply role to learning new tasks to help support the mission especially during personnel changes.
"When we were short staffed, I was trained to draw blood and joined the mobile blood team," said Palik. "It was a challenge but it's good to know every aspect of what goes on here."
Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Vionettis, a lab technician who serves as the leading petty officer in charge, said it's great to have soldiers on the team who are enthusiastic and motivated while working in a joint environment.
"They've performed superbly and have done a great job so far," said Vionettis. "They helped tremendously to help get the job done."
Rose-Simpson added it's good soldiers are welcomed to the ASBBC family with open arms because it allows for an easy transition from coming from a traditional Army unit to a joint environment. She added it's hard to not want to contribute to a great cause.
"It's a lot of work but the key is that you are literally working to save lives." said Rose-Simpson.