Operation Blood Count
Soldiers in front of the 28th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) in Baghdad, Iraq proudly display a banner with signatures of support from military blood donors. The banner was signed during a National Guard blood drive held on 28 September 2006 in Nashville, Tenn. Country music sensation Aaron Tippin and wife Thea Tippin also signed the banner during the drive and thanked donors for their generous contributions to the troops. Thanks to the support of military blood donors, the Armed Services Blood program collected more than twice the amount of blood expected.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2007 - The Armed Services Blood Program Web site has been redesigned, offering updated content as well as a new look, officials said.

The new Web site, www.militaryblood.dod.mil, features information on how to join a "Life Force" team of donors, volunteers and supporters. Topics include blood facts, donor eligibility criteria, donor center locations, and more.

Other information offered involves the ASBP "Specialist in Blood Banking" program, its curriculum and how to apply.

Convenient links direct users to online blood donation appointment scheduling via the "Click to Save Lives" blood drop button on the ASBP home page. Other information links access blood donor eligibility criteria and donation locations.

The new Web site "is very much improved. I think it was very professionally done. I was very impressed," Margaret Tippy, U.S. Army Medical Command's media relations officer, said. Located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, U.S. MEDCOM is the executive agent for the military's blood donation program.

It's a little-known fact that about 20 percent of servicemembers donate blood, compared to less than 5 percent of the civilian populace, Navy Cmdr. Michael C. Libby, director of the U.S. military's blood program, said during a Pentagon Channel interview in December.

Libby said the program collected twice as much blood in 2006 than it did in 2001. That's possible, he said, because of the great generosity of the program's donors.

National Volunteer Blood Donor Month is held annually in January. That is the traditional time when the ASBP salutes its donors for their generosity, Libby said. "It is because of them that the program is very successful and we can support our warfighters," he said.

The ASBP collects blood only from servicemembers, government civilians, retirees and their family members. The U.S. military needs blood every day for critically injured troops, cancer patients, premature infants and other uses, Libby said. The program manages 18 stateside blood donor centers and four overseas centers. Donors normally give about a pint of blood at a sitting.

Most people who are eligible to donate provide blood to the program, Libby said. Only a small percentage may be restricted from doing so because of travel to certain countries or the taking certain medications. Specific information on these restrictions may be found on the program's Web site.

Blood is always needed, Libby said, noting blood products normally must be replenished about 42 days after being collected. Frozen blood can be stored for years.

Page last updated Mon February 12th, 2007 at 10:27