FORT BLISS, Texas - The 402nd Field Artillery Brigade was recognized by the Armed Services Blood Program here recently for donating more than 95 units of blood during 2013.

Receiving the award for the Soldiers of the 402nd, who gave 96 units, was Col. Carolyn Birchfield, 402nd Brigade commander, Command Sgt. Maj. Ernest Bowen, brigade command sergeant major and Sgt. 1st Class Jai Haney, brigade medic.

"When Soldiers give blood they create a special bond with the Soldier receiving blood, and it does not matter they mostly will never meet that specific Soldier," said Bowen. "It is a bond of support that says, 'I?'m here for you.'"

With seven blood drives organized by Haney, the brigade managed to donate the 96 units.

"Blood is the vital element within the body. We breathe air but it is blood that carries that O2 to your vital organs," said Haney. "If you want to make difference for that wounded Soldier, make sure blood or blood products are in ample supply."

The ASBP is the official military blood program of U.S. since its inception over 50 years ago, and collected nearly 5 million blood units to support military service members and their families in both peace and war.