The Marine Corps Detachment at Fort Leonard Wood is doing something in grander fashion than any other unit on post, and has been doing so since January. They're donating blood with the Armed Services Blood Program.

Donating 290 total units in nine drives, so far, the detachment currently occupies the No. 1 spot on the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center's Top 10 List of Donating Units, a place they've occupied for the past 10 months.

"We Marines take pride in the fact that we are all leaders, and leaders make sacrifices and attend to the needs of others before attending to their own," said Marine Col. George Markert, Fort Leonard Wood Marine Corps Detachment commander. "What this says about our Marine Corps Detachment is that the notion of service is first and foremost in our minds. Our nation needs us to be at our absolute best at all times, and part of that sense of duty is volunteering to help those in need, ultimately contributing to the preservation of the American way of life," Markert said.

At Fort Leonard Wood, the detachment staff trains Marines in engineer, military police and motor transportation specialties and boasts the largest Marine Corps unit not located on a Marine Corps installation.

"We're thankful for all donors who support the Armed Services Blood Program, especially units like the Marine Corps Detachment that do so in a big way," said Maj. James Burke, Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center officer in charge.

"Thanks to the Marine Corps Detachment, a lot of people will get the lifesaving blood products they need. It's our hope that other units on post will follow their lead and everyone will come out winners in the end," he added.

To date, the Marines are averaging 32.2 donors per drive and have made lifesaving blood products available to more than 580 people -- enough to staff an average-size military battalion.

Markert said donating to the ASBP not only helps the military collect much-needed blood for service members and their Families, it helps his unit as well.

"Blood donations are just one of many services we Marines provide that reinforce the sense of community we all hold dear at Fort Leonard Wood," he said. "We must always be aggressive in giving back to Americans who have proudly supported our mission for so long."

The Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center collects blood for the ASBP, the official blood collection and distribution agency for the Department of Defense. So far in 2016, the center has collected 5,199 units of blood.

A single unit of blood has the potential to save up to three lives. That translates into approximately 15,597 blood products -- plasma, platelets -- being available to ill and injured service members and their Families worldwide.

To put this into perspective, this could make one blood product available to every man, woman and child in nearby Waynesville and nearly half of the people in nearby St. Robert.

To salute the organizations who donate at the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center, the staff comprised a list of the Top 10 Donating Units which is compiled monthly.

Here are the remaining nine units on the list for January through October 2016.

-- No. 2: Company A, 58th Transportation Battalion, with 225 units donated in 14 drives

-- No. 3: Air Force Detachment with 191 units donated in four drives

-- No. 4: Company C, 58th Trans. Bn., with 187 units donated in 12 drives

-- No. 5: General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital with 180 units donated in five drives

-- No. 6: Company A, 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, with 175 units donated in three drives

-- No. 7: Company E, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, with 165 units donated in four drives

-- No. 8: Company B, 58th Trans. Bn., with 157 units donated in 13 drives

-- No. 9: Company B, 554th Engineer Battalion, with 151 units donated in three drives

-- No. 10: Company C, 35th Engineer Battalion, with 136 units donated in four drives.

"Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has donated with us so far in 2016, and we look forward to seeing them along with a large group of new donors real soon," Burke said.

For more information about the Fort Leonard Wood Blood Donor Center, call 573.596.0131, ext. 65385 or email

(Editor's note: Norman is the Fort Leonard Wood Armed Services Blood Program blood donor recruiter.)