"Duty, Honor, Country." This is the motto of the United States Military Academy at West Point. The motto, however, is more than just words, as evidenced by the enthusiastic showing of Cadets who took a break from their studies to give blood for the troops.

The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) blood drive was held January 8 - 11 in Eisenhower Hall on the West Point campus and was an overwhelming success. In fact, over 1500 units of whole blood were collected-enough to supply over 90 percent of the ASBP requirement for the first two weeks of January. More than 100 Army, Navy and Air Force personnel from installations across the country came together to ensure blood was collected safely and efficiently.

In addition to donating blood, many who attended the drive also registered as potential volunteer marrow donors through the C. W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program. This program provides life-saving marrow for patients throughout the world.

This was the first time incoming Cadets learned about the ASBP, the military program that supplies blood and blood products to sick and wounded military members and their families. Lieutenant Colonel Emmett Gourdine, Officer in Charge of the Fort Knox blood donor center noted, "Most of the Cadets I spoke with had some connection to a family member or friend who was, had been, or soon would be in Iraq or Afghanistan. That personal connection to someone who may need their blood makes donating feel that much more important."

To show their support of troops who had been injured, the Cadets also signed a banner thanking wounded warriors for their service and sacrifice. The banner was later displayed in the recovery area at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

All blood collected at the drive was delivered to Fort Knox, Kentucky for testing and repackaging. From there, the vast majority was sent to the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratories for shipment overseas, while some units went to treat those at military treatment facilities here at home.

The blood these Cadets donated will save lives and Gourdine noted, "It's great to see these Cadets starting out their military careers focused on how they can take care of each other. Looking out for one another is one of the very best things about the military community and this drive was a shining example of that dedication."

If you are interested in donating blood to the Armed Services Blood Program you can schedule a donation appointment online or call an ASBP blood donor center near you.