ROSE BARRACKS, Germany - Medical personnel from C Troop, Regimental Support Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, conducted blood collection training during the Regimental Support Area defensive exercise in Grafenwoehr Training Area Feb 28, 2017.

The exercise sought to validate RSA defensive procedures and mass casualty operations within the 2CR RSA in preparation for the upcoming Saber Junction 17 exercise occurring at Joint Multinational Readiness Center, which will include multiple squadrons from across the Regiment.

Unique to this JMRC rotation will be the inclusion of 212th Combat Support Hospital out of Sembach, Germany, who will be serving as the exercise's Role III medical care. C Troop, RSS will also be supplemented by a Forward Surgical Team from 212th CSH during Saber Junction 17 to enhance and expand the Role II's medical care treatment and surgical capabilities.

The Forward Support Troop's specific blood bank requirement prompted Cpt. Elvin Marmol, commander of C Troop, to explore the 'walking blood bank' concept within the Role II in the event of blood shortages due to multiple critical casualties.

"As a Soldier, you are keenly aware that the leading cause of death on the battlefield is uncontrolled hemorrhage," Marmol said. "Use of fresh whole blood transfusions can be a powerful tool for our medical personnel to use in order to provide lifesaving care."

A Role II typically does not store large quantities of blood, necessitating a walking blood bank to rapidly conduct blood transfusions from available pre-screened soldiers to casualties. In the event of multiple life-threatening injuries, a Role II with a walking blood bank can rapidly marshal the pre-screened soldiers for large quantities of fresh whole blood draws to immediately save lives.

Because of the inherent risks involved with blood transfusions in a field environment including contamination, ineligible or unscreened donors, and rigorous storage requirements; a walking blood bank is generally preferred over traditional blood bank storage when considering MASCAL operations or multiple casualties with life-threatening injuries.

The blood collection conducted by Spc. Gary Tran, a lab technician for 2CR, under the instruction of the Regimental Support Squadron Surgeon Cpt. Andre Liem, marks the first step towards a fully-functional walking blood bank concept.

This training marks the beginning of an entirely new capability for 2CR as the regiment continues to train and fight in increasingly unpredictable environments. "The goal is to elevate the Regiment's capability to where our medics can safely carry out the collection and administration of whole blood in an austere setting, thus enhancing the survivability of our Troopers in combat." said Cpt. Marmol.