FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Sand Hill at Fort Benning is home to various one-station unit and basic training companies tasked with the mission of turning civilians into Soldiers. Although mostly known for this, Sand Hill is home to another important organization responsible for providing the very lifeline these new Soldiers may need on the battlefield: blood.
The Sullivan Memorial Blood Center, established in 2012, collects blood and platelet donations that are processed and shipped stateside and abroad in coordination with the Armed Services Blood Program. The Armed Services Blood Program provides blood products for service members, veterans and their Families in both peace and war. As a joint operation among military services the ASBP collects, processes, stores, distributes and transfuses blood worldwide.
The Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning commanding general, Maj. Gen. Gary M. Brito, toured the center for the first time March 22, and said he was overly impressed not just by the facility but by the Soldiers and civilians who helped contribute daily to its success.
The Martin Army Community Hospital Command Sgt. Maj. Rebecca Booker, who accompanied Brito on his tour, emphasized the importance of the mission of the center and the work of its employees.
"Donating blood is important not only in contingency operations here in our garrison areas, but for our areas abroad and the different type of fight we have now," Booker said. "Getting that blood to that patient as fast as we can saves lives, so it's important that we back here are pushing forward what we can to those units."
This was also Booker's first time touring the center.
"I'm just very impressed with what they do here," Booker said. "Their attitudes are so positive. Their talent is awesome."
Maj. Vincent Duncan, who has served as the center's director for the past two years, echoed Booker's sentiments.
"In my opinion, this is one of the best centers," said Duncan, who has served in the lab and blood collection field for 30 years. "It's the Soldiers who make the center. They have a great attitude. They are highly trained and very skilled, and when they come in knowing our mission is very important, they give it all they got, and it rubs off on everyone."