FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Sept 11, 2009)- U.S. Army South joined forces with the Armed Services Blood Program and Akeroyd Blood Donor Center during a blood drive here Sep 8.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a joint operation among the military providing quality blood products for service members and their families, at home and in harms ways. The Akeroyd Blood Donor Center is one of the 20 Armed Services Blood Program blood donor centers throughout the United States.

"Every quarter we have one volunteer mission," said Staff Sgt. Billy Bob Dodson, Army South plans and operations non-commissioned officer in charge. "We decided to work with them and donate blood. All this blood goes back to military personnel."

The Armed Services Blood Program has been giving life to service members for more than 50 years. Today's Armed Services Blood Program consists of approximately 81 blood banks and blood donor centers worldwide, which includes 22 Food and Drug Administration licensed blood donor centers, focusing their efforts on the Armed Services.

According to Sgt. Jason Nelson, with Akeroyd Blood Donor Center, donating blood through the Armed Services Blood Program is important to service members.

"It's blood for your own," said Nelson. "The blood stays within the military to support the military and missions overseas."

There is much camaraderie among the service members, especially when fellow comrades are family members.

"I have been overseas and have relations overseas, especially my little brother," said Sgt. Jason Longoria, Army South plans and operations. "If I can give something - this is definitely what I want to give back."

Service members with Army South understand that their mission is to conduct operations and theater security cooperation to detect, deter and disrupt transnational threats in order to protect the United States of America and to enhance Hemispheric security. However, they also understand the importance of supporting their fellow service members in order to support the overall Army mission.

"I donate because someone besides myself may need blood someday," said Sgt. First Class Prisciliano Diaz, Army South International Military Affairs. "It felt great to know I was helping other Soldiers."