FORT HOOD, Texas (ASBP, November 2010) - Specs. Erin Jones and William Jones of Portland, Ore., have quite a bit in common. In addition to serving together in A company, 21st Combat Support Hospital at Fort Hood, Texas, both medics know the value of donating blood. Which is why the couple worked together to sponsor an Armed Services Blood Drive at their company on Nov. 9, 2010.

The unit, part of the III Corps' First Medical Brigade, is mostly deployed overseas in support of worldwide contingency operations. Leaders and soldiers worked together to organize the blood drive as they considered their absent comrades.

"This blood drive is a great example of both the challenges and the successes that units face in supporting the blood program at Fort Hood," said Sgt. 1st Class Darrin Houfek, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the Robertson Blood Center. "Many of those soldiers are deployed and others are supporting training at the National Training Center. In fact, Erin Jones received only a last minute notice that she was to stand in for the regular unit blood coordinator."

Erin Jones was undaunted by the task. "I got with the commander and she told me that she would support me," she said. "My husband and other soldiers helped get the site ready. This drive might be a little smaller than normal, but we are still having a successful drive."

Like most military blood donor centers around the country, the Robertson Blood Center at Fort Hood, Texas, collects blood and blood products for shipment overseas to support the men and women serving in war zones worldwide. The center works to deliver products to forward units no later than the fourth day after collection. At this pace, sometimes smaller, but more frequent blood drives can be the key to success, providing a steady stream of donations for constant processing and delivery. While large blood drives may come off as more impressive, offering a large infusion of blood over a short time, large drives do not typically offer a continuous supply of blood. In all, about a dozen donors attended the drive.

Staff Sgt. Marcus Menchaca, blood drive team leader, called it a good day. "Having a good estimate of how many donors will support the drive can be as important as having a lot of donors. That way, we know to bring the right amount of people and equipment, collect what we expect and move on to the next mission," he said.

In the short week before Veterans Day 2010, the troopers of the 21st Combat Support Hospital took the extra time to ensure their comrades down range had the supplies they needed. In this, they were very successful.

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