FORT HOOD, Texas (Army News Service, March 5, 2008) -- Soldiers lined up inside the 704th Brigade Support Battalion's motor pool Feb. 7 to donate blood and help fellow battle buddies currently deployed to Iraq.

The donated blood will be delivered through Fort Hood's Robertson Blood Center to Iraq for Soldiers needing blood transfusions due to injuries.

Company B, 704th BSB, organized the blood drive because the need for blood is rising, while at the same time, the number of Soldiers eligible to donate blood is dropping. According to blood donation rules, for instance, Soldiers who have been in Iraq or Afghanistan cannot donate blood for a year after they return.

With demand for blood increasing and Soldiers available to donate decreasing, it is extremely important for eligible Soldiers to donate their blood.

"It's important to donate blood to help the Soldiers who are stationed in Iraq," said Pvt. Cindy Eddy, one of the human resource specialists assigned to Company B, 704th BSB. "I know when I'm deployed I'd like to feel confident that if myself or one of my battle buddies are injured, there will be enough of a blood supply to help keep us alive."

The requirements for blood donation are changing. Before the recent changes, you had to wait a year after getting a tattoo before you could give blood again. Now, that standard has recently been changed to only waiting a week. This change is in hopes that the number of eligible donors will grow.

"It's very important that you come donate even if you're scared of needles or scared of blood," said Sgt. Amy Smith, a laboratory specialist from the medical unit. "We have the best trained civilians and military medical staff that will walk you through the procedure and make it as comfortable as possible."

That slight discomfort from giving blood today could provide relief to someone in need of that blood to save their life tomorrow.

Soldiers who want to donate blood can visit the website and click the Aca,!A"Give Blood NowAca,!A? link to find the nearest donation center or the next blood drive. Soldiers can also use the site to find information about organizing a blood drive.