WASHINGTON, July 18, 2012 -- The Armed Services Blood Program is the official contributor of the blood supply to the military and their Families. Unlike many community type blood organizations, the ASBP is limited to recruiting donors from military facilities and from federal employees alone.

This can be a tough job for us at the ASBP, as many active duty military can be deferred from donating blood due to their travels and deployments. So, often we look to the civilians who work on these military bases and for federal agencies to help us ensure that the blood supply will be available in a time of need.

In recent weeks, the need for blood has increased due to heavy combat activity overseas, so a plea for donations to such places as Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has gone out.

Take part in supporting the troops in a real-world way by donating blood Wednesday, July 25 from 8 a.m. to noon at Smith Gym on the Henderson Hall portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The Armed Services Blood Program collection team will be available to accept blood donations from eligible individuals, military and civilian alike. Anyone who is in general good health, is a minimum of 110 pounds and has returned from deployment over 12 months ago may be eligible to donate. To avoid a wait, go online to www.militarydonor.com and schedule an appointment. Simply establish a simple registration profile first, then search for the blood drive using sponsor code: FtMyer.

To save more time, complete the travel history form online at www.militaryblood.dod.mil/wrnmmc/pdfs/ASBBCForm044-ForeignCountryTravelInfo_Oct2010.pdf (see related links, to the right of this article), save it to your computer, print it and bring the completed form to registration. Also, look on www.militaryblood.dod.mil to determine eligibility and find donor deferral criteria.

Each week the ASBP has a quota to fill that consists of type specific units of fresh red cell units needed for combat operations and overseas assistance. In addition, three local hospitals in the National Capital Region - Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base and the Fort Belvoir Hospital - use blood products to support the needs of wounded military personnel in recovery, their Family members and military veterans.

In the past two years, JBM-HH has hosted four blood drives with 300-plus individuals coming forward to help. Total good units collected: 237 units of life saving blood. The goal for the July 25 blood drive is 150 to 175 individuals coming forward to help with a final collection goal of 95 pints of blood.

Be a part of this life saving operation. For more information and registration details: www.militarydonor.com; see www.militaryblood.dod.mil.