NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina –
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) helps ensure missionreadiness for injured military personnel in need of blood and functions as the military’s only blood program. Aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, the ASBP operates out of the Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s Blood Donor Center.
Blood collected from ASBP is used to care for active-duty personnel and their families with blood units often shipped overseas. Donations may also support NMCCL’s Level III Trauma Center; according to the ASBP, a single trauma victim could need 40 or more units of blood.
“ASBP collects blood for use on the frontline as well as in hospitals for active-duty personnel and their families, retirees and civilians serviced at military installation trauma centers,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jerry Hughes, blood service department head. “We are, however, restricted to only collecting on federally owned property.”
As the nation presses forward post-pandemic, the NMCCL ASBP has noticed a dip in donation numbers, and they are working to increase both blood donations and awareness for the program. While blood donation is voluntary, if the donor center’s store runs out, requesting blood units from other blood collection services often comes with a price tag.
“Some of the leadership I’ve spoken with thought ASBP was partnered with the other blood collection services,” said Wendy Binder, ASBP public affairs specialist. “Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and any blood supplied by [other services], we have to pay for.”
Although there has been a decline in donations, the need for blood donors has not changed. The ASBP must meet weekly quotas from processing laboratories on the East and West Coasts, so at a moment’s notice, blood can be supplied to any service member far and wide.
According to Hughes, the ASBP supplies blood to ships, forward-deployed locations, humanitarian missions, and any other mission-essential areas. ASBP holds regular blood drives, but that isn’t always enough. If an individual can’t donate blood due to health reasons, there are other ways to contribute.
“Some people just can’t donate,” said Binder. “But those who are passionate about helping can do other things like coordinate with us to hold your own blood drive or just help spread the word so viable donors can get to us.”
ASBP is currently in need of O and AB blood type donations. Giving blood takes at most 30 minutes; donors can visit the NMCCL Blood Donor Center between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Mondays to get their names on the donation list.
“Blood is mission readiness, so we are mission essential,” said Hughes. “The military can't complete their missions if we can’t complete ours.”
For more information about ASBP, how to donate or host a blood drive, please visit the link: https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/