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Joint blood drives a success

  • Published
  • By Airman Carissa Wolff
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Approximately 100 Joint Region Guam members donated blood at the Armed Forces Blood Bank Center blood drives March 2 through March 4 at Andersen and Naval Base Guam.

The donations are vital to the AFBBC's continued operations because the organization primarily accepts donation from servicemembers and their families. Equally important these donations are used only for the Armed Forces, meaning the blood goes to no outside agencies.

The blood drives, provided by the AFBBC based at Camp Lester, in Okinawa, Japan, are the first blood drives of the year, with the resulting donations being the average amount collected between Team Andersen and Naval Base, Guam.

The AFBBC is the only blood bank in the Pacific Region, traveling frequently to provide blood drives and blood supplies to the region. The AFBBC has 55,000 beneficiaries at its home station of Camp Lester plus 175,000 more throughout the Pacific. The organization also provides blood products for any humanitarian missions or naval ships within the Pacific Region.

"We cover an area from Hawaii all the way to Diego Garcia and everything in between," said Petty Officer 1st Class Francis Odell, AFBBC senior enlisted administrator.

Once the blood products collected have been tested for diseases and approved, the blood supply is then shipped to Pacific Command locations for use. The AFBBC provides the local military hospital, U.S. Naval Base Guam, with their entire blood supply.

Due to the AFBBC being the only blood bank in the PACOM, typically help treat members within the command, according to Petty Officer Odell.

A Team Andersen member, deployed from Minneapolis Joint Air Reserve Station, Minn., came out to help support the blood drives, explaining how important it is to him.

"I donate blood so other people in need can use it," said Tech. Sgt. Christian Krug, 36th Communications Squadron computer operations specialist. "I like knowing that my blood possibly saved lives. I'm a routine blood donor for that reason, it really does save lives."

The AFBBC is a joint operation using servicemembers from all services in its operation.

"Being assigned to this program is fun," Petty Officer Odell said. "Every service has a specific way of doing business and it's a wonderful learning experience every day."

The AFBBC is tentatively scheduled to return to Andersen and Naval Base Guam during the summer to host another set of blood drives.