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Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

Around the Army: Army blood drive targets donors

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Fort Meade, Md. — The goal of the Army’s new blood drive campaign is to match a donor’s blood type with a specific need, rather than simply issuing a general call for donations.

It’s an education campaign as much as it is a blood drive, said Julie Oliveri, director, communications and marketing, Armed Services Blood Program Office.

“Many of our donors are accustomed to signing up for blood drives and coming in to donate, irrespective of their blood type. We don’t want our very dedicated donors to be alienated by the idea that we might need a specific type at a specific blood drive, and that type may not be theirs,” she said.

“This is also why we take the time to explain that certain blood types are well suited for certain blood products. For example if you are O, you will want to donate whole blood, A for plasma or plateletpheresis, and AB for plasma. We suggest that our donors check with their local donor center to find out exactly what their needs are,” said Oliveri.

“Our goal,” she said, “is to encourage donors to register online so local donor centers can contact them to let them know when their type is needed and where and when the next blood drive will be.” To register, visit www.militarydonor.com/index.cfm.

Giving blood is a way of supporting wounded warriors, as well as Soldiers and their families everywhere, who could someday require a blood transfusion, said Col. Ronny Fryar, Army Blood Program director, who explained the process. ABP is a component of the Armed Services Blood Program.

“We monitor the blood supply worldwide,” he said. “For example, we ensure there’s enough in Afghanistan to treat our wounded warriors. Having enough on hand could entail requesting a shipment from Germany or elsewhere to replenish the supply. As a matter of fact, blood is routinely shipped throughout DOD.”

Aging infrastructure threatens security

FORT MEADE, Md. — A national strategy is needed to determine U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project priorities and funding, Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick said Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Bostick was responding to senators’ questions about the pace and funding of projects at a nomination hearing for his appointment to chief of engineers/commanding general, USACE.

The general, who has led Army engineers in times of war and peace since 1978, said congressional authorizing and funding is urgently needed to address the country’s aging infrastructure, including deepening of harbor and waterways to accommodate larger ships and improved navigation; hydropower improvements; levee protection; as well as ecosystems improvements, such as sustainment of the fisheries industry. He said failure to address these concerns would affect the nation’s economic and security interests.

Bostick offered that he and “the Corps could work as a catalyst for such a national vision, which would determine priorities based on a broad consensus of national, state, local government and nongovernmental organizations.”

He acknowledged that the Corps takes its project marching orders from Congress, but added that it provides Congress and others advice on project priorities based on its own performance-based studies and metrics.

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