WADS members give 31 units of blood to ASBBC

By Capt. Kimberly Burke on May 5, 2016

U.S. Air National Guardsmen from the 225th Air Defense Group, Western Air Defense Sector, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, answered the Armed Services Blood Bank Center Pacific Northwest (ASBBC) call for blood donations, April 30.

ASBBC, located in the Madigan Annex on JBLM, is a tri-service organization that supports the blood requirements for four military hospitals. In this case, the center was in immediate need of additional blood donations, specifically of blood type O negative, in order to fulfill requirements in direct support of military overseas deployments.

"These donations will more than likely support servicemembers on the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan," commented Master Sgt. Traci Barnett, WADS blood drive co-coordinator.

The 31 airmen who rolled up their sleeves to donate blood, will more than likely have their blood available downrange in less than a week, according to Victor L. Shermer, ASBBC blood donor recruiter. O negative blood type is considered a universal red cell donor for all blood types.

According to the American Red Cross, O negative blood is only in about eight percent of the Caucasian population, four percent in the African-American population and Hispanic population, and only one percent in the Asian population. "The fact that three of the thirty-one blood donors are O negative, resulted in WADS providing more than the population norm," said Master Sgt. Malinda Gonnuscio, WADS blood drive co-coordinator. "In addition, we had nine O positive donors, who are also universal donors for people who are Rh positive for any blood type." Even though the ASBBC desired O blood donors, the organization was pleased to also receive two units of B negative blood, which is the rarest, according to Shermer.

Additional information on donating blood can be found at www.mamc.amedd.army.mil/clinical/blood-bank/default.aspx or to sign up to donate, go to www.militarydonor.com.