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Future Leaders at Cadet Summer Training Donate Blood with ASBP this Summer

Image of Future Leaders at Cadet Summer Training Donate Blood with ASBP this Summer. More than 3,500 Reserve Officer Training corps cadets from around the nation, all attending Cadet Summer Training, helped save thousands of lives from June 26 to Aug. 15, 2023, by donating blood with the Armed Services Blood Program in a series of drives at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The ASBP has held blood drives during CST for over a decade. (credit: U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Amanda Azubuike)

Scores of tomorrow’s leaders helped save thousands of lives from June 26 to Aug. 15, 2023, by donating blood to the Armed Services Blood Program in a series of drives at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

More than 3,500 Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from around the U.S., attending Cadet Summer Training, rolled up their sleeves at Smith Gym to give blood at the thirteen ASBP drives. Through their generosity, enough blood products will be available to provide one to every soldier serving in one average-size Army brigade. 

“The CST blood drives are invaluable to our mission,” said ASBP Division Chief U.S. Navy Capt. Leslie Riggs. “These drives have been a great success thanks to the willingness of cadets and others donating, and the partnership we have with the Army Cadet Command’s leadership. But, the real success is that thousands of service members and their families can have a second chance at life and recover from illness and injury thanks to everyone’s generosity and teamwork.” 

More than 3,500 Reserve Officer Training corps cadets from around the nation, all attending Cadet Summer Training, helped save thousands of lives from June 26 to Aug. 15, 2023, by donating blood with the Armed Services Blood Program in a series of drives at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The ASBP has held blood drives during CST for over a decade. (Credit: U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Amanda Azubuike)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Amanda Azubuike, Cadet Summer Training commandant and Army Cadet Command deputy commanding general, echoed those sentiments.

“We have great medical support within the military and blood is a significant component of that,” she said. “This program [the ASBP] provides the resources that’s not always readily available. In those critical moments, whether it’s in a trauma center in garrison or on the battlefield, you never know when you’re going to need blood. This means you always need a supply on the shelf. These CST drives are an important partnership that ensure we have enough blood resources to maintain a healthy force.”

Azubuike said Cadet Command has been supporting the ASBP blood drives for years because it shows cadets, who are future Army leaders, the importance of a program like this where one’s selflessness can save a fellow soldier’s life.

“They’ll go from here to lead soldiers who will someday have to go into combat,” Azubuike said. “At some point, one of their soldiers, or someone they know, may need blood. It takes people volunteering to give that blood because it doesn’t just come out of thin air. It’s important we educate these cadets at this entry level so they can carry the importance of giving blood with them throughout their entire career and life.”

The ASBP is the official blood program for the Department of Defense with a two-part mission. First, the program must provide blood and blood products to service members being treated during their deployment. Once that need is met, the ASBP then provides blood to military treatment facilities to treat an estimated 1.3 million service members, their families, retirees, and veterans at installations around the world.

Riggs thanked everyone who came out to donate at the CST drives because the need for blood is great and constant.

“Normally, donated blood only has a 42-day shelf life, so we need to collect it as often as we can because every day someone, somewhere needs blood,” he said. “We cannot get patients the blood products they need without people volunteering to give it. While we thank those who donated with the ASBP at Fort Knox, we ask others around the world to follow their example. If you have your health, celebrate it by giving blood to those who are not as fortunate.”

Azubuike echoed this sentiment and encouraged commanders and leaders at all levels to spread the word.

“Encourage your soldiers to give blood and share with them why it’s important so they know why they’re giving,” she said. “I don’t think most people realize how much blood it takes for any given procedure or that we just don’t have blood just sitting on the shelves. It’s always being used, and it is very necessary, so I encourage all soldiers to give.”

Cadets attending CST are encouraged to give blood at ASBP blood drives conducted each year. These drives are crucial to mission success at the ASBP, especially during the summer months where the program historically sees a decline in donations. To find out more about the ASBP, visit health.mil/militaryblood today. Thank you, Cadets!

About the Armed Services Blood Program

Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program is the official blood program of the United States military. Our mission is to provide quality blood products and support to military health care operations worldwide; from the battlefield to the local hospital, whenever and wherever needed. The ASBP collects, processes, stores, transports, and distributes blood products to service members, their families, retirees and veterans in peace and war. In an ASBP Enterprise view – Military Health Affairs, Defense Health Agency, Service Blood Programs and Combatant Commands – we operate under common goals, metrics, procedures, and work together to shape the future.

The ASBP is one of four organizations tasked with providing a safe blood supply to the nation. Our program also works closely with our civilian counterparts in times of need to maximize the availability of this national treasure.

To find out more about the ASBP or schedule an appointment to donate, please visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil. To interact directly with ASBP staff members or get the latest news, follow us @militaryblood on Facebook and Twitter, and @usmilitaryblood on Instagram.

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Last Updated: September 15, 2023
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