Blood donor month: Be a silent hero with gift of life Published Jan. 20, 2016 By Lt. Col. Julianna L. Olson 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron Chief Nurse DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- The Air Force has a long history when it comes to the national blood donation system. The system dates all the way back to World War II when the Army Air Corps created the capabilities to transport much needed blood products from the United States into campaign theaters. This capability significantly increased the survival rate of wounded troops demonstrated from the previous war. From then until today the Air Force still provides this lifesaving capability not only in war, but during peacetime operations. Blood donations truly are “the gift of life.” Not only whole blood, but blood products such as plasma, can be rapidly infused into a severely injured person or given as treatment for various blood disorders. This provides lifesaving treatment to those who otherwise would not have survived. For those who have been deployed or watched a wounded warrior commercial, you have most likely seen firsthand recipients of this valuable gift. However, without people that are willing to “roll up their sleeves” and donate, these survivors would not be with us. The American Red Cross/International Red Crescent are the largest civilian blood donation organizations, with locations in all major cities, and a constant “army” of mobile donation sites. In addition, the U.S. military has their own blood donation organization: the Armed Services Blood Program, which collects blood specifically for the military community, answering the need 24/7 when a service member is wounded. During this National Blood Donor Month, you too can be a silent hero by giving the gift of life. Locate your local American Red Cross at www.RedCross.org, or the ASBP at www.militaryblood.dod.mil/Donors/where_to_give.aspx.