Fort Knox’s Cadet Summer Training (CST) program host one of the largest blood drives for the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) all year.
It is expected that over 10,000 Cadets and Cadre members will be donating blood this summer as part of the Warrior Forge Program. This program challenges them to look beyond themselves and think more about the organization. A majority will be donating for the first time. However, the Cadets understand that it is their duty as future army officers to protect their fellow servicemen and families.
“Although I’m just in ROTC right now, I feel like I’m helping those men and women who are risking their lives everyday,” said Cdt. Christopher Von Der Linn, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
The ASBP provides blood products including, including human blood, labile blood components and plasma for service members, veterans and their families in both peace and war. This is a joint operation among all the military services. The ASBP works tirelessly and diligently to not only collect but also process, store, distribute and transfuse blood worldwide.
Fort Hood and Fort Leonard Wood is responsible for the first wave of roughly 2,000 donations and will be followed by members of Fort Bragg and the Red Cross. The magnitude of this program is extensive.
Capt. Nathan Baker, who has served in the 932nd blood detachment out of Fort Hood, Texas, explains the process and the significance of multiple blood donor centers nationwide working together to fund one-grand mission.
“We conduct mobile blood banks annually. Different representatives from different blood donor center will come and get different regiments and companies, most of who are in their final days of training throughout the month of June and July. In the end, we are serving DOD dependents, our even Veteran Affairs hospital, ourselves and care facilities.”
There is a constant need for donations regardless if the nation is at war or piece. That is why Cdt. Chelsea Dodd is no stranger to the donation bed.
“I feel like it’s really important to give blood, especially from military to military personnel. I give blood in the civilian world as much as I can, but this is the first time I’ve given to this program. This experience means a little more going from soldier to soldier,” she said.
Maj. James Burke, from Fort Leonard Wood, explains the importance of Cadets being a part of this program. “These are going to be our future officers that will keep this Army going. This is going to be one of their primary responsibilities, ensuring that there is an adequate supply for the military.”
Leadership is one of the key concepts drilled into Cadets at CST. This blood drive helped them realize what and for whom they are dedicating their lives. As Cdt. Zachary Hoffam said, “It is an honor.”