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Col. John Atkinson, commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion, thanks Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Perez for donating at the Armed Services Blood Program blood drive held on Sept. 11, 2018.

Photo by File Photo

Marine Donors Remember 9/11 with a Sept. 11 Blood Drive

17 Oct 2018 | Donna Onwona, ASBP donor recruiter, National Capital Region Marine Corps Base Quantico

Donors are at Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) are always ready to support the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP); they recently held an important blood drive on Sept. 11 ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Not only was the blood drive in honor of the nearly 3,000 who lost their lives on 9/11, it was also the weekend when Hurricane Florence was expected to make landfall. The approaching storm made the drive especially important for the ASBP; it would help to pad blood supplies ahead of Florence and avoid collection shortages in-theater and at military treatment facilities along the East Coast, including Camp Lejeune, Fort Bragg and Portsmouth.

One of the leaders there regularly donates and encourages Marines and civilians to donate, too. Commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion at Quantico, Col. John Atkinson, said, “The Marines and Sailors of the Beast and MCB Quantico are men and women for others. We had an awesome turnout on 9/11 [2018], and there’s no better way to remember 9/11 than by donating life-giving blood. This is Semper Fidelis ‘Always Faithful’ in action.”

Atkinson particularly thanked donors with Blood Type O and encouraged them to donate as part of the ‘blood challenge’ which leads up to the Dec. 8 Army-Navy game. Throughout the challenge, volunteers donate blood and, by doing so, vote for their team with their donation. He said, “We need you to donate at every blood drive, especially the MCBQ Army-Navy Blood Challenge on December 3! The Dec. 3 blood drive will be the fifth of the year hosted by Headquarters and Service Battalion and, year after year, is the site on MCBQ, where the most blood is collected.

Part of the Marine culture is that they clearly understand the importance of donating regularly and supporting the military blood program. At Quantico’s September blood drive, 98 donors rolled up their sleeves, making it their largest blood drive so far this year thereof 2018 to date.

Director of the Navy Blood Program, Cdr. Jonathan Hoiles, said, "Hurricane Florence forced the closure of the Navy Blood Donor Centers at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, and a number of blood drives had to be cancelled. The Navy Blood Program is extremely grateful for all of our volunteer blood donors who stepped up to donate blood in a great time of need. These collections were absolutely critical to provide ongoing patient support at our military treatment facilities here at home and to support downrange warfighters in theater. We are extremely grateful to have such dedicated donors at Marine Corps Base Quantico."

About the Armed Services Blood Program

Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.

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