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When the blood runs dry

  • Published
  • By by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Attention on the FOB, Attention on the FOB…This is how it all began.

A call to attention from the giant voice alert system heard across the base.

All heads are up, silence fills the Dining Facility and at the end of the announcement, the pattern of marching feet exiting the building and heading to the Joint Craig Theater Hospital fills the air.

Immediately, as Public Affairs my fellow counterparts and I are curious as to what is going on and if our services are needed.

The base is on a mission, the hospital is in need of type B blood now.

We head to the hospital with our tools of the trade. Armed with our still and video cameras, we are preparing to cover the usual blood donation scene, the typical vision of, people waiting in a long line to get their veins poked.

This is not a typical scene. All hands are on deck in this harmonic scene of urgency and purpose.

Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and civilian contractors are compounding the space in this Role 3 hospital. The mixture of workout gear and military uniforms on flushed and sweat misted faces, tells me they dropped everything and came immediately.

Your normal blood donation, I think not. This was a call to arms and the weapon needed to help combat fatality was the blood of a fellow man.

Underlying this setting were the countless number of surgeons, nurses, medical staff, chaplains and chaplain’s assistants attending to and fighting to save the lives of three Afghans.

Not privy to the details of the situation, donors are only aware that something is urgent and someone needs them.

Sleeves rolled up and purpose on their faces, heaps of dedicated donors ready to do their part, watched as the filled blood collection bags traveled from one room to another. I couldn’t help but to think that they anxiously waited to see their own bag make the same journey.

As the continuous flow of donors thinned out and the announcement is made that the hospital has reached its blood supply goal, I find myself feeling proud.

The euphoric feeling of accomplishment is running through me, but at no cause to my own doing. I realized the phenomenon I just witness and honor, sacrifice and service are the only words that can justify it.

Never before have I looked at the significance of giving blood like today. The selfless gift of hope and existence that runs through our veins brought together brothers and sisters in arms with one goal in mind…life.

Air Force Airmen and Army Soldiers can often be heard saying they have blue or green blood running through their veins. This is a dictation of the loyalty they possess for their respective services.

Today I would say the only color I saw was red. Today I would say we were successful; successful at saving lives, successful at banding together, and most of all, successful at being some of the greatest men and women to serve.