Story by Mass Communication Specialist Second Class James Lyon
PACIFIC OCEAN – Imagine: the tactical action officer calls away ‘missile inbound,’ there is an explosion, and medical is in chaos as a mass casualty is called away. Too many Sailors are wounded, the ship doesn’t have blood on reserve, and is too far from any hospital to get it. It’s time to mobilize USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) Walking Blood Bank (WBB).
The WBB is a medical department program responsible for getting blood to those in need during a mass casualty situation. It’s made up of volunteers from the crew; individuals who, at a moment’s notice, can respond to give fresh blood directly from donor to patient.
“Fresh blood, in any emergent situation, is in many ways superior to processed, frozen or stored blood products,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joshua Phillip, from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. “With a better oxygen carrying capacity and ability to restore proper clotting functions, this could mean the difference of saving a patient’s life.”
Volunteers go through a screening process ensuring they are safe to give blood. In the event of an actual casualty or drill, those who volunteer muster in dental for processing.
According to Phillip, Stennis needs a minimum of 10 percent of its crew to volunteer to maintain an effective WBB. With the air wing on board, that comes to roughly 500 service members. This high number, in tandem with personnel turnover rates, means the WBB is always in need of volunteers. So, step up and help out, you never know whose life you could be saving.
For information on how you can volunteer, contact HM3 Phillip at J-7LAB (7522) or E-mail at
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