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JBMDL servicemembers enable critical mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Martyn
  • 87 ABW PA

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Eight pints is the average amount of blood coursing through a healthy adult's veins at any given time. However, at the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory East, there's always a great deal more blood flowing.


ASWBPL-East was established at then McGuire Air Force Base in 1955 and has since provided a critical mission function. From the time of its inception, the ASWPBL-East has been comprised of a joint team of Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who facilitate the careful handling, labeling and distribution of blood product used for emergency medical procedures around the globe.


"The demand for blood has increased significantly with our increased efforts in both Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Inherent Resolve," said Tech. Sgt. Monique Monteiro, ASWBPL-East quality assurance manager. "Every single product we process finds its way into the hands of our warfighters downrange. When they're transfusing blood at the point of injury, it has our name on it. It came from us."


The blood that pumps through the port at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is checked to ensure product quality and correct blood type labeling before being sent to its final destination in the far-reaches of the world.


"The slightest mistake can mean the difference between life and death," said Staff Sgt. Michael Griffith, ASWBPL-East medical laboratory craftsman. "We pride ourselves on attention to detail every step of the way because our mission is so important."


The ASWBPL-East holds somewhere between 3500 and 4000 blood products at any given time, all donated by service members. In a time of crisis the stored blood can quickly be put into circulation.


The global shipment of blood products wouldn't be possible without support from the Joint Base, explained Griffith.


"We aren't pilots here at ASWBPL, we couldn't do our mission without the 305th Air Mobility Wing." said Griffith. "Everyone plays their part in this mission, it's a team effort."


Overseas, the blood products are used for a variety of emergency medical procedures which save lives.


"Hopefully at some point, when the bloodshed ends, they won't need us anymore," said Monteiro. "Until that time, I'm honored to serve because I've seen this blood in action. We're not just helping service members. We're helping the locals, the impoverished and anyone who needs us -- that's what Americans do."