KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, - Members of three units stationed at Forward Operating Base Wright here came together Sept. 15 to donate 13 units of a specific blood type necessary to save a badly wounded Soldier’s life.
While the 555th Field Surgical Team at FOB Wright had an abundance of synthetic blood products on hand, the Soldier’s wounds required him to get transfusions of his type of whole blood immediately.
“He needed whole blood for the clotting factors,” said U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st. Class Mark Chase, noncommissioned officer in charge of the FST. “Those transfusions saved the kid’s life.”
When Chase put out the word that a wounded Soldier needed blood donations of his type, two Soldiers from the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team, 10 Soldiers and one Airman assigned to the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team, and one Soldier with 3rd Battery, 321st Field Artillery Range, responded at once to the call. U.S. Army Master Sgt. Donald David, a civil affairs NCO with the PRT, was one of those who donated his blood.
“If it’s for a Soldier, I’m here in a second because I know someone would do it for me,” David said.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. John Storey, the NCO in charge of operations for the Iowa ADT, also gave blood. He agreed with David’s sentiments.
“What a great way to help out a brother-in-arms,” Storey said. “You don’t get very many chances in life to make a difference like this.”
The FST features state-of-the art medical equipment and highly trained, skilled and motivated medical professionals. Still, the blood donations spelled the difference between life and death for the wounded Soldier, according to U.S. Navy Lt. Henry Bradbury of Albuquerque, N.M., physician assistant for the FST.
“You can have the best medical gear and the most skilled surgeon in the world,” Bradbury said. “But if you don’t have blood when you need it there’s no way to save the patient.”
Before receiving the blood transfusions, the wounded Soldier was in critical condition. Within hours after receiving the transfusions, the Soldier’s condition had stabilized enough to allow air transportation to the next higher echelon of medical care.