Coast Guard Flies Critical Blood Donations to Brooke Army Medical Center

HOUSTON – A bomb explodes. The explosion is so loud your ears are already ringing. The force of the detonation has sent you flying backwards and you land, with a thud, on your back. You hear the faint sounds of people yelling and screaming. Through the dust that now clouds the sky you see members of your unit running towards you. Dazed, you try to stand up but a hot, burning sensation washes over you. You now realize why they’re running towards you, you’ve been hit.

As events like this play out nearly everyday, the need for providing the injured soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors with blood is critical. To help provide that need, a blood drive in conjunction with the Armed Forces Blood Program was held on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007 at Ellington Field. To help their military brothers and sisters, a flight crew from Coast Guard Air Station Houston, located at Ellington Field, flew the donations directly to Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in an HH-65C Dolphin helicopter. An HU-25 Falcon jet from Air Station Corpus Christi and a Coast Guard Auxiliary airline also flew blood donations.

“It’s an honor,” said Coast Guard Capt. Norman Schweizer, commanding officer of Air Station Houston. “The blood needed to get there (BAMC) as soon as possible because of the perishability. We were happy to help in any way we could. It was the right thing to do.”

The nearly 90-minute flight to BAMC gave the Coast Guard crew a chance to reflect on the mission they were conducting.

“It means a lot,” said Lt. Justo Rivera, one of the pilots on the flight, “Knowing it’s going to the men and women fighting over there in Iraq, getting shot at every day.”

Although transporting blood is not normally a Coast Guard mission, it is fitting with the service’s main goal: saving lives.

“Our mission is to save lives, it’s what we do,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class James Guidry, the flight mechanic, “and to be able to help injured members of our military family, its special.”

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One Comment

  1. Bethany Vernor says:

    Petty Officer 2nd Class James Guidry is my brother and I am so proud of him!! A lot of people poke fun at the Coast Guard until they are in a situation where they pray someone like my brother is there to pull them out of the water! God Bless the USCG