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USS Tarawa Hosts Bone Marrow Drive

PERSIAN GULF - Amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1) set a new bone marrow drive record for the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program March 11 through 17.

http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,164381,00.html

Navy News | March 19, 2008

Amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) held the previous record of 1,031 participants. Tarawa set the new record with 1,071 participants.

Through the drive, DNA samples were collected to see if service members would be a positive match for a person suffering from bone-attacking diseases and cancers.

"As we got into the fourth month of deployment I realized a lot of Sailors and Marines, as well as myself, had a little extra time, so I got in contact with the marrow point of contact in Washington D.C., and set up a drive here," said Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 11 Executive Officer Cmdr. Troy Nichols. "You have sort of a captive audience; you have a lot of Sailors and Marines who are looking to put forth the extra effort and volunteer their time, and this was a good opportunity to do that."

The ship was given bone marrow swab-kits which service members used to swab the inside of both cheeks to collect cell samples that will be sent to Washington. The samples will be evaluated, processed and stored in the national bone marrow registry.

The goal was to have 100 percent command participation from both the Navy and Marines.

"My responsibility was to make sure I got 100 percent contact with everybody in my department; whether or not they decided to volunteer was completely up to them," said Air Traffic Controller 1st Class (AW) James Maichel. "If you have the opportunity to save someone's life, there's really no better feeling than that."