Civil Air Patrol completes 100th blood drive

Jan. 5—Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron 305 members from Scottsdale and across the state gathered at Falcon Field in Mesa Dec. 22 for the group's 100th blood drive in three years and their third this year.

Operation Pulse Lift began in April 2017 as a community service project and rallied big in March 2020 when the U.S. Surgeon General noted the closure of thousands of blood donor centers because of the pandemic.

CAP Lt. Col. Bob Ditch proposed using Civil Air Patrol facilities and members to support blood donation centers and Operation Pulse Lift was mobilized.

"During the initial nine-month surge response of 2020, CAP hosted 43 temporary blood donation centers at six sites in Arizona," a spokeswoman said. "With other donations from CAP members nationwide, Operation Pulse Lift supported the collection of 1,530 blood units, becoming one of the largest consistent temporary blood donation programs in the nation," she added.

The President/CEO of the American Red Cross authorized two outstanding service recognitions in response to this effort and today, Operation Pulse Lift is still going strong with blood drives sponsored by CAP at 50 sites across the country with a goal of collecting 30,000 units of blood.

Founded in 1941 and as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force seven years later, the Civil Air Patrol is chartered by Congress as a nonprofit for the purposes of youth development, aerospace education and promoting general aviation.

CAP operates the world's largest fleet of single-engine aircraft for search and rescue, disaster relief, training, and education.