US special operations troops will be sent off to war zones with freeze-dried blood plasma in future, to prevent them from bleeding to death on the battlefield.

The Marines' special operations unit became the final US military branch to implement the policy last month, the Associated Press (AP) reported on 30 November.

The plasma helps clot blood and has saved the lives of many wounded soldiers.

In 2013, Corporal Josh Hargis lost part of both his legs when he stepped on a landmine during a midnight raid in Afghanistan. The doctor in his unit saved his life by applying freeze-dried plasma, which kept him alive until the air ambulance arrived 90 minutes later.

The plasma was stored in a kit with IV lines and distilled water. Doctor Sergeant Bryan Anderson poured the water into the plasma and injected it into the wound.

Anderson told AP that having plasma ready made all the difference. He used it to staunch Hargis' internal bleeding after his pelvis was shattered by the impact.

"Wherever blood is oozing out, it's helping to clot that blood up," Anderson said. "It blows my mind that Josh was able to stay alive and I think about that night every day of my life."

Hargis said that before his injury he thought the freeze-dried plasma took up too much space. "It really seemed like something that was a little unrealistic to carry out in the field, but it ended up working out," he told AP.

This year so far 430 kits of freeze-dried plasma have been supplied to the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The US Special Operations Command said that it has been used at least 24 times by teams in the past five years.

The last time US forces used freeze-dried plasma was during World War II. After a number of hepatitis outbreaks, the US army stopped using plasma. But when the French, Germans, Norwegians and Israelis started using it, the US realised its potential and it became a staple item of the first-aid kit.