AAFES Corner

Judd Anstey, AAFES


Troops’ Investment in AAFES Pays Off for Entire Military Community

DALLAS – While many retailers struggled, or even closed their doors, in 2008, the exchange benefit continued to pay dividends for military Families.

Strong sales and earnings at Army & Air Force Exchange Service facilities, the Exchange Online Store and Exchange Catalogs helped deliver more than $260 million to Army, Air Force, National Guard, Marine Corps and Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation efforts last year.

“Historically, roughly two-thirds of AAFES earnings are paid to MWR and Services programs with the other third used to build new stores or renovate existing facilities,” said AAFES’ Commander Maj. Gen. Keith Thurgood. “This structure means that authorized customers are essentially our ‘investors.’ Fortunately, thrifty shoppers rediscovering the value the exchange offers allowed AAFES to provide a healthy return on their investment.”

With a mission to provide quality goods and services at competitively low prices and generate earnings to support MWR and Services programs, the dual benefit AAFES provides military Families goes far beyond the clothes, electronics and snacks on shelves. Shoppers who exercise their exchange benefit at the BX/PX, online at www.aafes.com or over the phone through the Exchange Catalog actually help make the military community a better place to live and work. In fact, purchases made in the past 10 years have provided more than $2.4 billion to military quality of life programs such as Youth Services, post functions and aquatic centers.

Cooperative efforts, of course, mean that AAFES support is not limited to Soldiers and Airmen. Because AAFES operates catalog, online and credit programs on behalf of its sister exchanges, AAFES was also able to return funds to Marines and Sailors as well. The FY 2008 projected dividend of $262.9 million was distributed as follows:

Army:                    $149.1M
National Guard          $10.1M
Air Force:                $90.3M
Marines:                  $12.9M
Navy:                         $.6M
TOTAL:                  $262.9M


AAFES Program Ensures Troops Pay Lowest Possible Price

DALLAS – While a recent Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) survey found that the second most important customer service item for shoppers is price matching, AAFES’ same survey found that only 52 percent had ever taken advantage of it at a BX/PX.

““While the exchange is committed to offering the best possible value, there may be times when a shopper finds a lower price elsewhere,” said AAFES’ Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Jeffry Helm. “‘We’ll Match It!’ is simply a last line of defense in our ongoing effort to deliver the lowest price to troops and their Families.”

Depending on the price of an item, matching prices at AAFES can be done with or without a competitor’s ad:

    • If a shopper spots a price difference of less than $10, they can simply notify the cashier and the price will be matched on the spot.

    • For price discrepancies greater than $10, shoppers only need to bring in a current local competitor’s ad to receive the reduced price.

In either scenario, the competitor’s item must be identical to the item in the AAFES store.

“AAFES even offers a 14-day price guarantee on any item originally purchased from the BX/PX,” said Helm. “That means that if an item is sold at a lower price by AAFES, or any local competitor, AAFES will match that price up to two weeks after the sale.”

Since AAFES does have a dual mission to provide quality merchandise and services at competitively low prices and generate earnings to supplement Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, there are exceptions to the “We’ll Match It!” program.

Except for the Exchange Catalog and aafes.com, stores cannot accept challenges from any catalog or website. Other exclusions include bonus or free offers, clearance prices, closeout prices, special orders, service contracts, automotive labor/service, special order automotive parts, installation, delivery, or assembly services. Additional items include mail in rebates, store coupons, double and triple coupon offers, flat percentage off items, and gasoline. This also includes items advertised as special offers or promotions, free-with-purchase offers, limited quantity offers, bundled promotions and special financing.


Exchange Shoppers Invited to Make a Scene for a Shot at $1,000 Shopping Spree

DALLAS – Aspiring filmmakers from the military community still have time to get their “lights, cameras and action” in order for a chance to play a part in the most anticipated sequel of the year; the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s “It’s My Benefit 2” video contest.

Dubbed “Rediscover the Value of AAFES,” this year’s video competition focuses on thirty- second to one-minute commercials that demonstrate what the AAFES benefit means to the filmmaker. Video submissions, vying for one of three shopping sprees valued at $1,000, $500 and $250, can be uploaded through the Patriot Family Link at aafes.com anytime between March 20 and June 20, 2009.

“Beyond the prizes, AAFES is also offering budding directors, producers and actors major exposure as winning entries will eventually make their way to an international audience via the BX/PX’s proprietary in-house network, EXTV,” said AAFES’ Chief Marketing Officer Mat Dromey. “Today, EXTV programming is seen in more than 150 PowerZones around the world, including locations throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Complete rules concerning the “It’s My Benefit 2” contest, including some subject matter ideas, are available online at the AAFES Community Connection. The first round of judging will be conducted around June 30, 2009 when 10 semi-finalists will be identified based on creativity, accuracy of information and promotion of the value AAFES offers. Final judging and winners of the AAFES video contest are expected to be announced around July 20, 2009.


Select PowerZones and the Exchange Online Store Premier Built-In Blu-Ray HDTV

DALLAS – Fresh from perusing the aisles of last month’s Consumer Electronics Show, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s PowerZone team has announced that the world’s first LCD television with a built-in Blu-Ray DVD player is coming to BXs and PXs throughout the United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam as well as the Exchange Online Store at www.aafes.com, the first week of March.

“AAFES will be the first retailer in the United States to deliver this product to its shelves,” said AAFES’ Vice President of Hardlines Ana Middleton. “This is just another example of the excellent partnerships our buyers are building with electronics suppliers to provide the latest in electronics to troops and their Families.”

While the Sharp Aquos 42” LCD HDTV with built-in Blu-Ray DVD player is scheduled to be available at PowerZones and the Exchange Online Store for an everyday low price of $1,599, AAFES will feature the television in its March 13th Weekly Sales Tabloid for just $1,399, a $200 discount.

The introduction of the world’s first HDTV with 1080p resolution, a 120hz frame and a built-in Blu-ray player is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to make AAFES PowerZones one-stop shops for all exchange shoppers’ electronics needs. For example, partnerships with vendors, including Sony, Samsung, Pansonic, JVC and HP, are helping in the develop new “Integrated Solutions” displays that will provide interactive information to better showcase emerging consumer electronics technology to exchange shoppers. The rollout of the displays is scheduled to coincide with the continued expansion of new PowerZone control counters that are being incorporated into the design of exchanges around the world. These “customer-friendly” kiosks have already been introduced to 15 PowerZones, with an additional 50 locations expected to unveil the new look in 2009.

“Through collaboration with vendor partners, AAFES is working to provide military shoppers with complete home entertainment solutions at affordable prices,” said Middleton. “Leveraging purchasing power through worldwide assortments, being faster to market with new products and reevaluating how we present merchandise is critical in making what is already a ‘destination category’ for AAFES even more appealing."


AAFES Offers Varying Levels of Support to Entire Military Community

DALLAS - From Fort Lewis, Wash. to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, military installations across the globe are home to more than 3,000 Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) food, entertainment and retail options. The Army posts and Air Force bases where exchange operations are located host a variety of visitors, contractors and Department of Defense (DoD) civilians who often ask, “Who’s authorized to shop these facilities?”

“Frankly, AAFES offers varying levels of service to every member of the military community,” said AAFES’ Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Jeffry Helm. “It stands to reason that guests want to take advantage of the tax relief and competitive pricing they’ve heard so much about, but AAFES doesn’t decide who is or isn’t authorized to shop.”

Exchange service authorization actually begins with the House Armed Services Committee and ultimately ends with the installation commander. The guidelines, as prescribed by Army Regulation 215-8/Air Force Instruction 34-211 (I), require proper identification of authorized customers, including uniformed personnel and members of the Reserve Components and family members, applicable DoD civilians, exchange associates and retirees who possess a basic exchange purchase privilege authorization card.

While authorizations governing who can buy merchandise and services at BX or PX often applies to a chosen few, the doors to AAFES’ 1,384 food facilities and 279 Shoppettes are open to virtually anyone looking for a quick bite to eat. In fact, DoD policy allows all federal government employees, and even installation visitors, to dine at AAFES restaurants as long as their orders are consumed on the installation. Furthermore, anyone can purchase single-serve consumables from a Shoppette, an option that is especially valuable late at night considering many AAFES convenience stores offer extended hours.

“The ‘Snack Avenue’ inside most AAFES Shoppettes offers a robust selection of single-serve consumables,” said Helm. “Candy bars, soft drinks and even hot dogs can be picked up by just about anyone with business on the installation.”

Anyone who believes they may qualify for exchange benefits, including access to the main exchange, should contact their local AAFES manager for additional guidance as well as information regarding possible exceptions at specific BX/PX locations. Store-level contact information is available online at www.aafes.com under the BX/PX “Store Locator” link.


Army & Air Force Exchange Service Market Basket Survey Results Now Available

DALLAS – The results of an exhaustive Market Basket Survey that shows the Army & Air Force Exchange Service saves authorized shoppers 20.38 percent, compared to other retailers, are now available at http://www.aafes.com/docs/valuestory.htm.

The complete results, sorted by category of merchandise, retailer and market, have all been posted online:

AAFES Savings By Dept. demonstrates savings by category of merchandise. Savings range from 6.57 percent for cameras to 56.29 percent for luggage.
AAFES Savings By Dept. Retailer compares AAFES prices with specific retailers sorted by categories including cosmetics, shoes and toys.
AAFES Savings By Retailer reflects overall savings AAFES offers compared to specific retailers.  
AAFES Savings By Market shows savings AAFES offers in nine survey locations. Results range from 15.83 percent in Tacoma, WA to 24.71 in Ft. Walton Beach, FL.
AAFES Savings By Market Dept. provides category comparisons sorted by geographic location. 
AAFES Savings By Market Retailer explains overall savings AAFES offers, by survey location, compared to specific retailers.
AAFES Savings By Market Dept. Retailer lays out savings AAFES provides for specific categories of merchandise sorted by location.

“It is important that the results of this survey are available to authorized shoppers, especially Reservists, National Guard personnel and retirees,” said AAFES’ Chief of Corporate Communication Lt. Col. Dean Thurmond. “The convincing savings confirm that visiting the BX/PX and rediscovering the value of AAFES is worth the drive.”

Conducted by an independent research firm in Oct. last year, the AAFES Market Basket survey is a snapshot in time of prices compared to the competition.

More than 300 products, including shampoo, diapers and makeup, were compared item by item. Example comparisons included four rolls of Charmin Bath Tissue for $3.19 at AAFES sold for $3.99 at a leading drug store chain, 25 oz. Tide Ultra Liquid 2X original scent, available at AAFES for $5.19, was $7.59 at a national big box retailer and 1.25 oz. Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Relieving Cream was $3.15 at AAFES compared to $3.89 at a national grocery store chain.

In addition to the national survey, each major AAFES Exchange location conducts local price surveys monthly to ensure AAFES pricing is consistently competitive.


Local Price Surveys Help Military Families Save Money

DALLAS – With a value proposition like “We Save You Money…Everyday” and a mission to provide military shoppers with quality goods and services at competitively low prices, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) has to work double-time to deliver savings troops have come to expect. AAFES’ assault of high prices begins with Market Price Coordinators, whose main duty is to compare the prices of top sellers in key categories with local competition at least once a month.

“Price coordinators are our eyes and ears outside the gate,” said AAFES’ Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Jeffry Helm. “From gas to gum to everyday health and beauty items, these associates ensure AAFES’ prices are comparable, if not lower, than the competition.”

The price coordinators conduct periodic checks at local convenience, liquor and big box stores, comparing AAFES’ prices on top selling items in each department. The results are sent to the Sales Directorate Pricing Team at AAFES Headquarters in Dallas, TX. From there, pre-tax shelf prices are set to be comparable to the competition. Shelf prices are of primary concern because all products available at AAFES, except for gasoline, are not subject to sales tax.

In addition to regular, local price surveys, AAFES offers a “We’ll Match It!” program that acts as a last line of defense to ensure military shoppers always receive the lowest price possible when shopping the BX/PX. If a shopper sees a price differential of less than $10 they can simply tell the cashier who will match it on the spot. Anyone who reports a price difference of $10 dollars or more need only bring a current local competitor’s ad to receive the reduced price.

“AAFES is committed to having low prices,” said Helm. “From Market Price Coordinators to ‘We’ll Match It!’ military Families can shop comfortably knowing this command is dedicated to ‘saving them money everyday.’”


CBS Producers Honor Service Members with a “Salute to the Military” Show on "The Price is Right"

“Master Sergeant Robin Brooks, come on down, you’re the next contestant on The Price is Right!” shouts Mr. Rich Fields, the announcer. 

“Having my named called was music to my ears,” exclaims Master Sergeant Robin Brooks, first sergeant for the Thunderbird Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base. 

Although she had an air show to prepare for the next day, Brooks was happy she’d decided to be apart of the 350 member audience representing the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, retirees, disabled veterans and family members during a special taping of the daytime game show on Sept. 10, 2008.

“This is an awesome opportunity to represent the U.S. Air Force and the Thunderbirds.  I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for the world,” she said of the “Salute to the Military” episode that is scheduled to air on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.

Game Show Host Drew Carey was enthusiastic about hosting Brooks and the rest of the distinguished audience members for the special made in conjunction with the Department of Defense Entertainment Media and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).

“I think it’s important for everyone to show our support to the service members,” said Carey, a former Marine Reservist.  “We sponsored shows like this before 9/11.  And we’ve even sponsored shows specifically for each the four services in the past. I only wish I could do more.”  

When asked how this idea came about, Carey graciously passed the credit onto his production team, but according to Mr. Mike Richards, co-executive producer, “The idea came from Drew.  He was very involved in how to lay out this show, down to the prizes being awarded and games selected.”

Mr. Syd Vinnedge, executive producer said, “It was really important for us to make the special ‘extra special.’  We wanted gifts that were specific to military service members and we didn’t want anyone to leave empty handed.  Thus, we are grateful for the support AAFES has given this show.  Without them, we couldn’t have made it happen. This has definitely been a ‘win-win’ for all.”

AAFES provided six $1,000 gift certificates for online shopping at aafes.com and six 1,000-minute phone cards for the contestants who made it on stage.  Additionally, 10 percent discount coupons were given to everyone in the audience.

 “When Drew explained the concept of the military salute show and wanting to provide gifts specifically for the military, I immediately thought of AAFES,” said Ms. Barbra Brennan, senior merchandizing representative, CBS Promotional Placement and Awards Department.  “I heard about the phone cards from a newspaper commentary addressing how any American could help the troops overseas during the holiday season a few years ago.”

“I even checked the program out and was able to go to the aafes.com homepage to purchase phone cards for my brother, Marine Major Bradley Brennan, while he was deployed to Iraq.  It was a little gesture, but it meant a lot to be able to hear from him on a continuous basis,” she said.

The phone cards and gift cards can be purchased for a specific person or any service member, and it is much more cost effective than sending packages through the mail. 

Purchasing phone cards or gift cards for military members separated from their families during the holiday season is a great opportunity for any American to show their support for the troops overseas.  Whether you know someone personally or not, a little bit of home makes a world of difference, Brennan said.

I was surprised that AAFES went out of their way not only to provide prizes for the six contestants who actually made it on stage, but for the entire audience.  The certificates will be really helpful for the holidays,” MSgt Brooks said.

While AAFES handled the prizes, Mr. Vicente “Vince” C. Ogilvie, deputy special assistant for entertainment media at the Pentagon, ensured protocol was followed and every service was well represented.

“This was a joint effort between the Los Angeles Office and DoD level,” he explained.  This event required DoD approval due to the magnitude of support required.  Drew has always showcased the military in a positive light in the past and we were more than happy to assist him with this project because it also helps highlight the DoD’s America Supports You program.”

Tune in to The Price is Right on Veteran’s Day to see all of the contestants and to learn who wins their game prizes and the “Showcase Showdown.”

The Price is Always Right when supporting the troops through AAFES as shipping charges are reduced and affordable calling is just a click away. Any American can take part in the "Help Our Troops Call Home" and "Gifts from the Homefront" programs by logging on to www.aafes.com.

“Master Sergeant Robin Brooks, come on down, you’re the next contestant on The Price is Right!” shouts Mr. Rich Fields, the announcer. 

“Having my named called was music to my ears,” exclaims Master Sergeant Robin Brooks, first sergeant for the Thunderbird Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base. 

Although she had an air show to prepare for the next day, Brooks was happy she’d decided to be apart of the 350 member audience representing the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, retirees, disabled veterans and family members during a special taping of the daytime game show on Sept. 10, 2008.

“This is an awesome opportunity to represent the U.S. Air Force and the Thunderbirds.  I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for the world,” she said of the “Salute to the Military” episode that is scheduled to air on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.

Game Show Host Drew Carey was enthusiastic about hosting Brooks and the rest of the distinguished audience members for the special made in conjunction with the Department of Defense Entertainment Media and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).

“I think it’s important for everyone to show our support to the service members,” said Carey, a former Marine Reservist.  “We sponsored shows like this before 9/11.  And we’ve even sponsored shows specifically for each the four services in the past. I only wish I could do more.”  

When asked how this idea came about, Carey graciously passed the credit onto his production team, but according to Mr. Mike Richards, co-executive producer, “The idea came from Drew.  He was very involved in how to lay out this show, down to the prizes being awarded and games selected.”

Mr. Syd Vinnedge, executive producer said, “It was really important for us to make the special ‘extra special.’  We wanted gifts that were specific to military service members and we didn’t want anyone to leave empty handed.  Thus, we are grateful for the support AAFES has given this show.  Without them, we couldn’t have made it happen. This has definitely been a ‘win-win’ for all.”

AAFES provided six $1,000 gift certificates for online shopping at aafes.com and six 1,000-minute phone cards for the contestants who made it on stage.  Additionally, 10 percent discount coupons were given to everyone in the audience.

 “When Drew explained the concept of the military salute show and wanting to provide gifts specifically for the military, I immediately thought of AAFES,” said Ms. Barbra Brennan, senior merchandizing representative, CBS Promotional Placement and Awards Department.  “I heard about the phone cards from a newspaper commentary addressing how any American could help the troops overseas during the holiday season a few years ago.”

“I even checked the program out and was able to go to the aafes.com homepage to purchase phone cards for my brother, Marine Major Bradley Brennan, while he was deployed to Iraq.  It was a little gesture, but it meant a lot to be able to hear from him on a continuous basis,” she said.

The phone cards and gift cards can be purchased for a specific person or any service member, and it is much more cost effective than sending packages through the mail. 

Purchasing phone cards or gift cards for military members separated from their families during the holiday season is a great opportunity for any American to show their support for the troops overseas.  Whether you know someone personally or not, a little bit of home makes a world of difference, Brennan said.

I was surprised that AAFES went out of their way not only to provide prizes for the six contestants who actually made it on stage, but for the entire audience.  The certificates will be really helpful for the holidays,” MSgt Brooks said.

While AAFES handled the prizes, Mr. Vicente “Vince” C. Ogilvie, deputy special assistant for entertainment media at the Pentagon, ensured protocol was followed and every service was well represented.

This was a joint effort between the Los Angeles Office and DoD level,” he explained.  This event required DoD approval due to the magnitude of support required.  Drew has always showcased the military in a positive light in the past and we were more than happy to assist him with this project because it also helps highlight the DoD’s America Supports You program.”

Tune in to The Price is Right on Veteran’s Day to see all of the contestants and to learn who wins their game prizes and the “Showcase Showdown.”

The Price is Always Right when supporting the troops through AAFES as shipping charges are reduced and affordable calling is just a click away. Any American can take part in the "Help Our Troops Call Home" and "Gifts from the Homefront" programs by logging on to www.aafes.com.


AAFES Rings in the New School Year with ‘You Made the Grade’

DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is moving military students who excel in the classroom to the head of the class with its “You Made the Grade” program.

Now in its eighth year, the education rewards initiative recognizes students who maintain a “B” average or better with a booklet chock full of complimentary prizes for every qualifying report card.

AAFES’ “You Made the Grade” booklet includes coupons for a variety of free offers such as admission for two to a Reel Time Theater, a Burger King Hamburger Kid’s meal, a magazine of the student’s choice and even a slice of Anthony’s pizza along with a medium drink. Each booklet also contains an entry form for a quarterly drawing in which three winners are randomly awarded savings bonds in $2,000, $3,000 or $5,000 denominations.

“‘You Made the Grade’ is a great vehicle for recognizing military students who excel, oftentimes through adversities that the average student does not face such as a deployed parent or frequent moves,” said AAFES Public Affairs Officer Maj Edwina Walton.

To receive the AAFES “You Made the Grade” booklet, students must present a valid military ID card and proof of an overall “B” or better average to their local BX/PX. Students may receive one coupon package for every qualifying report card, but may enter the savings bond drawing only once per calendar year. Military Families can contact their local AAFES Main Store Manager or General Manager for more information.


Exchange Service Optical Center Price Points Now Online
 

DALLAS – With more than 166 locations across the world, National Guard and Reserve, retiree and active-duty military Families know they can depend on exchange Optical Shops and Vision Centers for affordable, quality eyewear, regardless of where they’re called to serve. But what about those authorized shoppers who don’t live near a military installation?

The answer to this question, one that has challenged military and civilian leadership for more than a decade, is coming into focus with the addition of two new partner web sites on the Exchange Online Mall at aafes.com, usmc-mccs.org, navy-nex.com and cg-exchange.com.

Authorized shoppers who click on the new “Glasses & Contacts” link now have access to the prices comparable to those found in the exchanges’ brick-and-mortar Optical Shops and Vision Centers through FramesDirect.com and MilitaryContacts.net.

“These sites have been set up to offer the same opening price points exchange shoppers find at our Optical Shops and Vision Center facilities on military installations,” said the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Director of Professional Services Lt Col (Dr.) Ric Peterson “Their inclusion on the Exchange Online Mall solves some long-standing issues by delivering the eyewear benefit the exchanges provide worldwide right to authorized shoppers front door. Now, any beneficiary can take advantage of internet access, low prices and high-quality eyewear found at our facilities without even leaving the house. This service is especially important to those in remote and/or isolated sites and without access to traditional exchange facilities.”

With single vision eyeglasses starting at just $39, FramesDirect.com’s Exchange Online Mall site features some 50,000 prescription frame styles and 8,000 sunglasses from more than 200 brands, all discounted 10-30 percent with free shipping. The site also helps ensure glasses aren’t just affordable, but also stylish thanks to a feature that allows troops and their Families to upload pictures and virtually try on different frame styles.

MilitaryContacts.net is also doing its part to bring exchange savings home by delivering exclusive “military only” pricing for contacts ordered through the Exchange Online Store. The savings this site offers, up to 30 percent less than the leading mail order contact lens provider, even extends to shipping costs as orders of $50 dollars or more always receive free shipping.

“Ordering from either site couldn’t be easier,” said AAFES Merchandise Manager Don Walker. “Shoppers can e-mail or fax their prescription or even just provide their eye doctor’s name and phone number and if the prescription is on file, the sites will validate and fill the order.”

The Exchange Online Mall is a concession mall offering online services and merchandise to military members around the world. Today, 81 third-party sites, including Military Recycling, Direct TV, eChapter One, Wild Blue Satellite Internet and The Leisure Boutique, strengthen the exchange benefit through their active support of the exchangeonlinemall.com. Authorized customers can log onto their Exchange Online Store at aafes.com, usmc-mccs.org, navy-nex.com or cg-exchange.com and click the Exchange Mall logo or access the site directly by logging onto www.exchangeonlinemall.com.


AAFES Gas Stations Extend Discount to Drivers Who Use a Military StarSM Card

DALLAS – Army & Air Force Exchange Service gas stations in CONUS, Alaska and Puerto Rico are being programmed to reflect a discount of three cents a gallon for drivers who pay with a Military StarSM Card.

“Anytime a customer uses a bank issued debit or credit card, the retailer pays a portion of the transaction to a third party financial institution,” said AAFES’ Chief of Corporate Communications Lt. Col. Dean Thurmond “Because the Military StarSM Card is administered by the Exchange Credit Program, AAFES is not subject to the additional fees incurred through other ‘pay at the pump’ options. As a result, we’re able to pass savings on to authorized exchange shoppers.”

The three cent a gallon discount is currently being applied to transactions at 13 installations (Minneapolis-St. Paul JARS, Columbus AFB, Redstone Arsenal, Ft. Indiantown Gap, Fort Gordon, Patrick AFB, Robins AFB, USMA, Laughlin AFB, Yuma Proving Ground, Mountain Home AFB and Nellis AFB, MacDill, Scott, JRB Carswell). All remaining facilities in CONUS, Alaska and Puerto Rico* (177 facilities) will receive software upgrades Monday evening and are expected to begin applying the three cent a gallon discount as of Tuesday, Aug. 19.

“I encourage drivers during the first week or so of this new effort, to touch base with the attendant at their local gas station to ensure the software upgrades have taken effect before fueling up,” said Thurmond. “As is the case with anything technical, we expect a few glitches could occur during the first few weeks of the program.”

Officials hope to extend the Military StarSM Card three cent a gallon discount at all AAFES facilities, but do not have a time table for worldwide implementation at this time.

“This effort is a priority of AAFES command,” said Thurmond. “Entire teams are dedicated to working through the technical challenges to extend the Military StarSM Card discount to drivers at all AAFES locations.”

From California to Kirkuk, AAFES Goes Where the Troops Go

DALLAS - When you have a motto like "We Go Where You Go" and a mission to support America's troops, you've got to be ready to "move out" at a moment's notice. Such is the case for the 113-year-old Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and the 43,000 associates who regularly bring a touch of home to some of the "hottest" spots around the globe.

Most recently, AAFES associates from the BXs at Travis and Beale AFBs deployed Mobile Field Exchanges (MFEs) in support of some 400 National Guard members battling wildfires near the cities of Hayfork and Booneville, Calif. as well as Yosemite National Park.

Air conditioned and stocked full of necessities, AAFES MFEs are 54-ft. trailers (photos available on request) converted into mobile retail stores to support contingency deployments. Military operations in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo as well as domestic emergencies and training exercises drove the need for this quality of life support to deployed service members. Once the MFE arrives on site, receives merchandise and sets up, usually done within 24 hours, the unit is opened as long as needed.

"The more than 250 Army National Guards that the Travis AFB team supported in Hayfork came out of Los Angeles county," said AAFES' Travis AFB BX General Manager Lee Chung. "Being on- site takes on special importance when you consider that these troops just returned from a deployment to the Middle East in support of their country and have quickly remobilized to protect their state. Fortunately, in both cases AAFES did and continues to 'go where they go' to bring a taste of home to the front lines."

Beyond domestic activities, AAFES continues to meet the needs of Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines assigned to Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. In fact, right now some 350 civilian associates from AAFES are voluntarily deployed in support of 90 BX/PXs, 177 name brand fast food operations, including Burger King, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell locations, as well as 74 phone centers throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan and Cyprus.

"'We Go Where You Go' means that this command is prepared to set up shop in some of the most hostile and austere environments troops are called to serve," said AAFES' Chief Operating Officer Mike Howard. "Those five words capture our team's commitment to investing in the people and resources needed to rapidly respond to the Army, Air Force, National Guard and Reserve's ever changing missions."


Troops Beat the Heat Downrange with Liquid Refreshment

DALLAS – With the dog days of summer upon them, troops downrange are beating the heat by purchasing a wide variety of cold drinks. In fact, of the top 20 items purchased in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom last month, 15 were in the form of liquid refreshment.

“It’s certainly no coincidence that with the temperatures ramping up there has been a significant increase in the number of cold drinks being sold at BXs and PXs downrange,” said AAFES Contingency Planning Chief Lt. Col. Peter Butts. “With an average temperature of 112 degrees this time of year, keeping cool definitely becomes a priority.”

Deployed troops seeking relief from the heat made Monster and Red Bull the top selling items at 85 BX/PXs scattered throughout OEF/OIF in June. Monster was the biggest seller with troops knocking back 284,482 cans followed by 78,753 cans of Red Bull.

“As the heat builds through July and August, the public can help keep troops cool and refreshed while they carry out their daily missions through the ‘Gifts from the Homefront’ program,” said Butts. “Any American can keep deployed troops stocked with all of the necessities, without the hassle and cost of a traditional care package, with a BX/PX gift certificate that can be redeemed at any AAFES exchange, including 56 facilities in Iraq alone.”

Started soon after programs that allowed the general public to send mail addressed to "Any Service Member" were cancelled due to security concerns and transportation constraints, AAFES’ military gift certificate campaign allows anyone to make a direct and tangible contribution to military morale with a gift certificate that can be redeemed for nearly anything that a specific service member wants.

Gifts from the Homefront” can be sent to deployed troops by logging on to www.aafes.org or calling 877-770-4438. From there, BX/PX gift certificates are sent to individual service members (designated by the purchaser) or distributed to “any service member” through the Air Force Aid Society, American Red Cross, Fisher House, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society or USO. These charitable partners have distributed 24,815 certificates, totaling more than $480,000, earmarked for “any servicemember.”

Top Ten Sellers at BX/PXs Downrange in June 2008

Item                                    Quantity
Monster Energy Drink                    284,482
Red Bull                                78,753
San Benedetto Green Tea         75,316
Monster Low Carb                        71,987
San Benedetto Peach Tea         59,139
Newport Kings                           56,466
San Benedetto Lemon Tea         56,434
Marlboro Lights                 47,114
Arizona Sweet Tea                       37,700
Starbucks Frappuccino Mocha             31,937

 

Save Big at your Local Commissary Now!

     Commissary Shoppers Now Save More than 30% on Their Groceries Commissary shoppers now save more than 30% on their groceries according to the latest market basket pricing survey conducted in October.  "This means that a commissary patron shopping for a family of four can save nearly $2,500 each year compared with off-base shopping," said DeCA'S director, Air Force Major General Robert J. Courter Jr. "This is a goal that we at DeCA have been after for a long time, and we made it.  Our shoppers will definitely benefit financially." The survey compared prices of virtually every Universal Product Coded (UPC) item sold in all commissaries in the 48 contiguous states.  DeCA conducted meat and produce pricing surveys at randomly selected commissaries as well as surrounding retail grocery stores. The actual percentage of savings is 30.4 percent.

 

 


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