By Sgt. Ashley Gillons Terpsma
126th Public Affairs Operations Center
Imagine working a 12-hour day in the heat with no luxuries of home. No comforts to treat oneself. Not a cold Monster Energy drink to quench one’s thirst or a stick of jerky to satisfy the craving for a snack. If only there was a way to fill that need.
More than two weeks ago, the Exchange opened yet another mobile field exchange (MFE) in Poland, near Konotop Barracks at the Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area. American troops and their authorized coalition partners engaging in military exercises will enjoy drinks, snacks and other comfort items at the MFE for the next seven months.
'Being able to give back'
The MFE consists of a fully stocked trailer and two other trailers used for back stock and for storing items that have been ordered by customers and are waiting to be picked up. The MFE receives new merchandise every week, typically on Wednesday. In addition, items that this location does not carry may be able to be special ordered.
“The best part is being able to give back,” said Ashlei Wyant, an Exchange associate who works at the MFE. “My entire life has been Army”
Wyant, an associate for more than three years, comes from an Army family. After working at the Baumholder Exchange in Germany, she volunteered to work at the new MFE for six months.
“I love seeing everyone happy,” Wyant said.
More units heading to MFE location
The Exchange operates five MFEs and two permanent stores in Poland for American forces engaging in military exercises with Polish troops and partners from other countries. The MFEs not only provide service members with basic essentials to get through the duty day, they also offer the comforts of home no matter where they are located.
"Our expeditionary Exchange support capabilities are once again in full swing supporting the third deployment rotation from CONUS to Poland in support of Atlantic Resolve,"said Lt. Col. Michael Yerkic, the Exchange's chief of plans and operations for the Europe/SW Asia Region. "The Exchange is truly an organization where Family is Serving Family, improving the daily quality of life of our deployed service members,"
In the new MFE’s three short weeks, the customer count is already up to 350 per day. Exchange manager Nick Hawes said he fully expects this number to increase after this week as more units head to the field for Saber Strike.
Before this MFE moved to its current location, fulfilling basic needs meant a drive into the nearby town of Drawsko Pomorskie, but that proved difficult because many of the troops don’t have vehicles. Private First Class Edith Maldanado said she’s happy to see the MFE.
“It’s really good that they brought it (the MFE) here," she said. "Now we don’t have to go all the way to town to get what we need.”
Read more about our MFEs and stores in Poland:
Did you know that mobile exchanges date back to World War II? See historical photos of MFEs from the past in the Exchange history Flickr album.