‘Exchange on Wheels,’ Seen as ‘Absolutely Priceless,’ Will Remain Indefinitely to Take Care of Service Members Reeling From Hurricane
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Exchange opened its first mobile field exchange (MFE) at Tyndall Air Force Base on Oct. 21—the only store within miles supporting hundreds of service members as they rebuild after Hurricane Michael.
“This MFE underscores the Exchange mission of going where the troops go, regardless of location or conditions,” said Army Capt. Conrad Bellard, Exchange Commercial Transportation Manager. “With the main Exchange and both Expresses closed due to damage and no stores currently open within miles of Tyndall, we can make things a little more comfortable for those working to bring life back to normal on the base.”
The MFE is an “Exchange on wheels,” a 53-foot trailer stocked with emergency supplies, toiletries, snacks and drinks. Command requested the MFE on Oct. 18. By Oct. 21, the mobile store, parked in the main Express parking lot, was fully stocked and supporting a steady stream of service members.
Definite morale booster
Service members who came through the MFE on opening day were excited to see the level of support the Exchange was providing the community.
“I got flown in from North Carolina to help with the recovery, and I was out of a few toiletries and saw this. So I stopped in to get a few things and get back to the task at hand,” said Col. Scott Nall, Commander for the 245th Civil Engineer Flight, North Carolina Air National Guard. “Having this out here is priceless. Absolutely priceless.”
The MFE will remain at Tyndall indefinitely, until the main Express is back up and running.
“It definitely raises morale for everybody to be able to come in here,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Pigg, who was sent to Tyndall from Moody Air Force Base. “It’s nice to have a place where we can come get what we need.”
See local media coverage of the Exchange and the MFE.
To see photos of damage to Exchange stores at Tyndall AFB, go here.
In the Exchange History Flickr album, check out how mobile exchanges have served troops since World War II.