Words from Director/CEO Tom Shull: Serving National Guard, Reserve Must Remain a Top Priority

By Tom Shull
Exchange Director/CEO

Throughout military exercises, humanitarian missions and combat, the Exchange takes care of the National Guard and Reserve, who are fundamental to our fighting force.

After 17 years at war, these citizen-warriors are needed now more than ever. Serving them remains a priority.

Citizen-warriors deserve the utmost respect. One of my heroes, Gen. Creighton Abrams, best known for his heroic breakthrough to liberate the 101st Airborne at the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne during World War II, believed the Reserve was instrumental to the strength of the Armed Forces.

In fact, as Chief of Staff of the Army after the Vietnam War, he told senior U.S. leaders: “They’re not taking us to war again without calling up the Reserves.”

Serving citizen-warriors a ‘privilege’

This fall, Reserve components served communities devastated by Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Last year, they were instrumental in relief efforts after hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ripped through the U.S., especially Puerto Rico. The Exchange’s disaster recovery response has never been better—and it is truly a privilege to serve citizen-warriors when America needs them most.

The Army and Air Force National Guard and Reserves comprise 8 percent of the Exchange’s total number of eligible shoppers. Many of them live nowhere near brick-and-mortar Exchange and depend on ShopMyExchange.com. National Guard and Reserve Veterans can also shop tax-free for life on ShopMyExchange.com.

Some of the 2,000 National Guard members deployed to Camp Swift near Houston line up at a mobile field exchange transported to the area to serve troops helping that part of Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey, 2017.

From Atterbury to Roberts

The Exchange contributes to Guard and Reserve readiness and resiliency on their installations, from Indiana’s Camp Atterbury to California’s Camp Roberts, and active-duty posts and bases.

For example, Exchange associates at Camp Grayling, Mich., supported 6,000 citizen-warriors this summer during NATO’s Operation Northern Strike—the largest National Guard training exercise in the U.S.

The Exchange also brought  food trucks, vending machines and vendors to serve thousands of North Carolina Guard members during a training exercise at the remote Dona Ana Base Camp, N.M, this summer.

And, from March through June, two MFEs, a tactical shop, vending machines, barber shop and food trucks supported 7,400 Mississippi Guard members—the Dixie Thunder brigade—during training at Dona Ana and the Westbrook Life Support Area near Fort Bliss, Texas.

Serving in Central America

TINKER AFB, Okla. – Military Clothing Shift Manager Allean Jackson stands with Army Reserves Chaplain 1st LT. Leland Jones after she provided him with extraordinary customer service.

Away from home, the Exchange team also operated mobile field exchanges to serve Guard and Reserve components during Beyond the Horizon humanitarian missions in Belize and El Salvador.

Each MFE supported six 500-personnel rotations for two weeks as they built schools and provided medical support to residents of those Central American countries.

Having served in the Reserves after 11 years on Active Duty (where I had the honor to serve with Reserve and National Guard forces), I witnessed firsthand how much of a force-multiplier these combatant teammates represent for the total force.

Always be there for them

It is extremely important to meet the needs of citizen-warriors and to always be there for them. The service you provide cannot be overestimated.

The Exchange team’s dedication to Guard and Reserve is second to none. Thank you for all you to serve citizen-warriors—past, present and future.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted in ,

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.