Archive for June, 2016

For Nearly 50 Years, Exchange Associate Has Stayed on Duty for Sheppard Airmen

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE – For nearly 50 years, Jene Myers has been a fixture at the Sheppard Air Force Base Exchange, working mostly behind the scenes to ensure Airmen, families and retirees are taken care of.

For decades, Myers has stayed true to her mission of serving Team Sheppard through her part-time job with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. Her decades of service and love for the military are a testament to the Exchange’s core value of family serving family.

Jene-Sheppard AFB“I like to help people,” Myers said. “I’m a people person.”

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor, recently honored Myers for her service by presenting her with his challenge coin during his visit to Sheppard.

“Jene has had a remarkable career, dedicating her life to serving Team Sheppard,” Applegate said. “Her passion for the Exchange’s mission is an inspiration to others.”

Myers’ first job at the Sheppard Exchange —which paid $1.15 per hour—was serving drinks and pizza to Airmen at the old beer garden in 1966. She left the Exchange briefly in the late ’60s and came back in 1970, continuing to work in food service until 1980, when she took a job in the warehouse. Since then, she’s held a variety of jobs, from offloading trucks to handling damage/defective merchandise.

She tried to retire once, back in 2002. Within in a few months, her boss called, asking her to come back. Myers found she missed serving Airmen and accepted the offer, returning to the Sheppard Exchange as a stocker in 2003. She’s been in that role ever since.

In fact, out of all her Exchange jobs, the 68-year-old likes stocking the best. She’s even gotten to know some of the Airmen and retirees who shop at Sheppard, ensuring her regular customers fine exactly what they need.

“It makes me feel good to help others,” the Wichita Falls resident said. “The good Lord lets me work. I feel like I’m accomplishing something.”

Assistant Store Manager Sandra Roberts praised Myers for a job well done. Myers, Roberts explained, ensures the housewares section, including linens and small appliances, stays well-stocked. This is crucial because many Airmen at Sheppard are young and are looking for the very household items Myers stocks.

“Jene is just awesome,” said Roberts, who’s worked with Myers for the last seven years. “We just love her to death.”

As she approaches a half century of serving Team Sheppard, Myers hasn’t thought much about slowing down. She credits her long career to hard work and strong faith. She’ll continue at the Exchange, meeting the needs of Sheppard’s Airmen, families and retirees, as long as she can.

“Even though you have ups and downs, good times and bad times, you have to go on,” Myers said of her long career. “You have to go on and ask for strength and just push forward.”

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Julie Mitchell, 214-312-3327 or mitchelljul@aafes.com.

Price of School Lunches to Increase Overseas

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

DALLAS – Starting August 2016, school lunch prices at all Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools outside the continental United States (with the exception of Guam) will increase because of rising operational costs and to comply with federal law.

“Wholesome, balanced meals are vital to the academic achievement of school-age children,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, Exchange senior enlisted advisor. “It’s important for us to keep offering these nutritious meals and, in order to do so and to keep pace with the increasing food and operational costs, the school meal prices will increase for the first time in more than four years.”

The new increase is $0.10 per full price for elementary students’ meals, making their new prices $2.50 and a $0.20 increase for secondary students, making their meals $2.75 for the 2016 – 2017 school year. The last price increase was $0.35 per meal in 2012. Families qualifying for the Free and Reduced Meal Program will not have an increase in the cost of their meals. Per federal guidelines, the cost of a reduced-price meal will remain $0.40 per meal.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Public Law 111-296) requires DoDEA schools, as participants in the USDA meal program, to raise paid student lunch prices to a level comparable to the rates used for USDA reimbursement. To meet this requirement, prices in the OCONUS schools will be gradually increased over the coming years.

As the designated School Food Authority, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service provides schools meals on a nonprofit, break-even basis, for the DoD School Meal Programs (SMPs). The SMP meets the same USDA guidelines as schools in the continental United States by providing meals that have the required nutrients for children.

For more information on the School Meal Program, visit http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/school-lunch-program.

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Exchange Expands Layaway To Include Laptops, Tablets for Back-to-School Season

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is helping military students head to the top of the class during the 2016-17 school year by extending its layaway program to include computers and tablets needed to succeed in the classroom.

Ft Hood GO 808 1From July 1 to Aug. 31, just in time for back-to-school season, Exchange shoppers can use layaway to hold computers, notebooks, tablets and iPads—items that are not typically eligible for the program.

“Having up-to-date technology can be vital to succeeding in the classroom, and the Exchange is making it easier for military families to manage expenses to get the tools students need to succeed,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, Exchange senior enlisted advisor. “The extended layaway program helps parents and students stick to their back-to-school budgets.”

A $3 service fee and a deposit of 15 percent are required to hold items on layaway. Items must be picked up by Aug. 31. Shoppers can visit customer service at their local Exchange for complete details.

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Julie Mitchell, 214-312-3327 or mitchelljul@aafes.com.

Fort Belvoir Food Court Associate Celebrates 61 Years with Exchange

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

FORT BELVOIR – A lot has changed since 84-year-old Jasper Gamble first started working for the Fort Belvoir Exchange in April 1955.

Back then, there was no food court with multiple branded food options; just a cafeteria with standard grill fare at 258 South Post. Gamble was 23 and had just moved from Farmville, Va., where he worked in a local restaurant.

While the post may have changed significantly since then, one thing has stayed true over the 65 years Gamble has served: Every day he gets up and walks into work, putting in 40 hours a week as a dining attendant.

“I’m just so used to working that I just keep doing it,” Gamble said.

Food court regulars have come to know Jasper by name, recognizing him as a familiar figure at the base, said Diane Jensen, Exchange food court manager. Jasper never misses a day, she said – rain, snow or sleet, he’s in the food court, working to serve the troops and their families.

“He could work circles around people 60 years younger than him,” Jensen said. “When the weather’s bad and everybody else is calling in, he’s here.”

Jasper said there’s one thing that has kept him coming in day after day for the past 61 years: the unique customers of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

“I really like talking to the customers and serving the troops,” he said. “A lot of my cousins and uncles served in the military, so I’m proud to serve the folks who work so hard to protect our country.”

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Conner Hammett, 214-312-2714 or hammettc@aafes.com.

Celebrate Independence Day by Sending Service Members an Exchange Gift Card

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Bagram - Warrior Exchange - GO

DALLAS – Americans can ring in the Fourth of July by giving back to the service members who protect their independence with an Army & Air Force Exchange Service gift card.

Exchange gift cards can be sent to Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines deployed to Afghanistan, Kuwait and other contingency locations to redeem through the Department of Defense’s largest exchange service.

Exchange gift cards allow service members to purchase snacks, electronics, books, or clothing at any Army, Air Force, Navy or Marine Corps exchange.

“Sending an Exchange gift card is a great way for Americans to show appreciation for their service members this Fourth of July,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “For the more than 150,000 service members deployed overseas even a small gift can make a big impact on their holiday.”

While only authorized military shoppers can redeem Exchange gift cards, anyone can send one by calling 800-527-2345 or visiting www.shopmyexchange.com and clicking “Purchase Gift and Phone Cards” at the bottom of the page. Selecting “Send a Gift Card” will allow shoppers to choose their desired amount and add it to their cart.

The Exchange gift cards can then be addressed to a specific Soldier, Airman, Sailor or Marine or sent to “any service member” through the Fisher House Foundation, Air Force Aid Society, Warrior and Family Support Center or Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Vietnam veteran serves up sandwiches, stories at Hohenfels Subway

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

USAG BAVARIA – Every day, Willie Alexander is in constant physical pain.

Yet the 74-year-old reports for every shift at the Hohenfels Exchange Subway restaurant, eager to serve and put smiles on the faces of the Soldiers and military families who eat there.

“You get up in the morning, you look in the obituary column, and if you’re not in there, you go to work,” Alexander said. “That’s my slogan. That’s what keeps me going.”

And Alexander has indeed kept going. The Vietnam veteran, who suffers from the effects of Agent Orange exposure sustained during the war, has not taken a day off in 15 years – his only missed shifts have been due to hospital stays.

“He’s always here way before his shift starts,” said Andrea Everette, area manager for Subway concessions. “He never calls out sick. I’ve never see him in a bad mood. Even when he has pain in his leg or hip, he’ll still come in smiling, with a kind word for everybody.”

Born in 1941, Alexander joined the Army in 1964. After his first Vietnam deployment in 1968, he volunteered for a second tour in 1969. After retiring as a Sgt. 1st Class in 1984, Alexander opted to stay in Germany rather than return to the United States.

“I do it for the Soldiers,” he said. “I’m a military man, so any job I can get to keep me being around the Soldiers I’ll love. The pay is not great, but even if it’s just making a sandwich, I try to make a difference in those guys’ lives.”

A beloved figure at the Hohenfels Exchange, Alexander has earned the nickname “Mr. PX” for his love of the Exchange, which he recalls as an ever-present source of relief in Vietnam.

“I appreciated being able to get into a town and there’s an AAFES there,” he said. “That kept me going. When you’re out in the jungle, there’s nothing but C-rations. AAFES had everything that would remind you of home. You could buy a TV or a record player and take it back to your little hutch.”

Alexander’s patronage of the Exchange continues to this day, with electronics and movies among his favorite products. Kicking back after work and watching a movie, he said, takes his mind off the pain.

“No matter what road the military sends you down, look back and the Exchange is behind you,” he said. “That’s my belief.”

And while his time in battle and the effects of Agent Orange exposure have left both physical and emotional scars, Alexander is never afraid to share stories with Soldiers eager to learn about the experiences of prior generations’ warfighters.

“A lot of guys don’t like to talk about it,” Alexander said. “but if you hold it in it’s going to get next to you, so I do.”

Everette said Alexander is so beloved customers often ask for him when he’s not there, and his co-workers care for him like a relative, frequently checking in with him at his home to make sure he’s OK.

“Willie is just such a nice person,” she said. “In the summertime, when he comes in to work a late shift, he stops at the Express and brings ice cream for the girls here. When he’s here in the store, he’ll buy cookies for us.

“He’s just that type of person.”

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Conner Hammett, 214-312-2714 or hammettc@aafes.com.

Columbus AFB Exchange Shopper Wins Husqvarna Motorcycle

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Sammie DuckCOLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE – A 69-year-old Army retiree was awarded a Husqvarna FC 250 motorcycle at the Columbus Air Force Base Exchange on June 16.

4th Mission Support Group Chief William Whitt appeared to help present the motorcycle to Sammie Duck, of Crawford, Miss., in the Exchange mall.

Duck was selected at random from more than 6,200 Army & Air Force Exchange Service shoppers worldwide who entered to win the motorcycle, which is valued at $8,499. Duck, who is a regular shopper at the Columbus Exchange, frequently enters contests advertised at the store and once won a $500 Exchange gift card.

“At first I couldn’t believe I won this motorcycle, because I’ve never won anything worth that much,” Duck said. “I always thought that maybe I would one day; it was only a matter of time.”

Duck served in the Army for 39 years, retiring in 2009 as Chief Warrant Officer 5. During his career, Duck deployed to Korea, Germany and Bosnia.

“I stayed in because I loved it, and I would have stayed in longer if they let me,” he said. “I like the camaraderie, and in the Army you know you have a purpose. If you are undecided about what you want to do it in life, they will help you make up your mind.”

Roberto Montalvo, Exchange manager, said the Exchange is proud to honor a veteran who went above and beyond in years of service to his country.

“Mr. Duck is a living example of unwavering dedication to service,” he said. “This prize serves as a small token of our appreciation for a lifetime dedicated to protecting the freedoms of all Americans.”

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO

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Media Notes: 

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Conner Hammett, 214-312-2714 or hammettc@aafes.com.

Exchange Supporting Anakonda 16 in Poland

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Anakonda

DALLAS – In keeping with its mission of “we go where you go,” the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is ensuring that more than 30,000 U.S., NATO and multinational troops have basic necessities as they participate in Anakonda 16 in Poland this month.

The Exchange has set up three brand new Mobile Field Exchanges (MFEs) at the most densely troop-populated areas in Poland; Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Torun and Orzysz. MFEs are specially configured semi trailers furnished with retail merchandise, supplies and equipment that support contingency operations as well as disaster relief efforts. The assortment ranges from snacks and drinks to toiletries and batteries. Exchange associates from across Europe volunteered to run the MFEs for the duration of the exercise.

“To live up to our motto of going where the troops go, it’s important to have mobile Exchange capability,” said Exchange Europe Region Commander Col. Geoff De Tingo. “Since we can’t just come in and set up a brick and mortar facility for a short military exercise, the MFE is the perfect solution to ensure that the troops participating are mission ready and have the basics to see them through.”

All U.S. and NATO troops as well as multinational Soldiers, with the exception of the Poles, are authorized to shop the MFEs. Sgt. 1st Class John Hodges, Mayor Cell Officer in Charge in Orzysz, expressed his gratitude for the Exchange presence.

“The support of the Exchange has been unbelievable,” Hodges said. “These guys open early, stay late and we have even coordinated some really late openings for Soldiers arriving or coming back from training. The shelves are always fully stocked with everything a Soldier could need. All the guys here appreciate it more than you know.”

Anakonda 16, which is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, is a large-scale military exercise involving troops from 24 countries to test readiness and interoperability. The two-week exercise marks the largest in Europe since 1992.

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Exchange’s Online PCS Headquarters Makes The Move Smooth For Military Families

Monday, June 13th, 2016

DALLAS – As PCS season kicks off for Soldiers, Airmen and their families, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has all the right moves for making a smooth transition.

Exchange shoppers can visit PCS Headquarters online at www.shopmyexchange.com/PCS to find moving checklists, helpful products and more.

“The Exchange understands the needs of Soldiers and Airmen accepting a permanent-change-of station assignment,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, Exchange senior enlisted advisor. “The Exchange can ease the transition, and our online PCS Headquarters has everything military members need in one convenient location.”

At PCS Headquarters, Soldiers, Airmen and families can: 

  • Shop for items that come in handy during a move, including packing materials, storage bins and luggage.
  • Find products to make their new space feel more like home, such as draperies, appliances, furniture and more.
  • Get information on TV, phone and internet hook-up.
  • Receive a discount on PODS storage.

“PCS’ing can be exciting but also stressful,” Applegate said. “The Exchange is committed to be there for Soldiers, Airmen and families during this time, supporting them wherever they are called to serve.”

To ease the financial stress of moving, MILITARY STAR cardholders can use their Operation PCS Benefit Cards in-store and online to save even more. Shoppers should call 800-527-2345 before placing an online order to redeem their savings. To obtain a benefit card, Soldiers and Airmen should present their orders at their local Exchange’s customer service desk.

When shoppers with a benefit card use their MILITARY STAR card, they’ll receive:

  • $10 off purchases of $100 or more.
  • No interest or payment for six months on single transactions from $500-$999.
  • No interest or payment for 12 months on single transactions of $1,000 or more.

Benefit cards are valid for 90 days once they’ve been received. Shoppers can pick up their cards through Aug. 15. The card can be used multiple times but only once per day.

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Exchange Offering Shoppers a Chance to Win Alaskan Cruise for Two

Friday, June 10th, 2016

DALLAS – Shoppers with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service have the opportunity to take in the water, wildlife and wow-inducing landscapes of Alaska by cruise next year thanks to Harry & David.

Through July 7, authorized shoppers in the continental United States can enter to win a cruise for two in the Land of the Midnight Sun, valued at $8,000, at www.shopmyexchange.com/sweepstakes. The prize package includes cruise tickets, airfare and $500 in spending money.

“If taking in the crisp, fresh air of the open sea on a luxury liner is your relaxation aid of choice, this contest is a no-brainer,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Sean Applegate, Exchange senior enlisted advisor. “I encourage any military shopper to take advantage of this chance to create memories that will last a lifetime.”

The lucky winner may choose trip dates between May and September 2017.  The cruise will stop at ports in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia. Ports are subject to change depending on the chosen month of travel.

The winner will be drawn on or about July 14. No purchase is necessary to enter or win. Winners already living in Alaska will be transported to Seward, where they will sail out.

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/public-affairs/press-releases.htm or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.

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Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Conner Hammett, 214-312-2714 or hammettc@aafes.com.