DALLAS – With hurricane season underway, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has been preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.
Exchange merchandising and logistics teams have been building inventory on critical emergency supplies including water, batteries, flashlights and generators to ensure that Soldiers and Airmen have what they need to remain ready and resilient after natural disasters.
Last year, customers felt the impact from hurricanes—about 10 installations suffered damage or experienced Exchange store closures. The Exchange leaned forward to make sure Soldiers and Airmen had the essentials to weather the storms—more than 2,000 supplies were shipped to Florida and Georgia ahead of Hurricane Michael.
“Ideally, our best-laid plans and preparation will be for naught,” said Army Capt. Conrad Bellard, Exchange Contingency Plans. “In the event that our facilities are affected by a hurricane, the Exchange team has the experience and internal processes in place to ensure that service members and their families will have access to critical supplies.”
The Exchange also stands ready with mobile field exchanges (MFE) should command request them to serve military first responders when a hurricane makes landfall. An MFE is an “Exchange on wheels,” a 53-foot trailer stocked with emergency supplies, toiletries, snacks and drinks. Last year, an MFE was sent to Tyndall AFB and was the only store within miles after Michael devastated the installation.
“No other retail does what the Exchange does for troops after natural disasters.” Bellard said. “The MFE makes life a little more comfortable for those working to restore a sense of normalcy to the installation after a catastrophe. If we can bring just a bit of comfort or morale boost to an otherwise grim situation, then we have done our job.”
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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 62nd-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.3 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at http://www.ShopMyExchange.com or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.
For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Chris Ward, 214-312-3861 or [email protected].
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