CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – For more than 100 Medical Task Force Sailors and Marines, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service provided comforts of home after they returned to Okinawa and into a 14-day quarantine.
Beginning June 2, Sailors and Marines assigned to the 3rd Medical Battalion returned home to Okinawa after spending more than 60 days providing medical aid to the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt while the Navy’s aircraft carrier was docked in Guam in support of COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, Larry Borum, 3rd Medical Battalion deployment readiness coordinator, still wanted to make the return special, so he reached out to the Exchange for assistance.
“Providing them welcome-home bags would be a nice gesture letting them know that everyone at 3rd Medical Battalion appreciate what they did,” Borum said.
The Camp Foster Exchange team worked together to provide the heroes a “Welcome Home” bag filled with items such as hand sanitizer, face masks, sunglasses and a $10 gift card to name a few, to remind them that Exchange is here to support them.
“We are here to support all of our service members and this is a thank you from us to them for their support of our Nation,” said Tonja Norris, Camp Foster Exchange store manager. “We appreciate the work they did during this mission and every day.”
As a precaution, all of the returning Sailors and Marines must quarantine for 14 days. During quarantine, the Exchange will continue to meet their needs. Service members can use the Exchange personal shopper service and i360 food delivery for contactless shopping and dining, both essential customer support programs while personnel are in quarantine.
“The personal shopper program is a godsend,” said 3rd Medical Battalion commander Capt. Ronald L. Schoonover (US Navy). “If [Corpsmen and Marines] need anything to make restriction of movement more pleasant or are craving a hot meal from a name-brand restaurant, it’s just a phone call away.”
During their recent mission, Schoonover recalls the critical aid the Andersen Exchange in Guam provided.
“The consumption of our sanitization supplies was being outpaced faster than originally planned and resupply was needed quickly,” Schoonover said. “I called Col. Scott Maskery, Exchange Pacific Region commander back in Okinawa, and within a few hours, we were contacted by the local Andersen Exchange manager, Ms. Patricia Murauskas, to let us know our order was ready for pick-up.”
With around-the-clock hard work and dedication to duty, the Corpsmen got the crew of USS Roosevelt back in the waters patrolling the Pacific Region.
“The Exchange played a vital part in our successful mission as we acquired the majority of our needed items for battalion functions from the Exchange,” Schoonover said. “Thanks for keeping the operating forces in mind when stocking items and supporting our mission in Guam and back at home station in Okinawa.”
Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, the Camp Foster Exchange made sure to give a hero’s welcome to the 102 Sailors and Marines from the 3rd Medical Battalion returning from supporting the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam with “Welcome Home” thank-you bags for their service. Read more: https://wp.me/p9Q7PG-1oi.
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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 $2.2 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.