Exchange History Articles

The Exchange at 125: Real-Time Help Via Call Centers

By Loyd Brumfield / July 30, 2020 /

In 1992, four people sat around a card table answering phones at headquarters— the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s first call center, which handled inquiries about the Deferred Payment Plan, the forerunner of today’s MILITARY STAR® card A year later, the call center moved to the first floor of HQ with about 120 associates.…

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The Exchange at 125: Blasts from the Past

By Loyd Brumfield / July 29, 2020 /

Some exchanges around the world are now just fond memories. Many of them started in the early days of World War II to train Army pilots, but then closed after combat ended. In Texas alone, air bases were once located in Amarillo; Austin; Fort Worth; Laredo; and Army posts in Galveston and Mineral Wells, among…

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The Exchange at 125: At One Time, the Exchange Couldn’t Sell TVs or Computers

By Steve Smith / July 28, 2020 /

Once upon a time, shoppers couldn’t find televisions or computers for sale anywhere in the Exchanges. Since 1949, the House Armed Services Committee and Department of Defense have regulated what the Exchange can sell. In 1986, the committee gave the Exchange permission to sell computers in 130 computer shops worldwide, which became known as “PowerZones”…

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The Exchange at 125: Welcoming Hostages Freed from Iran

By Loyd Brumfield / July 28, 2020 /

On Nov. 4, 1979, Iranian college students, who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 American staff members who worked there hostage. The hostages were freed on Jan. 20, 1981, after 444 days of captivity. Three days later, associates at Germany’s Hainerberg shopping center greeted them as they…

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The Exchange at 125: Red-Letter July Dates in Exchange History

By Steve Smith / July 10, 2020 /

July 18, 1866 – Congress does away with the corrupt “sutler” system, effective July 1, 1867. July 24, 1876 – The Secretary of War appoints one post trader at every military post, such as these folks at Fort Buford, N.D. July 25, 1895 – War Department General Orders No. 46 directs post commanders to open…

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The Exchange at 125: We Operated an Exchange in Casablanca—the City in Morocco, Not the Movie

By Loyd Brumfield / July 9, 2020 /

During World War II, the Army Exchange Service—as the Exchange was known then—operated stores  throughout Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, serving American troops in the North Africa Theater of Operations. One of those stores was in Casablanca, Morocco.

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124th Anniversary Month: See How Our Restaurants Looked Years Ago

By Steve Smith / July 30, 2019 /

Long before name-brand restaurants joined the Exchange family, we operated our own cafeterias, soda fountains and snack bars. We even invented our own “AAFES burger.”

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124 Years Strong!

By Steve Smith / July 25, 2019 /

“This steadfast and loyal team keeps the 124-year-old shopping benefit alive and well.”

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124-Plus Years of Exchange History is Right at Your Fingertips

By Steve Smith / July 24, 2019 /

See pictures dating back to the Civil War and read text of the Exchange and its predecessors in the Exchange History Flickr Album. Nearly 13,000 views so far!

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124th Anniversary Week: This Famous Private Told the Exchange Relevancy Story

By Steve Smith / July 24, 2019 /

The Exchange appeared in comics throughout its 124 years.

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