DALLAS — For the first time in four years, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service does not currently have a Mobile Field Exchange deployed in the United States. But while things may be peaceful now, they are continually standing at the ready for the next emergency or training exercise.
MFEs are specially configured semitrailers furnished with retail merchandise, supplies and equipment that support disaster relief efforts and contingency operations. The Exchange currently has 13 MFEs and two barber shops that can be deployed within 48 hours of an approved request to hurricane relief efforts, firefighting support or major military exercises.
“To live up to the Exchange motto of ‘We Go Where You Go,’ we need short notice, mobile Exchange capability,” said Col. Roger Neumann, AAFES Contingency director. “Our MFEs provide that capability, since you can’t just come in and set up a regular brick-and-mortar store in many locations troops are called to serve. We continually track natural disasters so that when troops are called to assist, we can have the resources available to support them in relief efforts.”
In just the past two years, U.S.-based Exchange MFEs supported more than 60,000 National Guard and Reserve members at training exercises at approximately 30 locations throughout the United States and South America. Most recently, three MFEs were deployed following super storm Sandy to provide support to more than 1,500 service members.
While all 13 of the Exchange’s MFEs may be on a rare, well-deserved hiatus, service members can rest assured knowing that when the next natural disaster or training exercise calls them to action, the Exchange will be available to provide a taste of home.