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Airmen's investment in AAFES pays off for entire military community

DALLAS -- While many retailers struggled or even closed their doors, in 2008 the Exchange benefit continued to pay dividends for military families.

Strong sales and earnings at Army & Air Force Exchange Service facilities, the Exchange Online Store and Exchange Catalogs helped deliver more than $260 million to Army, Air Force, National Guard, Marine Corps and Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation efforts last year.

"Historically, roughly two-thirds of AAFES earnings are paid to MWR and Services programs, with the other third used to build new stores or renovate existing facilities," said AAFES' commander Maj. Gen. Keith Thurgood. "This structure means that authorized customers are essentially our 'investors.' Fortunately, thrifty shoppers rediscovering the value the Exchange offers allowed AAFES to provide a healthy return on their investment."

With a mission to provide quality goods and services at competitively low prices and generate earnings to support MWR and Services programs, the dual benefit AAFES provides military families goes far beyond the clothes, electronics and snacks on shelves. Shoppers who exercise their exchange benefit at the BX/PX, online at www.aafes.com or over the phone through the Exchange Catalog actually help make the military community a better place to live and work. In fact, purchases made in the past 10 years have provided more than $2.4 billion to military quality of life programs such as Youth Services, base functions and aquatic centers.

Cooperative efforts, of course, mean that AAFES support is not limited to Soldiers and Airmen. Because AAFES operates catalog, online and credit programs on behalf of its sister exchanges, AAFES was also able to return funds to Marines and Sailors as well. The Fiscal Year 2008 projected dividend of $262.9 million was distributed as follows:

Army: $149.1M
National Guard $10.1M
Air Force: $90.3M
Marines: $12.9M
Navy: $.6M
Total: $262.9M