Army & Air Force Exchange Opens in NYC to Support Military & Medical Personnel During COVID-19 Crisis
DALLAS — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) set up shop in New York as the city remains the top hot spot for COVID-19 in the United States.
The mobile field exchange (MFE) is located outside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which is serving as the Army's field hospital on Manhattan's west side. This marks the first time an MFE has been in New York since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Dallas-based AAFES opened the mobile exchange to serve the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command Soldiers, National Guard members and civilian medical personnel who are working the front lines against the novel coronavirus.
"MFEs underscore the Exchange's relevancy and reinforce its motto of 'we go where you go," said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange's senior enlisted advisor. "Hopefully we can make life a little more comfortable for those working to bring life back to normal."
An MFE is an Exchange on wheels, a 53-foot trailer stocked with emergency supplies, toiletries, snacks and drinks, typically used to support first responders after natural disasters or during training exercises.
"I wanted to be a part of this to help our service members in this time of need," said Siapo Hesson, store manager at the Fort Hamilton Exchange who is helping run the MFE. "I come from a military family, and I take pride in serving them. Service members can come into the MFE to get a short break from a very trying environment."
AAFES operates 3,500 facilities consisting of department stores, convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, theaters and specialty stores on military installations in all 50 states, five U.S. territories and 33 countries.