Army and Air Force Exchange Service

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Army & Air Force Exchange Service
Department store, Government agency
Industry Retail
Founded 1895
Headquarters 3911 S. Walton Walker Blvd. Dallas, Texas, 75236 United States
Key people
Tom Shull, Director/CEO
  • Increase US$ 9.2 billion (2014)[1]
  • Increase US$ 8.3 billion (2013)[2]
Number of employees
Parent United States Department of Defense
Slogan "We Go Where You Go"
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Main Store on Fort Belvoir, VA.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) or “AAFES,” is the retailer on U.S. Army and Air Force installations worldwide. The Exchange is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and its Director/Chief Executive Officer is Tom Shull.

General Information[edit]

The oldest and the largest of the Department of Defense’s exchange services, the Exchange operates department stores, convenience stores, restaurants, movie theaters and an Internet shopping site to serve soldiers, airmen and their families. In addition to U.S. bases in Germany, Italy, England, Turkey, South Korea and Japan, the Exchange operates stores for U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in the region. The Exchange ensures soldiers and airmen have access to U.S. goods and services, wherever they serve.

Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) programs. In fiscal 2014, the Exchange had revenue of $9.2 billion and $373 million in earnings. About two-third of those earnings – $224 million – were paid to Army MWR and Air Force Services programs.[3] In the past 10 years, the Exchange has distributed more than $2.4 billion for MWR to fund quality-of-life improvements.[4] In addition to their retail support for the military, the Exchange also outfits troops with combat uniforms at cost, and serves school lunches for children attending Department of Defense Schools overseas.

The Exchange operates approximately 2,440 facilities to include main stores, convenience stores, military clothing and theaters. Additionally, the Exchange has more than 1,400 quick-serve restaurants such as Taco Bell, Burger King and Starbucks as well as over 3,300 concession operations.


Soldiers take a break at a post exchange in this 1914 photo.

The first exchanges were established on July 25, 1895, when the War Department issued General Orders Number 46 directing post commanders to establish an exchange at every post.[5] Before the formation of the Exchange Service, U.S. military forces purchased provisions from bands of peddlers known as sutlers who followed the army.

The Army Exchange Service was formally established in 1941, and became the Army & Air Force Exchange Service in 1948 following the formation of the Air Force.

Since its establishment, the Exchange has been involved in 14 major military operations (to include World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Balkans and Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom) as well as several dozen humanitarian and disaster relief contingencies.

Base and Post Exchanges[edit]

Modern base and post exchanges provide tax-free goods - including name brands such as Michael Kors, Coach, and Ralph Lauren - to authorized shoppers. In addition, some Exchanges host concession malls with a variety of vendors and storefronts.

Authorized patrons of the Exchange include active duty, reserve, national guard, and retired members of the U.S. uniformed services and their dependents.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]