Just four years after the Department of Defense authorized the Exchange Services to sell Military Exchange Prepaid Phone cards to any individual or organization that wishes to purchase them for deployed troops, the American public, through the “Help Our Troops Call Home” program, has provided more than $6.5 million in telecommunications support.
As of May 31, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s (AAFES’) telecommunications initiative has generated $6,522,898 for troops serving throughout Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. All totaled 156,769 individual orders have been placed to send more than 270,000 phone cards designed for the unique needs of deployed troops and their Families back home.
“The response over the last four years to this initiative has been both amazing and inspiring,” said AAFES’ Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Eaton. “To average more than $1.5 million in support per year is a testament to the American public’s commitment to keeping spouses, children, mothers, fathers and siblings connected to loved ones far from home.”
Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone cards purchased through the “Help Our Troops Call Home” program can be sent to individual service members or “any service member” through charitable partners such as the American Red Cross, Air Force Aid Society, Fisher House Foundation, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Soldier & Family Assistance Center and USO. These charities have distributed almost 27,000 of the proprietary phone cards since the program’s inception in 2004.
By simply logging on to aafes.org or calling 800-527-2345, friends, family members and even civic groups can take part in the “Help Our Troops Call Home” effort by sending any one of three Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone cards, including a 550-minute denomination card capable of providing more than two hours of call time from any of 74 phone centers in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kuwait to the United States.