AAFES employee returns to Fort Leonard Wood after deployment
June 5, 2014
One Fort Leonard Wood employee just wants to serve troops -- even if it means spending more than a year with them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today, Randy Kinley can be found at the Class Six store in the mini-mall where he works for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
He recently returned home after spending 15 months working at stores overseas as part of the Exchange Contingency Operations program.
"I ran stores from the Green Zone in Iraq to Bagram, Afghanistan," Kinley said. "We sold anything that we could think of to make the Soldiers' lives a little better."
Kinley is not the only Fort Leonard Wood Exchange employee to serve in other countries. "Within the past five years, 17 Exchange associates have deployed to support Contingency Operations. Two are currently deployed, Angela Richards is deployed to Jordan and Margaret 'Peggy' Wade is in Kuwait," said Robert Rice, Exchange General Manager.
Since 9-11, approximately 4,800 Exchange associates have deployed in support of Contingency Operations, according to Rice. Currently the Exchange has 104 associates supporting Contingency Operations.
Kinley said he spent his free time sleeping or at the gym, and while he was at work, he met a lot of new people.
"I made a lot of friends. I interacted with some of the same military personnel daily," he said. "It was a great experience. I got to hang out with Soldiers and take care of them the best we could."
When Kinley returned to Fort Leonard Wood's Class Six in March, there was a celebration held in his honor. He said it made him feel good to have such a warm welcome.
"It takes a special person to deploy in support of Contingency Operations, willing to sacrifice the safety and security of home to help us fulfill the Exchange mission of bringing quality goods and services to troops and most importantly bringing those we support a little piece of home. We couldn't be more proud of all our deployed personnel who have taken the Exchange mission to the next level and supporting the motto of 'We Go Where You Go,'" Rice said.