DALLAS – When disaster strikes the military community — whether a natural disaster or the current COVID-19 pandemic — the Army & Air Force Exchange Service continues to care for the nation’s warfighters, their families and associates on the frontlines.At the forefront of this effort is the Exchange Disaster Support Group, which keeps communication open and brings critical resources to associates and shoppers.“One of the Exchange’s core values is ‘family serving family,’ and the DSG allows us to take care of our military family and our own,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor.During disasters, the DSG connects departments across the organization for clear and concise communication and decision making to quickly deploy support to impacted communities.The COVID-19 DSG was activated in late February in the Pacific region and has evolved to address operational requirements across Europe, Southwest Asia and the United States.“The Exchange is taking care of warfighters, military families and associates in Korea, Southwest Asia, Italy, the U.S. — all across the globe,” Reyes said. “We’re working with general managers to fulfill command requests and integrate command directives at Exchange stores on local, national and global levels.”During the pandemic, leaders have discussed the flow of hand sanitizer, cleaning products and other critical items to stores; safety measures for associates, stores and restaurants; and fulfilling command requests. The group found new suppliers of some critical items until regular suppliers can restock.“Whatever we can do to get needed product to our shoppers, the Exchange is doing,” Reyes said. “The DSG’s focus is keeping the global pipeline moving so that no matter where our Soldiers, Airmen, families and associates may be, they’re getting what they need.”In the past, the DSG’s coordination made it possible for military shoppers in hurricane-ravaged areas to fuel up their cars when no other gas station in the area was open, buy emergency supplies like bottled waters and generators when off-installation stores were sold out and set up Mobile Field Exchanges—Exchanges on wheels—within 48 hours of a disaster. Now the team is making sure Exchange shoppers in areas hardest hit by the pandemic have access to necessities while ensuring shoppers’ and associates’ health and well-being are safeguarded. This includes troops redeploying to home station and facing 14 days in a unit quarantine area before reuniting with friends and family.“The Exchange is all in for our shoppers, associates and their families,” Reyes said. “Through the tough times, the Exchange motto remains the same: ‘We go where you go.’ The DSG is at the tip of the spear to help the Exchange deliver on this long-standing commitment to service members and their families.”