The Army & Air Force Exchange Service will welcome home disabled Veterans, Purple Heart recipients and certain caregivers—4.1 million Americans—with in-store shopping privileges began Jan. 1, 2020.
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service will welcome home disabled Veterans, Purple Heart recipients and certain caregivers—4.1 million Americans—with in-store shopping privileges began Jan. 1, 2020. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is celebrating the first anniversary of welcoming home 4.1 million service-connected disabled Veterans to their lifelong, in-store shopping benefit.

The new privilege, which launched Jan. 1, 2020, was specified in the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018, included in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.

“Welcoming home service-connected disabled Veterans with a lifelong Exchange benefit has been a bright spot during 2020,” said Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull, a Vietnam-era Army Veteran. “Our Nation’s heroes fought for us and deserve this benefit—and the Exchange is privileged to take care of disabled Veterans through the in-person shopping benefit.”

In-person shopping at military exchanges, commissaries and morale, welfare and recreation retail facilities on U.S. military installations was expanded to:

  • All Veterans with service-connected disabilities
  • Purple Heart recipients
  • Former prisoners of war
  • Primary family caregivers for Veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers

Before the expansion, only Veterans with 100% service-connected disabilities could shop in person. (Active-duty service members, their dependents and military retirees also have in-store and online privileges.)

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Exchange—which many know as the PX or BX— is providing a safe, sanitized and secure shopping experience. Protecting the force and the military community is Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s top priority. Contactless shopping options, including curbside pickup and ordering at ShopMyExchange.com, are available to Veterans with service-connected disabilities. Buy online, pickup in store service and restaurant carryout are available as well.

In Exchange stores, acrylic shields have been installed at checkout, floor decals and signing remind shoppers about maintaining physical distance, hand sanitizer stations are readily available. Associates and shoppers adhere to Department of Defense guidance on the wearing of cloth face coverings.

By shopping the Exchange, Veterans also help those who wear the uniform today. 100% of Exchange earnings are reinvested in the military community, including though dividends to Quality-of-Life programs such as Child, Youth and School Services; Armed Forces Recreation Centers; and more.

“Shopping with the Exchange gives service-connected disabled Veterans a chance to re-engage with their military community, allowing them to remain Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard members for life,” Shull said. “The Exchange provides value to the Veteran community and offers a tangible way to thank them for their service.”

Veterans who need additional information about the in-store patronage expansion can visit the Veterans section on the Exchange’s Community Hub.

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 61st-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.2 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website or follow us on Twitter.