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Brenda Hyland, Maxwell, Fort Rucker and Gunter Exchange general manager, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. James D. Wilson, Aviation Branch command sergeant major, and Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond P. Quitugua Jr., Fort Rucker garrison command sergeant major, discuss how the Department of Defense retailer can continue to improve the quality of life for the Fort Rucker community during a meeting in the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence Headquarters Building April 28. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As major renovations near completion on the Fort Rucker Post Exchange, a special visitor stopped by April 28: Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service senior enlisted advisor.

During his visit to Fort Rucker, Osby toured the Exchange shopping center, which is about 80% of the way through a major $11 million upgrade. For a previous article on the upgrades, visit https://www.army.mil/article/253399.

Osby also met with Command Sgt. Maj. James D. Wilson, Aviation Branch command sergeant major, and Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond P. Quitugua Jr., garrison command sergeant major, to focus on how the Department of Defense retailer can continue to improve the quality of life for the Fort Rucker community.

"The Exchange is all in to make Fort Rucker a great place to work and live," said Osby, one of about 30 active-duty service members assigned to the Exchange. "We're committed to expanding and improving our services and options to best serve the community."

And AAFES is doing just that, according to Wilson.

“I think it was a great visit,” he said. “AAFES is very important to Fort Rucker and to the Army in general, and also to the betterment of our Soldiers’, retirees’ and families’ lives. It’s also important to our Army culture that AAFES is successful, and that is what this is about: how do we keep AAFES successful and hopefully expand some of what AAFES provides to our Soldiers, families, and retirees and their families.

“Fort Rucker is a small post and we have small AAFES facilities, but we have a great team of people who are dedicated to their jobs, and dedicated to the Soldiers, families and retirees here. They’re very proud of what they do and the product that they provide us is outstanding – we’re very proud of AAFES at Fort Rucker,” Wilson added.

“It was great to meet with the chief master sergeant,” he said. “We invited him back at any time to come see how we’re doing. We’re excited about where we’re going in the future.”

The renovation project began in November 2020, and is evidence of the Exchange's dedication to making life better for Soldiers, retirees and families at Fort Rucker. This is one of the more extensive renovations the Exchange has undertaken at any location and an example of how the military community benefits when the Exchange collaborates with the garrison and Army Installation Management Command.

Shoppers have already seen some of the new additions, such as the Starbucks and Qdoba in the food court, which also features new furniture and charging stations. The Four Seasons area has received energy efficient LED lighting and HVAC, as well as new flooring, ceiling and paint. New restrooms have been added in the main store.

The renovations are expected to wrap up around September. Still to come is new lighting, HVAC and floors in the main store, which will also have an updated layout. The mall-area restrooms are receiving a floor-to-ceiling refresh. Popeyes and Subway are also being updated and will reopen in June, at which time Charleys will close for its turn for upgrades. The end result will be a total transformation to a modern shopping experience.

Every time Soldiers shop their Exchange – whether in person or at http://www.shopmyexchange.com/ --they are strengthening their community as 100% of Exchange earnings are reinvested in the military community through funding for critical programs, as well as capital improvements.

"It matters where you shop," Osby said. "Small changes can make a big difference in a community. The Exchange is passionate about enhancing the quality of life for our heroes."