DALLAS (Army News Service, Nov. 22, 2006) - The holidays are coming early for deployed Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen using 550-Unit Military Exchange Global Prepaid phone cards to call home from Army & Air Force Exchange Service's (AAFES') phone centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Troops who pick up 550-unit cards at any of the 53 BX/PXs or 32 Imprest Fund activities in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom will see per minute charges reduced by 13 percent when placing calls from AAFES phone centers from Nov. 22 to Dec. 25.

"The communication tools troops have come to know as providing the best value for overseas calls will provide an even better deal when prices are reduced from $35 to just $30 for 550-unit cards purchased in theater," said AAFES' Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Eaton.

"The reduced price will ultimately decrease per-minute rates from 19 to 16.5 cents for calls from Operations Enduring or Iraqi Freedom to the United States. This means that a Soldier in Balad using a 550-Unit phone card to talk to their mom in Detroit, Mich., during this promotion will pay only $4.95 for 30 minutes of calling compared to $5.70," he said.

Last December, deployed troops using AAFES prepaid cards from phone centers in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan spent more than 16.7 million minutes talking to friends and family. AAFES officials expect servicemembers placing calls during the 33-day rate-reduction promotion to log nearly 20 million minutes on phones at AAFES' 69 phone centers in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

"No one knows better than AAFES' military leadership how important affordable communication is," said Eaton. "Hopefully, reducing rates will help bolster morale as the additional minutes troops receive bring loved ones together during this very special time of year."