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Army & Air Force Exchange Service Corporate Communications

Release Number: 08003

From Grand Forks to Afghanistan, military installations across the globe are home to more than 3,000 Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) food, entertainment and retail options. When visitors, contractors and civilians see these facilities their first question often is, "Who's authorized to shop the exchange?"

"Frankly, the BX offers varying levels of service to everyone who comes on base," said the BX's Pat Fields. "It stands to reason that guests want to take advantage of the tax relief and competitive pricing they've heard so much about, but AAFES doesn't decide who is or isn't authorized."

Exchange service authorization actually begins with the House Armed Services Committee and ultimately ends with the Grand Forks Base Commander. The guidelines, as prescribed by Army Regulation 215-8/Air Force Instruction 34-211 (I), require proper identification of authorized customers, including uniformed personnel and members of the Reserve Components and family members, applicable DoD civilians, exchange associates and retirees who possess a basic exchange purchase privilege authorization card.

While authorizations governing who can buy merchandise and services at the BX often apply to a chosen few, the doors to AAFES' fast food and convenience stores, including the Shoppette, are open to virtually anyone looking for a quick bite to eat. In fact, DoD policy allows all federal government employees, and even installation visitors, to dine at AAFES restaurants as long as their orders are consumed on the installation. Furthermore, anyone can purchase single-serve consumables from a Shoppette, an option that is especially valuable late at night considering the Grand Forks Shoppette is open 11p.m.

"'Snack Avenue' offers a robust selection of single-serve consumables," said Pat Fields. "Candy bars, soft drinks and even hot dogs can be picked up by just about anyone with business on the installation."

Anyone who believes they may qualify for exchange benefits, including access to the main BX, can contact Pat Fields at Grand Forks Main Store for additional guidance as well as information regarding possible exceptions at Grand Forks AFB. 

AAFES PRESS RELEASE