AAFES mum as families prepare for life without Vilseck PX
VILSECK, Germany — The Vilseck Post Exchange closed on Sunday, a few days before a new facility opens at Grafenwöhr.
Rumors that the Vilseck PX would close — denied by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) in January — have been circulating since last year.
Matt Mennona, AAFES’ Grafenwöhr consolidated exchange manager, remained tight-lipped about AAFES’ plans for Vilseck when asked about it on Wednesday.
However, reports on American Forces Network radio have stated that the Vilsek PX was to close on Sunday. The reports also mention a furniture store opening in a large heated tent in the PX car park.
AAFES has scheduled a community meeting for 6 p.m. on Monday at the Vilseck Chapel to talk to locals about “transformation of AAFES support to the Vilseck community.”
This week, the Vilseck PX, once the center of the on-post community, was a shadow of its former self with much of the merchandise missing from shelves and few customers.
The streets outside had far less traffic than they did in summer before thousands of soldiers from the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment deployed to Iraq.
On Friday 2nd Cav spouse Laurie Reineke declined to answer questions about the atmosphere on post since the men departed, stating that she’d need authorization from public affairs officials to talk about that. But she added that she was sorry to see the PX close.
“I hate to see it go over here but at the same time 25 minutes is not that far away,” she said. The new Grafenwöhr PX is about 15 miles from Vilseck.
Another 2nd Cav spouse, Tanya Callaghan-McCann, was also philosophical about the PX closure.
“Our husbands are in the military and we have learned to overcome our adversities,” she said. “It’s not so bad. We don’t have to drive as far as people in other parts of Europe. It is 20 to 25 minutes versus three to four hours for some people.”
Callaghan-McCann said she’ll visit the new mall when it opens and hopes it stocks the sort of things she needs.
“I went to the Ramstein PX once and it was this mecca of stuff,” she said. “Now we’ll have the biggest PX in Europe.”