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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Back from war with a pocket full of POGs.

Troops who deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq are probably familiar with POGs, paper coin “gift certificates” used in place of nickels, dimes and quarters in Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities downrange.

They are used because transporting metal coins into war zones is costly, AAFES said.

And they’re still good when troops return to their home bases, according to Air Force Master Sgt. Donovan K. Potter, an AAFES-Okinawa spokesman.

POGs can be used at any AAFES facility worldwide and can even be redeemed for cash, he said.

On Okinawa, customers can exchange the POGs for money at the Kadena exchange cashier’s cage, exchange manager Erika Pfauntsch said.

“Not a problem … just had a customer bring some by yesterday,” she said in an e-mail.

Potter said all AAFES locations should have signs telling customers that POGs are accepted. AAFES employees have been trained to recognize the paper coins are legal tender, “just like any U.S. coin,” he said.

He said large amounts may be redeemed more easily at the Customer Service counter of main stores.

Potter said he’s received no complaints from customers about redeeming POGs.

“If any of our AAFES employees happen to be unfamiliar with the POGs, a manager should be nearby and will be able to help the customer,” he said.


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