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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Now anyone can help troops deployed overseas call home.

Any individual or organization may buy prepaid calling cards for deployed servicemembers through any of the three Armed Services Exchange Web sites: the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Navy Exchange Service Command and Marine Corps Exchange.

The Defense Department recently allowed the exchanges to sell AT&T’s military exchange 550-unit global prepaid calling cards to customers not otherwise authorized to make purchases through the exchanges’ online stores, the agency announced in a news release this week.

The “Help Our Troops Call Home” program is designed to help servicemembers call home while serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“The cards can be used at any location that has telephone service,” said Master Sgt. Donovan Potter, spokesman for AAFES Pacific region.

One card costs $39 plus 37 cents for shipping. Cards also come in packs of 10 for $390 and 25 for $975, plus shipping.

Call rates per minute vary by location, Potter said.

Cards can be sent to troops three ways, he said, adding that one of these options should be selected when ordering a prepaid card online:

They can be mailed to one’s home, then sent in a care package or letter to the deployed servicemember.The exchange online store can mail it to a servicemember through an FPO or APO address.A person can elect to donate a card or cards to any servicemember through the American Red Cross, Fisher House or the Air Force Aid Society. Just select one of those options when ordering a prepaid card online.To purchase a calling card, log on to any of the three Armed Services Exchange Web sites:

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, www.aafes.com.The Navy Exchange Service, www.navy-nex.com.The Marine Corps Exchange Service, usmc-mccs.org.Another way to support troops overseas is through buying commissary and exchange gift certificates. The “Gift of Groceries” program allows anyone to buy commissary gift certificates at www.commissaries.com. Exchange gift certificates may be purchased at www.aafes.com or www.navy-nex.com.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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