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CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Soldiers soon will be able to shop where they train at Area I’s Rodriguez Range.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has unveiled plans for a post exchange — or PX — at the live-fire complex where the U.S. military trains just south of the Demilitarized Zone separating North Korea and South Korea.

AAFES Area I general manager Ronald Daugherty said the PX will be housed in a building, as opposed to trailers.

“Currently the (Rodriguez Range) PX and snack bar is a trailer operation, similar to what AAFES would set up in the initial phases of a wartime operation,” he said.

The new PX comes after the closure of seven AAFES stores in the 2nd Infantry Division’s Warrior Country, at camps Greaves, Howze, Page, Giant, Edwards, Stanton and Gary Owen, Daugherty said. Those facilities were closed after almost 4,000 troops from the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team left for Iraq in August.

However, staff and equipment from those camps will not be transferred to the Rodriguez Range PX. Staff from the stores that were closed have been moved to other jobs or other Area I stores, he said.

The new PX will be four times as large at the current trailer operation. Funding has been secured to modify a large building already built at the range and 95 percent of the design work is complete, Daugherty said. He said he hopes to open the store this fall.

The store will include 12 doors of refrigeration space. Plans also call for renovating a three-chair barber shop at the range, adding a cyber cafe with nine personal computers and building a new snack bar with 38 seats in the dining room and 28 seats on an outside patio. The upgrades eventually are to include an automated teller machine, he said.

A challenge for AAFES will be dealing with large influxes of soldiers at the range during training exercises, Daugherty said. Training groups range from 100 soldiers in a company to about 4,000 in a brigade. Staff numbers at the PX will increase when large numbers of soldiers are to train at the range, he said.

“Everything from tactical accessories, magazines and cold soda to the latest CD” will be sold at the PX, Daugherty said.

“It is patterned on what they would see in a deployed area,” he said, “but it will be in a much better environment in this new building.”

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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