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Vets eligible for online exchange shopping starting Saturday

Customers shop at the Navy Exchange in Bahrain on Nov. 8, 2017. Beginning Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, veterans will be allowed to shop online at military exchanges.

JASON BEHNKE/STARS AND STRIPES

By JASON BEHNKE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 9, 2017

Honorably discharged servicemembers will be able to access tax-free shopping through the Military Exchange Online stores beginning this Veterans Day.

The change in policy, which was announced earlier this year by the Department of Defense, means nearly 20 million more servicemembers will have access to this service from Saturday.

Sally Foster, who served eight years in the Navy, said this shows that “even though people like me didn’t serve our full 20 years, people are still looking out for us.”

“As veterans, we’re not looking for handouts, but it’s nice to know that so many people who served honorably can get a little break on shopping,” she said. “A lot of people have families and every bit helps.”

It is one more way to thank those who have served, Robert J. Bianchi, the Navy Exchange Service Command’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“The Navy Exchange gives back 100 percent of our profits to our sailors and their families through contributions given to Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation for quality of life programs and NEX store infrastructure,” Bianchi said. “Therefore, we look forward to expanding our customer base of online shoppers, which will in turn help grow our merchandise assortment and continue to strengthen our ability to provide dividends for base MWR programs.”

The Navy Exchange Command’s annual report showed a profit $45.8 million, with $32.6 million going to quality of life programs.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service earned $384 million and generated $225 million that year for quality of life programs, according to its 2016 annual report. Previously, only active duty, National Guard, reserve and retired military members and their families were allowed to shop at the online store.

This marks the first time in 27 years that there have been expansions to exchange benefits. Those who wish to see if they qualify for this can visit www.vetverify.org.

behnke.Jason@stripes.com
 

Customers shop at the Navy Exchange in Bahrain on Nov. 8, 2017. Beginning Nov. 11, 2017, veterans will be allowed to shop online at military exchanges.
JASON BEHNKE/STARS AND STRIPES

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