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Cynthia Grzybowski, manager of the new AAFES store at Victory Camp in Baghdad, Iraq, helps unload merchandise.
Cynthia Grzybowski, manager of the new AAFES store at Victory Camp in Baghdad, Iraq, helps unload merchandise. (Marni McEntee / S&S)
Cynthia Grzybowski, manager of the new AAFES store at Victory Camp in Baghdad, Iraq, helps unload merchandise.
Cynthia Grzybowski, manager of the new AAFES store at Victory Camp in Baghdad, Iraq, helps unload merchandise. (Marni McEntee / S&S)
Army and Air Force troops unload a new refrigerator at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service store, set to open Friday at Victory Camp in Baghdad.
Army and Air Force troops unload a new refrigerator at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service store, set to open Friday at Victory Camp in Baghdad. (Marni McEntee / S&S)
Pfc. Matthews James carries merchandise into the new AAFES store.
Pfc. Matthews James carries merchandise into the new AAFES store. (Marni McEntee / S&S)

BAGHDAD, Iraq — The first thing off a truck delivering supplies to the new Army and Air Force Exchange store at Victory Camp was a refrigerator.

With daytime temperatures hovering around 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Baghdad, cold water, sodas and Gatorade are going to be hard to keep in stock, manager Cynthia Gryzbowski said.

Gryzbowski and Rochele Jordan will be the lone workers at the new shoppette, set to open Friday. Exact store hours haven’t been set, but Gryzbowski said she expects it will be open seven days a week.

“We’ll ring up sales during the day and stock the shelves at night,” she said.

Since the Heidelberg, Germany-based V Corps moved into the massive palace complex in the city, soldiers have had to rely mostly on care packages for necessities.

AAFES recently started a “rodeo,” service, through which its workers visit units on a rotating basis to offer basics like foot powder and shaving cream.

The new PX will have about 180 different items in stock and eventually will handle special requests.

Topping soldiers’ wish list now are fans and air conditioners, Gryzbowski said. The store also will sell mattresses for soldiers’ cots.

The shoppette will be inside an old Republican Guard house on the grounds where 2,000 U.S. soldiers now live.

Eventually, the store will include fast-food service like a Subway sandwich shop and a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store.

“This is one of the biggest morale boosters there can be,” said 1st Lt. Markello Dotson, a logistics officer for V Corps’ Headquarters and Headquarters Company, as he helped unload the first items into the new store.

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