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    Wednesday, January 17, 2018-10:09:42A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Civil Military Liaison Office to address local concerns regarding troop store purchases

(Office of the Governor) — Following concerns from eligible military card holders, mainly from Rota and Tinian, about limitations or restrictions on certain products from the Saipan troop store in Puerto Rico, the Office of the Governor initiated talks with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service or AAFES to address these concerns.

Executive Director for the Civil Military Liaison Office Stanley T. Iakopo recently arranged a meeting with regional AAFES officials to discuss existing options for Rota and Tinian card holders.

Stanley T. Iakopo

“There were concerns brought up by veterans, retirees, reservists, and dependents from Rota and Tinian about the hardship they face when traveling to Saipan to purchase goods at the local army troop store. Currently, there are limitations on certain items for purchase, which makes it inconvenient and expensive for military residents on Rota and Tinian, who first have to fly into Saipan and then be subject to purchasing limited quantities. The travel and distance for our military families in Rota and Tinian should not be subject to this,” Iakopo said.

At the meeting with AAFES, the Office of the Governor made a request to lift the limitations on the number of items a veteran, retiree, reservist, or dependent from Rota or Tinian can buy. AAFES officials were amenable to this proposed change, subject to approval by military officials in Hawaii. As talks continue to formalize the exceptions to the policy, he noted that military card holders from Rota and Tinian in the meantime can write a letter if there is a demonstrated circumstance to buy more items.

“While we continue to formalize the policy exceptions, there is a letter in lieu of a form that members must send to the store in order to purchase larger quantities of items than the limited amount for weddings, parties, or for supply since they live on Rota and Tinian. The letter will be sent to the local unit commander, which is then sent to Fort Shafter in Honolulu for approval. The Rota and Tinian communities are not fully aware of this option, but the AAFES team led by Ms. Karin Duncan, Exchange PAC Region SVP assured us that she will advocate and support this option for our folks on Rota and Tinian and that local staff will be made aware of it,” Iakopo said.

Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres added that one of the primary goals of the Civil Military Liaison Office is to advocate for military families and work with the Department of Defense on addressing local concerns.

“The discussions that were made that day is part of the larger goal to advocate for the concerns of our men and women in uniform, our military families, and our veterans. I’ve instructed Stanley and Bruce [Camacho] from our Civil Military Liaison Office to continue looking into these concerns. We’re currently pursuing discussions with DoD to expand the inventory for the commissary as well. Our office will continue to provide updates as we move forward,” Governor Torres said.

For any questions regarding this matter, please contact Stanley T. Iakopo or Bruce M. Camacho at 237-2200.