Gift cards excellent choice when supporting deployed Airmen Published June 24, 2010 By Ingrid Fanini AAFES DALLAS -- In a recent news magazine, it was reported that 90 percent of gift cards in America each year are actually used by the recipients. And while most any gift card will work for most people, military supporters have long struggled with finding just the right one for troops serving far from home. Fortunately, the Department of Defense's largest and oldest Exchange Service operates retail facilities, including more than 900 Exchanges, fast food restaurants, services and concessions throughout the Middle East, that accept gift cards. "Exchange gift cards are an excellent way to send troops what they want as they can select their own gifts," said Col. Virgil Williams, Army & Air Force Exchange Service chief of staff. "Our mission at AAFES is to serve the best customers in the world - our military personnel - and these cards provide a flexible and efficient way of doing just that." While only authorized military shoppers can redeem AAFES gift cards, any American can send them by simply calling 800-527-2345 or logging on to www.aafes.org and clicking "Gift Cards/Certificates for Our Troops" icon. From there, AAFES gift cards, ranging in values from $10 to $500, can be addressed to a specific Soldier, Airman, Sailor or Marine or sent to "any service member" through the American Red Cross, Fisher House Foundation, USO, Soldier and Family Assistance Center, Air Force Aid Society or Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Today, AAFES operates 90 PX/BX facilities throughout Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. The stock assortment found in these exchanges varies from location to location, but even the most basic operation provides access to toiletries, phone cards and cold drinks.