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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 363-04
April 23, 2004

Military Phone Card Donation Program Goes Public

The Department of Defense announced today that any American can now help troops in contingency operations call home. The Defense Department has authorized the Armed Services Exchanges to sell prepaid calling cards to any individual or organization that wishes to purchase cards for troops who are deployed. The Help Our Troops Call Home program is designed to help servicemembers call home from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

For those wishing to donate a prepaid calling card to a military member may log on to any of the three Armed Services Exchange web sites: the Army and Air Force Exchange Service http://www.aafes.com/, the Navy Exchange Service Command http://www.navy-nex.com/, and the Marine Corps Exchange http://www.usmc-mccs.org/. Click the Help Our Troops Call Home link. From there, a prepaid calling card may be purchased for an individual at his or her deployed address or to any service member deployed or hospitalized. The Armed Services Exchanges will distribute cards donated to any service member through the American Red Cross, Air Force Aid Society and the Fisher House Foundation.

The Armed Services Exchanges operate telephone call centers in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and other countries and aboard ships -- anywhere servicemembers are deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. All of these locations stay busy around the clock to keep up communication between deployed troops and their loved ones. The cards available through the Help Our Troops Call Home program offer the best value for calls made from the call centers, never expire, and there are no added charges or connection fees.

Individuals and organizations also can show their support to deployed troops and their families with gift certificates. The Gift of Groceries program allows anyone to purchase commissary gift certificates at http://www.commissaries.com or by calling toll free 1 (877) 770-GIFT. The Armed Services Exchanges offer the Gift From the Homefront gift certificate for merchandise at these exchange web sites: http://www.aafes.com and http://www.navy-nex.com or by calling toll free 1 (877) 770-GIFT. Gift certificates may be purchased to be mailed to servicemembers and family members or will be distributed to any servicemember. Only authorized commissary and exchange patrons may redeem the gift certificates at military commissaries and exchanges, including those stores supporting deployed personnel around the globe.

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