AAFES associate volunteers for Afghanistan deployment to support troops

| May 5, 2011 | 0 Comments
Joseph Carrano, a maintenance mechanic leader, Exchange, waits for a helicopter ride during a 2006-2007 deployment to Iraq. Carrano has since volunteered to serve the troops on a second, six-month deployment, this time to Afghanistan. (Courtesy of Joseph Carrano)

Joseph Carrano, a maintenance mechanic leader, Exchange, waits for a helicopter ride during a 2006-2007 deployment to Iraq. Carrano has since volunteered to serve the troops on a second, six-month deployment, this time to Afghanistan. (Courtesy of Joseph Carrano)

Sgt. 1st Class Jon Cupp
Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Pacific Region Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER — Few retailers can say that when their customers go to war, they follow.

Nearly 3,000 associates for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, otherwise known as the Exchange, have done just that, deploying in support of contingency operations during the past 10 years to serve the troops.

Joseph Carrano, an Exchange maintenance mechanic leader, here, is no exception.

For Carrano, who will deploy to Afghanistan for six months, the opportunity to volunteer for a second deployment was something he did not want to miss.

“It really gives you a good feeling to know you’re helping out by making the lives of the troops easier and helping the military do their part,” Carrano said. “It’s a little hard being away from your family, but this is something I really wanted to do.”

Carrano and a maintenance team will perform repairs, renovations and maintenance on Exchange facilities, including electrical work and carpentry for food service facilities and stores.

“There’s a lot of things involved in maintaining the stores for the troops,” Carrano said, who has worked for the Exchange for 32 years. “In the deployed environments, things like dust storms and weather take a toll on equipment such as refrigeration units, and you have to clean them up and make sure they continue running well and don’t overheat.”

Carrano will spend a lot of time traveling from Kandahar to other bases in Afghanistan.

Carrano grew up near Schofield Barracks as his father served in the Army, and he said the opportunity to deploy in service of the men and women who he has admired his entire life was an honor.

“It’s a sense of giving back for what the military (members sacrifice) daily in the war zones,” he said.

“We applaud the efforts made by any associate who volunteers time away from their families and homes to support military troops all over the world,” said Floyd Wynn, general and area manager, Exchange-Hawaii. “It shows great character on the individual and also shows a great commitment and loyalty to both the military and (the Exchange).

“To work alongside the military, just being there for them (and to provide them with their necessities) is our way of conveying ‘thanks for all you do’ during the rough times away from family and friends,” Wynn added. “Few companies in the world can say that they were actually on the ground in direct support of operations Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.”

When Carrano deploys this summer, he will join the ranks of 10 other associates from Exchange-Hawaii who are currently deployed in support of operations throughout the world.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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