WASHINGTON, June 13, 2007 – On June 17, most fathers will awake to smiles, hugs and maybe even another tie for their collection. For more than 150,000 American fathers, sons and daughters serving in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, their Father's Day will be much different.
To help bridge the gap between the front lines and the home front, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service actively partners with the American public on not just Father's Day, but every day troops are far from home, AAFES officials said.
Available to the public since April 2004, “Help Our Troops Call Home” allows anyone, even non-authorized exchange shoppers, to send military exchange global prepaid phone cards to deployed troops. Since the program’s inception, more than 206,000 phone cards have been purchased.
“From the soldier with a young child back home to the airman who will spend his first Father’s Day away from dad, being able to reach out and speak to loved ones is critical to morale,” said Army Lt. Col. Steven Dean, AAFES contingency planning chief. “During my deployment, being able to talk to my family was my first priority.”
By logging on to aafes.org or calling 800-527-2345, dads, aunts, neighbors and even civic groups can take part in the “Help Our Troops Call Home” effort by sending any one of three military exchange global prepaid phone cards, including a 550-minute denomination card capable of providing more than two hours of call time from any of 72 phone centers in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kuwait to the United States.
The phone card may be sent to an individual servicemember designated by the sender or distributed to "any servicemember" through the American Red Cross, Air Force Aid Society, Fisher House Foundation, Navy-Marine Corps Relief, Soldier and Family Assistance Center, and United Service Organizations.