The following article is taken from the Desert Voice's 3 March 2004 issue. A backup copy of the full issue may be found here in .pdf format.

Lightweight Convenience

Pog money -- who’d thought! AAFES brings innovative ideas to OEF/OIF exchanges

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Glenn
AAFES public affairs office

First off, you can spend them like real money, even if they look like board game currency.

Second, if you don’t get rid of them before heading back home, you can redeem them at any Army and Air Force Exchange Service store worldwide.

Third, if you don’t want them, give them to someone else, keep them as souvenirs or start a collection. Whatever you do, don’t throw them away!

Fourth, when in doubt, refer back to the first sentence.

Pogs – the small, round, coated-paper gift certificates issued by Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities supporting operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom in place of metal coins – have been given to Soldiers in lieu of metal currency since 2001.

Normally, AAFES uses metal currency – quarters, nickels and dimes – provided by finance and accounting offices, explained Maj. David Accetta, AAFES Europe public affairs officer.

During wartime operations, the priority for shipping is for mission-essential items – food, but this doesn’t extend to coins. Paper money weighs less than metal coins and printing currency is against the law, so, at the request of the Department of Defense, AAFES thought ‘outside the box’ and developed the Pogs to satisfy the requirement for change, explained Accetta.

Now, a couple years and designs later, more than a million dollarsworth of Pogs have been printed and distributed. The
first Pog designs were basic with only the monetary amount printed on them. New designs include powerful images featuring OEF/OIF action. A series of 36 designs that are both captivating and relevant to operations in the Middle East are in currently in circulation.

Although people who don’t like or understand them throw away the Pogs, lots of people do use them as change, Accetta said. Some even take them home as souvenirs. Recently AAFES discovered that the Pogs were being sold on E-Bay as collector’s items.

Since World War II, when servicemembers deployed to a combat situation, AAFES wasn’t too far behind them, bringing a touch of home. From hygiene items and clothes to snacks and electronics, AAFES moves out front to improve the quality of life of our servicemen and women.

Today, AAFES has nine stores in Kuwait and 30 in Iraq, with about 450 associates deployed at any given time. Those
associates live and work right alongside the deployed troops.

AAFES supports approximately 90 unit-run Imprest Fund activities that serve forward operating bases where it is too
remote or the population isn’t large enough to support a store. An Imprest Fund is basically a troop-operated store where the unit establishes an account and buys merchandise in bulk from AAFES and then sells that merchandise to troops at the same AAFES’ prices.

AAFES also conducts ‘Rodeos’ to bring merchandise to remote locations periodically to allow troops to get ‘a touch of home’. Essentially, when the Soldiers can’t get to the PX/BX, AAFES brings the PX/BX to them.

Additionally, AAFES runs 37 call centers throughout Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom where deployed troops can go to make a call home to their loved ones.

AAFES truly goes where service members go to provide quality service at the best price to the best customers in the world.

The History of Pogs

In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, kids in Hawaii collected milk caps from all the different dairies.

Eventually cardboard containers replaced the old, glass milk and juice bottles. The milk cap craze seemed to fade.

In 1991 Blossom Galbiso, a counselor at Waialua Elementary School in Hawaii, brought the milk caps back to life. The milk cap game is played by two-or-more players on any flat surface. Each player places an equal number of milk caps on the stack, art side up.

One player goes first and throws another milk cap or a hitter, often called the slammer, at the stack trying to flip over as many caps as possible.


Want your own pogs? Join the military!



© 2003-2023 numispedia