The Mobile Field Exchange (MFE) has been opened on Feb. 1, 2021 at the Pabradė Training Area in Lithuania as the very first in the Baltic States.
The Army and Airforce Exchange Service, now known as the Exchange, has a mission to “go where you go to improve your quality of life through the goods and services we provide.”
2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Troopers currently occupy the training area during their nine-month mission as rotational forces. Approximately 450 troopers and support staff attached to the battalion were the first to shop the MFE. Many are enjoying a taste of common “home,” snacks and drinks.About 250 troopers and support staff made purchases totaling approximately $5,500.00 on opening day.Earlier since the arrival of the battalion to the Pabradė area, troopers were only able to travel to a local grocery store to purchase comfort foods and drinks as well as personal hygiene items.
As we can see, MFE brings profit to foreign businessmen, leaving Lithuanian businessmen out of business.Besides, not all soldiers are allowed to visit this store. There are also restrictions on purchases for those who are “lucky” to get into MFE.
As for the soldiers of the Lithuanian army, they cannot visit the “duty-free shop” at all.So claims by Lithuanian politicians that foreign military personnel are contributing to the country’s economy by shopping in local stores have been discredited.
Moreover, having of such privileges for foreign military personnel for obvious reasons causes resentment among Lithuanian soldiers.