Operation Enduring Freedom: Post Exchange

CAMP SHELBY, MISSISSIPPI – Iowa National Guard soldiers flock to the Camp Shelby Post Exchange (PX) every day. It's a convenience store located within walking distance from many of their living quarters.

Step inside the PX and you might feel like you're at an ordinary convenience store, except all the customers have weapons.

Specialist Brian Brown of the C. Company BSTB and from Central City said, "If it wasn't for all the guys running around in uniforms, it would just be another store back home."

After a long day of training, Iowa soldiers often crave snack food.

Master Sergeant Randy McClain of the HHC 2nd Brigade and from Dunkerton said people come for, "The lickies, stickies, chewies and gooeys...It's a little touch of home. You can't always get what you want out of an MRE package."

Staff Sergeant Shane Studt of the A. Company 334 BSB and from Cedar Rapids said, "It's like going to McDonald's instead of eating the food at home all the time."

The store also sells DVDs, magazines, clothing and even flat screen TVs.

"It hooks you up with everything you need," Staff Sergeant Dustin Gryp of the A. Company 334 BSB said.

Pillows, blankets and towels are the store's most popular items.

"It does make you feel like you're back at Target or Wal-Mart," Brown said.

The military regulates much of a soldier's life, but this simple shop gives troops the freedom to make a few comforting choices of their own. The store has become so popular with troops stationed at Camp Shelby, the military is now in the process of remodeling and expanding the facility.
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