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    Lithuania, a first for the Exchange in Baltic States

    Lithuania, a first for the Exchange in Baltic States

    Photo By Sgt. Alexandra Shea | Tomasz “Thomas” Paziewski, left, supply specialist, and Maciej “Max”...... read more read more

    PABRADE, Lithuania – 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.” The Exchange’s mission was met Feb. 1, 2021, at the Pabrade Training Area in Lithuania as they opened the Mobile Field Exchange, the first in the Baltic States.

    “We are the very first,” said Maciej “Max” Zaniewicz, MFE manager. “We are excited to be here.”

    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 U.S., “home,” snacks and drinks.

    “It’s nice having a little piece of home here,” said Pfc. John Mabile, a mortarman assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 2-8 Cav. Reg..

    Mabile had the privilege of being the first Trooper to make a purchase at the new MFE.

    “This is a great morale boost for the Soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Cable, S3 non-commissioned officer in charge. “It’s easy to get stuff you need without going downtown, you can just walk over to The Exchange and get it.”

    The battalion adheres to local Lithuanian measures to prevent to the spread of COVID-19. The Lithuanian Minister of Health restricts the travel of residents and Troopers not on critical missions outside of the districts they reside. Since the arrival of the battalion to the Pabrade area, Troopers were only able to travel to a local grocery store to purchase comfort foods and drinks as well as personal hygiene items.

    About 250 Troopers and support staff made purchases totaling approximately $5,500.00 on opening day.

    “The first day was full of new experiences,” Zaniewicz said. “People were nice and understandable of the conditions. We had some bad issues with internet but we made it.”

    The sudden loss of internet shortly after opening the doors was one of many challenges faced by the MFE team and organizers. Months of planning was completed to move Exchange personnel and goods to the training area.

    Capt. Jacob Andvik, 2-8 Cav. Reg. logistics officer, began organizing the arrival of The Exchange to the training area shortly after his arrival in November 2021.

    “Working with the Exchange was seamless,” Andvik said. “The Exchange coordinated the movement of personnel, equipment and goods here. It couldn’t have been more seamless.”

    After contracts were negotiated and completed, Zaniewicz and his stock specialist Tomasz “Thomas” Paziewski spent two days traveling icy roads with trailers of goods to the training area. Four days later, they completed the construction of shelving and completed setting up the point-of-sale system.
    Challenged with continued weather-related losses of communication and internet services, the team continued to drive through the temporary issues to open on time.

    After a long opening day, Zaniewicz and Paziewski looked forward to dinner and rest before they open for business again.

    “After we send a report to our boss, we will go eat something delicious,” Paziewski said. “Looking forward to some rest.”



    Date Taken: 02.01.2021
    Date Posted: 02.02.2021 07:13
    Story ID: 388134
    Location: PABRADE, LT 
    Hometown: FORT HOOD, TX, US

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