Open Letter to the Navy Exchange
To Whom It May Concern:
I recently returned to the Naval Reserve after leaving the Navy almost ten years ago. A health issue which has recently cleared up kept me from rejoining. This weekend I attended my first (indoctrination) drill and got my ID card. It feels like I have been on the bench for three and a half years and now I can actually contribute. Today was my first chance to make up for lost time and expedite my acquisition of uniforms so I can start training with my unit. My wife and I got up at four this morning in Portland to make the trek up to the Puget Sound area in what I expected to be a grueling day of searching all the exchanges in the area for the uniform items I would need to drill.
The first base we went to had a pass office so crowded that I was sure we would be hours waiting to go to the exchange, so we diverted to the Bangor, Washington Naval Station. The pass office at Bangor was polite and after we were passed through their excellent security, we made our way to the uniform store on that base. What we found was the friendliest, most professional and efficient uniform store I have ever had the privilege to shop in.
After wandering around the store for a bit to get my bearings, I found some of the items I needed for my camouflage uniform, and then I went to look for the hard to find accessories. To my complete surprise, everything I needed was there! To my complete delight, I was found by the store manager, Sandy. She asked me what I needed and I explained my situation. I was especially concerned about the amount of time it would take to get name tapes made for my uniform, since your web site had indicated it would take 10 business days plus shipping time for me to get them online. That seemed to cause her some concern for her organization's ability to provide support to their customers. She appeared to decide to demonstrate exactly how efficiently a well run Navy Exchange uniform store can be. Instead of two weeks, my wife and I were out the door with the uniform I needed to participate in my unit training in two hours.
I have been away from the service for quite some time, and my wife has never been a part of the military community before. Sandy and Shelly, the uniform store supervisor, took care of us. My previous experience with the treatment of reservists in the distant past was that we were not full participants in the defense of the nation. Sandy, Shelly, and the tailoring staff made my wife and I feel like we were contributors to our nation's defense, worthy of the full measure of the Navy Exchange's support. More than that, they made me feel like my family was coming home to the Navy.
Thank you for your excellent service,
Patrick S Lasswell, STG2(SW), USNR