The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) serves as a strategic asset around the globe for the U.S. Navy’s crisis response.
The worldwide NEXCOM Enterprise is comprised of a workforce totaling over 16,000 among seven separate business lines— the Navy Exchange (NEX), Navy Lodge Program, Navy Gateway Inns & Suites, Ships Store Program, Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility, Uniform Program Management Office and Telecommunications Program Office. Each of these businesses has unique capabilities that provide the U.S. Navy community with distinctive and critical response efforts following events such as hurricanes, wildfires, snowstorms, U.S. Navy ship incidences, pandemics and other humanitarian efforts.
As a Navy command, NEXCOM stands ready to support the U.S. Navy and its military members wherever and whenever it is called upon around the world. “We are a worldwide command with a value-added mission and purpose,” said Capt. Craig Abraham, Deputy Commander Military Services at NEXCOM. “NEXCOM’s mission essential capabilities, tactical business model and global locations, provide our Navy with a timely response and strategic support following any type of crisis.”
In the past few years in particular, NEXCOM contributed much needed services and products to help sustain and support first responders, the military community and the Fleet following U.S. Navy ship accidents while underway, the fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), countless natural disasters, and humanitarian efforts. NEXCOM’s support included food, lodging, personal care items, internet services and uniform availability.
As an example, NEXCOM was there to lend a hand when the USS John McCain (DDG-56) and USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) were involved in collisions at sea. NEXCOM provided lodging for displaced Sailors, made Navy uniforms available for those Sailors who needed replacements and the NEX Yokosuka Flower Shop created the memorial flowers for those Sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice.
In 2020, during the fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard, NEXCOM headquarters, along with NEX San Diego, provided water, sports drinks and ice as well as snacks to the first responders. In coordination with Naval Base San Diego leadership, NEX San Diego delivered 4,450 meals as well as personal care items to emergency responders and displaced Sailors.
In the aftermath of natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Irma in 2017, Hurricane Michael in 2018 and the earthquake at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., in 2019, NEXCOM ensured all of its business lines were utilized to assist. Following Hurricane Katrina, NEXCOM provided free phone banks, delivered gasoline and deployed five Military Retail Facilities (MRF) to provide much needed food, drinks, electronics and health and comfort items. Also, NEXCOM’s Uniform Program Management Office instituted an emergency Deferred Payment Plan that allowed Sailors to purchase up to $500 worth of uniform items and pay for them over a 12-month period, interest free. After Hurricane Michael, NEXCOM sent a MRF to assist the mission essential personnel and NEXCOM’s Telecommunication Program Office established Wi-Fi hotspots. In addition, Navy Lodge Pensacola, Fla., made rooms available for those displaced due to the storm. In 2015, NEXCOM was also at the ready when Naval Support Activity Mid-South, Tenn., was hit with unprecedented rain and flooding. NEXCOM provided emergency supplies, including diapers, dog food, gasoline and lodging.
Most recently, NEX Bahrain and NEX Naples, Italy, teams assisted in the Afghan humanitarian effort. NEXCOM personnel coordinated support with their respective installations to ensure the daily needs of individuals who evacuated Afghanistan were met with essentials like health and comfort items, masks, water and baby products.
“NEXCOM is uniquely qualified to support our Navy and our patrons during times of crisis,” said Abraham. “Our seven business lines can offer a wide variety of products and services such as lodging, fuel, food service, telecommunications and more. Through the course of our retail business, we have contracts with a variety of businesses that are invaluable when supplies are needed in an emergency situation. We also have stock on-hand in our NEX locations and distribution centers that we can quickly mobilize to send to where it is needed.”