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Disabled veterans, caregivers granted access to Exchange, commissary, recreation facilities

Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, veterans with service-connected disabilities and their primary caregivers will have shopping privileges at the Scott Air Force Base Exchange, the base commissary, and base recreation facilities.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, veterans with service-connected disabilities and their primary caregivers will have shopping privileges at the Scott Air Force Base Exchange, the base commissary, and base recreation facilities.

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act, allows Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and veterans with service-connected disabilities entry onto military installations to use the AAFES Exchange, commissary, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, or MWR, facilities. 

Pre-identified primary caregivers of veterans with service-connected disabilities, as documented by the Department of Veterans Affairs, will also be granted entry onto the installation and access to these facilities.

To access the base, these veterans will need to show a Department of Veteran Affairs’ Veterans Health Information Card, or VHIC. Information on how to obtain this card is available on the VA’s Web site at: www.va.gov/health-care/get-health-id-card.

For their first visit to Scott Air Force Base, eligible veterans will need to go to the Dixon Visitors Control Center, located near the Shiloh Gate entrance, with a REAL-ID compliant driver’s license, passport, or other accepted credential and register their VHIC into the system.  After their VHIC is registered into the system, for subsequent visits to the base, veterans may go direct to the entry gate.

Pre-identified primary caregivers of eligible veterans will be mailed a letter by the VA. These letters are valid for a one-year period from the date of issue by the VA. On their first visit to the base, caregivers will also need to take their letters along with REAL ID-compliant credentials to the Dixon Visitors Control Center to be registered into the system.

These veterans and caregivers will be allowed to bring up to five guests with them.  All individuals granted access to the installation must undergo background checks and must abide by all applicable rules and regulations regarding base driving privileges to include the wearing of proper gear for motorcycle riders and the use of hands-free cell phones.  All individuals entering the base are also subject to random vehicle inspections.

All individuals granted access to the installation must undergo background checks and must abide by all applicable rules and regulations regarding base driving privileges to include the wearing of proper gear for motorcycle riders and the use of hands-free cell phones.  All individuals entering the base are also subject to random vehicle inspections.

The VHIC or the caregiver letter will be used for access to the Exchange, commissary, and MWR facilities.

The language of the legislation does not grant escort or sponsorship privileges. Veterans with a VHIC and primary caregivers, who are granted access to the installation and to base amenities under this law, will not be able to bring family members or guests with them, unless their relatives or guests have their own VHICs or ID cards.

Information about the Exchange’s in-store shopping privileges for veterans is available at Exchange's Community Hub.  Additionally, all honorably discharged veterans may shop online at the Exchange.  Veterans can determine their eligibility to shop online at www.ShopMyExchange.com/vets.

Eligible veterans may also use their VHIC to shop at the base commissary.   

For information about base recreation facilities to include regular and holiday hours, veterans may go to the 375th Force Support Squadron at www.375fss.com. Information about the Exchange is available at www.shopmyexchange.com and the commissary at www.commissaries.com.

Medal of Honor recipients and veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability rating already are granted installation access and use of base facilities.  There are no changes to the process for these veterans to obtain their ID cards. 

The Dixon Visitor Control Center is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The center is closed on Sundays and all federal holidays.

“We are proud to open the gates to our veterans and re-connect with them,” said, Col. Scot Heathman, Scott AFB’s installation commander. “These veterans, who endured injury, illness, and so much more, deserve our nation’s gratitude. It’s an honor to say ‘thank you’ to them as we cross paths at our on-base shops and recreation facilities. Welcome aboard veterans!”

 

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