2 minute read


BY OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, Transatlantic Division

The coalition members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) have a new Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) exchange at Erbil Air Base, Iraq, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Transatlantic Division’s Task Force Essayons (TEF), headquartered at Camp Taji in Iraq.

The new exchange, which officially opened July 4, 2019, serves a significant base population of U.S. and coalition Soldiers and civilians. The relocation from their current AAFES storefront into the new facilities was the culmination of a lot of hard work and partnership between Task Force Essayons and AAFES.

The project was a design-build contract put together by TFE. It was awarded to local Erbil contractor CHROO Group and designed and constructed in accordance with a combination of U.S., British, and international standard codes to ensure compliance and safety measures were met. CHROO completed design in December 2018 and building construction started in January 2019.

According to TFE project engineer Doug Newton, building construction started in the middle of a rainy season that saw historic amounts of rainfall at Erbil.

“Despite the extreme weather, construction was completed in less than five months with superb quality, within budget, with zero modifications, and with great attention to detail, which is something rarely done in an austere environment,” said Newton. “From contract award through construction completion, the contractor worked closely with USACE [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] quality assurance/contracting officer representatives and provided outstanding quality control management and oversight.”

AAFES Regional Manager Brian Smith said the project meets all of the designated requirements.

“Our old AAFES Exchange, which was in place for three years, was an expeditionary store consisting of two semi-trailers that gave us approximately 650 square feet of retail space,” said Smith. “It had severe limitations with respect to stocking and storage, administrative space, emergency egress, and adequate retail space to stock critical commodities.

“Our new AAFES Exchange Store has more than 2,100 square feet of retail floor space to provide necessary commodities and popular merchandise – what we refer to as ‘a taste of home’ for deployed Soldiers and civilians,” said Smith.

AAFES opens its new exchange at Erbil Air Base on July 4, 2019. Construction of the facility was completed in less than five months and was within budget with zero modifications and with great attention to detail – including the “cut out” of the word EXCHANGE across the front of the building, which was a design flair added by the contractor for aesthetics.
Photo Courtesy of Transatlantic Division 

In addition, the new store contains a financial service area, almost 500 square feet of warehouse space and stocking area, administrative offices, a dedicated communications closet, and covered exterior entrance and break areas.

As the CJTF-OIR effort and mission continues to evolve, the new exchange should serve as an exceptional facility for providing goods and services to deployed troops and civilians. From a contracting, design, and construction perspective, the project should serve as a model for superb construction oversight, according to Newton.