As face masks are becoming a staple of our everyday lives, military exchanges are selling various assortments of disposable and cloth coverings.
There soon will be more opportunities to make a fashion statement with your mask. By the end of May, Navy Exchange stores will have a variety of fashion face coverings created by some current manufacturers of “top selling handbag and accessory brands and labels,” according to officials with the Navy Exchange Service Command.
For now, Navy Exchange stores, including the online www.mynavyexchange.com, have a variety of cloth and disposable face coverings for sale as singles or in packs. The cotton knit cloth face covering comes in white, navy blue and black. Woven face coverings are available in white.
The assortment may vary by store, including the online store. Navy exchanges also sell neck gaiters in many different materials, patterns and colors. These closed tubes of fabrics mostly worn around the neck are also being used as face coverings by many people.
Separately from the products they sell in the exchanges, Navy Exchange Service Command has delivered more than 550,000 cloth face coverings to the fleet since early April, as a stop gap measure before the Defense Logistics Agency comes online with face coverings. These face coverings are provided free of charge to sailors.
Buyers worked with Brooks Brothers, Taylor Brand and Sewell to manufacture the face coverings, and NEXCOM’s Navy Clothing & Textile Research Facility conducted extensive wear and wash tests, to make sure the face coverings can withstand shipboard washings.
The first 100,000 face coverings were delivered in early April, within a week after the Navy’s administrative message requiring face coverings if 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained. That followed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s memo of April 4.
The first shipments went to the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard. The Roosevelt’s commanding officer was fired April 2 after the leaking of a memo he had sent raising the alarm because of his concerns about his coranavirus-stricken sailors.
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Marine Corps exchanges
Since they started selling face masks a month ago, Marine Corps exchanges have sold more than 15,000 units, said spokesman Bryan Driver. They sell both cloth and disposable masks; the cotton face masks are priced at $2.59 each. The disposable masks cost anywhere from $1.39 to $2.59.
Marine Corps Exchange officials are working with Hanes to provide cotton face masks that come in a 10-pack that will cost $14.99, available in black or white. It will have an adjustable nose piece for better comfort and fit.
More than 17,000 face masks are expected to be delivered within the next 30 days.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service sells KN95 masks in stores and at the online ShopMyExchange.com, with prices ranging from $3.89 to $4.99.
AAFES officials will soon add disposable 3-ply masks to their online assortment in packs of 50 masks, priced at $32.50.
Sometime in June, online ShopMyExchange.com customers will find packs of 20 3-ply disposable masks for $8.99, and a three-pack of KN95 masks for $6.99.
About Karen Jowers
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families.” She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.