A number of service members and their families are worried that an influx of new users might result in shortages of items in base commissaries.
The U.S. Naval Base Guam Visitor Control Center Contractor Services Office has started providing veteran pre-enrollment services for certain designated disabled veterans newly authorized to have access to military commissaries.
Regular users of commissaries inside the island’s military bases had called NewsTalk K57, expressing their worry that commissaries might run out of goods because of the increased demand caused by the newly authorized users.
One such caller, named Marie, called the Patti Arroyo show and expressed concern that the new users might crowd out the regular shoppers at base commissaries. She even suggested that enlisted personnel and their families write their respective representatives in Congress to make them aware of the issue.
Estimates vary on the number of newly authorized commissary users. Veterans advocate Tom Devlin, the host of K57’s Vet Talk, estimates that there could be an estimated 5,000 who will apply for a card authorizing commissary privileges.
The good news, according to Devlin, is that the commissary privileges may serve as an incentive for more veterans to sign up in an official veterans list.
For years, there has been uncertainty about the exact number of veterans on Guam because of the refusal of some to sign up and register.
With shopping on base as an incentive, Devlin said more veterans may register and a more accurate count of the number of veterans on Guam could be accomplished.
The bad news, according to Devlin, is whether the clinics and commissaries will be ready for an upsurge of new users.
“It’s gonna be a learning curve for everybody,” Devlin said.
Initially, Devlin said there may be shortages as the commissaries determine how much the increased demand is.
But in an interview with Patti Arroyo on NewsTalk K57, Guam Veterans Affairs director Fred Bordallo said he is confident about the commissaries’ system of logistics.
He added that the commissaries have a high-tech IT system which determines the bestselling items and orders ahead to keep them in stock.