It seems everywhere I go I can find some business or group collecting phone cards for the soldiers. I am always touched by the sentiment but I also feel bad that so many people are wasting their money on something that most soldiers can’t use. The average time that a soldier in Iraq can get from a 120 minute domestic phone card after connection fees and exchange rates is eight minutes. A soldier often stands in line to use the phone a minimum of thirty minutes.
Many have the misconception that on most military posts in the Middle East they have what is known as a DSN line which allows the soldier a connection to a post in the states that then places the call for them in order to allow them minute per minute on a domestic phone card. The year my husband spent in Iraq he had access to one of those lines only one time and that was when he was on pass to an R&R post. Most military posts have what is known as an AT&T phone center. They can’t use any other phone card but an AT&T and they do not get minute to minute on those cards. They pay a connection fee and a large exchange rate for a domestic calling card.
The soldiers desperately need phone cards and the cost for an international card adds up fast for the family trying to keep them supplied. If you really want to send a phone card and you want something that the soldiers can use then go to https://thor.aafes.com/scs/default.aspx and you can either purchase a global military calling card and have it sent to you to include in a care package or if you prefer you can have the calling card sent directly to the soldier. If you don’t know a soldier in need of a calling card you can also find a list of organizations that will accept a calling card donation and send it onto troops in need of them.
These calling cards are also rechargeable, all you need is the customer service number and pin number found on the back of the card and you can add minutes ranging from 100 minutes to 1200 minutes with a credit card. The recharge can be done by you or the soldier from anywhere in the world. While the global calling card is still not minute to minute it is greatly improved over a domestic card. The global calling card does not have a surcharge per call and the exchange from Iraq, Afghanistan or Kuwait is 3.5 to 1 instead of the domestic calling card’s 10 to 1 exchange from those countries.
Your desire and willingness to support our soldiers is greatly appreciated but if the calling card can’t be used by the soldier then you are wasting your money. Please make sure you are sending calling cards that the soldiers can use from any country in the world.
The most requested item by any soldier is a calling card. Just make sure that when you are supporting the troops you are doing so with a product that soldier can use.
There is no greater gift you can give to a soldier than communication with their loved ones and a calling card is the best way to give them that communication. Please be sure you are sending a calling card that works in the area they are stationed.