Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness visited Navy Exchange Norfolk and Navy Lodge Norfolk

US Navy

Virginia Penrod, Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, visited NEX Norfolk and Navy Lodge Norfolk, Virginia, on July 15, 2021, to see first-hand how the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) supports the quality of life of its patrons. Accompanying Penrod during her visit was retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, Chief Executive Officer of NEXCOM.

“Ms. Penrod has always been a staunch supporter of NEXCOM and our mission to support Navy quality of life for our military members, Veterans, retirees, reservists and families,” said Bianchi. “Our two offices share the same goals – to ensure our military members and their families have and use the quality of life benefits they have earned and so richly deserve. It was an honor to have Ms. Penrod visit our NEX and Navy Lodge to see first-hand what we do each and every day to support our patrons.”

While at the NEX, Jennifer McComas, General Manager, NEX Norfolk, briefed Penrod on the new brand name clothing lines now carried in the store, including Gap, Old Navy and American Eagle, as well as the private label merchandise lines. She was also shown the back room at the NEX to see how the NEX efficiently receives, handles and restocks its merchandise.

“NEXCOM’s mission is critical and it provides for the entire life cycle of a Sailor, from recruiting and beyond,” said Penrod. “It’s great to see first-hand the dedication by this command to prioritize quality of life programs and be a true readiness enabler for our Navy community.”

Once finished at the NEX, Penrod also toured Navy Lodge Norfolk, one of the six business lines that fall under NEXCOM’s purview.

“The purpose of the Navy Lodge Program is to support or service members and military families on permanent change of station (PSC) orders,” said Bianchi. “Our Navy Lodges are designed around that mission to ensure our military families are taken care of while moving to a new duty station. That includes well-appointed rooms with kitchenettes, free breakfast, Wi-Fi throughout the building and, in most locations, the ability to bring a family pet.”

Pamela Kimbrall, General Manager at Navy Lodge Norfolk, explained that during the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her staff had to find ways to take care of their guests while keeping everyone safe and healthy. Navy Lodges worldwide were used to house people placed on restriction of movement (ROM) orders. To that end, the Navy Lodge Program implemented the Shipshape and Squared Away program worldwide which heightened sanitation and cleaning protocols throughout the lodge.

“The U.S. Navy considers NEXCOM mission essential, particularly during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bianchi. “However, as installations lower HPCON levels and things begin to return to normal, our patrons can still count on the NEX and Navy Lodge to be there to support them no matter what stage they are in their military career.”

Quick Facts

Virginia Penrod, Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, visited NEX Norfolk and Navy Lodge Norfolk, Virginia, on July 15, 2021, to see first-hand how the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) supports the quality of life of its patrons. Accompanying Penrod during her visit was retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, Chief Executive Officer of NEXCOM.

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