Congratulations to everyone who actually scored what they wanted yesterday during the shopping commotion that is commonly known as "Black Friday." Surprisingly, "Black" does not refer to the mood of shoppers after they've spent the best part of a day traipsing from mall to store to big box retailer after awakening at 3 a.m. in order to try and take advantage of the "quantities limited" doorbuster deals at 4 a.m. Rather, it's how economists have labeled what the shopping frenzy is supposed to do for retailers - put their earnings in the black [ink] thanks to the dollars that are rolling in from the shoppers.
Folks in the military have another shopping option besides braving the crowds (assuming they are even stationed near a city with shopping). That would be the "PX" or Post Exchange (Army), "BX" (Base Exchange) for the Air Force, "NEX" (Navy Exchange), "MCX" (Marine Corps Exchange) and "CGX" (Coast Guard Exchange). Unlike its military grocery counterpart - the commissary - an exchange doesn't receive federal government subsidies and is operated like a for-profit department store. Any money left over after paying salaries and other expenses is typically given over to local activities that help build and maintain morale for base personnel and their families.
As has been mentioned a couple of times in this blog, the CAF Red Tail Project has an online store. We don't have a catchy name for it - maybe we could call it the RTX! - but we're not shy about the fact that we do want to sell products and make a profit. Like the other "X"s, any money left over after paying our suppliers is plowed back into activities that benefit a lot of folks. These include keeping the P-51C Mustang flying (unusual live-and-in-person history lesson for WWII, history and aviation buffs), nurturing educational relationships with schools (thinking "outside the book"), and building the RISE ABOVE traveling exhibit (taking the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen to people across the country).