USCENTCOM Army element encourages AER support

  • Published
  • By Thomas Gagnier, U.S. Central Command Public Affairs

Financial distress can indiscriminately affect anyone at any given moment. This can leave a person with feelings of hopelessness, isolation and despair. The Army’s own nonprofit organization, Army Emergency Relief (AER) aims to relieve undue financial stresses on the force.

U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) Army element personnel held an AER fund kickoff event at MacDill Air Force Base, March 5, 2021. The event promoted awareness and highlighted the importance of the AER program among Army personnel.

USCENTCOM’s AER point of contact, Sgt. Mariedaniel Stlouisbrantley helped organize the event. “With COVID this past year, we wanted to do more than a virtual kickoff and safely get people away from their workplaces to get the word out about AER. It’s such an important organization and it’s funded by us. It’s a circle of Soldiers helping Soldiers,” said Stlouisbrantley.

U.S. Army Brigadier General Jeth Rey, USCENTCOM’s Director of Command and Control, Communications and Computer Systems and Chief Information Officer, provided opening remarks. “The pandemic has put additional stress on everyone in uniform and financial stress is right at the top,” said Rey. “Every Soldier has experienced some kind of financial emergency or hardship during their career, including me, but you need to know that AER is there to assist.”

Since 1942, AER has provided 2 billion dollars to nearly four million Soldiers, retired Soldiers, Guardsman and Reservists on Title 10 orders, and their dependents through zero-interest loans, grants, and educational scholarships. The organization’s goal is to “ensure no Soldier faces financial hardship on their own.”

Contributing to AER is the most direct way to help Soldiers. Ninety cents of every dollar donated goes straight to Soldiers and families in need.

“We want to spread awareness so that every USCENTCOM Soldier knows what AER is, and that it’s available if they need help, or if they want to make donations,” said Sgt. Bladimir Ortiz, a USCENTCOM AER point of contact.

Soldiers can apply for assistance online or inquire about AER through services provided on the base.

“A lot of Soldiers don’t realize that here on MacDill, AER works very closely with the Air Force Aid Society, and they can go there, just like any service member, if they need help,” said Stlouisbrantley.

USCENTCOM’s AER campaign runs through May, 15th. For more information, or to make a donation to AER, please visit