AER is a vital lifeline for soldiers from all backgrounds facing financial hardships.

“As a former company commander, I have had to use AER for my Soldiers on multiple occasions,” said Maj. Dominic Adams, Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. “They fell behind on certain payments … and needed help instead of going to a payday loan situation.”

AER provides zero-interest loans and grants.

“AER was there to help them through those times and that was amazing for them,” Adams said. “They turned themselves around financially and carried on with the mission.”

AER assists Soldiers and their Families with expenses associated with everything from travel and car maintenance to home repairs and groceries.

“I used AER to help me get an apartment, so I could ensure a down payment for an apartment because I hadn’t received BAH,” said Capt. Alexander Davie Sr., Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander. “I had a problem with my finances and wasn’t receiving BAH. I got an AER loan. to help pay for the first month of BAH until I started receiving pay.”

BAH or Basic Housing Allowance for service members offsets the cost of housing when they do not receive government provided housing. The BAH Soldiers receive depend on their location, pay grade and the number of dependents they have.

There was a glitch in the system and Davie wasn’t paid for about two months. He was living off-post with his wife and two small children at the time. Instead of using savings to pay rent he sought out an AER loan. He paid loan back through pay deduction when the system glitch was fixed.

“The loan was about $400 to $500,” Davie said. “[I] paid the loan back about $60/month. It was a simple and easy process.”

The AER ceremony was an awareness event gathering the community together to learn more and sign up to donate.

“Today is about leaders and friends and Family members understanding the resources that are available to assist Soldiers and their Families in times of need,” said Col. Philip Mundweil, U.S. Army Garrison APG commander.

Mundweil used his voice as a call to action.

“The primary focus of this campaign is to fully inform 100 percent of the active-duty, retired Soldiers, Family members, survivor spouses, and the children of fallen Soldiers about the various types of financial assistance available from AER, as well as provide an opportunity for Soldiers to donate.”

He continued to advocate for AER and its benefits over other nonprofits and high-interest payment options.

“Off-installation lenders, such as short-term or payday loans, offer loans with interest rates as high as 700 percent,” Mundweil said. “Loans like this can leave service members in a continuous cycle of debt. It can cost them thousands of dollars in interest. However, in the current Army, we understand asking that for help is a sign of strength. It’s not a weakness and it’s imperative we all know how to direct those who do show that sign of strength and ask for help and direct them to where resources exist.”

According to CNBC, “70 percent of Americans are currently feeling financially stressed.” Lifestyle Inflation is particularly hard on service members.

Mundweil wants everyone to be informed about AER whether they need to utilize the resource or contribute to its continued success.

“I am asking [you all] to go out and help spread the word about AER,” he said. “Share the links, get the QR codes and push those things out, and share a positive sentiment as well as we try to meet the campaign goal of 10 percent participation across APG and 100 percent awareness because there is absolutely a gap in our collective knowledge and understanding of this wonderful program.”

To learn more and help spread the word about AER, visit The 2024 Army Emergency Relief campaign ends on June 14 — the Army’s 249th birthday.

More on the 2024 AER Annual Campaign.