US Commissaries Open to 3M More Vets

Customers and employees move about in front of the new “Mall at Pearl Harbor.” The 350,000 square foot mall houses the largest Navy Exchange in the world, the largest Department of Defense Commissary in Hawaii, and was designed based on recommendations from customers through surveys and focus groups. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class William R. Goodwin.

On Jan. 1, 2020, 15,000-plus veterans in Hawai‘i — a “high cost area”— became eligible to shop in military stores. Commissaries have low prices and no state tax. Commissaries are like big box stores — some brands may be missing, but they carry almost everything you need. (Note that you will pay an additional fee if you use a credit card, so use cash if you can.)

How do I receive this benefit?

  • Disabled and other eligible veterans can just use their veteran health card to get in. The commissaries scan your card and they are gearing up inventory for the influx of new customers.
  • Caregivers who are primary caregivers for a wounded/injured veteran and are registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs caregiver program. You will see a memo posted to for use to access front gates.

You will also have to show your driver’s license. In the near future, the VA will transition all to a caregivers ID card for base access.

How do I receive a veteran health card?

Call 1–877–222–8387 before 4 pm Hawai‘i time. They can access your DD 214 (discharge papers). You will then be asked numerous questions, but because you called them, the information is secure.

If your records were destroyed in the 1973 fire in St. Louis, it will take longer. A form will be sent to you to have Archives assist.

In person, you can visit either of two locations:

  • 459 Patterson Road, Spark Matsunaga VA Medical Center at Tripler. Call 800–214–1306 for information/directions/room number.
  • 91-2135 Ft. Weaver Road, Leeward Community Based Outpatient Clinic in room 501. 808–312–6800

Enjoy all the commissary has to offer; shopping with Veteran Health Card is just one more opportunity your VA card gives you.


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