aren't you a member for life as long as you've served?
Yes; online only. If you are 100% disabled you get B&M access as well.
Not correct. From the site--
The Catalog and Exchange Online Store are for the exclusive use of authorized Exchange customers throughout the world. This includes:
Active Duty Military
Retirees (including medical)
National Guard personnel
US Civilian DoD employees, when stationed outside of the US
Department of State Officials serving in foreign countries
and dependents of the above
Except for these rare sales nearly every store off base has better prices and service and the tax savings does not make up the difference. They do price match but it is hit or miss because I have found the model numbers on the boxes are often different, if only the last letter is changed (I have found this at other stores too). Gas and alcohol used to be a really good deal, but I usually can get both cheaper off base. I have pretty much given up on AAFES and rarely go.