Chad Gehrke

Chad Gehrke (USO Okinawa)

Name: Chad Gehrke

Position/Title: Center Operations Manager

Time worked at USO: 9 Months

Center/Office location: USO Camp Schwab

Chad is the Center Operations Manager at USO Schwab, the USO’s most northern center. Originally from Montana, “Big Sky Country,” Chad found his home in Okinawa and has two incredible children, aged thirteen and eleven, with his wife, whom he met in Okinawa. He enjoyed a twenty-two-year career in the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic and recently retired from active-duty service, joining the USO Okinawa team shortly after retirement. Chad loves the game of golf and enjoys perfecting his passion whenever he has the chance!

1. Why do you love working at the USO? Working as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force was rewarding yet very stressful. Working for the USO is just as rewarding, less stressful, and I still can be part of the military community. My team at USO Schwab makes coming to work every day incredibly enjoyable and I really love our dynamic. They are honestly the best team I have worked with in my life, and I can sincerely say that I enjoy going to work every day because of them. I must give a shout out to the whole USO Okinawa team across the island. They have all given me so much support as I transitioned from the military and started my journey with the USO.

2. What is your favorite memory of working at the USO? I haven’t been with USO for long, but I’ve already made plenty of memories and it’s hard to highlight just one! However, our annual Halloween community relations event at Schwab is one of my top memories. My team and I dressed up as characters from Studio Ghibli (if you’ve been in Okinawa for a while, especially with kids, you know all about Studio Ghibli). It was so fun to see the local Japanese kid’s faces light up when they recognized our costumes and provide an opportunity for our military families to interact with our local community!


I must highlight our “A Taste of Home Program,” a weekly program served every Wednesday at USO Schwab. I love this program because there are limited food options on Camp Schwab, as well as off base, and this gives us the opportunity to offer some tasty, homecooked meals for the Marines and Sailors stationed and deployed here. A Taste of Home is known to our service members base wide and it’s a weekly event they count on, and our team takes great pride in that knowledge!

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