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USO Closures Confirmed

By: Victoria L. Moore

Date Posted: 1998-03-20

USO World Headquarters, Washington D.C., confirmed that many of the USOs on island will close, as reported in Japan Update Jan. 29 issue. In a press release dated Mar. 3, the headquarters officially announced that the USO operations in Okinawa will be reorganized, thereby closing four of the seven existing USO Centers on the island. Centers slated for closure are Camps Courtney, Kinser, Foster, and Futenma. Centers on Camps Schwab, Hansen, Kadena Air Base and satellite operations at the Military Air Lift terminal and White Beach will remain open.

The reorganized USO in Okinawa will be under specific guidance and control of the Director, USO Okinawa, assisted by the Director for Programs. These positions have not been filled as of press date. The reorganization will eliminate the Country Director, Northern Director, and Southern Director positions.

World Headquarters plan to expand the scope of current programming, encompassing island-wide support for those bases that will not have a USO presence.

An interview with Edward J. Christie, the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, USO World Headquarters, Wed., revealed that the USO closures would commence in approximately 60 days. The plan also envisions utilizing a smaller staff. "We hope to work in cooperation with the Marine MWR and 18th Services Sq. to support the needs of military members on island." He also stated that future plans entail bringing a mobile canteen to Okinawa to provide an outlet for camps without facilities.

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