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Camp Schwab USO opens sports lounge

4 Jul 2013 | Cpl. Mark Stroud

CAMP SCHWAB, Japan - The USO opened a sports lounge at its Camp Schwab center June 14 to complement and expand existing services at the site.

The lounge, which is still undergoing improvements, opened to service members in time for the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League finals.

“It is just another outlet here at the Camp Schwab USO for the troops to relax and watch their favorite sports,” said William C. Stanley, the center manager at the Camp Schwab USO. “The NBA finals and NHL playoffs have increased the amount of patrons here. People are able to sit down, kick their feet up, relax, and watch the game.”

The new sports lounge boasts seven televisions, two gaming consoles and seating selected with the service members’ comfort in mind.

“We set up multiple TVs like you would see in a sports lounge stateside,” said Stanley. “You have the basketball game on one TV and soccer or football on another TV. If they’re not up for watching sports, they can play video games.

“We also went out and got new furniture to give it an ‘at-home’ feeling.”

The lounge supports the resumption of the unit deployment program, which rotates U.S.-based units to Okinawa for six-month tours to increase the capabilities of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and reduce the number of permanent personnel on the island.

“A year ago, there was no UDP here, and now the camp is full,” said Col. Richard D. Hall, the Camp Schwab commander and commanding officer of 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. “All the units that are going to be at Camp Schwab are here, and the things that we have built over the last year are providing the capacity to support that. A lot of the work we have done to support the UDP is coming to fruition.”

The services provided by the USO are especially useful to the Marines and sailors deployed under the UDP.

“During their six-month deployment, some of the Marines may not have easy access to the internet,” said Staff Sgt. David M. Spearing, a platoon sergeant with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, currently assigned to 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF, under the UDP. “These services are free, and I advise my Marines to use this place all the time.”

Volunteers played an important role in planning and completing the new lounge, and helped facilitate the successful completion of the additions.

Volunteers were the main effort to help renovate, furnish and decorate the new additions, according to Stanley.

The USO also has a computer lounge, free Wi-Fi access, snack bar and a separate lounge for television and movie viewing. The Camp Schwab site also hosts regularly scheduled events such as Saturday night barbeques.

Service members interested in learning more about the USO or volunteering can call 625-3834 for further information.

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