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Commander Gerla is a native of Washington State and enlisted in the Navy in October of 1999. Following recruit training in Great Lakes, IL, and nuclear “A” school in Charleston, SC, he earned an NROTC scholarship to Washington State University. He graduated and received his commission in 2006.
Commander Gerla’s Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) assignments include a tour aboard the USS Chafee (DDG 90), homeported in Pearl Harbor, HI, and as a Mission Commander for Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Four (MSRON 4), homeported in Portsmouth, VA. He has operationally deployed three times in the Western Pacific as well as conducted numerous waterborne security missions throughout North and Central America.
Commander Gerla’s shore tours include Executive Officer (XO) for Transient Personnel Unit (TPU) Puget Sound; Flag Aide to Rear Admiral Annie B. Andrews, Commander, Navy Recruiting Command (CNRC); Commanding Officer (CO) of Honolulu Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS); Deputy Director of Manpower and Personnel (Deputy N1) for Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SUBPAC). As the Honolulu MEPS Commander, CDR Gerla was responsible for all Department of Defense military accessions in the state of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. CDR Gerla also served as the Director of Naval Manpower and Personnel and as the Naval Element Executive Officer (XO) at the 4-star Combatant Command, US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Tampa, FL. In his most recent assignment, he was the Senior Naval Advisor at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, where he was awarded the Philip D. Caine award as the instructor of the year for academic year 2022-2023.
Commander Gerla redesignated into the Human Resources community in 2013. He is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the City University of Seattle in Seattle, WA, a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport, RI, and has been designated a Joint-Qualified Officer (JQO).
Commander Gerla has received numerous personal awards but is most proud of the unit and team awards he has had the privilege of contributing to.