USS Orleck: The WW2 Ship Has to Move But Who Wants Her

Credit: USS Orleck Naval Museum

USS Orleck: A long-held dream of the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association could soon come true. For some time, they have been collecting funds and working toward having a floating museum created on the St Johns River in downtown Jacksonville.

Their original plan was to work with the US Navy to moor the USS Adams to be moored in the river and turned into a floating museum.

The Navy could not give permission for this to happen, and the Association was back a square one about finding a suitable vessel to act as the museum.

Arrival Of American Destroyer USS Orleck. January 26, 1972. (Photo by Antony Matheus Linsen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
Arrival Of American Destroyer USS Orleck. January 26, 1972. (Photo by Antony Matheus Linsen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

Now it seems that the pieces of a new plan are slowly falling into place, and after jumping a few more hurdles, they hope that the USS Orleck will be the home of their museum.

Permission has been granted from the Downtown Development Authority when they unanimously agreed to permit the USS Orleck to berth on the Northbank near the old Shipyards.

Approval is still to be gained from the Jacksonville City Council, but the Mayor is firmly behind the project, and it does not seem that the Council will veto the plan.

The last two pieces of the puzzle that need to fall into place is the health of the USS Orleck and to arrange to have her towed to her new berth.

The USS Orleck is currently berthed in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she is already acting as the home to a floating museum, so she will have to undergo a dry dock inspection to ensure that she is sound enough to withstand being towed to Jacksonville.

Daniel Bean, the President of the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association, said that the pier where the Orleck was currently moored in Louisiana had been sold and the new owners wished to use it for purposes other than a floating museum.

Therefore, the ship needs to be moved.

As the Orleck was already kitted out as and operating as a museum, she would be open for business from the moment she was safely secured to her new berth in Jacksonville. She could receive visitors from day one.

Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association had already started raising funds when their plan was to bring the USS Adams to Jacksonville.

The cost of moving the USS Orleck will be in the region of $2.8 million, and they do not anticipate there will be any problems raising this from private donations.

The money collected toward the USS Adams project is still available and will provide a welcome boost to the new fund-raising effort.

USS Orleck (DD-886)

Arrival of American Destroyer USS Orleck.Members of the crew lining the deck going mad with their camera’s. January 28, 1972. (Photo by Antony Matheus Linsen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
Arrival of American Destroyer USS Orleck.Members of the crew lining the deck going mad with their camera’s. January 28, 1972. (Photo by Antony Matheus Linsen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

The USS Orleck served in the US Navy from 1945 to 1982. She was a Gearing-class destroyer and was named for Lieutenant Joseph Orleck, the commanding officer of the USS Nauset. Lt. Orleck was killed in action on the 9th September 1943 and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for bravery.

The USS Orleck was launched on the 12th May 1945 and named by Lt. Orleck’s widow.

She was assigned to the 7th Fleet and supported the United Nations Forces for the duration of the Korean War.

After an extensive overhaul in 1962, she assisted in the recovery of the capsule from the Gemini IV space flight.

She went on to serve again in the Far East, when she served as a guard in the Gulf of Tonkin, for the aircraft carriers during the Vietnam War.

She was decommissioned on the 1st October 1982, and she moved on to serve with the Turkish Navy, where she was named TCG Yücetepe (D345).

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The Turkish Navy then transferred her to the Southeast Texas War Memorial and Heritage Foundation, where she was converted into a museum ship under her original name of the USS Orleck.

In May 2010, she was moved to her current berth on Lake Charles.