Orleck, arriving

We’ve been following the saga of the Gearing-class destroyer USS Orleck (DD-886) for the past several years. For those who haven’t, the fortune cookie catch up is that the old girl was too late for WWII, but saw lots of combat during Korea– where she received four battle stars and earned a spot in the “Train Busters Club” — and along the gunline off Vietnam for Market Garden– firing fired 11,000+ rounds and earning 10 further stars– as well as was on the team that recovered the Gemini IV space capsule for NASA.

Off Mare Island, 1959

Decommissioned in 1982, she went on to work for the Turks for two decades as TCG Yücetepe (D-345).

Then she was, epically, brought back across the Atlantic where she served as a museum ship in two different Gulf Coast locales for the past 20 years.

Now saved from the mud of the Calcasieu River and benefitting from a $2.5 million refit, she has successfully made it from Texas, through the Florida Straits, to Jacksonville, where she has been paraded into town and is tied up, awaiting her first tours and grand opening later this summer.

Orleck At sea off of Key Largo. Photo by Elsbeth III Captain Wallace Milham.

Entering Jax. If you didn’t see the tow line you would think she is leaving for deployment, the oldest Gearing still in active service. Photo by Ashley Iselborn 

Looking great for a 77-year old FRAM’d tin can! Photo by Ashley Iselborn 

Great to see her ready for her next chapter!

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