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USS Orleck, a World War II warship, is looking for a new home.

 Jacksonville, Florida – The Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association is on the verge of turning a long-held dream into reality as they make strides toward establishing a floating museum on the picturesque St. Johns River. For years, the association has been diligently gathering funds and devising plans for a unique museum experience in the heart of downtown Jacksonville.

Originally, the association had set their sights on collaborating with the US Navy to bring the USS Adams to the riverbanks, transforming it into an immersive floating museum. However, due to certain logistical constraints, this vision could not be realized, leaving the association to reassess and adapt their approach.

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

Recent developments indicate that a fresh plan is slowly taking shape, offering renewed hope that the USS Orleck might soon find its home as a central part of this endeavor.

Following unanimous approval from the Downtown Development Authority, the USS Orleck has been granted permission to dock on the Northbank area adjacent to the old Shipyards. While awaiting the Jacksonville City Council’s final endorsement, the Mayor’s steadfast support suggests a favorable outcome, with little likelihood of the plan being vetoed.

The remaining elements of this intricate puzzle involve ensuring the USS Orleck’s seaworthiness and coordinating its journey to the new berth. Currently stationed in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the USS Orleck functions as a floating museum. Yet, before embarking on its journey to Jacksonville, it will undergo a meticulous dry dock inspection to guarantee its structural integrity during the tow.

Daniel Bean, President of the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association, revealed that the ship’s current Louisiana mooring site had been sold for alternative purposes, necessitating the move. Fortuitously, since the USS Orleck is already equipped and operating as a museum, it can be immediately opened to visitors upon secure anchorage in Jacksonville.

While fundraising initially commenced for the USS Adams project, the association is confident about raising the required funds for the USS Orleck’s relocation, projected at around $2.8 million. Private donations are expected to play a pivotal role in achieving this financial goal, complemented by the existing funds intended for the USS Adams initiative.

USS Orleck (DD-886), a Gearing-class destroyer, served honorably in the US Navy from 1945 to 1982. Named in honor of Lieutenant Joseph Orleck, a courageous officer aboard the USS Nauset, the ship carries a legacy of bravery. Lt. Orleck, who sacrificed his life on September 9, 1943, was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

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).

Launched on May 12, 1945, and christened by Lt. Orleck’s widow, the USS Orleck played a vital role in supporting United Nations Forces throughout the Korean War under the 7th Fleet’s banner. In 1962, following a comprehensive overhaul, the ship participated in the recovery of the Gemini IV space flight capsule. During the Vietnam War, she guarded aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin while serving in the Far East.

Her service culminated with her decommissioning on October 1, 1982, after which she continued her mission under the Turkish Navy, assuming the name TCG Yücetepe (D345).

As the USS Orleck prepares to sail into a new chapter, the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association envisions a vibrant future where history comes alive on the banks of the St. Johns River. With the community’s support and the spirit of maritime heritage, this dream inches closer to becoming a tangible testament to the legacy of naval courage and innovation.

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