Restoration underway for USS Orleck - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Restoration underway for USS Orleck

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It has been one month since the USS Orleck sailed in to the lake area, and volunteers are working to fully restore the ship in time for tours by the end of the year.

Members of the USS Orleck Naval Museum among other volunteers are renovating the ship and fixing portions that were destroyed en route from Orange, Texas.

"When the tug began to move it out, a chain from the barge tore out three stanchions on the stern," said Sherwood Buckalew, curator for the USS Orleck Naval Museum.

Volunteers have been able to put the stanchions back in place and add stronger lifelines around the ship. 

The restoration process is also going on inside the ship where some of the overhead paint is deteriorating.

"Volunteers are coming in and scraping, cleaning, and painting the ship," said Buckalew.

Workers have restored electricity in the ship and the entire ship is expected to be air conditioned.

Buckalew started working on this project in 2001, and he said the ultimate goal is to take the visitors back in time to the end of World War II.

"My efforts are to have a former radio man come back here and go in that radio room. If he says this looks just like how I remember it, then I know I've succeeded with my effort when that happens," said Buckalew.

The ship is expected to open for tours within the next six months. 

If you are interested in donating time or supplies to restore the USS Orleck, feel free to stop by their office at the dead end of North Enterprise Boulevard on the Calcasieu River.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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