After 65 years, man reunites with USS Orleck

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – It's been sixty-five years since J.T. Platt last boarded the USS Orleck.

"I was one of the grunts. I did what I was told," said Platt, who worked at Consolidated Steel Corporation, the group that built the Orleck starting in 1944.

Platt worked at the company in Orange, Texas from 1944 to 1945. He left Consolidated Steel two months after the Orleck was commissioned.

Platt was part of the original group from Consolidated Steel, responsible for making sure all of the equipment on board the Orleck was in working order. Platt was also in charge of making sure all of the ship's wires were working properly.

"It was our responsibility that when the ship left Orange, everything was operable," he said.

Platt boarded the war ship for the first time in 65 years on Saturday.

Much has obviously changed for both Platt and the Orleck, but the memories came flowing back to Platt.

Platt shared stories about his time working on the ship; like the time he went inside of a fuel tank and no one knew he was down there.

"It still gives me chills whenever I think about it," said Platt. "I got out and I never went back again."

Platt said it was too difficult to describe what it meant for him to board the ship after more than six decades.

Perhaps it's like reuniting with an old friend…after 65 years.

One can only imagine.

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