USS Orleck prepares for grand opening

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The USS Orleck Naval Museum will open on Sunday, April 10th at 1 p.m. for the first time in Lake Charles since the ship's arrival from Orange, TX in May 2010.

A private official ceremony was held on Saturday to re-commission the ship as a national naval museum.

Supporters and sponsors viewed the ship for the very first time since volunteers worked non-stop to restore it into a museum.

Ed Martin, a retired army man from Lake Charles, played a huge role in bringing the USS Orleck to Lake Charles. The veteran stood speechless aboard the ship after seeing how hard the volunteers worked to restore it.

"It turned our real well because of the hard work of the individuals that have been here working on this thing," said Martin.

Organizers are hoping to bring more visitors to the lake area through opening of the USS Orleck as a naval museum.

"It will be an anchor for Lake Charles and it will draw people in," said Martin. "They'll stop here and want to see this thing."

Veterans in the lake area are also hoping to teach younger generations about war time through the USS Orleck.

"We need to remember and see what's going to happen with our kids so we need to help them out a little bit," said Martin.

"It gets in your blood," said Willie Montgomery, a volunteer and retired sailor. "I tell you what, it's hard to get this pain away from you."

The World War II-era destroyer is currently located at 604 N. Enterprise Blvd. Free hot dogs and soft drinks will be provided for the first 1,000 visitors and all admission passes will be half price.