SWLA says goodbye to the USS Orleck

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - After more than a decade, it’s bon voyage for a former Navy ship in Lake Charles.

“Named after a Navy hero, Lt. Joseph Orleck, who died during the invasion of Salerno, Italy,” U.S.S. Orleck Museum Executive Director Ron Williams said.

The ship built in 1945 has sat on the Calcasieu River for the last decade.

Come Wednesday morning, the ship will embark on a new adventure as it says goodbye to Southwest Louisiana.

“I immediately called them, and I said, ‘Well, you have a dock and no ship, and we have a ship and no dock. Let’s talk,’” Williams said.

Williams said the former Navy ship is set to make a pitstop in Port Arthur.

“So, it can be gently washed down - the hull and everything and inspected,” Williams said “Gauge the thickness of the hull in various areas. We’ve already identified some areas that we know need to be worked on. And determine the future longevity of it.”

The Orleck will then set sail to its new home at the Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association.

“It’ll be about an eight-day tow across the Gulf and around Florida up to Jacksonville,” Williams said.

Williams wants to take this opportunity to thank visitors for all the memories made.

“I’d like to thank the folks of Lake Charles, the ones who did support us, and the kids that came out to learn more - and loved the field trips with the schools - with the kids. They asked the greatest questions. They’re so curious. And sometimes they stumped us,” Williams said.

The Orleck will set off down the Calcasieu River around 7 a.m. Wednesday and will pass under the I-10 bridge and I-210 bridge.

Both Museums are still taking donations to help move the ship from Lake Charles to Jacksonville.

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