Monday, May 12, 2014

USS Orleck, Lake Charles, Louisiana



Today I toured the USS Orleck, a Navy destroyer that was built for World War II - but it was completed and put into service about two weeks after the end of the war.  It did see service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.  After that, she was sold to the Turkish Navy in the 1980s.  There are still labels inside the ship in Turkish.  She came back to the states in 2000 and ended up in Lake Charles, Louisiana where she is today. 

As with all boats, the project list is never completed.  She has a steel hull, which means there is continuous maintenance needed to keep the rust at bay.  At almost 400' in length, she needs to be towed if she is to be moved.  Her engines are no longer working and her props had been damaged in hurricanes after she was returned to the states.

On the forward deck, as well as the aft deck, she has massive fire power known as 5/38 gun mounts, that required multiple personnel to handle the gunpowder, the projectile, and to fire them.   The barrels are 5" wide, and over 15' in length.  There had been other weapons on board, which have been removed.

On the back deck there is a small helicopter, as shown below.  I was told that this is one of the first drones.  It was operated remotely, with no personnel aboard.  It's from the 1960s and was not original equipment.  Originally, that deck had multiple weaponry installed, but has since been removed.

The bridge was filled with original equipment.  Having lived on a boat, I marveled at the size of the depth sounder, compass and other equipment - extremely massive compared to today's equipment.  The radio room had an unbelievable amount of equipment.


There are plans to have it brought to the Lake Charles waterfront, which will be located close to town, which will make it more convenient to tour.  If you're in the neighborhood, it's worth a visit.

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