The World War II-era destroyer, the USS ORLECK DD886, is currently located at 604 N. Enterprise Blvd., Lake Charles, and will be used to serve as a historic museum and veteran’s memorial.
The ship is named for Lt. Joseph Orleck, commanding officer of the USS Nauset when she was struck by aerial bombs during the Sept,. 9, 1943 amphibious invasion of Salerno, Italy.
Orleck directed the transfer of his surviving shipmates to rescue ships but went back aboard his wounded ship to handle lines when she struck an enemy mine.
The ship went down, taking Lt. Orleck with her. For this act of sacrifice, he was awarded the Navy Cross.
The Orleck’s combat tours included the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
ORLECK Grand Opening ceremonies will begin on Saturday, April 9 at 5 p.m. with a private open house viewing for media, sponsors, and military and political dignitaries. Official ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. and will include a recommissioning of the USS ORLECK as a national naval museum, recognition of the ship’s supporters and sponsors, and closing with a demonstration of the ship’s military weaponry.
Grand Opening ceremonies will continue on Sunday, April 10 from 1-4 p.m., and will be open to the public with events geared toward family and children activities.
Free hot dogs and soft drinks will be provided for the first 1,000 visitors and all admission passes will be half price. Visitors will be encouraged to purchase annual memberships for free visitation all year around.
Visitors will also be briefed about our special event and overnight-stay packages, and receive 25% off reservations if booked the weekend of the ceremonies.
General visitor and museum information: 337 433-4083.