For those who may not know what a “plankowner” is, it is a member of the crew of a ship when that ship was placed in commission. While not an official Navy term it is carried proudly for the rest of their lives by those who were a part of the beginning of a new Navy ship. We believe it is a status that should be honored and recognized whenever we can.
On October 29, 2013 I received a call from one of the USS ORLECK’s plankowners by the name of Kennith Champney. He was part of the crew of the USS ORLECK when it was placed in commission in Orange, Texas in September of 1945. He left the ship in Shanghai in 1946 and presently resides in New Hampshire.
He was responding to mailed information about our San Diego reunion that was sent to him. He advised that his health will not permit him to attend this reunion. If you want to contact and are familiar with our roster system you know that you can access his address and phone number. If you have any problems doing that contact Bob Orleck and he will help you.
For those who think that I misspelled his first name, this might be of interest to you. Kennith tells me that his mother really liked the name Kenneth but knew a Kenneth she did not like and did not want to name her son after him or that it might so seem. When she learned that Kenneth could be spelled Kennith she jumped on that opportunity and got to name him with a name she liked.
Kennith is very proud of his service aboard USS ORLECK and he made some friends that he has lost track of. Their names are Danny Cousins, Bill Baker and Dale Piper. Our Association does not have any information on these men so if you know of them or about them please contact Kennith or Bob Orleck. It would mean a lot to him.