Sep 032023


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At the business meeting at our Veterans Day 2023 reunion in Jacksonville, Florida, permanent home of our beloved USS ORLECK DD 886, the eligible voters unanimously responded positively to my suggestion that we dissolve our Destroyer USS ORLECK DD 886 Association but only if we replace it with a new way for USS ORLECK sailors, family, and friends to continue to meet at their ship in Jacksonville each year.

While we have ended the Destr,oyer USS ORLECK DD 886 Association and while there will be no more organized reunions for the group, we are far from done. We have had a long run of successful three- and four-day events over the last thirty years but the time has come to change the way we continue. It has been wonderful to have done these reunions for you over these decades but I will be unable to continue doing them and being that no one else would or could take them over, the time had come.

The vote was for a plan that would set up a way those interested can meet aboard the USS ORLECK and to go out to dinner together every year into the future on Veterans Day as well as build the rest of their stay around that. You might want to arrange for a mini reunion with shipmates or treat it as an extended vacation and build the other events around it. Veterans Day in Jacksonville will be chockfull of many local activities from a massive parade, many events in and around USS ORLECK, now in her special and permanent mooring at Pier 1, as well as many other exciting things to do throughout this welcoming US Navy town. The possibilities are endless!

We picked Veterans Day for a good practical reason. Our last official reunion was on Veterans Day, 2022. Now on each Veterans Day into the future, we will continue to meet. It is a special day for our military. The Armistice that ended World War I happened on November 11 and the guns ceased firing at 11 AM. Setting the date and time to coincide with the Armistice has the added advantage of having a time and date that will be easy to remember and it will be the same year after year. 11/11/11. 11 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month.

Beginning in 2023 and every year thereafter, USS ORLECK sailors, family and friends will converge on Jacksonville, Florida, meet on the USS ORLECK at 11 AM, and have dinner together that evening. As mentioned above, the rest is up to you. The plan gives flexibility to meet everyone’s needs and desires even if you just plan to come for the day.

There will not be any organized events except the meeting at the USS ORLECK and dinner that evening. Kelly Harris, owner of the Village Café right on the St. Johns River, and good friend of our organization, has agreed to do that dinner each year and Heather Surface, owner of the River Taxi has agreed to be available to transport you between your river front hotel, the USS ORLECK and Kelly’s restaurant.

Nadia, the Director of Events for the USS ORLECK DD 886, has calendared your coming on November 11, 2023, and will have a special place designated for you to meet and discuss your plans for the day and weekend.

Soon there will be a special website developed by the Jacksonville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (VISIT JAX) that will keep you advised of the happenings and will enable you to communicate about it. I will post the link to that site when it is available.  Until then, information will also be found on our website so you will not miss anything by coming here.

If you have any questions about this plan, you can contact Bob Orleck at 802-565-0340 (talk or text) or email him at  You can also leave comments (see below post).

So many have experienced immense joy at our reunions and getting together with their shipmates, some who they had not seen for 40 or 50 years. Let’s keep things going in this way!

I hope to hear from many of you that you will be planning to come this upcoming Veterans Day, November 11, 2023, at 11 AM aboard USS ORLECK DD 886. Easy to remember 11AM on the 11th day of the 11th month each year from now on.

Thank you for allowing me to associate with you all these years, to organize and execute the wonderful reunions we have had. It has been the greatest honor of my life.

Please let me know your thoughts on attending. 

Best to you all.

Bob Orleck

P.S. Any updates will be posted here until further notice. Visit this page often and also if you wish to comment, CLICK HERE  go to the bottom of the other comments on the page that opens and enter your comment.

  50 Responses to “Plan to Visit USS ORLECK DD 886 on the upcoming Veterans Day holiday!”

  1. Patti and I will not be able to make it
    this year, maybe next time

  2. Ahoy fellow shipmates! Hope you all are well and looking forward to coming to our USS ORLECK sailor, family and friends gathering this upcoming Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11, 2023.

    I am trying to secure a block of rooms at the HYATT REGENCY RIVERFRONT – JACKSONVILLE. They require a minimum of 10 reservations in order to receive a discounted room rate. I am sure we will be able to meet that requirement, but the more rooms we can reserve the more inclined they will be to give us the best possible room rate. I’ve spoken to the sales manager and she says they already plan on that weekend being very busy. So the sooner I can give her an estimate of the number of rooms we will require, the better.

    The block of rooms will be at a discounted price. Who would like to save money $$$???

    If you are planning on coming to the USS ORLECK in November, please let me know as soon as possible.
    For those who have already made reservations at this hotel; if they grant us a reduced rate for our rooms, your reservations will be changed to the block room rate.

    Also, I need to provide the Hyatt with the names of the people who have already made reservations. They need to know if you made your reservation directly with the Hyatt, or was your reservation made through a third party: i.e., or some other website.

    Please update me on your plans and if you have already made reservations at the Hyatt. Let me know the nights you will need a room in Jacksonville.

    My email address is: Also copy Bob Orleck so he will be kept informed of our progress.
    SK3 DiMARIA,

  3. yes I plan on atteding

  4. Hello Bob,
    John Neville here. Hopefully, the wife and I both plan to be there if our well-being holds up. This is the first time I\’ve seen the old girl since Yokosuka, Japan when I got transferred to Sub-School in New London, CT. A lot of water has passed under this old keel since then. I retired in November 80 and dropped anchor in Satsuma, FL on the banks of the St Johns River. I\’ll never be with my water.

    • John: Pretty exciting thought not having seen her for 65 years. Yours will be a great story to follow. You might even make the nightly news down there. From what I understand you are less than 70 miles away. Plan on coming by car or boat? Look forward to seeing you there. Bob

  5. Hi Bob,
    At this point Jan and I plan to attend. Looking forward to seeing you and shipmates of USS Orleck. November can’t come quick enough!

  6. Hi Bob it’s great to hear from you again regarding the reunion. Last year was great and seeing and being on board her again was an amazing experience. Sadly I have a conflict this year and won’t be able to attend. Fingers crossed I’ll see everyone next year. Thanks again for all you have done for the association over all the decades. You are one of a kind!

  7. HI Bob, hope things are well with you. Chris and I are planning to attend this year. Thanks for setting things in motion again.

    Chris and I plan to be there God willing. Thank you again Bob for setting it up.

    • Hi Mark: I combined both of your comments into one. I knew you would be planning on being there. You are definitely hooked on USS ORLECK. 🙂

      The only requirement for this to work is for people to show up, but it would be nice to know in advance for this first one who are solid “will be there” people. Let me know when you know by coming on and posting another comment.

      Look forward to seeing you both again.

  8. EM3 McClure; TAD 1981 from the USS Samuel Gompers AD-37, 32nd St., stood electric plant watches on the Orleck while escorting a minesweeper up the Pacific coast. We blew up some of the island off the CA coast while cruising from San Diego, 32nd St. to Bremerton.

    Looking forward to the visit on at least one Veteran’s Day Memorial opportunity. How did she weather the recent storm?


    • Hey Tom: Good to hear from you. Glad to hear this is on your bucket list. Keep me advised if it is going to be this year. The wonderful thing about this is the ease of remembering where and when. All you need to do is find the USS ORLECK in Jacksonville on Veterans Day each and every year into the future. 11 AM on board, on 11th day of the 11th month of the year. 11/11/11 Easy peasy!

  9. Ahoy Bob, your dedication to your family and to USS Orleck is nothing short of fantastic. I am certainly looking forward to the Veteran’s Day reunion in Jacksonville. I do hope to be there for a couple of days but still need to rearrange some unexpected obligations.
    Stay well and look forward to seeing you all in November.
    Paul (Rom) Romilly – 65-67

  10. I will plan to be there, with my wife Mylli. Have been looking forward to seeing the ship again. I was an electronic tech (ET 3/2) Oct ’76 – Nov ’78.

    • Look forward to meeting you. You are going to be surprised at the improvements in her looks from when she was in Orange. The folks in Jacksonville are taking very good care of her.

  11. Hi Bob,
    John & I won’t make it this year, but will plan to be there in 2024.
    We have so enjoyed the many reunions we have been privileged to attend! Thank you for the amazing amount of work you have put into the reunions over the years.
    Give our best to Barb.

    • Dear John & Sue:
      Thanks for the kind note. You have been good friends and so loyal to our reunion efforts. Believe me, the privilege is mine to have been able to be around such quality people. With so much selfish greed being exhibited in the country, it is a breath of fresh air to be around the caliber of people that have made our association a great one.

      I expected since the information was late getting out that many would not be able to make it this year but will work on it for 2024. That’s the beauty of this plan. It is to happen year after year and you can count on the date to make plans for it. Nice, huh?

  12. Bob
    Avis and I are working on being there.

    Avis & Gene Haukoos

  13. Bob, I can’t make this one this year, however will definitely try to make next years, Lord willing of course.
    Would make this one but we have a family reunion scheduled for about the same time in November this year. I definitely plan to vist again soon. Thank you for all your work over the years, All the best to you and your lovely bride. Would love to see you both again. The Orleck was my home for 3and a half years, went from seaman recruit to RD2 on board her. Leading radarman at the time she went in to FRAM. Only ship I ever served on and she is really dear to my heart.
    Don Hart RD2 1958-1962

    • Great to hear from you my good friend Don Hart. It is one of my favorite things to hear when her men describe the feelings of being home aboard her. Then to witness those seeing their fellow shipmates after 50 or more years since serving. Thanks for the post and look forward to seeing you again.

  14. Bob, Im planning on attending the event on Sounds like fun and I have been trying to get over to visit the Orleck since she got into Jacksonville. I winter about 3 hours from there and am looking forward to the visit

    • So glad to hear that Gary. I know, with all that goes on in life that it is not easy to pick a time, but when a time is picked (11/11/11), that gives the incentive to make the decision as you have. The message about the event has missed some shipmates I am sure, so please forward this to others you know to be sure they haven’t missed hearing.

  15. I plan to be there. Will be at the UDT/SEAL Museums Kmuster the week before, keep me posted on the events.
    R/ Iryll

  16. As of now I am planning on attending on November 11th at 11:00 AM on the ship. I am going to ask my Daughter if she would like to go. She hasn’t attended a reunion yet. My Sister has even shown some interest in going. She lives in VA in the winter so it wouldn’t be that bad a trip. Looking forward to seeing all that can make it.

  17. Hi Bob;
    Mae and I plan on attending. Thanks a bunch for all that you STILL do.

    • Thanks Bob. Please give our best to Mae. Sorry it didn’t work out for the last reunion, but this will be a great time for all to get together again. I would suggest for you start looking for a hotel reservation because that is going to be a very busy weekend in Jacksonville.

  18. Bob,I am going to plan on attending the event on veterans day. I have been talking about getting over there since the ship arrived. I winter in Fl about 100 miles from Jacksonville. Hope to see you then.

  19. My Dad, who has passed, served aboard the Orleck during the Korean War and my wife and I are planning a trip there. My Mom wants to visit but is unable to travel.

    • Hi Greg. Sorry about the loss of your Dad. I have checked our roster and don’t see a Gentry listed. We searched as best we could for years to locate the estimated 4400 men who served in ORLECK over her 37 years but only located 2200. I would like to get his name on the Memorial Roster. Please send me his full name, years aboard USS ORLECK, spouse name, and date he died. If you have head shot photo, I can include that on his Memorial Page. You can send that information to

      It is wonderful tribute to your Dad that you are coming to pay respects to the ship he loved and served our nation aboard. Look forward to meeting you both.

  20. Greetings Shipmates,
    Had a great time last year in Jacksonville. (Thanks again Bob)
    I had originally planned to make the trek again this year however, unforseen circumstances and obligations have made it unlikely. Rest assured that I am already thinking about next year.

  21. Thanks Bob! Been waiting since July 15th for the good news. Kathy and I have been planning on going.
    Thanks again Bob!

    • That was my intention to get it out there earlier, but things don’t always work out as planned. Am glad you are going to be there. If along the way you hear of others, while I am not coordinating anything, I would like to know. I want to make sure that it is going as I had envisioned. Bob

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