Nov 012015

FIELD DAYS November 12-15,2015
Attendee Information

Dear USS ORLECK sailor, family and friends:

First of all, excuse me if you receive this twice. You may be on two individual lists that are being mailed to.

I know that this is short notice but the USS ORLECK DD 886 Museum will be holding a Field Days event on November 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of this year.  Based on feedback from those of you who attended, I have been assured by Ron Williams that he will be holding a “muster” each morning to speak about the projects in general, point out the needs, assign the jobs to individuals and to answer questions.  In addition there will be a plan-of-the-day that will be posted on all activities including liberty, chow and work details.

There is great expense for you to travel to your ship and work on her. One little bit of help is that any expenses you incur are tax deductible. The USS ORLECK Museum is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt corporation so if your work is to assist their mission of restoring USS ORLECK then keep track of those expenses and submit them to Dawn Carrier at the ship (her contact information is below) and she will give you the proper document receipt for you to use when filing your tax return.

The message below is drawn together from several email communications I have had with Ron Williams and a conversation as well.  Ron is the author of most of what you read below.  So here is what I know of the Field Days and what you can do to participate.   It would be great if you could be there the whole time but even if you can only work a day or two that would be fine as well.  There will be work for all ages and physical conditions.  For some with physical problems bunks and ladders may be the biggest obstacles but there are some hotel options where you can avoid such things.

There has been insufficient notice to notify any of our members by regular mail so when you receive this by email, please make sure to contact your friends who may not have seen it by phone or personal email.

It is important that I have feedback from you.  I would appreciate it very much that any who plan to attend, would like more information or have something you wish to share with me to contact me by phone at 802-728-9806, (cell phone at 802-565-0340 if you can’t reach me at home), or by email at  (click on that address and you will get an email ready for you to add your comments).  At the end of the Field Days I will be sending out a survey to you regarding the event so please, if you are going to participate, let me know.   I also would like to talk to you by phone before the Field Days so include your phone number where you can be reached.


Bob Orleck
P.O. Box 213
Randolph, VT 05060

Here are some of the key items provided by Ron Williams

  • .Museum Contact info:  Dawn Carrier, Phone (337) 214- 4774 (SHIP)  Email:
  • Contact Dawn Carrier by phone or email with the following info:
    • Name, Address, Phone, Email
    • Stay aboard ship (YES or NO); arrival/departure dates and times
    • Staying in a hotel (YES or NO). provide the name/location of hotel, reservation number, and arrival/departure dates and times.
    • If arriving by air, please provide flight information to include Flight Number, Airline, Airport, arrival date/time. (Also provide departure information if known.
    • Meal cost ($30) will be paid:  You can pay by credit card over the phone to 337-214-7447 or you can mail check to PO Box 4470, Lake Charles LA 70606-4470
  • Weather:  In mid-November average high temperature is 72; average low is 52.  We are on the Gulf coast, so be prepared in case of some high humidity and rain.  However, November is usually pretty pleasant, weather -wise.
  • Weather gear:  The evenings can get chilly, so a light jacket or sweater are advised.  Dress in a layered manner you can shed the jacket or long sleeves as the day warms up.  Just be prepared for changing temps and some precipitation.
  • Tools:  Individuals who have special tools for their skills should bring them with them.  For example, electricians often like to bring their basic tools with them.  Welders should bring their protective gear.  Bring personal safety gear if you have it – goggles, hats, etc.  We have a large number of hard hats available.  Bring non-slip shoes and if you plan to work around heavy equipment bring the appropriate footwear.  Work gloves are advised; however, we will have some available, along with dust masks, & safety goggles.  Hearing protection is advised.  Again, we will have some of these items on hand if you don’t have them or forget to bring them.
  • Lodging.
    a.  Shipboard:  We can house folks aboard the ship in officer’s country, cooks and Bakers, M Division, Captain’s Shore Cabin, Commodore’s Cabin, Captain’s Sea Cabin, and the compartment below the Crew’s Mess.  Individuals should notify us in advance of a particular preference and we will try to accommodate them first come, first served.  Also, notify us if you need to stay on the main deck due to difficulty with laddars (stairs).
          b.  Hotels.  Arrangements have been made at the following hotels as listed below:  We have worked through the Visitors Center for these hotels/rates.  I believe the Quality Inn & Suites below was where Rich Angelini stayed in March.  Additional hotel information can be found at

    Quality Inn & Suites $79.99/night
    3211 Venture Park Dr
    Lake Charles, La 70615
    Office: 337-480-0898
    Fax: 337-480-1819

    Super 8 – Prien $89.99/night
    1350 East Prien Lake Road
    Lake Charles, La 70601, phone 337-477-1606

  • Getting to Lake Charles:
          a.  By Car.  Lake Charles is located in Southwest Louisiana along IH-10, approximately 30 miles east of the Texas border.  This is about 2 hours, 15 minutes east of Houston; one hour and 15 minutes west of Lafayette LA; 2 hours west of Baton Rouge LA;  under 3 hours west of New Orleans; and about 4 hours south of Shreveport LA.

    b.  By Air.  Air travel to Lake Charles-LCH is by United Airlines via Houston-IAH or American Airlines via Dallas-DFW.  One can also make good connections, especially from the east through Lafayette-LFT.  Many people find it more economical to rent a car in Houston and drive the 2 hours, 15 minutes to Lake Charles.  If you fly to Lafayette and rent a car the drive to Lake Charles is about 1 hour, 15 minutes.  Houston’s other airport is Houston Hobby-HOU, but there are not connections to Lake Charles.  Folks use Hobby rent a car to get to Lake Charles. LAKE CHARLES AIRPORT PICKUP:  Individuals arriving and departing from Lake Charles Regional Airport who need a ride to the ship or their hotel need to advise us as to their Flight Number and arrival/departure times so we can arrange pickup by one of our volunteers.

  • Work to be done  toward dual goals:  1)  preparing for towing to dry dock, and 2) restoration projects.  Although we do not have a definite dry dock date set, it could be as early as January to work on the hull below main deck, particularly below the water line.  As to restoration, we need to build on the work completed during the March Field Days, work accomplished by the Naval Reserve unit from Shreveport LA in September, and work completed by local volunteers.
    Preparing for dry dock.
    1.  Inspect and repair/patch areas between the waterline and the main deck.  There are a couple of areas that we have identified that definitely need to be cut our and patches welded in.
    2.  Inspect and repair exterior deck hatches so they can be made watertight.
    Restoration will include:
    1.  Main deck exterior bulkhead.  Approximately 75% of these areas were prepped and painted in March and September.  We need to complete the remaining 25% or so.
    2.  Mount 51.  Most of the mount has been prepped and some has been painted.  We should be able to complete this job.
    3.  Flying Bridge.  Director compartment has been prepped and painted, as well as most of the deck.  The signal flag compartment has been cleaned up and is almost ready for priming and painting.  A great deal of cutting and welding had to be done to close it in from the weather, particularly topside.
    4.  Starboard hull.  Since this is extremely visible to visitors when approaching the ship, we need to prep, prime, and paint from main to the waterline (actually, the black line).  (Port side hull – is only accessible by work barge and attacking it will probably need to wait for another Field Day or perhaps it can be worked in to the dry dock project.
    5.  Helo deck has started to leak again into what we call the USS RADFORD museum, so some areas will need to be repaired.
    6.  Radar Transmitter Compartment.  Our volunteers have been working on improving the lighting and removing flaking and chipped paint from the bulkheads and ceiling.  This compartment needs to be cleaned and painted.
    7.  Radio Central.  Install radios and teletypes obtained from the USS BARRY DD 933
    8.  Bridge (Pilot House) and CIC.  We have an ongoing project to cut out deteriorated surfaces underneath the deck plates and weld in new metal.
    9.  Crew sinks and showers.  We need to tackle some of this if we have the time and manpower.
    10  Areas forward of the mess (CPO Berthing, heads, etc.  We need to identify and prioritize the projects.
    “The above is just a brief outline of some of the areas that need attention.  As to exterior areas, The goals are to make the ship as presentable as possible to visitors (first impressions count), arrest continued deterioration in key areas, and restore areas to the Vietnam War era as much as possible.  Although this list does not include the Fire and Engine Rooms at this time, some cleanup of the first levels could start depending of manpower.

    As you can see, there is plenty of work for everyone for more than just this field day!”

  • Rich Angelini who directs the restoration of the USS JOSEPH P. KENNEDY DD 850, who with his Dad, Mike Angelini and Ted Hayes from the KENNEDY,  attended the March, 2015 Field Days of USS ORLECK and have been so helpful in providing not only work but good advice.  What follows is a message from Rich to Ron and I about this upcoming Field Days.  As you can see he cannot be there for this one but is willing to provide help from afar.  We are very grateful for his expertise and I have chosen to include his message here which Ron said “is right on target!” because I thought it would be helpful to those who are working.  Here is what Rich had to say”     “Glad to see another 886 field day on the way.  If I may, I would like to provide a few suggestions for Ron’s consideration.  My memory is of the ship last year and the recent seen from facebook so please excuse and ignore any recommendations that may be completed.I recommend that a shipfitter/Electrical team be created of vocationally talented folks who know electricity, can weld, or are mechanical.  They would run down problems all weekend.

    Besides any electrical issues that are causing safety concerns on the ship, you may wish to have the team go through the interior main passageway and ensure that all dead end wires are safe/taped and removed from sight (maybe coiled into the cable way above).  This would greatly enhance the ship passageway for visitors.

    Use this team to stop any water leakage in the ship and do your plumbing needs.

    Painting:   We painted from the fwd expansion joint on the stbd side to the fwd expansion joint on the port side.  Recommend as Ron stated to work both sides forward to meet at the bulkhead aft of No 1 gun to finish bulkhead painting on main deck.  Prepping and painting both guns are important as visitors want to see them….and teams to prep and paint the focsle and fantail are important as well where we left off.  ASROC deck work continuation is also a good idea.

    STBD side hull work is a huge priority as Ron said as I agree with him to forget about the port side hull as it is one of the lower priorities since visitors never see it right now.

    Recommend deferring all engineering space restoration and that forward of the mess decks (unless metal work required) until after other high priority spaces are restored and painted.  Rome was not built in a day and KENNEDY used to be partly closed as well as we concentrated on doing one area at a time.  Chiefs quarters is still closed on 850 since we haven’t fixed it yet!

    Equipment:  Much radio equipment was acquired from BARRY and those items would go into both Radio Central (and its associated TTY room) and the Radio Transmitter room across the passageway.  Unfortunately, that means that some of the items that are in those spaces now will need to be removed and the items you have put in the correct place according to old photos we have.  Galley kettles were also acquired and the space in the galley may need to be measured out to see how the four of them can all be together.  Much other galley equipment was acquired for the spaces visual representation including milk cans, cookie sheets, and the such which can be placed in the compartment for visitor enjoyment.

    Sound powered phone jacks, lanterns, and other items were gotten that can be used to finalize displays on ORLECK.  Recommend areas like CIC, Bridge, etc get first shot at them as they are high profile areas.

    More than happy to work with anyone to help figure out the layout for radio.

    If you need any help from afar, please let me know as I would be happy to provide anything I can.



Oct 122015

To enlarge photos click on the thumbnail photo and then you can scroll through the photos with the arrows.

Oct 072015

These fine photos were taken by our President Ben Loder. If you want to blame anyone for the captions, it is Bob Orleck. It is hard to maneuver so many pictures to have them in the order we did things or properly grouped together. We did the best we could so be aware they might not be in the best of order. Enjoy!

You can click on one photo and it will enlarge and then you can press the error at the right of the picture to go to the next photo and so forth.

Jul 162015

USS ORLECK sailor injured during USS BARRY Strip Trip.  

Click here to learn how you can help him.

RECAP OF STRIP TRIP (pictures and list of items to follow)

February 13-16, 2015:  Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC

USS ORLECK DD 886 crew came to Washington DC Navy Yard, stripped and left!

The Navy is scrapping the USS BARRY DD 933, a beautiful display Destroyer in Washington, DC.  You can read about the details of the decision by going to  While this is a big loss to historic ships it did provide an opportunity for USS ORLECK to gain some critical material to assist the USS ORLECK NAVAL MUSEUM, INC in their efforts to restore her in her late 1960 Vietnam era mode.  The BARRY was commissioned in 1960 and has many parts that are the same as a Gearing and thus compatible with a true restoration of USS ORLECK.

One area that would provide much needed items was the Radio Room.  USS ORLECK’s original equipment is basically totally missing so this provided a rich opportunity.  There were other areas that would provide other treasures such as the mess deck, officer’s staterooms as well as CIC and others.

So with information from our good friend Rich Angelini of the USS KENNEDY DD 885 Bob Orleck moved to involve the USS ORLECK NAVAL MUSEUM and USS ORLECK sailors and other sailors in the effort there in Washington.  Bob contacted the USS ORLECK NAVAL MUSEUM as to their desire to participate in a strip trip to that ship and received a positive reply.  In the meantime Bob sent out a message recruiting people who would have to come at their own expense for the four days to work their butts off to help their ship, the USS ORLECK.  How could they pass up such an offer?  The responses came in quickly and in fact we thought we might be overstaffed.    When all was said and done USS ORLECK had 7 volunteers who came and worked and some even came away with their butts.  The work was hard, the weather hot, the ship poorly lighted, the security at the Navy Yard was tight, the traffic getting to the base was horrible and no food or water was allowed on the ship by a rule set down by the Navy.

These were the good parts about the trip.  The items that these men were asked and did remove from the BARRY and loaded into the rented truck that the museum supplied, weighed hundreds and hundreds of pounds.  The work was so difficult that by the third day the men were pretty well worn out, but they kept going.

It was at this point that things really went bad.  Larry Fletcher, USS ORLECK sailor (1956-57) became a casualty in the war to save USS ORLECK DD 886 as a historic museum ship.  Larry had volunteered and drove from Ft. Worth, Texas in his truck accompanied by Bill Stevens, USS KEPLER DD 765 sailor and friend, to join with other USS ORLECK sailors, Dennis Cantwell, Mark Gallagher, Iryll Jones from the DC area and Jim Mangel, USS Sailor from St. Louis, MO in addition to Lee Joyner from Lake Charles, LA.  These guys put their hearts and bodies into this heavy and potentially dangerous work and acquired much valuable and needed parts, especially radios for Radio Central from the to be scrapped USS BARRY DD 933.  In the process of removing a radio form the ship, Larry’s tripped and fell down 4 stairs and injured his hip.  He could not walk.  He was taken to the hospital by emergency ambulance and had to undergo emergency surgery resulting in a partial hip replacement.  This happened on July 15 and the surgery was last night and today he is getting instructions from the physical therapist.  He is doing well.  Larry, 78 years of age, worked like a bull and did so much until he fell.  His attitude before and after was and is tremendous.  He has such a good attitude and a good sense of humor.  By the morning of July 16 he had the surgery behind him, was out of recovery, in his room, eating good food and working with the physical therapist.  He may be 78 years old but I was told by the others that he worked like a teen and never stopped till he fell.

So much of the pre-strip trip work had been done by Rich Angelini.  Rich, Ted Hayes and Rich’s father Mike had come to the ORLECK to participate in the Field Days in March.  Rich knows Gearings like no one else and he got to know USS ORLECK well.  He knew the USS BARRY and what she had and he put that knowledge of both together to work to basically give us a wish list that the men worked off to gain the artifacts we needed.   In addition he stay engaged and advised and added to our knowledge base as to what we needed.  Rich is such a good friend to us personally and to the USS ORLECK.  I want to encourage our people to do what we can to work with the KENNEDY and to attend their work days as well.  I have been to the past two Field Days on the KENNEDY and they are worth going to just to learn how to properly go about restoring a Gearing Class Destroyer.  To help the KENNEDY is to help the ORLECK and we are all richer for having this relationship.

Jim Mangels, BT some 50 years ago on ORLECK loaded up his truck with tools, dollies to help move items and a good knowledge of radios as well as information born from studying his mission in advance.  He knew what he was going to do when there and he followed through in a most professional way.  He met Iryll Jones, USS ORLECK sailor (1980-82)  who also was a BT but that was 34 years ago.  Now both these men, both BTs were working together on the same ship all these years later.  Pretty cool!  I will have more to say about Iryll later but for now I can’t say more than he was a “God send” to me and to the crew.

Dennis Cantwell lives within an hour of DC and when he learned of the trip he could not resist.  Hampered by poor internet as I am here in Vermont, he made regular trips to the library to upload the information on the trip and all the specifics that he had to know.  He was tapped to lead our guys and did a fine job.  Don’t ask Dennis how hard the work was for it might take him an hour or two to give you the description of all the pain.  But I know Dennis believes that a fine job was there and Dennis was a fine leader of the men.

Also from the area was Mark Gallagher.  I had worked with Mark stripping ship in Philly many years ago when USS ORLECK was in Orange, Texas.  Mark is a whiz with a sawzall and other power equipment and when I got him as a volunteer it had “successful trip” written all over it for me.  Not only that but Mark opened his home to any of the strippers who wanted to stay there and they did.  Larry, Bill and Jim stayed with Mark and they had a really wonderful time.  Mark spoke of the great pleasure he had and the fun times they enjoyed over food telling stories and enjoying each other’s company.  He remarked that this trip really showed him how important it is from the human point of view, the USS ORLECK sailor, that the Destroyer USS ORLECK Association is.  That meant a lot to me for I know the quality of men that ORLECK had serving on her over her thirty seven years.  They ate well from what they rubbed into me as I had cereal during our conference calls that were used to continue to plan and to recap what had been done that particular day.  Mark could only work the first two days and had to travel to SanDiego on Wednesday but his house and tools remained available to our guys and his wife I am told really enjoyed the good company when Mark was gone.

Bill Stevens is a good friend of Larry in Ft. Worth and at first it was Larry who contacted me and the later Bill wanted to come with him.  Bill represents the group of sailors who will mean so much if USS ORLECK is to survive into the years ahead.  Bill served on the USS KEPLER DD 765.  The KEPLER is gone but Bill honors her memory with the work he is doing for USS ORLECK.  USS ORLECK is gaining the advantage of being one of the last two museum ships representing her kind.  As the most decorated Vietnam destroyer she is the right ship to do that and the sailors from the many other Gearings who have departed can and I am sure will play a big part in the future of USS ORLECK and her restoration.

It was so good to see the USS ORLECK NAVAL MUSEUM joining with us and to send Lee Joyner to help in the stripping.  Lee will make the long haul back to Louisiana to unload the treasure at the business of Ed Martin, Lake Charles Freightliner and GMC franchise owner and lover of USS ORLECK.  Ed has been instrumental in all the major things involving USS ORLECK from getting her to Lake Charles to this day.  He offered his building to store the parts that hopefully USS ORLECK and other ship sailors and other volunteers from Lake Charles and elsewhere will come in November to install during the November Field Days that is in the planning stages.  Keep Lee in your thoughts and prayers as he drives that heavily ladened 16 foot box truck to Louisiana.  Thanks to Ron who provided needed pictures and offered up a prayer or two for us along the way from Lake Charles.

Iryll Jones!  Hard to say enough!  The planning of this trip was hard.  We had gotten into the game late but we had the experience and the manpower.  What was lacking was the assurance that we could get the truck in the base.  We advised the POC that we were renting a truck and while security wanted all the details on the truck, we could not provide license, color, make and model until we knew what the rent-a-truck company would provide us and they said they could not until picked up.  I believed reason would prevail but last Wednesday at 1425 hrs (2:25 PM) I received a call from Washington and was told that I had to have that information by 1500 hrs (3 PM) or we would not be permitted to get the truck in the base.  I asked if when we got information could we then.  I was told definitely not.  I had 35 minutes to get the information.  I called Ron to call Budget and we scurried to no avail.   300 M Street.  Iryll is a contractor with Dell Services for the government and I can truly say he seems to be involved in everything and knows everybody.  He knew Lt. Adams who was in charge of the BARRY and a simple contact brought the reply that the Lieutenant understood that we could not provide the information until we picked the truck up and sure we could bring the truck in.  Iryll did that!  Then it got better.  He became my resource for Washington Navy Yard and my eyes and ears and did so many things to help me put the planning together.  Iryll was going to be at the gate to insure our guys would get through and was but he had to work and could not get back to help strip until after the gates were closed.  But that changed.  Iryll comes to work by 6:30 AM dressed in suit cloths but each time he came to the ship to interact with our guys a critical thing was happening and he pitched in and did a lot of the heavy lifting and dirty work.  He is a machine, no doubt!  He also was an inspiration to our men and when things got really rough he was there to lift the spirits and lend a strong arm to get the items out.  He worked each day and even at the last grabbed a few porcelain sinks because he knew we would need them.  If you ever meet him I am sure you will agree with me that he is a most exceptional individual but USS ORLECK had many of those over the years.  He was another example of the fine crew that USS ORLECK seemed to always have.

So the trip is over.  The men have left for home except for Larry who is still in the hospital and Bill and Jim who are sticking behind to support him.  Mark has continued to hold his home open to our guys and this again shows the fine examples of good people that our destroyer navy had.  Hopefully in a few days they will be able to get back home and the parts will have arrived safely in Lake Charles.  If you get a chance to thank these men, please do it.  They deserve it.  I don’t believe there can be harder work than they did and they are not spring chickens.

Please consider assisting with a gift to help Larry defray some of the costs of travel for both he and Bill back in the truck.   It cost them $300 each way in his truck and that is only part of what he now faces.  Here is the link to the mechanism to get some help to him.  Any amount is good.  None is too small.

There will be a further report later listing all the items that were obtained from the BARRY.  There will be many pictures that will be posted when received.


Bob Orleck