USS Orleck Association news

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.

Jul 012023

Happy 4th of July to the sailors, family and friends of USS ORLECK DD886!

We are looking to the future.  Join with us as we do!

I have much to tell you concerning our reunion group, the USS ORLECK, and what lies ahead for us now that we have dissolved the Destroyer USS ORLECK DD 886 Association. Those who attended our 2022 Jacksonville reunion or communicated about it, know the news that we have dissolved our organizational corporate structure and will no longer be having regular reunions as we have over the last thirty years. But we are far from being finished and what is in store for you in the future could well be, for many, the most exciting time so far. We will still have the opportunity to meet in reunion and what could be better than doing it aboard USS ORLECK DD 886? You may be saying to yourself, how can that be? After the 4th of July holiday, I will be spelling out just how that will work right here on our website, so stay tuned.

First things first though and right now I would prefer we focus on the reason most served and why we associate. It is because we have freedom in the greatest nation on earth and that is marked by the special day we celebrate today. Independence Day. Thank you for doing your part aboard the USS ORLECK and I wish you all a reflective, joyful, and happy time with your family.

This July 4th, 2024, we commemorate what occurred on this date in 1776 when our nation threw off the bonds of English colonial rule and declared itself to be an independent nation. Gaining freedom was difficult and needed fighting a major war to reach.

Keeping that freedom today could well be more difficult to do as our nation is being assaulted from without and within by so many alien and evil forces. Those leading citizens who signed the Declaration of Independence had the determination that America would become a free country. Today, at this very hour, our citizens should be equally determined to keeping it that way and to resisting with our entire being those who would steal it away. We must commit our lives to protecting our Republic and keeping our nation free according to the plan laid down in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights by our Creator.

I will post the details of the plan for future gatherings and what you will want to be thinking about and planning for you as we go forward. I will be posting that right here on July 15th so please calendar that and come back so we can start the discussion. This is not just for the sailors of USS ORLECK, but the family and friends of those sailors and of our beloved ship. Spread the word.

God Bless you all.

Bob Orleck P.O. Box 473

Shallotte, NC 28459

802-565-0340 (talk or text)

Please click here to leave a comment or if you would rather you can send your comments directly to me at

Nov 092022

Plan-of-the-Day has been updated.  Main update involves the change on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings with the breakfasts, Saturday’s business meeting and Sunday’s church service, all of which will take place in the hotel ball room on those days. The hospitality room will be used solely as a hospitality room. Updates in red.

Request: Due to wind and rain, the very short walk from the DoubleTree Hotel to the Village Bread Cafe for our Friday night banquet, Memorial Service, will be problematic for some.  Will those willing to use their personal vehicle to transport some people this short 500-foot distance to allow them to exit the hotel and enter the Cafe building under cover, and to do transport from the Cafe to the hotel at the end, let Bob Orleck know during Thursday’s completion of registration in the DeLeon room.

Destroyer USS ORLECK DD 886 Association

2022 Jacksonville Reunion Schedule

November 10th, 11th, and 12th

Plan-of-the Day (POD)

This reunion was prepared and together as was reported on the first draft of the POD, but the weather had other plans.

The JAX Veterans Day Parade has been canceled by the Mayor of Jacksonville but even before that, I realized that the rain situation would be too much for us to handle. So, I put into motion some changes that came about because I found a great friend in a provider by the name of Kelly Harris.  I have worked with him to put together the best possible modification of this reunion so it will be close to our hotel and will provide for our needs that were lost as a result of the storm.  It is more than just providing. It makes this reunion.

Kelly owns the Village Bread Café, which can be found by walking to the right on the River Walk down from the DoubleTree.  The walk goes a short distance to a 30 story building and you can follow the concrete path right to the entry and inside you will find the Café.  There is no name outside but you will have no problem finding the Café after you enter the doors.

For those arriving early, I have arranged with Kelly to offer the “USS ORLECK DD 886 sailor breakfast” for $9.99 (eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, toast and coffee). In addition, we will be using this fine location and Kelly’s catering business to present you with a light lunch on Friday and later with an awesome event.

Things can still change, so stay alert to announcements and on-line directions as the reunion proceeds. Changes can occur anytime during the reunion. These will be brought to your attention in diverse ways so always have your eyes and ears open. If you are in doubt, ask! Call or text Bob at 802-565-0340.

Thursday – November 10, 2022

07:00 AM            At Village Bread Café ask for the special USS ORLECK’s sailor’s breakfast and enjoy eggs the way you like them, bacon, hashbrowns, toast and coffee for just $9.99 per person.   This has Bob Orleck’s personal endorsement.

09:00 AM            Hospitality Room opens, and Shipmate interview conducted by Jerry Smith begin. (Sign up)
10:00 AM            Finalization of registration begins
12:30 PM             V’S Pizza service begins in Hospitality Room
4:00 PM               Hospitality room closes to prepare for dinner
5:30 PM               Beer, wine and cheese reception.
6:00 PM               Dinner is served in hotel ball room
6:45 PM               Welcoming by President Ben Loder
6:55 PM               Prayer by Chaplain Joe Correia
7:10 PM               Remarks by Bob Orleck  be a drawing for free night’s stay at hotel. (Must be present to win)
7:30 PM               Rear Admiral John Bepko requested the floor
7:40 PM               Jerry Smith-Guest Speaker
8:10 PM             Entertainment by Marie Mazziotti Airline canceled flight

Friday – November 11, 2022 

6:30-8:30        Breakfast in hotel ball room.

Hospitality Room remains open for fun and fellowship.

11:00 AM       Lite Lunch at the Village Bread Café and free time after that until you will return to the Village Bread Café for a great event. (½ sandwich and soup is offering). Free time after breakfast until 2:30 PM.

2:30 PM          Short walk back to the Village Bread Café (ride in personal vehicles-see request above) with an event that includes your Memorial Service, Marie Mazziotti, a disk jockey playing 60’s and 70’s hits and a fine dinner that features for entrees, rib eye steak, salmon, and chicken with mango sauce as well as wonderful accompaniments. Signature bread pudding brings people from far and wide to eat here. There will be a drawing for free night stay at hotel. (You must be present to win)

6:30 PM          Board River Taxi at DT for Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts for a special symphony Requiem Concert (be alert to changes in this transportation)

9:00 PM          Symphony over, board River Taxi for return to the DoubleTree and Marriott Hotels

Saturday – November 12, 2022

7:00-9:00 AM   Breakfast in ballroom
8:00-9:00 AM   Actors Gary and Michelle entertaining with a virtual St. Augustine Tour

Colonial presenter and Flagler presenter. *At this dinner we will have a drawing for free nights at the hotel.

9:00 AM            Business meeting in hotel ball room
8:00 AM            Salute to Veterans Run 5k 2022 at pier of USS ORLECK *
11:00 AM          River Taxi will be providing trips over to the USS ORLECK.
1:00 PM           Box lunch provided.
2:30 PM           Board River Taxi from DoubleTree for one hour narrated sightseeing tour then to the DoubleTree
4:50 PM           Short walk next door to the Museum of Natural History (MOSH) and be seated for dinner.
5:30 PM            Dinner is served at MOSH
6:30 PM            A special guest from the past will be in visitation with us. (Gary Sass presenter)
7:00 PM            Planetarium program followed by coffee and dessert to die for.
8:30 PM            Return to the DoubleTree by River Taxi in a 15-minute loop romantic moonlight cruise.

*You will not be able to be at the entertainment and the Salute to Veterans Run since they both begin at the same time.

 Sunday – November 13th, 2022

6:30 AM-8:30 AM       Buffet breakfast in ball room.
8:30 AM-9:15 AM       Church service led by our Chaplain Joe Correia.
9:15 AM                        Reunion official concluded.
11:00 AM                      Checkout time.

Jun 182022


Today, June 20, 2022, marks the end of the registration at our host hotel, the DoubleTree and our overflow hotel, the Marriott Southbank.  The $119 rate will no longer be available under our USS ORLECK block.  You might still be able to reserve a room in these hotels so if interested you need to contact those hotels and inquire. If you still are wanting to attend the reunion that is still possible but you will need to contact Bob Orleck at



USS ORLECK DD 886 has a wonderful new home. Finally got her permanent berth and she is being taken care of by competent, caring people who understand her value and that she was and is worthy to be saved.

Veterans Day will be celebrated on the 11th of November this year and we will be celebrating with our 16th reunion since our first in San Antonio in 1993. It sure has been fun and it sure has gone quickly. We missed a reunion in 2020 but not this year. Let’s all gather one more time and pretend it is our first and best. In at least one way it will be. Not since she returned to us from Turkey in 2000, has she had a place to call home for good. She sure does now, and we want to see her and walk her decks again and we will.


Update: 8-12-2022 9:53 AM: Some have raised the question as to when the reunion actually starts.  It begins on the 10th in the hospitality room where we will finalize registration, have a chance to mix and mingle, refreshments served and at lunch will be the traditional pizza served.  In the evening we will have a banquet at the hotel.  Plan-of-the-day for each day will be provided when done.

Update: 8-12-2022 9:56 AM:  I have been asked where to send the registration and check and who to make the check payable to.  Make check payable to “Destroyer USS ORLECK DD 886 Assn., and mail them to Destroyer USS ORLECK DD 886 Assn., P.O. Box 473, Shallotte, NC 28459.  Any questions call or text me at 802-565-0340.

Update 9/9/2022 Check this out:  USS Orleck – Visit Jacksonville

Update 9/23/2022 Visit our FaceBook page for some reporting on the Vystar Press Conference just prior to her official opening to the public this coming Wednesday, September 28th.

Bob Orleck