War Diary and Log Book of the U.S.S. WAINRIGHT (419),
Destroyers Rate, Commanded by R.H. Gibbs, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. NAVY, Division eight Squadron, Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, Commencing December 1, 1942 at Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York and ending December 31, 1942 at Sea. (This printing only includes December 31, 1942. CONFIDENTIAL DECLASSIFIED
0-4 Underway. 0020 SS LANCASTER stranded on reef off Point El Hank; distress signals sighted. 0300 Air raid alert sounded. Sounded general quarters. Set material condition “Afirm.” Enemy planes attacked Casablanca, French Morocco with bombs. Planes were illuminated by searchlights and fired on by shore batteries and ships in harbor. This ship did not participate in the action. Results were not observed. R.C. Smart, Lieutenant, USNR.
4-8 Underway. 0508 Secured from general quarters; set condition of readiness #2MA and material condition “Baker”. 0550 Single enemy bomber was engaged by shore anti-aircraft batteries, and departed with no apparent results. 0655 Commenced raining. Fog setting in. Visibility decreased to about 1 mile. o755 Ceased raianing. Fog lifted. Visibility increased to about 5 miles. F.R.S. Sellers, Ensign, U.S. Navy,
8-12 Underway. 0845 Commenced steaming on various courses at various speeds proceeding to vicinity of Point El Hank. 0906 Motor Whale Boat and Gig left the ship in charge of Lieutenant R.C. SMART, USNR, to assist in rescue of crew and armed guard of SS LANCASTER which was grounded on reef off Point El Hank. 0914 Commenced patrolling vicinity of harbor mouth on various courses at various speeds. F. KING, jr, Ensign, USNR.
12-16. 1300 Received communication from U.S.S. RAVEN that one of three boats sent in to remove crew and armed guard from SS LANCASTER had capsized in heavy surf. 1400 Received communication from U.S.S. RAVEN that the boat which had capsized with Motor Whale Boat from U.S.S. WAINRIGHT. Following named men from U.S.S. WAINWRIGHT who were in Motor Whale Boat reported missing: PEARSON, D.H. #393-54-08, USN; STORY, N.D. Jr. #668-11-43, F3c, USNR; MORGAN, J.R., #342-51-81, S1c, USN. signed by A.P. SIBOLD, Jr., Ensign, U.S. Navy.
16-18. 1600 Received communication from U.S.S. RAVEN that Lieutenant R.C. SMART, USNR and crew of Gig had completed rescue of personnel from SS LANCASTER and proceeded with RAVEN into port of Casablanca, Frenchb Morocco. F.R.S. SELLERS, Ensign, U.S. Navy.
18-20. Underway F. KING, jr., Ensign, USNR
20-24 Underway A.P. SIEBOLD, jr., eNSIGN, U.S. Navy.
Approved R.H. Gibbs, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, Commanding
Examined V.J. SOBALIM, Lieutenant
When Joseph Orleck was commissioned Ensign he was ordered to the USS RAVEN and it was during this time that he earned the Navy and Marine Corps Medal from the President of the United States.
“The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY AND MARINE CORPS MEDAL to
LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE JOSEPH ORLECK, UNITED STATES NAVY
for service as set forth in the following citation:
For extremely heroic and courageous conduct in effecting the rescue of personnel of the S.S. LANCASTER, aground off El Hank at Casablanca, French Morocco, December 31, 1942. In spite of mountainous seas and exceptionally adverse weather, Ensign Orleck took charge of a motor whaleboat and crew of the U.S.S. WAINRIGHT, and successfully completed one trip to the stranded LANCASTER, bringing approximately twelve men to safety. Although his boat capsized during the second trip, he swam to another motor boat and continued directing rescue operations. As a result of his gallant action, twenty persons were saved. For the President, Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy