Mar 192019
 

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I had a special request from our New Zealand KIWI Division head, Bryan Davies, about having a place on the website for some interaction with others.   So I decided to try something a little different.    I am a simple guy so this is a simple page.  You comment and send it in.  I approve it and it posts up.  Let’s see how that works.

After a couple of posts, I see something that is not working as intended.  If you are responding to a particular post you should click on “reply” in that thread.  If you just post, your post will not connect with the thread but will show up as the latest independent post at the top of the page.  Hope that is clear.

  22 Responses to “SCUTTLEBUTT – let’s talk about things”

  1. While reading the latest reunion E-Mail re: reunion from Bob stumbled across DECK LOG link. Opened same and spent the next 3 hours viewing same. THIS IS FANTASTIC and detailed beyond belief i.e. minute by minute, day by day, month by month, etc. Even reflected my high line to the ship on 12/3/65. Not only brought back many memories, but jogged same as well. Do yourself a favor and visit this site. You won’t be disappointed! Followed up with call to Bob and discussed the time and effort it must have taken to compile this history. Unbelievable;

    • Thanks Rick. I am so glad you found this exciting Deck Log Project. It is fantastic. There is more to it all than I even mentioned to you when we talked. Actually, I seem to remember that it took the 21 volunteers a total of 7 years to complete the project. John Barrios said in the account I am posting here says 5 years and he probably is right. This account will take 5 minutes or more to read but if you are truly interested in the monumental nature of this project, it is a must read. Also, John mentioned that the hard copy of the logs was to be sent to the USS ORLECK Museum and kept aboard. That happened and just this month the wife of a deceased shipmate needed a paper copy to confirm her husbands claim related to exposure of Agent Orange. So the value is even greater than what is on-line and keeps helping people in many ways. Here is the account I asked John to give me. It has been posted in the past but worth doing it again. Bob Orleck

      P.S. How about checking out your time aboard USS ORLECK on the deck logs and share your memories right here with everyone. We would all love to hear
      your recollections. Here is a link to the deck logs. Just click here. https://www.ussorleck.com/uss-orleck/deck-logs/

      DECK LOGS PROJECT REMEMBERANCES

      In 2001, I remember seeing postings on the USS ORLECK Association web site from Gary Peters, asking for volunteers to work on a “Special Project.” At the time, I had no idea that this was related to the massive endeavor that Bob Orleck and Gary had concocted. Further, at the time, I was involved with selling a house and relocating to the Sacramento area. However, after getting settled into our current residence, and noticing that Gary was still looking for volunteers, I decided to give him a call. He told me about the project, transcribing all 445 deck logs from the USS ORLECK’s 37 years of service and making them available to the public. I told him I’d be willing to give him a hand. Come to find out, he lived just a few blocks from where I worked in Sacramento, so as I began to settle in to my duties as a volunteer transcriber, I’d just swing by his house, drop off a completed deck log, pick up my next assigned log, swap stories for awhile and be on my way.

      My involvement with the Project continued in this fashion until just before Thanksgiving, 2002. It was a Saturday morning and I was heavily involved with a project from work that required a great deal of weekend time. I had documents scattered all over our dining room table and was wondering how I was going to be able to complete all that needed to be accomplished by Monday morning. I received a call from Gary, and without any chitchat, he asked me what I thought about taking over the Deck Logs Project. As I stared at the stack of documents on my dining room table, my initial reply was that I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I would be willing to help someone else manage the project, and what was the reason for this question anyway? Gary proceeded to inform me that he was calling from the hospital and that he had been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. After a moment of stunned silence, I asked if I could give it a little more thought and get back to him. He agreed and that was the end of the conversation. I shared what had been discussed with my wife, Sandy. As I began to break down the different aspects of what the Deck Log Project involved, I began to pay less attention to that stack of materials on my dining room table. After all, that deadline would be passed on Monday, but the Deck Log Project was going to be going on much longer, and more importantly, this was something for a dying shipmate. Without much more thought, I decided that I would agree to take over the Project.

      A few hours later, Sandy and I went to the hospital and met with Gary and Sonja, his wife. At that time I told Gary that I’d do it, and as soon as he was able we should start working on a transition plan. He had previously shared a lot of information regarding who was doing what on the project, but we agreed that the Deck Log Project management should shift over to me as soon as possible. After Gary was able to come home from the hospital, we got together quite a few times and worked on Deck Log Project items together, and we spent quite a bit of time just talking.
      I have to say that through the entire transition time, I had nothing but support from Bob Orleck and all those who were involved with the Deck Log Project. It was very much appreciated, especially since I could see that Gary’s physical condition was quickly deteriorating.

      Then came a challenge. Dave Emerson, who had been performing the copying duties of the Deck Logs at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, informed us that he was relocating to Florida and would be unable to continue with those duties. Dave had been doing a great job and had provided Gary with copies of many years worth of logs, and since he was giving us a bit of warning, we had a little time to try to find a replacement. Once again, Bob provided a great deal of support in putting the word out that we were looking for someone to step in for Dave. Joe McGuire answered the call. With some guidance from Dave, he performed those duties for the remainder of the Deck Log Project. I’ll come back to both Joe and Dave a little later.

      In April 2003, Gary died. He was interested in the status of the Deck Log Project until the end.

      Although the transcribers were doing a great job at the time, more help was still needed. During the 2003 USS ORLECK reunion in Hawaii, I talked to many Association members, and even some wives, about how they could help as transcribers. As a result, we added six new transcribers.

      We then settled into the process of methodically going through the procedures of making the logs available on the USS ORLECK Association web site. Joe would copy the logs and then send them to me. I would start an electronic version of the log, and send it to a transcriber along with the actual log. Upon completion of the transcription, the electronic version and the actual log would be returned to me for editing and uploading to the web site.

      Now, a little about the log editing process and the use of aliases. Not wanting to cause any embarrassment, Gary had starting assigning an alias for those involved in disciplinary matters. I continued on with this process, but reluctantly. When I took the project over from Gary, the list of aliases numbered approximately 200. My final list contains over 2,200 names, and that doesn’t include those who got into some kind of trouble after June 1974. The significance of this June 1974 date will be discussed a little later. Anyway, back to editing. After aliases were assigned, my special volunteer (Sandy) would follow along in the actual log, while I read from the electronic version. No matter how good the transcribing job was, there were always corrections to be made. After reading through the log and running a spell check, the log was uploaded to the web site. The actual log was then put with other completed logs and will eventually go to wherever the ship’s museum will be located.

      At this point, I’d like to go back to Dave Emerson and Joe McGuire, as well as the June 1974 date mentioned above. Dave Emerson got the project started by copying the logs from the ship’s commissioning in September 1945, through the end of 1959 at Archives II in College Park, MD, just over 14 years of service. Joe McGuire took over the copying process in May 2003, obtaining copies of logs from 1960 through 1973, another 14 years. Joe estimated that approximately 17,600 original log sheets were copied at the Archives II location, covering the first 28 plus years of USS ORLECK’s service.

      Then came another challenge. The logs from 1974 through USS ORLECK’s decommissioning in 1982 were located at the Washington Navy Yard under cognizance of the Ship History Branch, Naval Warfare Division, and not so readily available. Additionally, the format of the logs changed in July 1974, which had the effect of greatly increasing the number of pages per log. With a large number of pages yet to be copied, Joe ran into a number of obstacles, and for a while it was questionable as to whether or not we would be able to obtain copies of the final logs. We were in uncharted waters; nobody had dealt with a request for copies of logs of the magnitude we were requesting.

      However, through a variety of correspondence and persistence, Joe was able to break through the barriers and acquire the copies of the remaining logs. Rather than copying logs to paper sheets as was done at Archives II, Joe scanned the original logs from 1974 through 1978 to a computer hard disk and then copied them to CDs. Since 1979, all ship’s logs are copied and maintained as microfiche and the original paper logs are no longer available. For a fee, Joe was able to get the Naval Warfare Division to make microfiche copies for 1979 through USS ORLECK’s decommissioning in 1982. The CDs and microfiche copies were sent to me and were subsequently used for making hard copies for use by transcribers.

      As stated above, the format of the deck logs changed in July 1974. From that month through decommissioning, the logs contained a great many more entries, and included such items as standard procedural watch reports and what seemed to be more speed and course changes. For example, what was listed in older logs as “maneuvering on various courses and speeds,” in the later logs each of those course and speed changes were entered. So, in order to keep the transcribing to a reasonable amount, and yet be consistent with previous logs, I went through the later logs one by one and highlighted the entries to be transcribed. I also put the word out to the transcribers that if they saw something that they felt that I missed, or saw entries that they felt should be transcribed, go ahead on it, and they did.

      Now, for the transcribers. The following volunteers (listed in alphabetical order) did it all:

      Anna Barrios, John Barrios, Sandy Barrios, Chris Begnal, Bill Blush, Richard Bortels, Diana Bowen, Charles Burkhardt Jr., Homer Castille, Frank Correia, Joseph Correia, Charlie DiMaria, Meredith DiMaria, Dave Emerson, James Gattis, Jody Gittins, Sherry Gittins, Phil Klotz, John Langerock, Barbara Orleck, Gene Petefish, Gary Peters, Robert Ryan, Bob Sales, Dennis “Jerry” Sheil, David Watterman, Norma Wright, Estelle Young, and Doug Zak.

      If I left anyone off the list, I apologize. I tried to gather as much information as I could as to whom all was involved in the Deck Log Project from the beginning from Gary Peters, but I may not have been entirely successful.

      Each of the above-listed volunteers contributed to the transcribing effort and I’d like to take just a moment to talk about some of them. In an effort to not get carried away here, I’ve decided to just pick four names and provide you with examples of their dedication to the project and my interaction with them.

      First, Chris Begnal – Chris started transcribing about the time I took over the project, and stayed with it for the duration. We did a lot of back and forth email exchanges initially, trying to get his computer to cooperate with what it was supposed to be doing. Early in 2003, when there were just a few of us working on the project, he made the comment to me, “we’ve got to get more help” – what an understatement! Chris transcribed 29 logs.

      Second, James Gattis – At the Hawaii reunion, Sandy and I had a little display regarding the Deck Logs Project, and were trying to do some recruiting of transcribers. One of the people that stopped by was James. I could see the wheels turning as he pondered whether this would be something that he’d be interested in taking on. We talked about it and he eventually signed on. I was sure glad he did, as I was with all the others that volunteered. But James seemed to always do a little extra with the logs that he was assigned, and he stuck with the project through to the finish. He also volunteered to take on some of the USS NAUSET logs when Bob Orleck asked if there were some transcribers willing to do so. James completed 86 USS ORLECK logs and 2 USS NAUSET logs, definitely the Deck Log Project’s top producer.

      Third, Phil Klotz – I’m not sure exactly how many logs Phil completed on his own because he was transcribing way before I got involved with the Deck Log Project, but I do know that he stayed with the project longer than anyone. Phil was still volunteering to do more, even after the last of the logs had been assigned. He also completed half of the USS NAUSET logs.

      Fourth, Dennis “Jerry” Sheil – Jerry first came my way via Bob Orleck, who said he had a name of someone that would like to transcribe all the logs from when he was aboard USS ORLECK, which turned out to be from August 1953 through December 1955, a total of 29 logs. That was biting off quite a mouthful, but since we didn’t have that many transcribers at the time, I felt it was worth a try, but I would give him a couple at a time to work on, just so he wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I sent him his first log to work on in May 2003, and he completed his last log in December 2004. Now, let me tell you a little about Jerry’s transcribing, and poke a little fun at him too. He was the worst transcriber on the roster! He would leave off many of the entries and entire watches on a frequency that was unbelievable. He had an uncanny ability to intermingle entries from different watches and his typing was something else. I always had a mental picture of a bear cub with boxing gloves pounding away on a keyboard. It got to the point that when editing his logs, Sandy would ask me if I needed a drink before we started. But since he was sticking with it, so would I. Jerry shared a few stories with me from his time aboard ship and we would exchange occasional phone calls and emails as the project went on. I was really hoping to meet him someday, perhaps at one of the ship’s reunions. It never happened. Jerry died shortly after completing his last log. Bob Orleck forwarded an email from Jerry’s son, informing him of Jerry’s death and that the Deck Logs Project had meant a lot to him. He went on to describe how Jerry would lay out his clothes the night before and then the next day, get dressed and soon be working at the computer, a regular job for him. I’ll never forget one of his remarks in an email, “working on the logs brings back a lot of memories, some good, some bad, mostly good.” How very true!

      As I stated above, these are just four names out of all those listed, I could go on and on, but this is already more lengthy than intended.

      We did eventually get down to the last deck log. As many may recall from some of my Deck Logs Project Status Reports in the Forum on the USS ORLECK Association web site, I referred to a “Mystery Transcriber,” the person transcribing the final Deck Log (September 1982). Well, that person was none other than our own Barbara Orleck. Upon completing the transcription, she sent me an email that I’d like to share with everyone:

      “Dear John:

      Thank you for the report (referring to the November 2006 Project Status Report). You have worked so hard and now it is about
      complete. I know you are having feelings about it as it comes to an end.

      I want to thank you for selecting me to do the last log. It really was an honor and I am sorry it took so long. We had computer problems and stuff got in the way.

      I didn’t realize how much typing that one log would mean to me until I finished it. It took me back to the decommissioning and what an honor I had to be there. It took me back to the decommissioning in Turkey which was more of an emotional time seeing the ship and knowing she was being decommissioned and probably being the last time I would see her. Coupling this with knowing the state she is in now, it flooded me with tears and I hope it does not sound corny but I felt like I reached out and actually touched her one more time. I know I was not a sailor on this ship but I truly learned to love her and I worry about her just as if she was a member of my family. When Dori, our daughter, was in college and was heading to Spring Break in Florida from New York with 3 girls in the blizzard of ’93 not realizing that it was happening, she didn’t call us for days. We were so emotionally drained because our daughter was in danger. I felt the same when our ship was in the hurricane and we had not gotten news and the worry has not stopped since. It is emotionally draining to me and Bob and we just don’t seem to be able to do anything to help her out of her trouble and it feels like we are losing her.

      I am thankful for the Deck Log Project and the other DESTROYER USS ORLECK ASSOCIATION activities that have and will keep the wonderful USS ORLECK alive in the hearts and minds of many even if we can never walk her decks again.

      Barb Orleck”

      I think Barbara’s words say it all.

      In summary, after more than five years and well over 16,000 volunteer hours, the entire thirty-seven year history of USS ORLECK, as documented in the Deck Logs, is available to anyone interested in going online to the USS ORLECK Association web site and viewing the transcribed logs.

      One final word, I’d just like to thank all that participated in the Deck Logs Project. It really was a team effort, and I’d especially like to thank Bob Orleck for his support all the way through, from his original planning with Gary Peters, through the transition time of Project leadership from Gary to myself, and continuing on through to the end.

      So, for those of you that served aboard USS ORLECK, go check out the logs, find the period of time that you were on board and let the memories take you back to your younger days.

      John Barrios
      CS2, USS ORLECK 1970-73

  2. Hi to all. I have just read the plan of the day for our upcoming Reunion for next June 2020, This will be another great reunion with what is being planned. Within the next week I will be sending in my form to Bob Orleck. By signing up early you will get a discount, Details can be found on the Orleck site. I am hoping to have a great turnout at this reunion. We could use some help to get the word out to those that might know someone that has not been to our reunions yet. You will not be disappointed with the side trips Bob has planned. The White Mountains are one of the prettiest areas of New Hampshire. Looking forward to seeing everyone in June.

  3. I received an email from the great granddaughter of a USS ORLECK sailor, Harry Williams Sr. If you read the message you will see that she hopes to connect with someone who knew him. We do not have any information on the Memorial Roster about him, other than his name. There was a poem published in an older Scuttlebutt newsletter that had a poem sent to me from Lea’s mother. I would be glad to forward the photos she mentions if anyone would want them or believes they knew him. You can contact me by replying to this or email me at bob@ussorleck.com.

    Thanks
    Bob Orleck

    On 9/28/2019 8:10 PM, Lea Vallette wrote:

    Hello, Mr. Orleck!

    My name is Lea Vallette. I just wanted to see if you could help me or point me in the right direction! My grandmothers father, Harry Williams Sr, was a navy soldier on the USS Orleck. My mother actually sent in a poem in 2002 after his passing, and I have a photo of that attached. As well as a photo of my pop and his friend, who I believed was named Walt.

    I just wanted to see if anyone recognized him, or knew what years he was in service. I can probably find out the specific years if need be! I would just love to see if someone out there has photos of him. My grandmother passed away, and she was my best friend. I go to a family reunion every year and we are all so connected, and loving to one another, it would be great to bring more of his legacy along for the trip.

    Thank you for any and all help you give!

    • I have checked my Memorial Roster template file from 10-Jul-2018 and found this entry:

      Name Rank Service Theater Died
      Dates
      Williams Sr, Harry MM3 1952-1955 12-13-2002

      I am going to research whether Harry Williams, Sr was aboard the Orleck during the Korean Conflict and when the Orleck was in the Korean theater. The Sr (Senior) attribute was added on the 28-Jul-2014 copy of the Memorial Roster for the 2014 Reunion in San Diego. I will update my research results in a future reply.

      Joe Correia, Chaplain

    • Lea and Bob,

      Name Rank Service Theater Died
      Dates

      Williams Sr, Harry MM3 1952-1955 12-13-2002

      The above entry first appeared in the Memorial Roster Poster with the “Sr” attribute entered for the 2014 San Diego Reunion. I am going to research whether or not he was aboard during the Korean Conflict.

      Joe Correia, Chaplain

  4. Sorry I haven’t been very active here. Have had many family issues in the last year. I am looking forward to our next reunion. I know it will be another great reunion. I believe details will be out soon. I will be in touch with Bob soon to see what I can do to help . We could use some help getting the word out about the next reunion. If you know anybody that might be interested please share that info.

  5. Anybody awake out there.still waiting for your stories

  6. i am still waiting for our shipmates to respond to my last memo////// come on boys lets get some stories on this site ..

    • Hi Bryan: I am afraid not many are looking at the website lately. Maybe when I announce the reunion and mail out a message, I will encourage them to take a look. Also, when the details of the reunion go on the website, we might see more traffic. Thanks for you faithfulness. Bob Orleck

  7. This page lets talk about things, opened with a bang with responses from ,Myself,bob Orleck,John Barrios and Hank Carman.This is not good,

    Come on shipmates out there don’t let our SHIP DIE we all must have things we would love to talk about.Things like the good shore leave we had i far away countries, the funny things that took place on that leave, the people you made friends with some that you still have as friends many years later .
    Things that took part in the day to day working of the ship,How proud you were of the Orleck when meeting men from other ships when in port.There must be lots of things you could talk about, and many other shipmates would love to hear..Come on Guys start talking don’t let her USS ORLECK DD886 Die SHE IS TO FINE A WARRIOR she looked after you all in the good times and in the bad lets keep her heart beating.

    LET US KEEP TALKING PLEASE

  8. The year was 1972 we has a family had just arrived in NZ to maker new home we had been hear one year when my daughter who was 11years of age, said to me Dad a American warship is in port and on the radio was asking the public if they would like to take a crew member out for the day.

    My daughter Cheryl and i both went down to the Ship we told the Deck Officer that we would like to take a Crew member home for two days we were asked to pick a name from a list of crew who had time off me being English picked the only member with the surname starting with the letter W young man named Dave Wallace. I think you can guess I PICKED THE ONLY ENGLISHMAN OUT OF A CREW OF ALL AMERICANS the story of my life if i picked a racehorse in a big race it had 3 legs.

    To cut along story short we all had a great timed after two days we had a new family member and we also owned a Destroyer

    For time later we moved from the south island to the north island i started work at Auckland University one afternoon my wife phoned me to say the ORLECK was arriving the next day she was coming for war games with our navy .

    I will not say how I got into the navy dockyard i went to ORLECK berth went on board, was asked by the Watch Officer my reason for being there I said my cousin was on board and as we had not seen each other for a long while if he could get any leave.Next is the one and only lie i have made the Captain was asked about leave for david . Then a was taken before the Captain Hine david was sent for and granted leave while the ship was at sea we had a great time and for many years we would write to each .

    THE LAST CONTACT WE HAD HE WAS TRANSFERED TO THE USS BRINKLEY BASS

    Thirty nine years looked for him, with the help of a gentleman by the name of Bob Orleck and one other gentleman called Jerry Hannah but with no luck ,but in that time made many shipmates, many friends and got to know many families.

    To end my little story i lost one Orleck crew member BUT GAINED ONE BIG ORLECK FAMILY, God Bless you all always your Shipmate.

    KIWIORLECK,
    C O New Zealand Divison,
    USS Orleck DD 886.

  9. Let’s get the conversation started. Reunion 2020. How are we looking Bob? It’s been almost a year since the great time we had at Virginia Beach/Norfolk.

    • Would love to begin this conversation. I haven’t heard much from anyone about them wanting another reunion. I would guess they do but I would like to see some interest shown. Maybe we will hear from some folks.

      No one knows this posting is here unless they stumble across it or someone lets them know For those who do see it, get the word out to others to come on and give their thoughts.

  10. Interesting story and I can well imagine Bryan as a tour guide. In November of 2007, Sandy and I went on a tour of New Zealand and early in the tour we had a day to ourselves in Rotorua. We had previously contacted our KIWI friend and in the afternoon Bryan showed up at our hotel. He was easy to pick out in the hotel lobby because he was wearing a USS ORLECK hat. Sandy and I had a very enjoyable afternoon with Bryan as he drove us around showing us interesting places that we weren’t going to be able to see on our tour. We also had the special treat of being able to meet his son Carl and his wonderful family. The afternoon flew by and we can’t say enough good things about Bryan and the way he treated us!

    Thanks again for that afternoon, Bryan, and thanks for your story about the Texan.

    • Hi Sandy and John

      A lot of water has passed under that bridge since we met in Rotorua. My wife Jean passed away. She was the love of my life.

      I have been to one of your Reunions in San Diego where I was treated like a long lost Brother by all my shipmates. People who I had never met but only had contact by name. It was one of the greatest times that I have had in my life, The day I left to return home I got to thinking WOW what a large family I had joined.
      By the way Still have and wear that same hat. It is so nice to make contact again. Hope all is well with you both. Give Sandy my love and do keep in touch.

      God bless you both Bryan
      I should use my title,
      KIWIORLECK,
      C.O. USS Orleck DD886,
      NZ Division

  11. Many years ago I owned a small tour company, One tour we gave was a one day from Auckland to Rotorua the centre of Maori Culture. We put this small tour on for people who were passing through Auckland with only a few days to spare before moving on down south. To set the scene, the Rainbow Warrior had just been bombed by the French,and the ship had been towed across to the other side of the Harbour into the Navy Dockyard. Well off we go for nice day out with eight people in one of my small 12 seater buses, the day was mild with sun about 22c. The trip to Rotorua takes about two hours, we stop for morning tea at a place called Huntly which has a very large power station.

    After leaving Auckland about 9.00am with 4 English,2 Germans, 1 Spanish and later I found out 1 Texan with a mouth the size of his home state.

    We had only been going a short time passing Auckland Hospital when he asked me how long it took to build it I said about 2 to 3 years. He said in Texas it would take half the time. This went on all day, it was bigger, longer ,they had more if it and grown it faster.

    I was at the point of asking for a prayer to make him fall asleep if only for a short while. Just before arriving back in Auckland he was at me again, could he go and look at the Rainbow Warrior and my reply was can you swim because it is on the other side of the Harbour, He said why can’t I go over on the bridge to which I SAID WOW THAT WAS NOT THERE WHEN WE LEFT THIS MORNING. At last he had been defeated ,well you got me good he said and left the bus only to turn round and gave me a $50 tip and a big smile.

  12. Good Morning Bryan: Bob told me you shared a story about a big mouthed Texan when you owned a tour group. Can you share that. Bob lacks as a story teller and I want to hear it from you. Barb Orleck

    • Thanks for the funny account of your time as a tour operator. Sounds like you would be a fun driver to have on one. We had a reunion once where our driver was the funniest man ever. He kept us in stitches. Bob had made people choose which bus they would be on and stay with that bus the entire reunion. When people learned of our driver, they wanted to change and get on our bus. No doing! Nobody wanted to switch. Bet the same would be with you.

      I would love to hear you tell about the time when USS ORLECK was in port there and you and your wife met and took one of our sailors home to entertain. Barb Orleck

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