On behalf of the USS ORLECK Naval Museum Board of Directors, staff, and our dedicated volunteers, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy New Year to all of our friends and supporters. We are thankful for those who will be with friends and family at this special time of the year. Please keep in your prayers those who cannot be with family and friends because they are serving their country around the globe. Thank you, Patriots all, for your service to the Nation. Your individual and collective sacrifices and those of your families through the generations have preserved our liberties and way of life. It is with passion and pride that we volunteer to restore the USS ORLECK DD 886 and share her legacy and that of her crew members for the education and enjoyment of visitors of all ages!
Of note for 2014 is that Louisiana Legislature Senate Concurrent Resolution 135 in June named the USS ORLECK Naval Museum as the Official Vietnam Memorial Museum Ship for the State of Louisiana in honor of its distinguished accomplishments during the Vietnam War. During 2014 will be remembered as one where the Museum was in a holding pattern. We remained open to the public at our temporary berth on the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles while working toward a permanent berth on the lake front. We also continued to work on the ship's mechanical and electrical systems, clean, paint, and do all sorts of needed work based on the availability of volunteers.
We are optimistic that 2015 will be an exciting year for the ORLECK as we hope to finalize berthing arrangements and put the ship in dry dock for about a month for inspection and hull maintenance. We have an approved permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers to build our berth. Throw into the mix our planned Field Days for March 12-15, 2015, and ORLECK's 70th anniversary of her launch and commissioning, well that makes for an extremely exciting time for the Korean War "Train Buster" and "Grey Ghost of the Vietnam Coast"! With the support of all of you we will certainly make history. With all before us, we humbly and respectfully ask for your financial, in-kind, and volunteer support. We can only accomplish our mission with your ongoing support!
So, please visit us this year if you haven't already done so. If you have, please come back for another look. You will receive a guided tour from one of our knowledgeable docents. Also, we frequently learn things from our many visitors who have served on the ORLECK or other destroyers. Every day is a learning day. In addition to learning about the history of the ship and her sailors, we also have some fun playing laser tag on the ship. Yep! That's right! We needed to find an additional revenue source since we are not yet set up for overnight camping like the other historic ships. Come out and give it a try if you are age 8 and above. Also, we love to host field trips by area schools. Keep your eye out for information about our "Life at Sea" day camp we conduct during the summer. If you are interested in having a special event on board, we are game. We are always looking for ways to share the ship and its history with our visitors! Don't delay! It's going to be a busy year!
Wishing you "Fair Winds and Following Seas" always,RON WILLIAMSExecutive DirectorUSS ORLECK Naval Museum