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USS Orleck opens to public next week

Orleck Deck
Raymon Troncoso
/
WJCT News
USS Orleck deck

Jacksonville residents and naval history enthusiasts are invited aboard the USS Orleck, a storied and decorated warship that will now serve as a floating museum.

The USS Orleck will grant early access tours to VyStar Credit Union members on Sunday, before opening up to the public on Wednesday. The museum will operate on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can check out the USS Orleck on the Jacksonville Riverwalk near the Main Street Bridge at 114 E. Coastline Drive.

Self-guided tours, with docents— many of whom are U.S. Navy veterans— providing explanations of how things work and the history of the warship, will take visitors through the main decks of the ship, inside its guns, to the helm and into the mess hall.

Millions of dollars, including city grants and a sizeable donation from VyStar, have gone into the project to bring the USS Orleck to Jacksonville.

The warship was first commissioned in 1945 just after the end of World War II and served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, earning the moniker "Grey Ghost of the Vietnam Coast" before being decommissioned in 1982. It would serve another 16 years in the Turkish Navy.

Reporter Raymon Troncoso joined WJCT News in June of 2021 after concluding his fellowship with Report For America, where he was embedded with Capitol News Illinois covering Illinois state government with a focus on policy and equity. You can reach him at (904) 358-6319 or Rtroncoso@wjct.org and follow him on Twitter @RayTroncoso.