PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Port Neches

November 16, 2006

PN passes on historic Orleck

PORT NECHES — A piece of military history will not rest in the waters of Port Neches. After a short presentation and a long debate, the city council did not approve a request for the temporary berth of the USS Orleck in the city’s Neches River.

The USS Orleck received substantial damage during Hurricane Rita when she was docked in the Sabine River in Orange serving as a museum. Two ships were blown lose from the Signal Pilot dock and hit the floating museum. Signal Pilot agreed to house the ship in their dock while repairs were made, but the company recently evicted the ship and now the organization that owns the ship has nowhere for it to go.

Legal representatives of the Southeast Texas War Memorial and Heritage Foundation spoke to the city council and urged them to accept the offer to dock the ship on their property stating it would be a good cause and only for a short time as two docks are competing for the rights to house the piece of history.

However, the council had too many questions about insurance and permits and the chance that the two docks decide they don’t want to keep the former military ship, leaving the city of Port Neches to deal with it. A motion was made to accept the request, yet the lack of a second moved Mayor Glenn Johnson to state the motion failed.

The 390-foot Orleck served in Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War and She won four battle stars for service during the Korean Conflict, was a member of the famous Train Busters Club of Korea and was "Top Gun" of the Seventh Fleet in Vietnam. Commissioned on Sept. 15, 1945, she is the only Gearing Class destroyer to return to its birthplace for use as a museum.

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