Destroyer USS Orleck
By kjfitz @ 2006-04-30 12:23:35
USS Orleck operated in the western Pacific with Task Force 77 off China and Japan during her early overseas deployments in 1946 and 1947. She participated in the Atomic tests at Eniwetok and cold weather operations off Alaska in 1948 and 1949. During the Korean War, she performed carrier escort duties, blockade and logistics interdiction missions and shore bombardment. On two occasions her gunfire smashed North Korean supply trains. After Korea, Orleck rotated regularly between duty in the Far East and training exercises in the eastern Pacific.
In 1960, her homeport was changed from San Diego to Yokosuka, Japan. She operated with fast carrier forces and on Taiwan Strait patrol assignments for the next two years. She returned to the U.S. for Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization in 1963. During the Vietnam hostilities Orleck escorted carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin and provided gunfire support during numerous operations off the coast of North Vietnam. She was named "Top Gun" for firing more shells than any other U.S. destroyer in this conflict. Her combat roles also included blockade duties and interdiction of Viet Cong logistics vessels.
Following the Vietnam War, Orleck operated in both the eastern and western Pacific. Her last few years were spent as a unit of the Naval Reserve Force. Following her decommissioning in 1982, she was turned over to the Turkish Navy and renamed TCG Yucetepe (D 345). She operated with distinction in the Aegean and Mediterranean and participated in exercises with other NATO nations until decommissioned again in 1998. Through the combined efforts of Robert Orleck, nephew of LT Joseph Orleck for whom the ship was named, and the Southeast Texas War Memorial and Heritage Foundation, the ship was acquired from Turkey and towed back to the United States. She arrived in Orange, Texas on August 11, 2000.
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