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Tour one of the most decorated destroyer with GMJ!

Step inside with First Coast News and step back into history.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Have you stepped on board the USS Orleck yet?

First Coast News has a preview took the tour through history and learned some stories that may surprise you.

Hundreds of people were on this ship at once so you can imagine there are a lot of rooms and they're not that big. Ship Manager Craig Bernat says there are reports of around 380 people at one point and they "hot racked," where one person gets out of bed and the other gets in.

One of the first rooms Bernat goes to is the officers' state rooms.

"This bunk was actually removed and taken to help film the movie Greyhound with Tom Hanks," Bernat said. "This would be the bunk you see him sleeping in except Tom was too tall for this so they made an exact replica of this."

Bernat says this about several other items on the USS Orleck too. It's a ship you're about to be glad you never got really sick on. Sick bay is the next stop.

"They give you a Motrin and send you on your way despite the fact your leg's been amputated or whatever," Bernat said. "On board a ship this small you never had a doctor. You had a hospital corpsman. Basically they were maybe glorified EMTs or paramedics at the best. So they would be the ones operating on you."

In the room there's an old x-ray machine and a machine that sterilizes equipment. Bernat says this is one of three places you could get treated on board.

"The barber shop is another," he said. "So you can get your hair cut as you're getting your leg fixed and the ward room where the officers eat on their table so they can operate on someone then after they're done, clean it up and serve dinner."

The tour moves on to the ship's office, repair lockers, and room with a washing machine. Then the height of the ceiling changes. The World War II section is lower.

The USS Orleck may feel like a maze. It's one with obstacles when it comes to carrying dinner.

"The interesting thing is you cook it here," said Bernat in a kitchen. "It's not served here. You made a big pot of hot steaming chili, it's rough outside, you have to carry that down this ladder."

Bernat then goes down a tight ladder. After going up and down more ladders for this next part of the tour, it's clear there are a lot of gadgets.

"This is our gun plotting room," Bernat said. "Basically the big gun director up above sends the radar signals down here."

Lieutenant Joseph Orleck, who the ship is named after, was officially reported missing in action in 1943, but according to Bernat, his mother never found out.

"His wife and sister never told his mother that he was deceased because she was very elderly and frail and they didn't want it to kill her," Bernat said. "So what they did is over the years, wrote letters from him to her."

Let that sink in. Now let's continue on with the tour.

"This is another one of the cool rooms, radio central," Bernat said. "We have radio equipment from World War II the whole way through Vietnam era."

Then there's the pilot house where the ship is steered.
"Our status board there is actually written in Turkish because this was in the Turkish Navy at one point after the US sold it to them," said Bernat. "This radar set here was also used in the movie Greyhound. Every time you see him looking down at a radar, this is the one he was looking at."

He says the sonar unit was also used in the movie. Ad how about this: can you write backwards? That's what they had to do in a connecting room.

"You have the status board back here where they keep track of any incoming missiles or aircraft around the ship," Bernat said.

That completes First Coast News's tour but there's so much to explore on the USS Orleck. Step inside and step back into history.

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