JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One of the most decorated ships in the history of the Navy will officially call Jacksonville its home.
The USS Orleck has 18 Battle Stars from its service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and will become the centerpiece of the Jacksonville Naval Museum.
When the USS Orleck arrives in Jacksonville veterans as well as the community as a whole will be able to tour one of the most decorated ships of the Vietnam War era. But it will be the 2nd time that Guy Dietz will be able to tour his former ship.
"It was like going home," said Jacksonville native Guy Dietz.
Dietz served on the Orleck in 1966 and 1967. Recently, he and his son took a road trip to visit the Orleck when it was docked in Lake Charles.
Dietz was able to see the radio room where he used to work.
"As we're going up the steps and I knew where it was," recalled Dietz, "It was just to the right as you go in and when I looked in the room it's set up just like it was with the same equipment back in the 60's. It was like de ja vu and I felt like I was home. I actually sat down at the same desk 51 years later"
And after 5 decades, Dietz got back to work.
"They had a key box where you would hear it," says Dietz, "trying to figure it out if I remembered it and I looked down at the sign, sat down and started keying. I hadn't forgotten it."
Being in the Navy is a tradition for the Dietz family.
Guy's father served in the Navy during World War II and his son Andy is currently in the Navy. Guy has a shadowbox with pictures and medals commemorating all 3 generations of Dietz family Naval service.
And when the Orleck comes to Jacksonville, Dietz hopes that it will give the younger generation a glimpse of what his service was like.
"Once you've been on a ship, if you get the chance to go back on the ship you were on, it throws you back to when you were a kid, like I was 23," says Dietz, "I'm walking through and it brought back all the old memories from the time I was on the destroyer."
Memories that he hopes to share with the city of Jacksonville when the USS Orleck becomes a museum on the St. John's River.