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Here's why a fireboat was blasting water into air as it escorted USS Orleck into Jacksonville

One of the most decorated ships in U.S. Navy history made its way into Jacksonville on Saturday. A fireboat that escorted it was blasting its water hoses. Why?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First Coast News' Rich Donnelly was aboard the USS Orleck as it passed under the Mathews Bridge on Saturday. The vessel was completing its journey from Texas bound for Downtown Jacksonville, its new home.

As Donnelly was talking about the Orleck's journey during First Coast News' livestream of the historic event, a boat escorting the ship began blasting its water nozzles in the air.

It was Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department's fireboat, "Big Jake," named for former Mayor Jake Godbold.

The striking display didn't stop until the journey was complete.

Why did this occur?

Respect.

The Orleck's trip from Texas is pretty small compared to what she's been through. With 18 Battle Stars from its service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Orleck is one of the most decorated ships of the Vietnam War era. It's also one of the most decorated ships in U.S. Navy history.

The fire fighting nozzles shooting water in the air is a traditional sign of celebration, praise and respect as it welcomes the ship. The is also often done for aircraft.

The show of gratitude is similar to an honor guard firing into the air in a 21-gun salute.

Credit: Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department
Big Jake, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department's fireboat blasting water in a show of respect as it escorted the USS Orleck into downtown Saturday, March 26, 2022.