The USS ORLECK Naval Museum staff and volunteers are very pleased that Fort Polk Soldier, SSGT Justin R. Wenske, chose the USS ORLECK Naval Museum as the location for his indefinite reenlistment ceremony. SSGT Wenske was joined by over a dozen of his family, fellow soldier,s and friends to celebrate this milestone in his US Army career.
An indefinite re-enlistment ceremony is significant in that it marks the the last re-enlistment in a soldier's career and takes place after an eligible soldier has completed 10 years of service. In SSGT Wenske's case the re-enlistment establishes his Expiration Term of Service (ETS) to the earliest 20-year retirement date of 31 July 2025. In other words, he has committed to a minimum 20-year Army career.
SSGT Wenske was the first military member to enlist or re-enlist aboard the USS ORLECK since the 2014 Louisiana Legislature recognized the distinguished military history of the ship and designated the USS ORLECK as the Official Vietnam Memorial Museum ship for the State of Louisiana (Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 135). The ceremony took place in front of Gun Mount 51, the forward set of the USS ORLECK's historic 5-inch, 38-caliber guns of the Korean War and Vietnam War fame.
The USS ORLECK earned four battle stars during the Korean War and was initiator of the "Train Busters Club" as the first Destroyer to destroy a North Korean supply train. The USS ORLECK also fought in fourteen of the seventeen official Vietnam campaigns, was present in enemy waters twenty-nine times during the war, and fired more rounds of 5" ammunition in support of ground troops than any other such ship. In one campaign she fired over 11,000 rounds. Known as the "Gray Ghost of the Vietnam Coast" and recognized as "Top Gun of the Seventh Fleet, the USS ORLECK is believed to be the most decorated ship afloat in the United States Navy that served in Vietnam.
SSGT Wenske is a native of Brush, Colorado, and enlisted in the US Army as a Cavalry Scout. He is serving with the 3rd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Brigade, as RAF (Regionally Aligned Forces) SFAT (Security Forces Assistance Team) instructor. SSGT Wenske and his wife, Melissa, have four children: Haleigh 10, Autumn 8, Bryce 5, and Lauran 4.
The Board of Directors, staff, members, and volunteers proudly salute SSGT Wenke on this noteworthy milestone in his career and sincerely thank him and his family for their patriotism and selfless service to the Nation!