The SSTEAM-H initiative has begun with sessions onboard the USS Orleck (DD-886). Our programs known as SSTEAM-H (Seamanship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and History) will be growing in scope over time. Our first sessions will focus on military History topics with an emphasis on strategy! Sessions are open to all Orleck Members (see about becoming a member on our membership page) and Day visitors.

2024 will see the Orleck as a haven for Education with the opening of the SSTEAM-H (Seamanship – Science – Technology – Engineering – Arts – Mathematics – History) Programs.  As the name implies, SSTEAM-H will cover the traditional components of STEM and add Seamanship, Arts, and History to the mix. Programs will be open to all ORLECK Crew Members and Daily visitors as available without charge for most of the courses.  Size of classes will be limited by the training space, but multiple classes are envisioned to run each week to accommodate demand as possible.

Bob Whitkop

SSTEAM-H Coordinator

As you can imagine, the SSTEAM-H curricula will eventually cover a very wide berth of topics and expertise.  Development of the curriculum will be incremental based on demand for topic areas and is anticipated to grow over time.  You may know of other programs associated with other Navy focused museums, but the ORLECK is smaller than others at this point so we will depend on demand and requests for certain courses to plan implementation.  Our curriculum will be funded by contributions in order to support materials (handouts and manuals) and equipment needed to teach some of the courses.  Each training session will be 1 hour in duration, with multiple sessions for more detailed and advanced training in each area as needed.

Visual Signaling and Morse Code

The use of visual signaling has long been a method of communication for ships at sea and forces ashore. We will learn about the history of visual communications and the implements of the trade (Flag Hoist, Flashing Light, Semaphore).  Initial exposure to each of these will also include International Code books for communications, Morse Code; history and usage (important components of communication at sea); and demonstrations with handouts for learning semaphore.  Follow on sessions will expand to practice and competitions in each area.

First Aid

We will teach the components of First Aid for immediate actions and mediation.  We will cover common shipboard and playground injuries and how to deal with them until expert help arrives.  Follow on sessions will make available Red Cross First Aid and CPR Courses (fee involved).


Weather is very important in Jacksonville and to the United States Military services.  USS Orleck will be adding an onboard weather station soon and will include weather in our training curriculum as a part of our SSTEAM-H education plan.  We will cover Barometric indicators, winds, temperature (including dewpoint), effects on Naval Operations and other features of maritime operations.

UPDATE March 15, 2024 – We now have a newly installed Weather station. This small commercial Weather Station is just a local point of measurement for the elements which help to identify the status of the weather and show changes that are used to forecast the weather in our area.  We are connected to a National Network of weather stations that can be accessed to show you the conditions in the various locations around the country.  The access is via the web at

Radio Communications

Getting or got a walkie talkie for Christmas or a birthday?  We will teach how to properly communicate on public communication bands.  Training will include FRS (Family Radio Service) and GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), how to operate, code set-up, terminology, and licensing (when and where required).  Radio wave propagation along with exposure to CW (Continuous Wave) communications (Morse) and information on HAM Radio operations which will lead to a course to obtain HAM Radio licenses (ORLECK is establishing a HAM Radio Club onboard).

Drone Flight School

Getting or have a drone?  We will teach the legal issues associated with Drone operations (which may include obtaining a HAM license, depending on what type of Drone you may want/have).  We will teach operations and control (starting with small drones and other Radio-Controlled Devices) and teach how to fly under control as well as have racing competition at some point.  Doesn’t matter what size drone, we will address the differences along with FAA and FCC requirements and laws (including FPV – First Person View).  This DOES NOT lead to pilot certification (which may come later) but will teach attendees how to fly legally and safely.

Boating Safety

While not a Captain’s Course yet, we will present the USCG Rules of the Road for proper seamanship and Navigation on the seas and waterways of the United States.  We will expose you to the buoy systems and numbering, basic navigation, marine communications, and general rules of the road for boats and other vessels.  Safety will include the use of sound signals and Bridge-to-bridge RF VHF Communications when coming in contact with other ships and boats on the waterways, how to call for assistance, and signaling devices when in distress, among others.

Naval History

Come listen to modules on various periods and activities of Naval and Military history. Each week will be a new topic for learning and participation in discussion about the topic.  Battles throughout History, heroes of the past and present, Discussion of Naval and Warfare concepts and many more.  This program will also include movie ‘nights’ with showing of a movie of a military nature and documentaries about warfare and other military and space operations.

And Many, many more to come…..

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