Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas – Sunday, May 19, 2013
Ordnance plant employed more than 12,000 area workers during the Vietnam War
Lone Star Ordnance Plant has churned out tons of munitions products during its more than 70 years in existence. The plant was built from 1941 to 42 on 15,699 acres in Central Bowie County off U.S. Highway 82, adjacent to Red River Army Depot.
The ammunitions producer was built quickly to help with World War II efforts, and reports show the first artillery shell, a 20 mm solid ball, was produced in Area G on July 28, 1942.
The ordnance plant, later known as Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant, produces explosive items such as grenades and artillery.
It enjoyed a production surge in the early 1950s because of the Korean War, and saw its peak employment period in the early 1960s as the country went to war with Vietnam.
During the 1960s, about 12,000 people worked at the plant. Lone Star was a “go-co” plant—government-owned, contractor-operated. Contractor Day & Zimmermann has operated the facility since May 1, 1951.
Information provided by D&Z states that after initial construction was finished in 1942, the Lone Star Ordnance Plant was placed into active production by the Lone Star Defense Corp., a subsidiary of B.F. Goodrich Co. of Akron, Ohio.
Goodrich operated the plant during World War II and for a brief time afterward.
The ammunition plant and Red River Ordnance Depot—later called Red River Army Depot—were built at the same time.
Lone Star produced munitions, while Red River shipped and stored them.
The two were combined as Red River Arsenal in 1945, then separated in 1951, when D&Z took over operations.
In 1951, it was called Lone Star Unit, Red River Arsenal. Six months later, it was again called Lone Star Ordnance Plant until its designation as Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant in 1963.
After World War II ended, the plant’s mission was demilitarization and renovation work.
The Cold War prompted reactivation of the installation in 1950.
The plant has produced billions of components and munitions items since World War II
In 1991, Lone Star played an instrumental role in the Gulf War by shipping more than 1/2 million items in support of Operation Desert Storm.
The plant produced at least one component in every artillery and tank round fired during Desert Storm, and produced several hundred thousand m77 Grenade submunitions for the Army Multiple Launch rocket System.
MLRS rockets were effectively introduced during the Gulf War and became known as steel rain.
Reports show since Sept. 11, 2001, Lone Star has produced millions of M67 Fragmentation Hand Grenades in support of the war.
It has also supplied explosive-loaded ammunition components, and detonators, delay fuses and primers were produced in various munitions in direct support of the war.
Lone Star landed on the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list, and in August 2005, BRAC commissioners unanimously voted to shutter it.
It was deactivated in 3009.
As part of the 2005 BRAC action, Lone Star property was divided between D&Z, the Army and Red River Development Authority, now known as TexAmericas Center. About 8,900 acres were transferred to TexAmericas in 2010, and the army has retained 2,800 acres to clean up before transfer for redevelopment.
D&Z bought about one-third of property to continue private operations. Today, the plant operates as Day & Zimmermann Lone Star LLC on about 5,500 acres and employs 244 people.
Ammunition and explosives products are produced for various customers, including the government.