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by Brent Coleman

When I undertook the task of writing a feature story on the World War II Gulf Ordnance Munitions Plant at Prairie, Mississippi, for TomBigbee Country Magazine, I was astonished to find there was almost no material or information recorded to draw research from.

Archives files on the Gulf Ordnance Plant (GOP) were so thin as to be almost nonexistent, the newspapers from 1941 - 1945 were of almost no help. I later learned that local newspapers of that era did not report things that everyone already knew about.

At first I could find almost no pictures of the plant during its operational years 1942 - 45. It was a munitions plant; there was always a threat of sabotage, so security was of the utmost importance. I then discovered that the plant had its own newspaper but those papers were not kepty by the Aberdeen library or if they were, had later been thrown away.

Eventually I tracked down copies of The Tracer kept by former workers and then Procter & Gamble sent me copies of their archives as pertained to the Gulf plant, which was invaluable in compiling this journal.

When it was publicized in TomBigbee Country that I was researching the GOP, I began getting calls from everywhere from people still alive who had worked in the plant. A common complaint I heard was, "I wish you could have done this a few years earlier while my mother or father was still alive."

It is now somewhat late in time to compile a history of the plant, but I am doing my humble best to at least record what I can find so that it is not completely lost.

So, in these pages step back in time with me to the year 1941 and the beginning of what would be momentous in the lives of so many people in the Tombigbee River area of Northeast Mississippi and Northwest Alabama; to the birth of the Gulf Ordnance Plant.

-- from The Gulf Ordnance Plant 1942 - 45, Brent Coleman, A TomBigbee Country magazine Special Edition, 2002

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copyright Brent Coleman.