1961 - 1970

Demolishing several of the NOP buildings it no longer needed, FMC built a testing track for its M113s to vet the vehicles as they rolled off the production line. History of South Charleston.

On the campaign trail in 1960, presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy promised the people of South Charleston that the idle Plant would be sold to private industry to stimulate job growth. In April 1961, he made good on the promise.

The facility, in its entirety, was sold to the Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation (FMC), which had expanded into building military vehicles during World War II. They had a contract to build its new M113 Armored Personnel Carrier for the U.S. Army at a facility in San Jose...and South Charleston.

From 1962 to 1970, FMC built thousands of vehicles based on the M113 chassis in South Charleston. It is still one of the most ubiquitous military vehicles in the world, and was all too well known the American servicemen in Vietnam.

The Naval Ordnance Plant was formally disestablished on June 30, 1961. The colours were struck by the Marine garrison and presented to Congressman John M. Slack, Jr., who had worked tirelessly since his election in 1958 to see the NOP transformed into an engine for economic growth in the Kanawha Valley.

The NOP's former flag was the first to fly over the new Federal Building that was being built across the river in Charleston.

Check out our gallery of the NOP's disestablishment ceremony. Click through the slideshow above or visit the gallery here.

More historical galleries on the way!