JOHN C. STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant, the first and only ammunition plant built by the Army after the Korean War, officially deactivated during a ceremony July 29.

"It is an understatement for me to say that over the years, Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant has served the Department of Defense and the nation well," said Col. Charles W. Kibben, commander of Crane Army Ammunition Activity, Crane, Ind.

Established in the mid 1970s on land permitted to the Army by NASA, Mississippi AAP was dedicated on March 31, 1983. At its height of employment in 1989, the plant had 1,831 employees.

"Through the hard work and dedication of its employees, the Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant always made sure the war fighter had what was needed when it was needed," said Kibben.

The Army ceased active production at MSAAP in 1990 and began layaway of equipment. In December 1992, Mississippi AAP became an industrial park under the Congressionally appointed Armament Retooling and Manufacturing Support program that allows rehabilitation of unused munitions manufacturing facilities for commercial use.

"It is the most successful ARMS facility in the United States and today hosts 20 government and commercial tenants," Kibben said.

The plant was a subordinate installation of the Joint Munitions Command. JMC provides bombs and bullets to America's fighting forces - - all services, all types of conventional ammunition from 500-pound bombs to rifle rounds.

The deactivation of Mississippi AAP is the second JMC facility closed as the result of 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission actions. Kansas AAP, Parsons, Kan., closed earlier this year.

The Mississippi plant was designed to handle the complete on-site production and assembly of M483A1 155MM howitzer projectiles and grenade bodies. It was capable of producing 120,000 packaged rounds per month of the 155MM projectiles.

The Naval Oceanographic Office, Department of Energy, the Government Printing Office, Navy Human Resources Center Southeast, Navy Special Boat Team 22, Pratt-Whitney and other tenants at the plant site employ over 650 people.

The plant has been reassigned to the Army Installation Management Command's Fort Rucker effective Aug. 1 pending reversion back to the NASA. IMCOM retained Mississippi AAP's two Army civilian employees, who will work as caretakers of the facility.

The 2005 BRAC Commission recommended closure of two other JMC ammunition production facilities: Lone Star, AAP, Texarkana, Texas, and Riverbank AAP, Riverbank, Calif. The commission also ended ammunition storage missions at Sierra Army Depot, Herlong, Calif., and Red River Army Depot, Texarkana, Texas. All BRAC closures and realignments must be completed by 2011.

JMC operates a nationwide network of ammunition production and storage facilities and provides a global presence of technical support to frontline units.