yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

Saga of Wolf Creek

from the collection of Fred Stephens

Wolf Creek Banner
Milan, TN, September 10, 1945

Accomplishments written into the service record of the Wolf Creek Ordnance Plant could only have been achieved by men and women of steadfast resolution and fortitude…who knew that a war had to be won…that their country was starting on the defensive and would continue so until a world-wide offensive could be carried to the enemy by air, sea and land…that one prime requirement was quantities that would assure success.

Soon after the first spade of one-time peaceful farmland was turned on February 5, 1941, for constructing of an Administration building by extending the then Whitthorne school house, this 28,372 acre tract became a melting pot for people from every walk of life.  Mechanics, farmers, salesmen, barbers, musicians, boilermakers, housewives, architects, clerks and teachers came, joined hands (and eventually calloused them) to keep the ammunition flowing to the fighting fronts.  It was every-day American men and women who came to build ammunition for the victory that brought an end to the greatest conflict of all time…men and women who worked and ate and played together the last four years to prove to all skeptics, domestic and foreign, that the American way of life is no weakling’s way.  A number of chronological high-lights gleaned at random are listed below:


February 5 – First dirt turned to begin an addition to the Whitthorne school house, destined to become the Administration Building for Milan Ordnance Center.

June 16 – Proctor and Gamble Defense Corporation took over the Guard and Fire Departments from the contractors.

September 15 – The first shell, 60MM, was loaded on A Line; Malcolm Reid, superintendent.

September 20 – G Line opened with the 52 Fuze; J. W. Donahue, superintendent.

November 15 – B Line opened, loading 37MM; R. T. Kincey, superintendent.

November 26 – H Line opened, loading 32 Primer; D. A. Levick, superintendent.

November 27 – F Line opened; Robert C. Bonekemper, superintendent.

December 7 – Japs attack Pearl Harbor.

December 20 – K Line began ammonium nitrate.  F. T. Guenther, superintendent.

December 22 – The Mechanical Department moved into Area J.  Weldon McGlaun, Master Mechanic.

December 23 – C Line opened, loading 155MM; T. R. Sandburg, superintendent.

December 30 – D Line opened, loading 155 MM; Lee Frye, superintendent.


March 20 – Lt. General Wm. S. Knudsen visited plant.

May 29 – First BANNER published.

June 26 – Wolf Creek baseball league opened with 45 game schedule.

July 16 – Line C workers “chipped in” and bought an American Flag.

August 10 – First Safety flag was raised on C line.

October 21 – Minuteman flag awarded to Wolf Creek by Treasury Department for 92% bond participation.

December 3 – Plant receives Army-Navy “E” award.


January 3 – “Plant Transportation Panel” set up to handle gas rationing.

February 11 – Vice-President Harvey C. Knowles of P & G speaks to 304 foreman, superintendents and plant officials.

March 19 – Plant workers give $26,739.04 to Red Cross; quota was $15,000.

June 10 – Wolf Creek Variety Show.

July 1 – Pay-As-You-Go Income Tax becomes effective.

October 8 – New star added to “E” pennant.

October 25 – Second show – “Hay Fever”.

November 26 – Over 9,000 acres of land is leased for forming purposes.

December 2 – R. K. Brodie, Vice-President of P & G, addresses 359 foreman, superintendents and plant officials.

December 10 – 162 members of Ordnance Department awarded emblems for meritorious service by Major W. W. Knight, then Commanding Officer.


February 11 – Fourth War Bond Drive aided by visit from disabled veterans.

March 2 – K Line explosion.

March 24 – Bond buying reaches 94.8% participation with 13.3% salary participation.

April 14 – Manpower shortage brings cooperation from citizens of surrounding counties.

April 29 – Wolf Creek holds open house; 7,000 visitors.

May 22 – The last show – “Wolf Creek Nights”.

June 12 – 5th War Loan begins.

August 11 – Jeff D. Milligan of Mason Hall, receives the one millionth check issued by Procter and Gamble Defense Corporation.

August 18 – Line A receives the first of the Excellence in Attendance flags to go to a production line.

September 25 – National War Fund begins; “Half-a-Day’s Pay” s goal.

October 13 – The Women’s Dormitory in MOD opens.

October 27 – “The Riders,” cartoon feature in the BANNER, makes its appearance.

November 16 – Vice-President Harvey C. Knowles addressed 4th Annual Foreman’s Dinner; describes plant employees as “a good team working together.”

November 18 – Milan Ordnance Center wins third Army-Navy award; second white star added to ”E” flag.

November 30 – The Juke Box dance – a forerunner of things to come.


January 2 – General Eisenhower’s Combat Team visits plant.

January 25 – Depot Integrating Committee holds second meeting at Mod. – 1791 men and women in the service.

March 3 – MOC workers contribute half a day’s pay to the Red Cross.  Over $30,000 pledged.

March 20 – Miss Helen Attaway of Jackson voted “Miss Wolf Creek”.

April 12 – Plant grieved over President Roosevelt’s death.

April 13 – MOC workers pass $6,400,000 mark in bond purchases.

April 21 – Line Z completes MK-27 Fuze production.

April 26 – Stores representatives of 17 shell loading plants, 3 bag loading plants and one arsenal meet at MOC.

April 27 – Mrs. Pauline Perkins and Fred W. Brown each win pair of safety shoes in contest.

May 8 – Germany surrenders; BANNER gets out extra.  “Job only half done,” says Mr. Pruden.

May 11 – Traffic Control Board organized.

May 14 – Ordnance Department observes 133rd birthday.

May 23 – J. E. Pruden, Plant Manager, presents Mrs. G. N. Choate, Executive Secretary, with check for $32, 142.66 Red Cross contribution form MOC and Ordnance Department.

May 25 – Line Z celebrated the end of a successful Safety Contest with a dinner in the line cafeteria.

June 1 – Line X completes 40MM schedule.

June 9 – Mrs. Emma Knight, C Line employee, receives the bond which brought plant payroll deduction purchases to 7,000,000 dollars.

June 22 – 1847 MOC and Ordnance Department members in service.

July 7 – Earl Davis, Chief Engineer, goes to Philippines to help operate edible oils plant.

July 7 – MOC and Ordnance oversubscribes 7th War Loan quota.  MOC’s quota was $736,125.00, oversubscribed $143,350.00; Ordnance Department’s quota was $17,726.93, oversubscribed $3,326.57.

August 9 – Line C explosion.

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