At the termination of World War II, the United States had the largest naval force of any country in history. Prudent military leaders decided against scrapping surplus vessels, in favor of preserving them so they could be activiated quickly in case of emergency. In August of 1945, the Department of the Navy announced that Orange would be one of the locations for the storage of reserved vessels. The abundant fresh water supply of the Sabine River made Orange an ideal location for such a facility, because of the necessity to minimize marine growth and corrosion. Also, the existing shipyard adjancent to the site could be used for repair and maintenance of the "mothballed" fleet. However, it was still necessary to construct a berthing area for the inactive ships, and a permit for the construction of twelve piers was obtained.
The facility was named the U.S. Naval Station, Orange, Texas, in November of 1945. The first vessel to report for inactivation was the USS Matagorda, which arrived on November 5. When the Korean War began in 1950, the facility reactivated over thirty ships, after which many were returned for storage. The facility at Orange was one of fifty-two to be chosen in 1961 by the Department of Defense to be closed or phased down.
The facility remained operable, but the military presence was reduced to twenty-five
officers and enlisted men, and large numbers of civilians were hired to continue operations. On December 28, 1975, the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Orange was closed. By 1980 all remaining vessels were transferred to other locations, sold to foreign nations or sold for scrap.