The SS M.I.T. Victory (V-819) was named after the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and enjoyed some attention from the institution for the early part of her life. Her sponsor was Mrs. Margaret H. Compton, the wife of MIT’s then-president, Karl T. Compton, who also attended her christening. The ship’s library was donated by MIT and while bringing back soldiers from Europe after WWII, members of the ship’s crew published a mimeographed newspaper named Tech Times.
In March 1946, the ship had the dubious honor of carrying a Soviet agent, who was caught by the FBI shortly after disembarking in New York and meeting with Joseph Bernstein and Alexander Trachtenberg, two infiltrators known to be working for the Soviets. Speaking of pernicious evils, asbestos was present in virtually all areas of the SS M.I.T. Victory (V-819), from the boiler room to the troop berthing and crew courters. The carcinogenic mineral was used for lining pipes, covering hot spots like the boiler, engine, and steam valves, as well as providing protection against corrosion and electrical surges.